Monday, January 12, 2009

Canadian Diving Team Due In Hub Tuesday

With the 2010 Olympics just over a year away, Canada is still lobbying for a new Winter Games event:Frozen Water Diving. In their bid for this new event, they're sending their top team to Boston Tuesday for an exhibition. The Montreal Canadiens, once known as a top hockey team in the NHL, will bring their new game to the TD Banknorth Garden. Although this team is clearly the leading candidate to take Gold if included in the Olympics, there are many issues to be overcome. Mainly, citizenship. How can a Canadian team, comprised largely of European and Russian players compete for Canada? If the Habs are forced to dive without these players, their medal chances are seriously limited. With top divers Mary Kate and Ashlie Kostitsyn out of their lineup, it would be up to steady, if not spectacular, divers like Guillaume Latendresse,Tom Kostopoulos and Steve Begin to carry the load. God bless 'em, they do their best, but they're not in Kovalev and the sisters league. Now, if there was a purse Snatching event, they'd be the clear favorites with Victoria, BC born Ryan O'Byrne the local favorite to win Gold in both team and individual events. But alas, I think the Diving Squad will learn that this event will not be tolerated in Boston. As a result, they will have to resort to (gasp!) playing hockey. I know what you're saying....."but Kynch, I thought the Habs were now a circus, complete with strongmen sideshows and clowns?". Well, I can understand your confusion. But that strongman is actually "hockey player" Georges Laraque while the clown is "coach" Guy Carbeneau. While there is no evidence that either are actually what they claim to be, we'll have to take their words for it. Despite the fact that this Laraque character has done nothing that resembles playing hockey this year (0G, 2A, -2, 29PIMS in 17 games). Seems his most memorable "contribution" to the Canadiens line-up was "getting Lucic off his game" last time in Montreal. This despite the fact that Lucic led all players in hits and scored the tying goal. Sure wish all the B's were "taken out of their game" like that. As far as that fraud behind the bench, he only still has a job because there aren't any French-Canadian coaches available that are any better than him. Remember, this is the guy that ordered Laraque to shadow Lucic, and put him on their top line to do it. Brilliant. No, when it comes to a comparison between the two bench bosses, it's really no contest. One, Claude Julien, has taken a team of kids, ravaged by injuries, and guided them to the top spot in the Conference (or league, depending on the day). While the other (the rodent), has taken last years #1 seed and led them to a middling performance since being taken to 7 games last year by the 8th seeded Bruins. Along the way, something interesting has happened. Last year, the Bruins desperately wanted to "prove themselves" against Montreal. This year, the Canadiens are looking to this game as THEIR measuring stick. What's most amusing about this is, last year, the pre-game banter was all about "even if Boston wins, it won't matter because we're a better team". THIS year, that talk doesn't seem to apply to Habs fans. So if a Bruins fan dares suggest that a regular season game against Montreal isn't a make or break proposition, Habs fans can't wait to argue. You can't have it both ways ladies. Sure, I can understand that playing the top team is a "measuring stick" type game. But to suggest that your season suddenly will turn around with a win against Boston is stretching the point. For those that haven't been paying attention to this Bruins team, nothing rattles them. I'm sure a regular season loss to the Habs will not cause them to lose their confidence. All that being said....I still think Boston beats Montreal again tomorrow night. We're probably looking at a close game, something along the lines of 3-2 or 4-3. With Boston missing Ference, Sturm, Ward, Lucic and possibly Fernandez and Hnidy, I'd be thrilled with any points they get. But I see a regulation win for the good guys. Will the Habs go the whole circus route again? Not likely with Lucic ("Public Enemy #1") not dressed. But who knows? Maybe the Rodents thinks that's the only way his team can compete.....which is laughable, since the B's can roll line after line of "tough" players over the boards. The Habs pretty much have Big Georges and that's it. Komisarek is their next closest thing....and he's not going to do anything. Begin? Unless it's a cheap cross check to Savard or another top player, I don't see him as a physical factor. I must admit though, I really do enjoy watching Montreal try to play a "rough and tumble" style. It's cute. Kind of like watching 2 year olds wrestle their ten year old big brothers. Sure, it gets annoying for the big brother after a while, but he's never really worried about getting hit. Oh well, more on this one tomorrow, when I'll finalize my predictions etc. For now, I'm going to go learn how to properly score a Triple Lindy. Go B's- Kynch

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