Sunday, January 23, 2011

Aftermath: Political Correctness

Last night's game was kind of like watching a bunch of Grade Sixes on Remembrance Day. They know it's a solemn occasion, but they have absolutely no concept of war or what those guys in the uniforms are really all about. Their air is respectful, with no real idea of why that's so.

Four guys in last night's lineup...Price, Plekanec, Kostitsyn and Hamrlik...were captained by Saku Koivu in Montreal. The rest of the players knew Koivu's return was special to the fans, but had no personal involvement in the emotion surrounding it. Yet, they didn't want to shrug and say, "Who cares?" So they ended up coming out to their home fans' cheers for an opponent and looked like they weren't quite sure how to proceed from there.

Neither did Koivu, whose three minors were the product of some screwed up emotion, combined with bad officiating. I don't usually crap on the refs because they do have a hard job, and things tend to even out in the end most of the time. Last night's calls, though, were particularly brutal, on both sides. The worst was the holding call in the first on Max Pacioretty, when all he did was lift his arm over the Ducks player to get around him. The goal Anaheim scored on that PP made the difference. The third call on Koivu, the one that allowed the Habs to pull Price and tie the game up on the PP with 17 seconds to go, was also pretty weak.

Pacioretty, despite the penalty, was a real force last night. He's discovered he's a big man and if he goes to the net, he will score a lot of those dirty goals like the two he popped against the Ducks. Since his call up from Hamilton, he's blossomed into the first-round talent he was supposed to be. It'd be interesting to see him on a line with Desharnais, who could find him with uncanny accuracy in Hamilton. Scott Gomez is too inconsistent and unpredictable for a kid to read. Also, Desharnais makes fewer incomprehensible decisions than Gomez does.

It may be time for the Goat to bring in another defenceman. Roman Hamrlik is doing a good job holding the fort with all the injuries, but he and Jaro Spacek really show their age in those back-to-back games. Hammer looked tired and he was reaching with his stick more than skating. As a result, he played some pretty soft D. As the season moves toward crunch time, defensive help for those guys could make the difference between playoffs or not.

It's too bad last night's emotional jag had to end with the lousy shootout. Sometimes there are games that should really end in a tie, and that was one of them. Saku Koivu's team got the two points, though, and a strange night ended with some money changing hands in the Ducks' room and a smiling former captain. Looking back, it's a good thing Remembrance Day only comes once a year.


Anonymous said...

What has happened to the supposed franchise with the most class and sense of tradition in the NHL?

Saku was more than a player who happened to wear the CH. He was the captain and heart and soul of the team for TEN YEARS! He is the TENTH highest scorer in team history!

I was outraged the way Gainey treated him two years ago, when he notified the captain TWO days before UFA that his services were no longer required. TWO DAYS?

Gainey offered KOVALEV and KOMASARIK a contract and NOT SAKU???

But last night was beyond shameful and disrespectful to a GREAT MONTREAL CANADIEN. A pic from 2003 on the scoreboard after the anthems? Gee Mr. Molson don't spend all your money in one place! This was something the Leafs would do NOT MY MONTREAL CANADIENS. Or at least the Montreal Canadiens I was brought up to believe it.

Get rid of the Three Amigos at the helm Mr. Molson. They have no class and no wisdom.

Robert L said...

Keep in mind Saku's nature. I would bet that he asked the Canadiens brass that any "tribute" to him remain a subdued affair. In the end, I think it was perfectly done, simply by allowing fans and his former mates to express themselves naturally and respectfully.

Anonymous said...

It is not yet time to honor Koivu. He plays in the NHL like hundreds of ex-Canadiens before him. The way the fans handled it was very correct. They said a proper goodbye. The way Koivu handled it was very proper. He said a proper goodbye. Time for Alumni matters later.

Anonymous said...

Jt disagree. The penalties were not the result of screwed up emotion. These were the type of penalties that plagued Koivu in his last days in Montreal. Lazy , hooking, stick in a horizontal position type calls that are de rigeur in the new NHL.

Anonymous said...

Those that think Saku is no different than "100s of other ex Canadiens" have no sense of history. Saku was CAPTAIN for 10 years and is in the TOP TEN in scoring in the 101 year history of the franchise. Is that like 100s of other ex Canadiens????

Montreal management has lost their sense of what made this franchise special and unique in professional sports. They have embraced the corporate identity like the Leafs where only profit matters and there is no time for sentimentality. The only link to the glorious past is Mr. Beliveau. I shudder to think what will happen with his passing.

Anonymous said...

Another defenceman from elsewhere or from Hamilton? Carle should be ready and Nash is an interesting prospect.

Anonymous said...

Poor Koivu. The stick penalties are the result of the knee injuries that have slowed him a step. I suspect that even a decade later he can't believe he is not a step or two faster. He was a special talent before all the injuries, which is not to say he was bad after.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the poster who said the 3 amigos must go. PG is nothing more than a Gainey syncophant. Please Mr Molson bring back Scotty.Although Saku's number is not retired it should be worn by a player whgom embodies the kind of person and player that Saku is. Sorry Gomez you're not that guy.He should do what O'byrne did and pick another number.