Habs Fall To Stars

The Montreal Canadiens have yet to win a game this season.

It was a 6-3 win for the visiting Dallas Stars on this, the first night of preseason, and we saw good things and bad from our bleu, blanc et rouge during the 60 minutes. But that’s what this is all about. Seeing what kind of cream rises to the top, finding chemistry amongst new teammates, shaking out cobwebs and nerves, and slowly molding into, hopefully, a bonafide contender.

By the time the last of the eight games are played before the real fun starts, we should see a Habs team ready, polished, and raring to go. Tonight was just step one in a long line of steps.

Carey Price allowed four goals and and that’s fine. We’re chillin’. His replacement midway through, Nathan Lawson, missed the last two but looked fine coming into a tough situation. Lawson basically put a bandaid on the bleeding as the Habs, at the time he arrived on the scene, were showing spurts of fire and control, and Lawson held the fort as the boys closed the gap to one.

But before the game finally ended in a a 6-3 win for the Texans, we saw some nice things from our Habs hopefuls. Raphael Diaz is showing he’s a keeper, at least after one game and apparently much of training camp. He plays with poise, creates chances, and at this point looks as if he belongs. He knows it, and he knows if he keeps the pedal to the medal, he’ll be with the club on October 6th.

It took awhile before Alexei Yemelin cranked it up a notch, and when he finally got his bearings, he too showed poise, along with banging and crashing that is such a welcomed sight.  Even though I think Diaz showed more on this night, I’m also very much rooting for Yemelin because his blend of toughness and skill is an ingredient Montreal has lacked somewhat in these last few years. I have high hopes for both of them.

Veteran Erik Cole absolutely belonged. He netted a goal scorer’s goal when he snapped one home for the Habs first marker, and he’s a welcomed addition. A big, goal-scoring power forward. He, along with our other power guy, Max Pacioretty, spells double trouble in my book.

Good old Andrei Kostitsyn played well, young Ian Schultz handled himself just fine in a punch-up with 6’4″ Francis Wathier, and all in all, the night, even in defeat, wasn’t a disaster. The sky will only fall if we lose all eight games in this preseason and then the first one in Toronto.

But just wait. Wait until the real team slowly takes shape. When preseason is finished and real dance is about to begin, we’re going to see a nice-looking group of Montreal Canadiens. Right now there’s some rough edges to sort out.

Random Notes:

Wednesday night when the Buffalo Sabres arrive on the scene.

Montreal iced just six regulars from last year – Price, Gill, Weber, Plekanec, Cammalleri and Plekanec, and Erik Cole from Carolina. Rounding out the team were 12 guys all searching for the promised land – Engqvist, Tinordi, Trotter, Willsie, Palushaj, Berger, Masse, Blunden, and the aforementioned Yemelin and Diaz.

It’s going to be very interesting to see who rises above.

10 thoughts on “Habs Fall To Stars”

  1. Even though it was a loss I really liked a lot of what I saw last night. Diaz played even better than I hoped and I had a feeling that Cole was going to score. There was some nice passing last night!

    The defensive play was pretty bad last night but I’m not worried about the team. They need to learn how to work as a unit and that will take a few games.

    We really need to work on our faceoffs though.

    Yemelin had a really nice check on the ice.

    It’s funny though, we’re so programmed for disaster now that a loss in a meaningless exhibition game is enough to make a lot of us nervous and ready to think that the season is already in big trouble.

  2. Yes Darth, in the scheme of things, it didn’t mean a thing. It was just nice to see so many guys we never see get out there and play.

  3. I think we’re going to be spectacular this season. I think this is the first time I saw us lose and didn’t feel bad about it. Usually I’m screaming at the tv but last night I was actually happy.

    Three offensive lines, a great defensive core, Carey…this is going to be great.

    I think Yemelin may have been nervous (probably all of them were) – can you imagine going on the ice with that crowd for your first game? I think my nerves would be so bad I’d throw up all over the place. 🙁

  4. Not to make a big deal of it since it is only an exhibition game, but Mike Ribeiro getting both a goal and an assist against his former team was like rubbing a bit more salt in an old wound.

    In 2006, Ribeiro was traded to the Stars for Janne Niinimaa and a sixth-round pick and this transaction is ranked way up among the worst trades the Habs have ever made in their long history…

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/617992-twelve-worst-trades-in-montreal-canadiens-history#/articles/617992-twelve-worst-trades-in-montreal-canadiens-history/page/4

  5. Danno, Rebeiro made have had decent numbers in Dallas, but I was never a fan. This was a guy who partied hard, was a selfish player, and the final straw came for me when I watched him one night, (and we could hear him) ask Sidney Crosby during a time out in a close game if he could have his stick. Crosby looked at him like he was crazy, but nodded yes.. I just hated that and I was happy to see him go. Just wasn’t my cup of tea.

  6. One reason I’m glad he’s gone is because of that infamous act he put on (the dive to end all dives). People accuse us of diving all the time and every time they do they use his video as an example:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PNw8ZZT8tOU

    Nice way to crap on the legacy of the Habs you creep.

    Danno – we often trade for very little. Had we waited a bit can you imagine what we would have gotten for Halak? Sigh. (Although I do like Eller).

  7. Danno, the one trade that stands out for me for getting little in return was the Patrick Roy one. I remember being so disappointed because I was expecting a great player to come our way and it wasn’t to be.

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