Friday, December 04, 2009

Game #29

Excellence Witness Excellence As Habs Turn 100


Date: 4/12/09
Opponent: Bruins
Location: Montreal


Habs Goalie: Price (W)
Opposition Goalie: Thomas (L), Rask

Habs goalscorers: Spacek, Cammalleri (3), Metropolit
Opposition goalscorers: Sobotka

Play of the game

5 goals goals, 2 jersey retirements and tons of other possibles here, but at the end of the day I have just one play in my mind. It happened in the first period with the Habs on the Power-Play. Marco Sturm went in alone on Carey Price, but the kid absolutely robbed him with his right toe. That kept the game at 0-0 and, I felt, ended up being the biggest turning point of all. Had that shot gone in I have a feeling we wouldn't have won, but instead it allowed us to stay level with Boston. A save in the first period can sometimes set the tone and tonight that is exactly what Carey, under the watchful eyes of Hodge, Dryden and Price, did.

Dome hockey team

The 6 players we're playing in a no changes, do or die contest in the dome


Mike Cammalleri - Game Puck
If someone was touched by the ceremonies tonight it would have been Mike. He obviously didn't want to send the tens of alumni home wondering what has become of their team, instead he wanted to show that, despite some recent poor results, we can still play with the best of them. 3 goals against Thomas to put him back on 40+ goal pace was just what the doctor ordered.

Scott Gomez
Unfortunately Plekanec has faded a bit since Scott's return, but at least Gomez has picked up the slack. Tonight he did it with 2 assists and some inspired play. I am not sure what Martin's plan is when Gionta gets back, but I would like to see the Habs, somehow, ice two competitive lines. That means we need Pleks and Kostitsyn firing as well, so we have to stop cutting their ice-time down as a 'wake-up' procedure.

Glen Metropolit
The enthusiasm on Glen's face after his goal says it all for me. This Toronto boy, although likely not a Habs fan until last spring, cares deeply about the history and prestige of this team. Scoring a 4-0 goal in a game that you have no real danger of losing wouldn't generally evoke that sort of excitement, but I am glad that it did as it shows some of our players have truly been caught up in all of the Centennial excitement.


Josh Gorges
Another player who I believe truly cares about the crest on his chest is Josh. To me, he is becoming one of our best team guys and, while I search for who may be our next captain, I often conclude that it could indeed be him. Tonight he played just about the most of any of our defenders (8 seconds less than Hamrlik) and ended the game at +3.

Jaroslav Spacek
When Markov comes back we will have a very nice player in Jaro slotting into the 3/4 spot (to be shared with Gorges). I can say that with confidence because, for the most part, he has done a formidable job as a #2/3 this season, especially recently. I think we were all hoping for more than 3 goals by now (he scored in this game), but we must also be happy with his defensive play which is certainly an upgrade from Souray, Schneider or Bergeron (of course Streit would be my ideal choice for this position).


Carey Price
What a shame that Carey didn't get a shutout as I felt that was going to be a fitting piece to this game. He played well enough to deserve one, but I think was the victim of a bit of a team-wide nap once we were up by 5. This game could have gone the other way as the Bruins out-shot and out-chanced us, but with 37 saves he made sure that all went home happy. It was especially nice to see him enter into the spirit of the game by sporting a special mask which paid tribute to the 6 best goalies in Habs history. I wonder if he himself will be featured on the bi-centennial version?


We have become so use to seeing ceremonies that I am almost sad to see them over with. The Habs nailed it, yet again tonight and it definitely brought back some nice feelings. It started with 20 Habs taking a warm-up in full gear. Patrick Roy and Ken Dryden (who hasn't worn equipment in 30+ years) strapped on the pads and took some shots. The players skating around would have made anyone a bit nostalgic as players like Lafleur, Lemieux, Naslund and Robinson were, at last, back in Habs gear. It was then on to introductions of even more alumni; these ones simply in shoes and a jersey. The likes of McPhee, Skrudland, Henri Richard, Beliveau and Moore were just a few of the stars on hand. Gordie Howe, in the wrong jersey, was also there as he represented the Rocket (bearing a shirt of his) as well as one of our greatest single rivals. That portion of the night concluded with the retiring of two more jerseys (I am told that this was the Molson's doing and it was a surprise for all, including the players involved); Emile Bouchard (3) and Elmer Lach (16). A neat bit of the ceremony was when O'Byrne removed his own #3 sweater and handed it over to the greatest to ever sport that jersey. Needless to say that Jay Leach's #20 was available as the Habs decided a third jersey retirement could wait. A team picture of close to 100 alumni and current players was next and will likely go down as the greatest gathering of Habs players of all time.

It was then onto the game where all in attendance just hoped that the Habs, for the first time this week, could compete. Well, compete they did and that all started with Carey Price. The kid got the ball rolling with a great save early on and that seemed to really get his teammates and the crowd into it. In fact, we would go onto score on the very same PP of that save and we never looked back. We had it all on this night - great goaltending, explosive offence, excellent special-teams (we killed off a couple of 5-on-3s including one that lasted a full 2 minutes) and most of all excitement. It was a great way to start our second century and I can only hope that the Habs can carry this inspired play into next week and beyond.

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