There’s a lot more pressure on Andrei Markov, Scott Gomez, Brian Gionta, Andrei Kostitsyn and Carey Price than you think.
Because I picked them in my hockey pool today. Five of my 16 players are Habs. And I also have Alex Ovechkin because I got to pick second. Malkin went first. That’s all I’m going to say about this because who cares who I have. But I’d like to mention that this is the first time in 20 years that I’ve been in one.
It’s not the end of the world if the Canadiens lose to the Bruins and are now 2 and 2 in pre-season play. The problem is, we’re going to have to listen to Bruins fans say they beat us in the playoffs, and now in pre-season. So stay away from Bruins’ forums as much as possible.
And what we’ve seen from the new guys in these four games is bright. Scott Gomez, Mike Cammalleri, Jaroslav Spacek, Hal Gill and Brian Gionta have all looked good. In fact, Gionta looks like Mats Naslund out there and isn’t afraid to get his nose dirty, like Naslund. The jury’s still out on Travis Moen and Paul Mara.
Nice to see hockey in Quebec at the old Colisee, where smiling faces wearing Nordiques and Habs jerseys were spread generously throughout. (And of course one or two Bruins jerseys). The cheers and boos coming from a pure hockey rink, with as pure hockey fans as anywhere in the world, was a joy, especially for only a pre-season tilt. It must be a drag for these people not to have a team anymore, and I feel for them. And there’s a lot of good Habs fans there, of course.
What a difference between the game in Quebec against the Bruins and the previous night snooze-fest in Ottawa. Of course, in Ottawa it was a bit one-sided I suppose, for anyone to get overly excited in the stands, but the 2-1 game in Quebec was exciting, fast-paced, with lots of chances, especially in the third, and the crowd was into it.
Now though, it’s time to start the exodus out of Montreal and down to Hamilton for many of these guys. The Canadiens need to get some quality time together as a real team, and I think at any second the moving will start. What a thrill it must be for some of these young guys to actually play in an NHL game. Hopefully down the road there will be more to come for them.
If Ryan O’Byrne is still a project like The Gazette suggested a few days ago, then he’s much less of a project than before. I think this fourth game was the best I’ve ever seen him play. He handled the puck and brought it out of his own end with confidence. He slammed and banged, showed a good shot, and was an all round Mr. Poise. I’m really pulling for O’Byrne. He could prove so important to the Habs this year and years to come because of his youth and size.
The anthem was sung and the words were changed, but because it was in french, I’ve no idea what was sung. She didn’t warble “Oh Canada”, it was changed. I’m curious what she sang.
Next up: Habs host the flightless birds Monday night.