|Photo courtesy of Laura Kenney|
Don't get me wrong. I'm a hockey nut and like most of us nutters I'm excited and eager for the regular season to get underway. It's just I had a fabulous vacation this past week and I'm not so keen to return to work and the real world, which starts tonight.
Before we get into last night's Habs and Lightning match, here's how I spent the last week of my summer vacation. I'm not going to go into major details here. The photos and video clips pretty much speak for themselves.
Here are the clips of us raucous Habs fans (sitting behind the Bruins fans) on the local Global news. If you pause at the 32 second mark of the second clip, you can see from left to right @hfxhabby giving the thumbs down, Boss Lady looking like she wants to be elsewhere, Mom, @habbykins, moi and @cokeaddict.
After @cokeaddict left town, @habbykins and I took a tour of the Halifax Citadel. If you want a history lesson, their website will walk you through quite nicely if you can't make the tour in person. As a local I tend to take the fort's charms for granted, and one of the nice things about playing tour guide is reacquainting myself with some of this city's history.
Here a couple of snaps so you get the idea:
|A soldier knotting rope. Isn't he a cutie?|
|Citadel guards use real weapons and thankfully, blank cartridges!|
We also took in the Public Gardens, which grows all varieties of beautiful dahlias.
|Dahlias in the Gardens coffee shop. Pretty!|
|The Jack Dawson is the movie is a fictional character, but this is a real Titanic victim.|
That night we played Rockband and then did the Wii Just Dance game, which frankly is much harder and a better workout than the Wii Fit everyone is so keen on. It's also much more fun. However since there were copious amounts of booze involved, our co-ordination may have been just a wee bit off. I'll spare you the singing (you're welcome), but here's a clip of the dancing.
After Laura departed for home I took a nap before the game came on, and this time us Habs fans were treated to a much better showing than the previous game.
Regardless of the score I saw some great passing, good teamwork, unity on the ice, and awareness of where their linemates were. The chemistry was a delight to watch, and it was something that I had felt was a bit off the previous game.
As I stated in my review of the Halifax game, Scott Gomez is looking like a different player this season. It may be only some some meaningless pre-season games but clearly he is already fully engaged and focused, and I think he's in for a much better year. Frankly I'm glad, not just because the team needs him but because I really do just like the guy.
Also usually taking a beating from the fanbase, Andrei Kostitsyn looked to me like he was trying hard and having fun as well. It's a pity the refs didn't let him dance with Downie. I usually don't like fighting but AK46 is not a usual combatant, it wasn't a dirty incident like the Malone nonsense later, and since he's pretty much built like a tank I'm pretty sure I'd have finally won a hockey bet with Mom.
I usually have a lot of respect for Tampa Bay. They carry some ex-Habs on their roster, and their current coach is a personal fave. But last night's crapfest courtesy of Ryan Malone has soured me somewhat on their organization as a whole.
I'm not sure why Vinny LeCavalier suddenly needs an enforcer but Malone's nonsensical flare-up with PK Subban was clearly unwarranted. I know PK gets blasted sometimes for his mouth or antics, but he did nothing to warrant Malone's attack, and it was frankly nice to see Hal Gill simply flop on top of Malone to put a quick stop to it.
Not content to leave it at that, Malone later decided to spear Carey Price into the net in an attempt to score a goal. Pretty sure I also saw him lift his arms in celebration, to which I had to wonder if he'd suddenly dropped some IQ points. Basic hockey 101 will tell you it's not a legitimate way to score a goal.
Hockey's latest lesson has come courtesy of new NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan, and I'm hoping for continued consistency on his part when it comes time to review the shoulder-to-head shot Ryan Malone took on Chris Campoli. It has been a long time since I've had much faith in the NHL when it comes to handing out punishments for clear infractions, but Shanahan has me cautiously optimistic.
Malone's later statements ran to the effect of that he tried to avoid Campoli but that Campoli just came at him. Having watched and re-watched the video either Malone is dumb, delusional or high if he honestly believes what he's saying, or expects anyone else to believe it either.
Considering it's only pre-season the number of suspensions for cheap shots is as alarming as it is encouraging. Yes, the NHL is cracking down, but clearly the message is not getting through as quickly as it should.
I'm not sure why this is, and I'm not sure why the perpetrator always feels the need to blame the player he's just concussed either. I'd have at least some respect if someone would just admit to some stupid wrongdoing in the heat of a hockey play, but it seems accountability is also sorely lacking along with some good old fashioned common sense.
Finally I must give props to the big hearted Josh Gorges, who dropped the gloves in defense of his fellow blueliner all the while knowing that he was going to take a beating from Malone regardless. He's a shining example of the heart and camraderie and teamwork that characterizes this team, which is largely part of why I love them.
So how was your summer? And what are you most looking forward to this hockey season?