[Ed. note: for coverage of Rene Bourque, uhhh... check out RMNB on Wednesday morning.]
The Pregame: Fun game! Everyone from a malfunctioning family, raise your hand. Or, if you’re in a public place, just give a little squee inside. Yeah, we thought so. Show me the person who says their family is perfectly normal and I’ll show you a glue-sniffing, trick-turning, psychopathic cat hoarder. You know: like [fill in hated politician here] Oh, biting wit!
And speaking of glue-sniffing (bet you thought it’d be sociopathy), we come to Wednesday’s game against the Montreal Canadiens. Les Habitants. You know: the Baldwin family of contemporary hockey. Or should that be the Donner Party? Either way, they eat their own to the amusement of all.
Oh you bet, we’ve all had a hearty laugh – a long, hard laugh – at the goonish antics of our Quebecois neighbors of late. Like watching the Spuckler family argument spill out onto the un-mowed back lawn, hurling rotting plastic chairs at one another as they jockey for “superiority” amid the weeds and used Timmy Hos coffee cups. Too much back bacon, eh?
The Puck Drop
Where to begin, presented with such a luxe buffet? Start with a hearty slab of Cammalleri’s trade… mid-game. Larfs! Kris Humphries divorce ended more graciously (or should that be John Huntsman? Oh… oops, that’s right… nevermind.) Then again, at least according to PuckBuddys’ Habs correspondent Matt Skolnikov, Cammalleri “…was a prima donna that was all chiseled good looks and bags of beauty products in the locker room for touch-ups during intermissions but not, in my opinion, much of a hockey player.” Snaps high, girlfriend.
Beyond the other – many other – examples we could cite, the key point is that the Habs blow this season. Like [redacted, sorry guys!] blow. Les Canadiens (17-20-8) are at the bottom (ahem) of the Northeast Division, behind (heh-heh) the Sabres for Crimminy’s sake. They stink at home (8-8-1); they stink worse on the road (9-12-1); shorthanded goals have deviled them; and while they have a sorta decent PP, they munch at their primary job: goals in net (a lame 115).
Still, we – your humble PuckBuddys – have resolved to not face-wash Les Lame-o’s we’re playing, nor wriggle with delight at our opponents troubles. Which makes this whole enterprise rather comical. Whatever, here we go with
What Makes Them Hot
1: Tish, I Love French! Brian Gionta, gap-toothed menace Ryan White, and the seasoned Andrei Markov are all out on injuries, leaving the Habs to seriously regroup. Among those stepping up, center Scott Gomez. At 0G/5A, minus-2, he may not seem like a threat, but watch this kid; he’s been hot of late. Another colleague, Max Pacioretty (15G/17A, minus-1) sounds like something we’d put on a pizza, but of late he’s eating opponent’s lunch.
2: Bargain Bin. Carey Price is exactly who he is. His GAA of 2.551 isn’t King Lundqvist worthy (but almost exactly Racoon-worthy) but his .913 SA puts him right up among the best this season. Too bad he may not be playing for the Habs next season, or not. Halak or Price? It sounds like the Canadiens management may be lining up behind Price for contract renewal – perhaps at a large (don’t say it) price.
3: Loose Change: Erik Cole (17G/16A, plus-5), Danish treat and recent hattie Lars Eller (8G/9A, plus-1), and others; they all help. But Montreal’s forward play has been, ummm…lacking. So what if you’ve got hotties on the ice – can they score?
Why They’re Not
1: Home town! Teams are expected to play well at home. Teams from the elite of hockey are expected to whip opponents at home. Teams like the Habs – strike that, there is no other team like the Habs – are demanded to perform in front of the hometown audience… which means, win. This season, at le Centre Belle, the Canadiens have turned in a cringe-inducing 8-8. Hé Grenouilles, votre équipe pue! (And by that, we mean Le Pew!)
2: Shadows of Glory. This, even for us, is something we come to with humility. The Habs were (and we expect will be, some year) a fixture of hockey’s glory. Maybe it takes an original six fan to say this, but Montreal has been a hated favorite of mine. Boston? Dirty-playing dirt dicks, frankly. Les Habs? Right up there with the Wings: class, class, classy-class-class. Gordie Howe, meet Gilles Tromblay. Steve Yzerman? Jack Laviollette. Sergei Federov, here’s Guy Lafleur. Here’s the point, other than slobbering in fanboy daydreams: the Habs are a team of tradition, of longevity, and of class.
It is a sad fact that today, however, that tradition is rendered as little more than clown car. That, mes amis, will not end before this season. Nos bras meurtris vous tendent le flambeau, à vous toujours de le porter bien haut. Flambeau away, dear Habs; flambeau away.
3: One Word: Sasha-stacular! H8rs, the line forms somewhere between the men’s room and the exit sign. Our other Russians have mixed results – Ovi, who totes gets the whole “crash the opponent” thing, and the “crash the net” thing, too, except for the part where he actually gets the puck IN the net; and Dima – SCOARLOV! – who is showing every bearish sign of moving up and up save for the fact that he’s barely out of shortpants and is still a class act. But we have to come back to Sasha Major. 11G/13A, plus-1? That doesn’t even start to tell the story of our heavy-metal, pipes-crashing, sniper-tastic Sasha of late. Good Sasha, you may take the stage.
Because we’re dopes, we go out on the line. Caps 4, Habs 3.
The PuckBuddys, and the RMNB family, welcome a new addition this week. Specifically a huge, black-furred, long-snouted girl, with the adoption of retired greyhound racer and brood-mom, Uma. A home with boys isn’t quite complete without a a boy’s best friend, so we welcome her in all her giant rat-snaring, couch-hogging, mess-making fuzzy glory. Rats of DC beware: Uma is on the prowl. We <3 U.
Meme of the Night