Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Game 80 Appendix: From Behind Enemy Lines

Also read: Tobalev's Game Report

Growing up some of the best memories for me involved watching the Canadiens.

Sometimes my Mum would go away at playoff time (back in race for division title/playoff days) and my Dad would let us break the rules to fit in with the Habs: a) eat in front of the TV and b) stay up to watch the end of the game.

Thinking about it now, I realise that all this blogging comes from the way my Dad taught me to watch games – no, not with food spilling onto my sweater, but with passion and a critical eye.

That's why, when I heard my Dad would be going battling Kanata traffic to watch the Senators play the Habs at Scotiabank place, I asked him to submit his notes. I thought I would share his observations on the game here.

I have divvied them up by category, mainly since I wanted them to complement the game report, which is also very good and can be read here.

Great game

1) All 6 defencemen, including Brisebois, had a really solid game tonight; simple but effective.

2) Carey Price had a lot to do in the 2nd half of the 2nd period and in the 3rd; excellent effort, with a bit of luck thrown in, including 2 posts, but still fully deserved the shutout; all 32 shots.

3) The 3rd and 4th lines did a great job tonight with a lot of ice time; they really shut down Ottawa's No. 1 line very successfully for most of the game. Steve Begin, in particular, played his heart out.

4) Andrei Kostitsyn looked really dangerous for the whole game.

5) Kovalev made the whole game go into slow motion every time he controlled the puck in Ottawa's end. He is amazing, but was also trying to keep out of trouble a bit tonight and didn't go into the corners too hard. Good move; don't want him injured.

6) It sounded like a home game in Montreal

You can tell this didn't come from Tobalev or I with that "including Brisebois" line. But, Dad always taught us that this was a team game and that you can only be as strong as your weakest link. I think we needed to be reminded about how Brisebois being less adventurous has helped our team this year.

To be improved

1) Ryder, Sergei Kostitsyn and Ladendresse must be more disciplined and not give up stupid penalties. It could be very costly.

Guarding against complacency: another vital lesson.

Best moments

1) Best save: the save with 2.5 seconds left was spectacular but the most important was the point blank save at 14 minutes of the 2nd period.


1) Ottawa's coaching staff didn't think outside the box! 3-0 down with just over 2 minutes to play; you have to pull the goalie and score within the first 20 seconds to have any chance at all! Then you still have almost 2 minutes left to get the other 2; it can be done but needs some imagination!

2) A good quarter of the crowd (all Ottawa so-called fans!) left with 5 minutes to play. A real fan stays to the end, even in a rout!!

From all those years, these are two of the main things we learned from Dad in sports: never give up and never be afraid to try new things. Ottawa would have been lucky to come back, but now they'll never know will they?

Thanks Dad for that report. Go Habs Go.

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