Back to reality...

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

...and honestly, the reality of the situation for both the Habs and the Pens is very grim right now.

Let's start with the Pens because at least their situation is worse. Amid all the attention focused on the Juniors, I did indeed forget that the Pens were looking to end their four game loser skid last night against the Rangers at Madison Square Gardens. Not only did not they win, but they were shut out 4-0. This is of course terrible news for the Pens and I have no idea what needs to be done to get them back on track - and at this point, I don't think they know either. Obviously Lundqvist deserves a lot of the credit as well and he proved me wrong when I said he was on a downslide (well, until last night, he was!). Apparently he had some really fantastic saves on Malkin and Crosby. Pens will take on Atlanta next and if they can't pull out a win there then.... well... we'll deal with that one when and if it happens....

Now this whole shutout thing for Lundqvist has me exceptionally worried as a Habs fan because well, guess who we have to take on next! Why do we have to clean up after the Pens again?! The reality of the situation here is that we've got major goalie issues right now. There were hopes that Price could at least sit in as backup tomorrow and possibly play against the Leafs the day after but now it's looking like he won't be able to do either of those. And that people, is bad news. Halak is going through a major crisis here and right now no one has any confidence in him. Why anyone thinks that putting in Marc Denis is going to save the Habs against the Rangers and the Leafs is beyond me because he looked a lot worse than Halak. Halak may have been bad but at least he wasn't floundering around looking like he had no idea what he was doing in nets.

I don't know what the deal is with Halak because he's been stellar for the Habs before when Price had his last little bout of problems. But I still think that he should at least be given another try - hey look, if Pat Quinn can put in Dustin Tokarski for the finals even after he let in 9 goals in his previous two games and looked awful at some points, I think Carbo can put in Halak - and we'll just pray that the defense gets its act together and actually backs him up. The defense has been quite bad in the last two games and that needs to change.

Later: Halak will be in nets tomorrow. No news on when anyone is coming back other than Koivu who may just be back on Saturday. Although we all know how good Carbo is at giving estimates on when players are coming back.... *coughs* Weber apparently practiced with the Habbies today and I'm really hoping that he's given at least a shot at playing. I mean c'mon, what was the point of bringing him up if he's not going to play? If he's just there to sit it out in the press box, I think O'Byrne was doing that job just fine, thanks. We shall see... As long as 1) Lundqvist forgets how to play again and 2) no one pulls an Alexander Semin type of "fight", we have a chance at not being the laughing stock of the league tomorrow. Whooopie!

Okay, enough reality. It's depressing already. I'm going to put up a few random thoughts on the Juniors tournament last week.

Best moment - Winning the gold, right? Right.

Best goal of the tournament - Eberle's goal with 5.4 seconds left on the clock! Esposito's game winning goal against Sweden was also really nice. And Tavares had some nifty goals in the tournament too, but Eberle's is definitely the best.

Best save of the tournament - oh my.... I think Tokarski's save on Colin Wilson in the Canada/USA game was the best. Wilson was just standing there for what seemed like forever and it looked as though for sure he would put the puck into the back of the net, but Tokarski just grabbed it out of nowhere. Amazing. Okay so maybe he didn't know that he had it at first but whatever. He saved it!

Best game - Canada vs Russia. Like I've said repeatedly, that one is one for the ages.

Best team - Canada. Russia, the USA and Sweden all had some very talented players on their team but in the end Canada played the best as a team. They had their moments though. There were times when they looked like a bunch of guys who had just been plonked together about a week ago. There were times when it looked like all was lost. But they pulled through as a team and won it.

Most surprising team - Slovakia. Expectations were that they would get relagated but instead they posted one of the best performances in years from their team.

Most disappointing team - Team USA. They had a strong team and were definitely medal favorites and were even in a strong position to make the finals. Unfortunately they crashed out of the tournament and ended up fifth.

Best forward over all - Nikita Filatov. I love the skill that both Tavares and Filatov brought to this tournament but there's something really awesome about watching Filatov. He just moves the puck so well and he's incredibly fast too. His two goals against Slovakia were amazing. The one where he stole the puck off the Slovak defenseman and scored reminded me of the goal that Dastyuk got on Huet in the Winter Classic. Beautiful stuff there.

Best defense over all - I'm going to say.... I dunno *g* The Swedes had some excellent defenders as did the Russians. Goncharov and Backlund are coming to mind...

Best goalie over all - I'm going to say Jaroslav Janus. He carried that team to fourth place and came really close to bringing them to the finals even. He was amazing. Halak should be taking some inspiration here!

The team I really wished could have done better - Kazakhstan. Those poor guys didn't really have a chance but I wished that they could have at least not get run over by every single team that they played. Oh well...

Because it's always summer somewhere.... it's tennis season again!

We may have half a meter or more of snow here in Canada, but in Doha, Qatar, there's no such thing as snow so it's back to playing tennis, baby! Yesterday in marked the official beginning of the tennis season. And today saw Federer and Nadal finally take to the courts again! Finally! I didn't know that they were playing actually and I missed Nadal steamrollering over Fabrice Santoro (which was okay) but I did catch the end of the Roger Federer show today. And let me this: Roger is off to a great start! He looked really good at there against... whoever the poor Italian guy was. There were some typical great Federer shots going on and the poor Italian had no chance at all. I thought Federer just looked sooo much better than when he was in Shanghai. Hopefully the food poisoning stuff and back problems are over for now and he can make a serious bid for the Australian open. Yay for Roger!

Oh and poor Nole got beaten by Ernest Gulbis in Brisbane. Not a great start to the season obviously, but there's plenty of time for him to get his act together and beat Murray in the future.


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