The Canadiens win the return match of the home-and-home against the Islanders 4-2, and sweep the season series.
--I'll say it again, I didn't quite understand how good the production values were on "La Soirée du Hockey" and "Hockey Night in Canada", even though I often spouted that they were. I didn't realize how flawless, how slick those programs were until the clowns from Rogers got their fervid hands on the wheel.
--Did anyone else catch sight of those two dudes sitting at the studio desk, playing with microphones, checking their phones, modeling their beards? Because unless I was hallucinating, this was beamed out to the entire nation, for half a minute or so. No sound or nothing, just dead air, and the wrong camera feed sent to air by the director.
Once I realized that this wasn't just a blip, something that'd get corrected in a second or so, I hoped and prayed that one of the hipsters would start picking his nose or something.
--Is no one minding the store at Sportsnet? Are they trying to 'do more with less', running with a skeleton crew of mostly unpaid interns, the savings to be had by offloading call centres to Asia not enough to keep the corpse of Ted Rogers in ivory backscratchers? Don't they have a person watching what actually comes out of the final pipe? Were they being hacked by Anonymous?
--Is Gary Bettman as "extraordinarily comfortable" with his decision to entrust his product, our national game, to those bozos for a dozen years, as he claimed to be with the decision to not levy a suspension on Zdeno Chara for his gameofthronesing of Max Pacioretty?
--Gary Galley, the brainless spokespout for NHL culture, lionizes Matt Martin for running over David Desharnais, but fails to mention that he led with his elbow so far out he looked like a frigging unicorn out there. The refs 'didn't see it', therefore it didn't happen I guess. The video tape lies.
Earlier, he tut-tutted that David Desharnais had almost turned over the puck while wheeling around behind his net. What didn't catch his eye, since he's the proverbial insensate frog in the pot of water that's slowly being brought to a boil, was how an Islander forward had taken three hookslashes at his sideshandspants. That wasn't a penalty, a reason to object, that's par for the course in Nick Kypreos' NHL. That's defensive hockey.
It's not wrong in his or most boiling frogs' mind that the player three strides behind the puck carrier, the player who is beaten, is allowed to fish and hook and hack at the guy who's trying to do something with the puck.
--Yet let's consternate about how scoring is down. After we're done elbowing Sidney Crosby in the face, let's try to address that issue. Let's strike a committee with Brian Burke and Colin Campbell to work on this.
--Two fractured fingers for Brendan Gallagher, who'll have surgery tomorrow, and whose absence will best be calculated in weeks rather than days. Alex Semin, Bud Holloway, Sven Andrighetto, answer the phone.
--I don't want Greg Pateryn to come out of the lineup. He provides some pushback, a bit of physical menace, but not at a cost like Douglas Murray exacted. Greg can move, he's reasonably handy with the puck, and getting shots on net. We can't ask for much more from him.
--I've held off for a while on commenting on Tomas Fleischmann, afraid his bubble might burst maybe, but now I'm sold. What an acquisition. A really smart player, good puck skills, and his line is just humming along.
--I've slowly begun regretting that René Bourque never got a chance to play right wing with David Desharnais. If anyone could have gotten him going, David was the guy.
--Cool celebration by Alex after his powerplay goal, spontaneous and authentic, and I really liked how it drew in the people in the vicinity, how they reacted to Chucky and cheered with him.
--Some will gripe that Max is getting all his goals on empty nets, and he seems a little bit sheepish about it judging from his post-game comments, but I want him to keep it up. Last year we were never quite able to put these games away, we'd scramble to the last second and eat some board dasher along the way. I like how this year Tomas Plekanec and Max are out there in the dying seconds foiling opponents and dishing out le coup de grâce.