The Upper Canadien
Budweiser Canada was kind enough to send me one of their now infamous red lights two weeks ago, and after two weeks of solid use, I can report that it is a very, very cool piece of hockey fandom. It is also a brilliant marketing scheme, and it definitely impresses a group of guys over to watch the game. Other members of the household? That's debatable. But if you want to impress a group of friends easily, one of these does the trick handily. More info is available here, but I'll give you a quick rundown if you're new to the product.
The light comes in a tube-shaped package, packed in styrofoam, with easy to understand instructions and you can have it set up in a matter of minutes. The light connects easily to wifi, and comes with a handy app that runs smoothly on my iPhone (and, I gather, most mobile devices). It allows you to select all your favourite teams, and each time they score - voila, the light goes off.
A few questions I had going in, that you may have reading this review:
I had the privelege of once again being a guest on the XM NHL's War Room Review today, as Mick Kern, Peter Berce, Eric Gage and I discussed all things NHL-related over the past week of hockey. Ryan O'Reilly, Alex Ovechkin, coach of the year candidates, realignment and, of course, a little Habs.
Over my last few posts, you've seen me opine on the idea that Marc Bergevin has yet to "put his stamp" on the team, and to expect a trade sometime soon.
Well, apparently, tonight was sometime soon. And it's a good one.
Newfoundland, rejoice: Michael Ryder is back where he belongs. Is this a good trade for Montreal? It had been said that Erik Cole's contract was great in year one, ok in year two, not great in year three, and Habs fans would beg for mercy in year four. Well, year four seemed to come quickly - and to be fair, that may be lockout related. Cole had clearly become disinterested, and it showed in both his interviews and his game. Apart from a couple of games, Cole was somnambulting his way through the season, whereas Ryder has 14 points in 19 games, and as a pending free agent is gunning for the net.
Let's also consider that, having shipped out the Cole contract, Montreal saves significant cap space for another two years. Ladies and gentlemen, this is a good deal. Well played, M. Bergevin. What's next up your sleeve?
So thank you, Erik Cole. Your contribution was greatly appreciated. You helped David Desharnais out of his shell, and you helped Max Pacioretty turn into a premiere power forward. Good luck in Dallas.
Now, Mr. Ryder, get that number 73 back and get to it. Toronto tomorrow. Montreal's gonna need ya.
It's February 23rd, and the Canadiens are looking down on most in the Eastern Conference. Now, there's an asterisk there, as this is obviously not an 82 game schedule, but most - myself included - did not expect a Habs team in first place this close to March. In fact, most didn't expect Montreal in first place, well, at all. 2013 was to be a rebuilding year, after an embarrasing campaign the year before. What happened?
Here's the jist: a funny thing happened on the way to the Bell Centre. The next generation took over. Names like Galchenyuk, Gallagher, Emelin, Diaz, and Eller are having much more of an impact than expected.
So the Canadiens got a win Tuesday night, 4-3 over the Tampa Bay Lightning, however it came in an unfortunately predictable fashion. For the third game in a row, the Habs blew a third period lead: against Boston, 1-0 turned into a 2-1 regulation loss. In Buffalo, a 4-2 lead turned into a 5-4 shootout loss, and in Tampa Bay a 3-0 lead tured into a 4-3 overtime win. The spectacular part of Tuesday's game? With 6 minutes to play, the Canadiens had a 3-0 lead.
What the heck is going on in Montreal?
Memories of 2012? The Habs blew a third period lead and lost for the second night in a row, a habit that was far too prevalent last season. Ryan White is the goat, having taken a terrible penalty late that allowed the Sabres back into it, and Michel Therrien is none too pleased. Look for White to be a scratch tomorrow night versus Toronto.
A couple of quick thoughts:
So the 6-3 Habs roll into Buffalo tonight, a day after blowing a 3rd period lead and losing 2-1 to the Boston Bruins. Peter Budaj gets the start, which seems surprising after Carey Price was relatively sharp and didn't look tired.
Heading into this season, many thought Price would play upwards of 48 games.
Montreal hosts Buffalo today in the first of their traditional two Super Bowl weekend day games. And as for the blue line, that's not a bird, or a plane, but the Canadiens PK Subban, at practice for the first time in almost a year and ready to take the ice against the Sabres.
It's expected that Michel Therrien will leave the first power play unit untouched, as Andrei Markov and Raphael Diaz have been dymanite on the back end; however, Subban should add some spark to the second power play, likely replacing Tomas Kaberle, who has been ineffective as he tries to prove he's worth his contract.
For Habs fans, the Subban signing is great, great news. Why? For starters, GM Marc Bergevin stood strong on his 2-year contract limit. He wanted a bridge contract. He got it. That looks good on Bergevin as a rookie GM.
For Subban, he takes less money than he could have gotten elsewhere, at $2.9MM a year, to show that he deserves more and, much more importantly, because he wants to stay in Montreal. Subban could easily have coaxed an offer sheet from elsewhere, but he wanted to be a Hab. When was the last time a player of his calibre felt that way?
A 3-1 start, Subban signed, Galchenyuk and Gallagher staying for the season: things are looking up in Montreal - but as they always say, things aren't as good as they seem when you're doing well, and they aren't as bad as you think they are when you're not doing well.
News tonight that Max Pacioretty has undergone appendectomy surgery, and will be gone 3-4 weeks. Lars Eller is expected to take his place in the lineup tomorrow.
Tough news for the Canadiens as they prepare to meet the Devils in Montreal tomorrow.
Still no sign of PK Subban, with news the Habs have offered $5.1 million over two years. Certainly not a good news day for Les Canadiens.
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? email@example.com