Kukla's Korner

The Upper Canadien

Habs thump Wild, Subban leads the way, but where’s Gomez?

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.

Subban was criticized earlier this week by Vincent Lecavalier for various things which we can sum up as poor sportsmanship. This after Mike Richards criticized him (he of the David Booth hit) and Brad Marchand (currently suspended) did the same. He was reserved today after scoring his second goal, and fairly reserved after the hat trick too, presumably as he didn’t want to rub it in against a team that was being walloped.

Does anyone put any value on the commentary that has come PK’s way? I think Subban plays the game hard, fast and with passion. I don’t think he intends to rub anyone the wrong way, and I think he’s going to be a heck of a hockey player. He’s young and excited - deal with it. I couldn’t care less if a guy is gregarious and effervescent like Subban is. However, I do care when players like Marchand and Richards hit others intentionally in the head. I’m just curious if I’m in the minority.

The Good

David Desharnais also had a strong game for Montreal, putting up a pair of assists and a +4. If you’ve read this blog before, you’ll know what a big fan I am of Desharnais. I love his game, and he makes me like him more every time I see him play. He is fast, skilled, and tough – right to the net on every shift. The Habs have a good one in #58.

And who can forget Ryan White. He gets the 11th Gordie Howe Hat Trick of the year in the National Hockey League, grinding his way to the front of the net on every shift. White isn’t glamourous, but he’s a really hard worker who probably should have made the team out of training camp. Nice to see him having some success.

The Bad

However, even in good games there are negatives. The big one? Scott Gomez. He was, as he has been of late, virtually invisible, slower than he was last year, less involved in the play, and less aware of his hockey surroundings. Sure he had an assist, but for most of the game he was invisible. I’m not sure what to make of Gomez’s play – I have to presume he’s hurt – but it does scare me a tad. He was a big part of last year’s playoff run, and if the Habs want to get anywhere they need secondary scoring. Like it or not, Gomez has to be a big part of that.

The Week to come

So there you have it, after going 0-5 on Sunday’s for the year, Montreal puts up an 8-1 win. Not bad, and especially impressive if you consider they were missing eight regulars.

Buffalo Tuesday, and then the rematch everyone has been waiting for on Thursday: Boston. A big test on Saturday versus Washington. Three tough games, that could make, or break, a run at the Northeast Division title.

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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