Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Game 49: Canadiens 2, Blue Jackets 5

I'm Canadiens Expressing it on RDS, since the full broadcast was blacked out for the good of "our game".  Thank you Gary Bettman.  Actually saved me some aggravation, got through this 5-2 loss to the Blue Jackets much more expediently, mercifully.

16:30 -- Great play by Andrei Markov, staying at the offensive blue line and derailing a zone exit by the Blue Jackets, intercepting a pass as he so often does, baiting an opponent to try sliding the puck past him, then striking with his stick like a cobra.

It's been tough watching him lately, not sure what's been the matter, but I think too many are writing him off too soon.  Andrei has many gifts, and one of his greatest, his sense of the game, his hockey I.Q., his anticipation, his dekes and feinting, his passing, those won't fade.  His brain is still able to process the game at an elite level.  All we need to do is manage his minutes, the situations he's put in, so that he's 100% when we need him, like on the powerplay.

16:15 -- Great backcheck by Daniel Carr.  David Desharnais had a good one early on too, foiled a 3-on-2, intercepted a pass and put a stop an incipient threat.

11:15--Brian Flynn, Torrey Mitchell and Devante Smith-Pelly, three righties on one line.  Not more than a couple seasons ago, we didn't have enough righties up front or on the blue line.  Now it's almost the reverse.

10:45--Knee-on-knee by René Bourque on Torrey Mitchell, on a classic attempt at a face-on bodycheck.  Those never work, the intended victim sees the hit coming, veers aside, and then the defender often feels like he can't let his opponent go by him unimpeded, so the knee comes out.

That play should be an automatic major.  And I guess if it was, the refs would never call it, the consequences being too great, likely to attract the wrath of Don Cherry.  I love the NHL.

And René, ease off buddy.  Keep those assaults directed at Torts.

9:21--Brendan Gallagher, on a 5-on-3, banks one in off Gregory 'Sonny Boy' Campbell.  Couldn't happen to a nicer worthless plug.

7:40--Lars Eller rips a shot, pings it off the post.  Someone check it for a dent.

I'll ask again: was he sulking the entire start of the season?  He looks transformed, goes towards the net with the puck.  Awesome.

5:20--On the Blue Jackets' tying goal, you could play the classic circus music, or "Yakkety Sax", with all the Canadiens running around.  #1 line didn't look great, with that puck pinballing around until it was fired in Mike Condon's net.

Second Period

17:15--I have to agree with Pierre Houde and Marc Denis, Torrey Mitchell doesn't look completely recovered from that shot he took off his foot.

11:24--P.K. ties the game with a blast from the red line that fools Columbus' rookie goalie.  And then takes an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for a shove at an oncoming Brandon Dubinsky.

And Gally has to be the more mature one here, who tries to calm down P.K., talk him down, get him under control.

I'd be really mad, and go off on a rant about P.K. normally, except that it's frigging Brandon Dubinsky, a player who makes a living elbowing Sidney Crosby in the head.  And getting slurped by play-by-play guys as being "tough to play against".  Unless the refs called the penalties, then he'd be really easy to play against.

I'll say it again: so much of this nonsense occurs because the NHL insists that player benches be on the same side of the ice.  At every stoppage, every line change, a Brad Marchand or Chris Neil or Steve Ott or Brandon Dubinsky gets to 'instigate' with a push or a slash or shove or whatever.  And it's not hockey.  It gives the goons and the rats more of an opportunity to ply their trade.

Every arena that comes on line should separate the benches, have them be on opposite sides of the rink.  

But 'Daddy Campbell' is in the business of selling hate, so...

Third period

10:54--I've seen Jeff Petry shrug and look up at the sky/ceiling in frustration after a goal a little too often for my liking lately.  Blue Jackets, the worst team in the league, with their valiant coach unavailable, along with both of their goalies, take a 3-2 lead.

1:12--Cue up "Yakety Sax" again on that extra-skater goal.  

0:25--Cam Atkinson completes his hat trick to make it 5-2.

Monsieur Bergevin, please fold your hand on this season, monetize some of our expiring contracts/assets, swap them for picks and prospects.

I don't like this team anyway, that is a soft touch and an inviting target for bullies.  It was fun when they raced out to a 9-0 start and were roadrunnering every other team, but it certainly feels like that was the blip, and this anemically-scoring squad is the true identity.

I'd point out that our rookie goalie posted a .833 SV%, while their rookie chipped in a .941, but I'm starting to feel it's no use.

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