Monday, October 26, 2009

The "Czech Sausage" wins it

That was how Roman Hamrlik described the overtime saucer pass from countryman Tomas Plekanec to set up his overtime winner in Montreal's 3-2 victory Monday night, the Habs fourth in a row.

Really, it was a great night for every Czech player in the lineup as Jaro Spacek also chipped in with his first goal of the season, and though he's Slovak, Jaro Halak had a pretty credible night at the office as well.

But the player that stood out for me was easily Glen Metropolit. For the second time in less than a week, Metropolit burned the Isles for two assists, and this time it was in spite of a flu bug that prevented him from attending Monday's morning skate.

"Obviously," Jacques Martin said, "he was all right to play."

Yes indeed, Jacques, thanks for that. Metropolit played 11:16 on the night, including 2:21 on the penalty kill. The PK did not have a good night, allowing both Islander goals, but Metropolit was not to blame for either one.

It was, and I'm dangerously treading into over-dramatizing it, but a Jordan-esque performance for someone who was too sick to even make it to the rink that morning. He didn't speak to reporters after the game, but was seen working out in the gym, so maybe he wasn't actually that sick.

Regardless, his play to set up Spacek's first in a Habs uniform was sheer beauty, forcing a turnover in the corner, deking a player and finding the defenceman cutting in on the backdoor with a perfect feed for a one-timer.

Metropolit's play was one positive, the play of linemate Travis Moen was another with a goal and an assist, but I think Martin nailed the biggest positive on the night when it came to the play of his team.

"It was four lines tonight that shared the work," he said. "Our special teams weren't up to the task and we took a lot of penalties tonight. We'll need to improve our concentration for the next game. But it's a good sign when we can win games even if we're not playing our best."

Now for the negatives, and it starts with the enigmatic Andrei Kostitsyn, who doesn't appear to understand the urgency of the situation he's in. He began the game on a line with Kyle Chipchura and Matt D'Agostini, and appeared to have trouble keeping up with his far less talented linemates. Then Martin gave him a shot to play with Plekanec, still nothing. In 10:53 if ice time, Kostitsyn got one shot on goal and had another attempt blocked. That's it. The enduring image I have of him in this game was having a slow rolling puck coming around the boards slide right by him, simply because of a lack of concentration.

To me, that's his problem. He can't get going because he always appears to be lost mentally. And it might be time to legitimately wonder if that's not a chronic problem with this guy.

Otherwise, tune in Tuesday for another episode of As the Goalies Turn. Martin obviously won't announce his starter until Wednesday's game in Pittsburgh, but I find it hard to believe he won't go with Halak.

"No," Martin said when asked if he was ready to anoint Halak his No. 1 goalie. "We're going to take one game at a time, it's a long season. I'm happy for how he's performing. I said even before the season started that both goaltenders would have to do the job."

Right now, one goaltender has been watching the other do the job for quite a long time.


V said...

Arpon, please stay after class and write on the blackboard 100 times 'there is no goaltending controversy'.

Arpon Basu said...

You will note that the word "controversy" was nowhere in my story. The emperor has no clothes, just no one wants to say it.

pmk said...

w says they aren't announcing attendance anymore - is this true? have you noticed this?

Sliver24 said...

In retrospect I didn't hear them announce attendance last night.

Also, as I was coming down Drummond, approaching the Bell Centre, I was blown away to see a massive screen over the new ticket office announcing "Tickets Available for Tonight's Game."

A scalper heard me mention my surprise and he said they only had Desjardins seats available, but that may have been because he was hoping I'd buy from him. Even if that is true, that has been unheard of since the lockout.

The Times They Are A-Changin'. George Gillett may just be the smartest businessman ever.

Arpon Basu said...

Did you really see that last night? A sign saying tickets available for tonight's game? Odd because the official game report at the NHL has attendance listed at 21,273, but that would definitely be a first. Maybe they all got snatched up at the last minute, though I can't imagine anyone showing up at the Bell Centre hoping to buy tickets at the box office. The Habs stopped announcing attendance a while ago when it got obvious that every game was a sellout. I once went and asked in the pre-season last year when it wasn't so obvious, and their PR staff kind of laughed at me with a "Duh" kind of look. But back when every game wasn't a sellout pre-lockout, I know the Habs only announced sellouts in the rink. If it wasn't a sellout, I had to go ask for a figure from that same PR department, who would sheepishly write it down on a piece of paper for me.

Dik Irvin said...

Ah yes, the good old days. I recall attending the final 11 home games when Theodore marched us into the playoffs, and the second round to boot. My buddy and I were scoring game-time reds off a scalper whom sold near the telephone booth for 30 bucks apiece!! Good times, thank God for RDS HD, as I only attend games when invited to these days...

Sliver24 said...

I absolutely did see that and I was running a little later than I usually do so it was just before puck drop when I saw it.

Who knows, maybe there were only a few seats left and they sold them right at the last minute. Or maybe one of the Molson boys popped over with the ol' AMEX Black Card and made sure the sellout streak remained alive.

Anonymous said...

habs tickets are available for many games this year but only singles. can't get a essentially sold give or take 10-15...check their website...not that they need my promo