Saturday, October 18, 2008

A costly victory

A 4-1 win is never really a horrible thing, but I have a feeling most of the Montreal Canadiens would have taken a loss tonight if it meant Andrei Kostitsyn had finished the game.

The elder Kostitsyn brother did not look good leaving the ice, and I'd be stunned if he didn't have a concussion, though we'll never know what exactly he has because of the league's new rules that don't force full disclosure on injuries.

I'm not that well versed in "The Code" of hockey, but somehow I have a feeling Kurt Sauer breached it tonight. Not because of his hit on Kostitsyn, and not even because he turned down an invitation to fight from Georges Laraque. I think, though I'm not sure, it's a bit of a violation of "The Code" when you play pacifist against one guy, yet all of a sudden turn into a fighter when a less daunting opponent presents himself, as Tom Kostopoulos did.

Watching the Great One's reaction to all this was almost equally priceless, because somehow he believed his team was the one getting the short end from referees Brad Meier and Wes McCauley. This despite the fact Sauer's hit went unpenalized (probably because it wasn't really illegal), and Meier missed a blatant high-stick on Alex Kovalev from Enver Lisen (that's pronounced LEE-sihn, in case you're wondering. I looked it up).

After Alex Tanguay scored his second of the night to make it 3-0 while the two teams were playing 4-on-4, Gretzky did his best Don Cherry impression and raised both hands as wide as he could get them, even though there was no power play at the time. At the end of the period, after Robert Lang's third of the year on a beautiful set-up by Coyotes winger Daniel Winnik, Gretzky slowly walked across the ice to the Phoenix tunnel, staring Meier down the whole way. When he got to the door he stopped, turned to face the ice and yelled a few choice words Meier's way.

Meier and McCauley didn't have their best night here, because they lost control of the game and forced Guy Carbonneau to use Laraque to try and get some semblance of justice out there. I can understand them missing the call on Sauer because they're human, and as I wrote previously, I'm not sure what he did warranted a penalty. But the aftermath of that hit could have been controlled, and wasn't.

The possible loss of Andrei Kostitsyn for a significant amount of time could be a stunning blow to this team, or it could serve as an opening for other guys to shine. First on the list would be little brother Sergei Kostitsyn, who finished the game in his brother's spot on the top line.

But looking further down the road, this could also be an opportunity for Max Pacioretty or Matt D'Agostini to get a call-up to play with Lang.

Of course, Carbonneau and the Canadiens are hoping it doesn't come to that, because neither of those two come anywhere close to bringing what Andrei Kostitsyn does on a nightly basis.

Now for the positives on this game. First is the play of Alex Tanguay with Saku Koivu and Guillaume Latendresse, which is a line that looks to be jelling. Koivu's two backhand set-ups for Tanguay, which moved the captain past Rocket Richard into seventh place on the Habs all-time assist list, not only displayed his great vision, but it also shows that the two guys are getting on the same page. That definitely wasn't an obvious result of the pairing in training camp, when they looked like they were playing in different time zones . Latendresse's physical play - he really bought it tonight in that area, especially that bone-cruncher on Ed Jovanovski in the third - is the perfect complement to the line.

Finally, Carey Price was infallible again, because even Shane Doan's goal wasn't his fault. The kid is for real, and he proves it everytime he suits up.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

althought the A.Tits loss would be unfortunate... i'm not all that worried. First off, where has that line been all year anyways? Second, as you mentioned, we are deep and higgins isn't even back yet! CBC brought up a great point tonight. Perhaps Higs will become a nice piece of trade bait. Would dissapoint me... as i've been a die hard fan for three years, Christ I wear 21 all the time, but if he brings us another top 4 defender as you brought up in previous blogs... let's do it! Only reason not to is his love affair with Komisarek and vice versa! Perhaps this would leave too deep a hole in the team. Either way you look at it, the Habs are looking real good... like serious erection time good! I can only hope and pray Gainey pulls off the miracle in our centennial. Can you imagine? I cannot wait to watch all the drunken idiots smash windows and trade blows a la Laraque with the cops. This will be one time when pure idiocy will be excused. Yes i'm bombed as I will be when we hoist lord stanley's piss cup for a 25th time in 100 years. Can you feel it? Bitches.