The Upper Canadien
by The Upper Canadien on 11/09/11 at 09:18 AM ET
The Canadiens dropped another one last night - I’m writing that a lot more than last year, eh? - as the Edmonton Oilers came to town and defeated Montreal 3-1. Montreal held Edmonton to 14 shots on the night, posting only 4 themselves in one of the most lacklustre first periods I’ve ever witnessed. But the real story here wasn’t Edmonton or Montreal - it was the renaissance of Nikolai Khabibulin.
Remember how Khabibulin was sentenced to some jail time last year and became a punch line? Terrible numbers, described with phrases like “washed up” and “done?” Well, Khabibulin is back. He was, for lack of a better word, phenomenal. The Habs poured it on late, ended up with 29 shots, and Khabibulin turned away all but a late shot from Max Pacioretty. Numerous saves were outstanding, particularly second and third period saves on Erik Cole, who was a man on fire most of the night but failed to tally.
Meanwhile, the Canadiens have serious issues. The hole they are digging themselves is getting much deeper, and the special teams are awful. Perhaps firing Perry Pearn wasn’t the answer? The Habs are clearly lacking mobility on defence, and while Andrei Markov could be the answer, despite the odd update that he’ll be back “soon,” no return date has been offered. I must say, the pool at my office on who returns first, Crosby or Markov, is really heating up. While pundits and fans keep guessing, the truth is, we have no idea. Clearly, a healthy Markov would make this team leaps and bounds better. In the interim, perhaps the answer is for the Habs to fire another assistant coach?
The other fellow on the sidelines is Scott Gomez, who is expected to be cleared for contact today. However, I have my doubts as to whether Gomez is the magic answer to all of Montreal’s woes. Why? Well, for starters, they seemed to play much better once he was hurt. And don’t look now, but Gomez’s partner in crime, Brian Gionta, has 3 goals and 5 assists in 14 games. That’s not going to be enough from the captain if the Habs want to win more than once and a while.
So for now, a day between games, as fans of Les Glorieux ponder why their team always seems to sit back, make things close with minutes remaining, and then let the game slip away.
Lack of size?
This Wenesday morning, I’ll take all of the above.
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The Upper Canadien is your one stop shop for all things Montreal Canadiens. Since the summer of 2010, I've been providing Habs related news, notes, and most importantly, opinions. As a blogger, I don't believe it's my job to report the news, it's my privilege to comment on it. You may disagree with what I suggest. In fact, you most likely will. But that's the great part about blogging: it spurs opinion, comment and engages all involved. I've really enjoyed all the debate and commentary from readers thus far and I encourage everyone to respond with ideas on lineups, trades, logos, sweaters, mascots, whatever. The Upper Canadien is a conversation for all hockey fanatics.
I've come to Kukla's Korner with four years of campus radio and three years of sportswriting from my time at Mount Allison University on Canada's East coast. Not only do I not have any professional journalistic training, after five years in the corporate world, I've spent much of the past two years completing an MBA. Business by day, hockey by night, I'm a Canadiens fan through and through. I hope you enjoy reading as much as I do writing.
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