Sunday, November 6, 2011
Always Look on the Bright Side of Hockey
A loss is never a good thing for me. It just isn't.
Was the reffing questionable for tonight's Rangers / Habs game? Not really. It flat out sucked no question at all.
On Hockey Inside Out they're channeling the spirit of Monty Python with a song and dance that strongly resembles "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life". At least the Habs didn't quit and yada yada yada.
I wonder sometimes why the Canadiens organization made them change their website name from Habs Inside Out.
It's not like this press gallery ever says anything that would risk them being cut off from the scrum in which Jacques Martin likes to offer up such incredible insights as "Special teams were the difference" and one of the Leadership Group says "We did some good things and we need to build on that".
Hard to fault the source material - I'm a huge Python fan myself - but if bad officiating and a no quit attitude are the only bright side here it does not blind me to the dark side.
The Habs didn't quit but I did, right after Blunden got tagged for interference by the single most incompetent referee in the history of the game - Tim Peel. I saw this game a couple of times before and I didn't like it then either.
There was no question the Habs deserved a couple of those calls, but all of them? No.
And when the reffing is the talk of the night the game always sucks. Always. Whenever a score or the PIMs are that lopsided the game always sucks. Always. 8-1 PP advantage for the Rangers? And yet there will be no performance review and nothing will change and I'm not just talking about post-Habs game either.
If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck chances are pretty damned good it's Tim Peel or Chris Lee.
Here's the advantage of being a no-name blogger. I can say what I want without getting getting my credentials and access revoked.
If I thought for a split second that Martin and this team as it stands would win the Stanley Cup or hell, even legitimately contend for it this season, I probably would drop the grand or so it would cost me to go to Montreal, take in a game and buy expensive souvenirs. But I don't and won't.
Of course I'm a fan. Of course I would love to be wrong. Of course I will still root for them and buy their expensive gear anyway. That's what I do. But it doesn't render me delusional either except when it comes to my spending habits and I prefer to think of it as an exercise in creative budgeting.
You want delusional try trolling some of the fan boards. My two current faves are trading Scott Gomez for Shea Weber outright or else the Habs tanking so that they can have current top rated draft pick Nail Yakupov.
In the first place, even if PG got that deal done either thru bribery or threats, it would get overturned by Bettman (and rightfully so). Secondly, in Montreal we do not tank. We maintain mediocrity and continually fill the Bell Centre seats and pretend that we have a snowball's chance in hell.
The four game win streak was really nice but did it have me suddenly thinking that all was right and fixed and that we'd make a run for it this year? No, it did not. I still took shots at Jacques Martin on The Bleacher Report.
This pre-lockout trap system is not what this team is built for. They don't have the size or the grit and are not the New Jersey Devils and Jacques Martin is not Pat Burns.
This coach has never won a damned thing. His lifetime coaching record is barely above the .500 mark. Stats for the 2 teams he coached prior to coming to Montreal increased after he left those organizations. But hey he speaks French and isn't pandering to RDS really what it's all about? That and money of course.
When this team stops focusing on being politically correct and concentrates more on being what they are - a damned hockey team - instead, maybe THEN they'll legitimately contend.
So how much longer do we have to wait for the saviour Markov to return to renew our thin spread hope (at least until someone breaths on him too hard and his glass knee shatters again)?
You know my brother wrote a blog wherein he said that we should have let Markov go because at best we'd get a half season out of him and for that money and considering he only played 7 games last season it wasn't much of a deal.
A lot of people took him to task for it, including me, but when the best you can hope for from a high profile cornerstone player is half a season and a lot of praying that he doesn't get reinjured it's hard to believe that Markov didn't get the sweeter end of that stick while he suns his ass down on a Florida beach for two weeks.
This team is too small. They turtle to protect leads and rely too heavily on their goaltender to bail them out. They scramble in their own end when they get scored on - a mental fragility I bitched about last year too. They take stupid penalties, many of which they often deserve.
Jacques talks a good game about puck possession and discipline but there are nights it's sadly lacking. He talks about special teams and spends too much time sending out his pets on power plays instead of those that are producing.
Darche over Cole? OK Cole's in and Kostitsyn is out. Cole scores and he stays on the PP. But Darche remains. Why? He has 3 power play goals in his 101 NHL games.
God love his heart but it's not like the league has been just waiting for this guy, you know? He's a marginal replaceable player who happens to speak French and has a French name and if he was called Darwin would not have been given a second glance by the Habs.
Meanwhile AK46, who has been working his ass off, is big and mean and goes to the net like Darche does and parks his fat ass there too, and is much more likely to score, gets dropped from the power play. Tonight someone bought a clue and put AK back on the power play and 'lo the seas did parteth and a goal was scored.
This is a prime example of why I have no faith in this coach. You want some more?
A six million dollar sniper who is a defensive liability on the penalty kill.
An overworked over-his-head centerman on the point on the power play.
A seven year courtship of a sorely needed, hard hitting, big bodied, talented defensemen parked in the press box.
A four million dollar high profile even strength scoring power forward at eleven minutes a night on the third line.
A talentless but hardworking pet journeyman on the power play over proven goal scorers.
Yes I know the last two have been fixed but it should never have happened in the first place.
While Tortorella was smirking and bitching behind his bench Martin said nothing. Not a damned word. He didn't even flick an eyebrow. Forget snapping at the refs. TALK TO YOUR PLAYERS.
Here's me talking to the team post-game AKA yelling at my TV / computer. Yes I'm weird like that.
JM: "Special teams were the difference."
Tonight's translation: "We took some dumbass penalties but the refs weren't having a great night either."
Any single one of the players: "We did some good things and we need to build from that."
Me: "Try not slashing, hooking, tripping or diving so much for a start. And quit trying to fight because you all suck at it, including Moen, who is terribly overrated."
Two playoffs ago when the Habs went into the ECF I predicted that we'd own Martin for longer than we should because Halak was hot. I'm not retracting that anytime soon.
Do I see clear progress and growth happening before my very eyes?
Well there's Price and Pacioretty and Subban and I suppose Eller too, but it seems we are bound to wait another few years for some more mid-range draft picks to mature before we can be cautiously optimistic about another 25th Cup.
In the meantime we can scrape in to the playoffs, just miss it, and either way draft mid-tier and over rate our prospects and current players. I would love to be wrong here, and I hope to hell I am in which case feel free to rub my nose in it 5 months or so.
Hell I could be dead by then, or have converted to being a Leafs fan, which is really the same thing.
As it stands we are about to hit year 20 of a 5 year rebuild. Someone's watch is way off, and since I just reset all my clocks for Daylight Savings (fall back an hour folks), it's not me.