The Upper Canadien
Good job NHL. Good job Colin Campbell.
Matt Cooke deserved what he got, and I’m glad you doled it out. I hope you read him the riot act in the meeting this afternoon - but I guess we’ll never know. I’d like to think Geoff Molson and the Canadiens played a part in this by going public with their concerns. Regardless, it’s just good news.
A great game all around for the Habs this evening, as they dominated Minnesota in an 8-1 victory. PK Subban scored his first career hat trick, while Benoit Pouliot showed his former team what he can do, with three assists.
Alex Auld was the surprise starter, and he was good – very good, beaten late in the third on a penalty shot by Mikko Koivu, but otherwise flawless. Without question, this was the best I’ve seen Auld play all season. He looked in control start to finish.
Back to Subban for a sec, as he scored three, one of which he carried, for what seemed like eons, around numerous Wild defenders.
He was brilliant again tonight, making over 30 saves yet again in a 3-2 win. However, he saved his best for the shootout, stopping a Martin St. Louis spin-o-rama, and then a Ted Purcell Linus Omark-esque stop and flip. And what did Price do in both instances? Stared the shooter down after the stop and tapped the puck their way.
You have to love that intensity.
Price continues to play his way into Hart Trophy contention, something he seems to build a stronger case for just about every evening. But Price wasn’t the only Hab to shine tonight.
I received lots of responses to my last write-up on the Chara-Pacioretty incident, and thus I felt it was worth penning a retort of sorts, as there has been lots of good banter and discussion.
First and foremost: I am no bleeding heart. I love a good donnybrook when it occurs, and I have no issues with the physicality of the NHL. However, I do take issue with targeted hitting of an opponent in the head, and I am frustrated with witnessing gruesome injury after injury as the NHL lollygags its way to some sort of a solution.
The issue isn’t hitting, or fighting, or unfortunate accidents.
The issue is hits to the head resulting in brain injuries.
So zero games for Zdeno Chara. Almost a week later and the controversy continues. You may have noticed that I haven’t chimed in much on this controversy. There’s a reason for that. For the first time in years, I’m actually questioning my place as a hockey fan.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I love hockey. I love the Canadiens. What I don’t love is watching people get their heads beaten in. If I wanted violence, I’d watch UFC.
What I want is hockey.
Gotta be ten games, no?
Is it the biggest? Everyone said the Canadiens were down and out after their 8-6 loss to Boston a month ago, but since then, the Habs have defied injuries, logic, and most recently the weather, to stay in the race for a top four playoff spot in the East.
It’s good to be looking up rather than down this time of year, and the Canadiens have earned the right to do that.
5 points out of 4th, 3 points out of 5th, Montreal has a real chance of proving just about everyone wrong and finishing top 5, if not top 5.
But it’s going to depend on a few things.
This is another big one tonight, two points the Canadiens can not afford to give up. Carey Price starts, somewhere surprising given Alex Auld’s performance against Florida this season, but hey, the Price is right most of the time.
Things to look for? Let’s see if Scott Gomez can finally get out of this funk. Mike Cammalleri hasn’t really been hot of late either. we have yet to see the vintage Cammalleri we saw late last year.
And my big takeaway of late? Yannick Weber. This guy isn’t just a run of the mill prospect. He’s really good. Let’s see if he keeps it up.
Good news for the Canadiens today as it was announced Jaroslav Spacek will be back in four to six weeks after a procedure on his knee. He’s no Markov, but Spacek is a valuable shot-blocking asset who provides solid depth as a third or fourth defenceman. Good news for Les Boys.
As for tonight…
About The Upper Canadien
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.
Questions or comments? firstname.lastname@example.org