Kukla's Korner

The Upper Canadien

Feels like Christmas Eve

So the Habs are in. Took long enough, eh? But they’ve got their ticket punched, and Carey Price gets a much deserved rest tomorrow against Ottawa.

Boy, was he good last night. And that got me thinking: you know what last night’s Hawks-Habs game reminded me?

How much I love hockey.

To anyone who saw it, I’m sure you agree. Textbook back and forth attacks. Extreme bursts of speed on both sides. Puckhandling from Patrick Kane that could take place in a phone booth. A shotblocking clinic courtesy of Mr. Brent Sopel and Mr. Roman Hamrlik. This was no goonfest. There was no sideshow. Perhaps it was refreshing after the Pacioretty incident, some of the less-than-stellar games of late. But this one was the type of matchup that really goes to the core of what it means to be a hockey game.

This was the sort of game that could be enjoyed at Kilgour’s in Toronto, every Ontario-based Habs fan’s favourite watering hole. Or at Le Cage aux Sports in Montreal. From the Taverne Alexandre in Sherbrooke Quebec. On the sofa in the basement, or in your dorm room. I’d imagine it was even good to listen to. It was that exciting. But while the offence was great, and the defence was better:

the goalies. Oh, the goalies. I can only imagine this is the sort of game that gave people like Lorne Worsley nickname’s like Gump.

Corey Crawford was sensational. I remember him from his days in the Q, playing goal for the Moncton Wildcats. I happened to be in New Brunswick at that time, and got to see him in net. He was good. But not as good as last night. For those who believe in these sorts of things: Crawford is from Montreal, so perhaps it’s yet again that curse of the Montreal born goaltender. They always play phenomenally well in their hometown.

But Carey Price was one step better. Price made a few stops late third that almost made my heart stop. And not of any particular variety, either. Glove hand. Blocker. Lying on his back and kicking the puck out of the air as it was about to cross the line. The Canadiens have a very special goalie in Carey Price. Hawks fans should be extremely happy too, because Crawford is a very good goalie, and he’ll only get better. Price, however, is already playing better than 90% of his peers. I think it’s fair to say this season has established him as a top five goalie in the NHL. And for those who disagree, you’re soon going to get to see why. Now it’s time to see what he can really do, playing behind a team of dedicated, gritty veterans hell bent on proving the world wrong.

Last year was a wild ride. But this year could be better.

And you know what? I truly believe it will be.

Mostly because of the guy wearing #31.

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Comments

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I agree with you that Price will be Top 5 in the league one day, but I don’t think he is there yet. Give him another season or two of playing out of his skin and then he will be competing with Rinne and Schneider for the Vezina consistantly!

Posted by Etterbeekers on 04/07/11 at 01:16 PM ET

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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? theuppercanadien@kuklaskorner.com