The Montreal Canadiens still hold on to a decent season so far. It's good enough for the fifth place in the East, behind Sidney "hat trick" Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins.
There are two ways of looking at their current situation.
The first would be stating that, despite a poor and shaky powerplay, and some scorers having gone totally invisible, the Montreal Canadiens still hold on to a not-that-bad spot.
The second would cite Alexei Kovalev’s sleep addiction, Sergei Kostitsyn’s slashing addiction, and many other ones as inexcusable reasons for this really worrying slow motion performing team, which is the Bleu Blanc Rouge.
Either way, Alexei Kovalev won’t get away with it.
He has 68 shots on goal, which is the highest in the team so far, and only five of them have clinched the red light behind the masked men.
While fans are witnessing the rise of a new hero, in Steve Begin, Kovalev still holds a decent ice time of more than 20 minutes. He still puts on a few stick-handling shows now and then, but what worked last year doesn’t seem to work anymore this season. Opponents are finding ways to adjust.
It doesn’t require a CSI investigation to figure that he needs to come up with something new.
However, isn’t it too easy to spot the former top scorer of the team and blame him for whatever misery the organization is going through?
Aren’t there other individuals in there who have been provided skates and sticks, years of dreams, and tons of practices? It is not because he made a DVD out of it that he has got to do the job by himself.
Still, I will give it to the worried fans: Even though he is not the only one, he is not working. And at times of intense self-seeking periods like this, with a team which has been showing two complete opposite faces night after night, any help is welcomed.
Kovalev didn’t back down from facing the journalists. He discussed his current hum, flop, and simply stated that the last time he had a blank streak, he stopped it with a hat trick.
Is that a hidden promise? Is that good enough to brighten again the eyes of thousands of fans who have been hoping for “the Artist” to recover his “magic touch”?
A New Face behind the Bench: Coach K
Defence and powerplay coach Doug Jarvis is currently with his family (and seemed to have brought the powerplay strategies home with him), leaving a spot behind the bench.
Saturday morning, on a suggestion from the-only-one-who-can-be-satisfied-goalie coach Rolland Melanson, Guy Carbonneau told injured defenceman Mike Komisarek to bring a tie. Not to strangle the referees on every bad call, but to assist the coaching staff in whatever they seem to be doing!
Another possibility can be also that coach Carbo figured that once at the ice level, seeing the big player standing there could add to the physical side of the game!
Still falling shy of 199 games behind Guy Carbonneau, “Coach K” has been enjoying cheering and motivating his team.
(To keep reading Mike Komisarek’s interview: link)
A New Man on the Power Play?
The Hamilton Bulldogs played at the Bell Center last Sunday, closely watched by the big club master minds, Bob Gainey and Guy Carbonneau.
Young defenceman Yannick Weber didn’t disappoint, netting two powerplay goals. Weber has been spotted to be the next Mark Streit in his own way.
Montreal No. 74, One Game from the Stands for Under-performing
Sergei Kostitsyn will be watching the game against the Atlanta Trashers from the stands.
His three penalties (with two of them completely unnecessary) last Saturday were visions of horror for the head coach.
The team’s strategist judged appropriate to ground the kid, and to make it clear that slashing the other kids around on the playground, because they don’t want to give him their toys, is not the way to go.
Alex Tanguay and Georges Laraque are back in the lineup, forcing Guillaume Latendresse to leave his spot as well.
Today’s Bunny from the Magic Hat
Alex Tanguay–Tomas Plekanec– om Kostopoulos for the first line
(Pic: Mike Komisarek, National Post)