Habbies edge out Pens

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Random info of the hour: Did you know there's this event called the Spengler Cup going on right now in Davos, Switzerland? Well, if you missed it, I'll forgive you for now. Anyway, it's apparently one of the oldest international hockey tournaments and it's been going on since 1923. Canada didn't start participating until 1980...something... I'm inclined to think that it's 1984 (in which they won the thing). Apparently they've won it 11 times since then including last year. The event is usually comprised of various European teams, a mix of Americans all bunched into one team and Team Canada. Fun, yeah? Yeah. Especially when you consider that Canada kicked off the tournament with a 3-1 win over the Czech team.

...or maybe I spoke too soon about Canada being any good at this.... I actually caught a bit of the Team Canada/Davos (Switzerland) game and... it was kind boring. Bring on the juniors - I'll watch Russia all day even - any day before I sit through that mess again. For the records the Swiss won to a very football-ish cheering crowd in shootouts. SHOOTOUTS! Oh well....I shall return later after I've seen some hopefully good hockey being played tonight by a certain Habs..... oh please diiiieee Pens... pleaaasseee....

Not that I'm one for fashion or anything but....

....But I just read this thing where this Spanish magazine named Federer the "el segundo hombre mas elegante del mundo" which translates as "the second most elegant guy in the world". Yeah, the guy can't even be no. 1 at that either. Not that I really care what Roger wears... I mean.. he could be the worst dressed player on the entire tour but as long as that doesn't stop him from playing good tennis I couldn't care less. But really, when you see who gets to be no. 1, you gotta wonder how exactly Federer ends up as no. 2. For the records, designer Karl Lagerfeld is numero uno. I don't know about anyone else, but that guy seriously creeps me out...I think it's the gloves....


Something better will appear here in a few hours. Least you need to know for now is: Andrei is in and Laraque is out for a while. And Chipchura and Pacioretty will probably not be in the lineup tonight.


This was a slightly agonizing game for me for several reasons. The first is that the Habs have had a horrible record when coming off a long break. The second is, as the Pens are my second team, I've been dreading this matchup for a while. Especially given how the Pens have been doing lately and I just knew that they would be giving it a huuuuge effort tonight. Which scared me, given how I thought that the Habs would come out.

It was a rather interesting game tonight which saw one (part of a) line do all the scoring for one team and one guy netting the others for the other team. It also saw one goalie completely on top of his game tonight while the other was... well... in all fairness he was good too...I mean... the first he had no chance on.. the second he didn't even know where it was and the third... well, he should have had that one. But anyway....

From the Canadiens point of view, they can thank Kostitsyn and Price for the win tonight. Kostitsyn because he was the only guy to score in the 3-2 win tonight - which, for the records, would make this his first hat trick. And Price because... well, we'll get to him later but let's just say he was amazingly good tonight.

I thought that the first period was really good for the Habs. They came out strong and were quickly rewarded with a nice goal only a 1:15 into the game. Or something like that. It was nice. Fleury had no chance at a save as everyone imaginable was crowded in front of the net and he couldn't see a thing. Sowwy, Fleury. The rest of the period saw a lot of action between both teams and lots of zooming back and forth along the ice. Habs took a couple of penalties but Malkin also got the Pens only penalty as well so it was all good until a really weird goal went past Price on the left side. Dupuis shot at Price or at the boards or whatever and the puck bounced off Price. He made an attempt at a save but between Crosby and whoever was trying to clear the puck for the Habs, it went in. Dupuis got the goal by the way. The Habs weren't done scoring however, and with 2 seconds left in the first period, Kostitsyn - who was sensibly standing behind from the pile of puffy blue shirted Pens standing in front of Fleury - took a pass from... I think it was Plekanec and put it past Fleury.

The happy-go-lucky feeling wasn't to last too long into the second though as the Pens came roaring into the period, apparently hell bent on getting another goal. It happened at 5:51 when Crosby moved himself away from all the action on Price's right and stood to his left and took a pass from... Dupuis, I guess... and put it past Price. I still feel like that could have been completely preventable if someone had just been watching Crosby. I mean, the guy didn't have to do that much to get that goal. ANYWAY.... that was pretty much that for the period. Apparently the Habs did get all of 6 shots on Fleury. If I remember correctly they bunched up all their shots in a row while the Pens continued to dominate the period.

Now, I have a confession to make here. I missed a good half of the third period. Why? Because I was taking the dogs out. Couldn't they wait? Yeah, they could have. But honestly, the tension was killing me so I left. I know... I know.... I voluntarily left during a hockey game featuring the Habs. I promise to sit through the entire Canada/Kazakhstand game tomorrow. I did see through the window however, the Habs celebrating Andrei's goal though I had no idea who had scored it. I also missed Andrei's amazing breakaway on Fleury too. I won't miss another game again if I can help it. Replays aren't as much fun. Even if they are less stressful. ANYWAY.... I came back in to see the Pens all over the Habs. Of course it didn't help that the Habbies took three penalties over that period. And then it really didn't help when the Pens pulled Fleury in the last minute and I was treated to a whole minute of almost chances by the Pens. Full credit goes to Price for doing a superb job in blocking them all though. I was really not impressed with how the Habs did in the last 6 or so minutes of the game. They could have done a lot better and could have made their lives a lot easier by scoring on an empty net or something. But noooo... they had to die - which included a really stupid move by Kovalev where he passed the puck directly to some Penguin - and play horribly. If Price had not been on top of things then it would have been a very different outcome tonight.

But as it is, the Pens are upset that they didn't win even though they severely outworked the Habs through most of the second and third periods, while the Habs are happy that Kostitsyn got a hat trick and that Price was great. Eh, that's hockey for you, people. Not my fault that the Pens couldn't put it past Price in the third. Do I wish that the Habs had done better after the first period, heck yeah, but I'll take those two points and run with 'em.

I want to see the Habs get their act together for when they play the Panthers and play a full 60 mins of hockey. I don't give a hoot if they're in dead last - which they aren't but that's not the point - play a full game of hockey. A win.

Random notes:
  • The Pens outshot the Habs 34 to 19 which I guess isn't so cool for the Pens.
  • Crosby got beat up quite a bit tonight. Including getting shoved from behind by Latendresse. No penalty was called which in all fairness wasn't fair at all for Crosby. Yes, yes, he survived and continued playing, don't worry....
  • The Pens are now 1-2-1 in their puffy blue jerseys. I seriously think they should just stick with black...
  • Carbo really has to stop thinking that the refs are out to get him all the time. The Habs deserved every penalty that I saw them get AND they got away with at least a few.
  • Apparently Chipchura and Pacioretty were actually sent back to Hamilton before the game started.

The good:
  1. Priiiiiiiiiiice.
  2. And the first period. Minus the goal by Dupuis but what can you do with that?
  3. Andrei Kostitsyn getting that hat trick.
  4. And holding off the Penguin powerplay... Then again, it's gone 0-10 in the last two games, I believe, so maybe that's more a sign of the Pens inability to put the puck into the net when they have the advantage.

The bad:
  1. honestly, the rest of the game for the Habs. As nice as Kostitsyn's hat trick was, I don't like the idea that one line - and one guy - did all the scoring work. The rest of the team needed to step up and do some work - at least attempt to get a decent shot on goal! - and they didn't really do that in terms of offense.
  2. The penalties in the third period....
  3. Oh and the media in Penguinville who gave Plekanec the second star instead of Price. I guess they left the game before the third period or else they were only looking at Crosby.

I have to look at this as Penguin fan too. And this is going to be one of those nights when I would be cursing the other teams goalie if he wasn't Price. Seriously. The Pens severely outworked the Habs. They honestly almost deserved that win. I'm not going to say that they did deserve a win because that's unfair to Price. But pretending that I didn't seriously want the Habs to win, I really liked the effort from the Pens. They played hard. They had a lot of quality shots on goal. They couldn't really have done anything on the Andrei's first goal but maybe they could have done something about the second. Someone should have been looking behind them instead of just crowding in front of Fleury were he couldn't see a thing. That was just icky. And Fleury probably should have had that other goal by Kostitsyn. But hey... yay for stopping that breakaway. With a lot of teams, you can put up the effort that the Pens did and win. It was a great effort. But right now, they really need to get some consistency going here and climb out of the near bottom of their division. It's not that impressive that their fourth of five teams when the bottom team is the Islanders. This whole month has been quite awful for the Pens who haven't been able to win two in a row. I just hope that they can pull it together and get that stupid puck past Tim Thomas on the 30th. It's in everyone's best interest for the Pens to beat the Bruins (as long as the Habs beat the Panthers *g*).


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