Monday, October 13, 2008

Bruins vs Habs Game #1

Can you feel it? Can you sense the impending clash of these two long time blood rivals? Nah, me neither. With game day still a couple days away, and it only being the first of six regular season games between these two, the excitement level isn't cranked up yet. Of course, as puck drop draws closer, I'm sure I'll be in full Hab hating mode That really never goes away of course....sometimes it just needs to be rekindled by the sight of a flopping, diving, Academy Award winning acting job by one of those little rats to set me off. But maybe I'm less excited about this game than usual, because of how Boston has played defensively in the first two games. Game one, as we know, was a train wreck in the Boston zone. game two was better, but they struggled big time against fast break chances especially. Montreal is built on transition, fast break offense (and diving to draw cheap Power Play chances). Unless the B's get their act together defensively, Thomas will have to repeat his first period performance against Colorado. Fortunately, with a couple days off to prepare, I think Coach Julien will have his boys ready to play.

All technical points aside, I fully expect Wednesday night's tilt to be the first game where we see true EMOTION from the B's lineup. They seemed content to play a 'friendly" game against the Av's and Wild. no chance of that happening against the Canadiens. If Boston plays a controlled, physical style, they will handle Montreal this year. Last year Boston let their emotions get the best of them, and handed away too many power plays. Montreal, five on five, doesn't match up so well against the Black & Gold. They have a clear advantage with the extra man, or even four on four, so staying out of the box is the priority. The fact that they get SO many PP chances and matching penalties off of obvious dives is a topic for another day, but trust me, I'll cover it!

As far as the rough stuff goes, much was made of the Georges Laraue signing. Habs fans were all excited that they finally have a "legit heavyweight". And Big Georges Laraque (BGL) is certainly that. But from the outset I, among many others, questioned how or if he'd fit in with tha Habs GO GO style of play. Well, if the first couple games are any indication, he doesn't. He hasn't dressed yet. Something tells me that will change Wednesday. Ooooohhhhh.....scary! Whatever. If Montreal wants to alter their line-up to match Boston's physicality (which they achieve with their STANDARD line-up), I'm more than fine with that. Adding BGL means they have to sit someone else, who they obviously feel is a betetr player than BGL. The Hab forward with the lowest average Time On Ice (TOI) is Steve Begin, at just a tick over 11 minutes. Raise your hand if you expect BGL to play 11 minutes or more? Anyone....anyone....Bueller?? Much better chance that he spends more time in the box than on the ice. In his prime, I was a big fan of BGL. But that was a few years ago, before the rules changes etc. And obviously, he was a younger guy, more willing to "go". Now, he seems more content to rest on his reputation, and sees himself more as a deterrent than an actual fighter. If I'm a Canadiens fan, I have to be just a touch concerned if I saw this quote by BGL, to the Edmonton Journal: "The goal when you fight the big heavyweight guys is to draw. It's all about showing up. That's like a win. Just don't get killed," said Laraque. Are you kidding me! So this protector and savior of little punks like Komisarek and the Kostitsyn sisters is just trying to not lose? Unreal. How much of a deterrent is that? As if that isn't disheartening enough for Les habs, how does this sound, from the same article: "If Charas's job was to fight, he could be the toughest guy in the league, because he's so strong. But, he plays 30-35 minutes a game, he shouldn't be fighting," said Laraque. "If a heavyweight fights him, it takes Chara out of the game for five or 10 minutes. That's a bonus for every team.". Wow. So basically, if you look at both of those quotes, BGL is basically saying he wants no part of throwing punches with Big Z. BGL is right about the poor trade off though, so no sense in Chara getting involved in any unnecesary bouts (with anyone). But, if and when the time is right, Z can feel a little better about it, knowing BGL will basically be looking to wrestle or duck and cover. Comments like that from Laraque expose him as nothing more than a bully, looking to beat up on the smaller guys, but not wanting anything to do with anyone his own size. How very brave of you. On second thought, maybe he'll fit in in Montreal better than we thought.

More on the cowards, erm, Canadiens later. Go B's-Kynch

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