Habs Start Southern Swing Successfully

It was a solid road game for the Canadiens as they tackle the deep south, beginning in Atlanta, and upend the Thrashers 3-1 before almost a dozen fans. And although the game was close on paper, and the Thrashers outshot Montreal 41-23, not once did I feel the least bit concerned that the Habs might lose.

I don’t know why I wasn’t concerned. It was just one of those nights. This was the least pressure-packed 40-shot game I’ve seen in some time.

For most of the first period, Phillips Arena looked like a ghost town. Huge blocks of empty seats sat collecting dust. If a drug dealer wanted to do a deal without anyone seeing him, he could just buy a ticket and sit in the corner. Coca-Cola could move its headquarters to a corner.

It’s very apparent, by the empty seats, that Atlantans (a) aren’t crazy about hockey, (b), Atlantans aren’t crazy about sitting in corners, and (c) this team will soon have Quebec City on the jersey.

Seeing so many empty seats at an NHL game, and especially with Habs in town, is not an attractive site. You can see by the chart below that Atlanta has the third worst attendance in the league, just above Phoenix and the Islanders. It’s a shame but I guess it’s great for the few hockey fans in Georgia as they can sit anywhere they want, at any game. Those in Canadian cities have no idea what this must be like.

Carey Price once again was steady as a rock in this big game that so many missed, and the two points allows the team to stick solidly entrenched in sixth spot and almost in fifth, and I’m convinced now that there should be no more fretting about whether or not the boys will be in the playoffs.

Random Notes:

Mac Pacioretty, Wiz, and Brian Gionta scored on this night, with Gionta’s being an empty-netter after taking a pass from our favourite whipping-boy – Scott Gomez.

Habs now proceed further south into Sunrise, Florida to tackle the Panthers. It’s a two-game winning streak now and I expect it to be three after the clobbering of the cats in front of thousands of eastern Canadian snowbirds.

Tickets for games in Sunrise, Florida to see the Panthers are as low as $15 plus free parking, and lower bowl seats range from $30 to $50. Something else those in Canadian cities just wouldn’t be able to fathom.

  Team
Total
20 Games 10-11 AVG
% Capacity
10 Games 10-11 AVG
09-10 AVG
08-09 AVG
1 Canadiens
425,460
21,273
100
21,273
21,273
21,273
2 Blackhawks
424,368
21,218
107.6
21,069
21,356
22,247
3 Flyers
391,883
19,594
100.5
19,460
19,535
19,545
4 Maple Leafs
386,169
19,308
102.7
19,379
19,546
19,865
5 Flames
385,780
19,289
100
19,289
19,289
19,289
6 Red Wings
385,506
19,275
96.1
19,284
19,260
19,312
7 Blues
383,000
19,150
100
19,150
18,883
18,554
8 Canucks
377,200
18,860
100.3
18,860
18,810
18,630
9 Capitals
367,951
18,397
100
18,397
18,277
18,097
10 Sabres
366,391
18,319
98
18,280
18,529
18,531
11 Penguins
364,353
18,217
100.7
18,184
17,078
16,975
12 Kings
361,311
18,065
97.7
18,083
17,313
16,488
13 NY Rangers
360,232
18,011
99
17,970
18,269
18,949
14 Senators
358,281
17,914
96.8
17,911
18,076
18,172
15 Wild
352,749
17,637
97.6
17,565
17,388
17,039
16 Bruins
351,300
17,565
100
17,562
17,558
17,488
17 Sharks
351,240
17,562
100.4
17,462
18,415
18,568
18 Oilers
336,780
16,839
100
16,839
16,839
16,839
19 Lightning
335,444
16,772
84.9
16,182
14,979
15,010
20 Predators
319,991
15,999
93.5
15,964
15,497
16,497
21 Hurricanes
310,804
15,540
83
15,362
15,240
16,572
22 Panthers
304,711
15,235
79.1
15,021
15,146
15,621
23 Avalanche
298,810
14,940
83
14,421
15,168
16,990
24 Stars
298,305
14,915
80.5
14,416
15,535
15,790
25 Ducks
294,760
14,738
85.8
14,153
13,947
15,429
26 Devils
281,204
14,060
79.8
13,861
17,215
17,680
27 Blue Jackets
262,442
13,122
72.4
11,762
15,416
15,543
28 Thrashers
248,210
12,410
66.9
11,625
13,607
14,626
29 Coyotes
216,818
10,840
61.9
11,069
12,735
13,773
30 NY Islanders
199,231
9,961
61.1
10,418
11,989
14,875

10 thoughts on “Habs Start Southern Swing Successfully”

  1. Dennis, you know we may not be stuck with Gomez until his contract is finished, I think we may have an escape. No he won’t retire, be buried in the minors or get written off.
    At next year’s trade deadline he might be an acceptable trade for some teams. Many don’t care about his $7.3+M cap hit, they only care about the actual cash. Some are even fighting to stay above the minimum cap. At next year’s deadline he’ll have less than $2M for the year. And the next 2 years he’ll only average $5M. He may represent a possible $2.3+M/year savings bargain for some really cheap owner.

  2. them’s some purdy flattering attendance #’s for some of y’all in the south……. i think a dozen or so is much closer to the truth.

  3. Hobo, I heard there were just over 5000 there which is ridiculous and embarrassing. And for the Habs of all teams, which in most rinks is one of the hottest, if not THE hottest ticket in town. Just nuts.

  4. If only Brent Sopel didn’t hand over the puck in our zone and blow Price’s shutout. Too bad. Carey sure deserved it.

    I’ll forgive Sopel if he doesn’t mess up like that too often. But Jacques Martin probably pulled out his note pad after that play.

    The Habs have had a few games where they played really well as a team but lost games they deserved to win.

    But the team did not play all that well last night, (aside from Carey Price and a few others). Price stopped 40 shots on goal. We only got 23 on Mason. In spite of that, we won anyways. That’s okay. It’s just the way things balance out. We finally won a game we probably didn’t deserve to win for a change.

    We’ll take the nice fat juicy two-points that came from this butt-ugly garbage win. It was a nice greasy road win and now we’re on a roll with two wins in a row. Sweet.

    Leaf fan in Ottawa, we did it all for you. Now Toronto is ahead of the Thrashers and in 10th place because of us…

    Everybody’s happy!

    Except the half dozen Thrasher fans who stayed until the final buzzer.

  5. Yes, Danno, I guess we should forgive Sopel for that. Maybe that was the system when he was with Atlanta, to get it to the closest man or whatever, and now he’s a bit confused. Regardless, they got the points and like you say, it was a nice, greasy road win. I want to see a nice long winning streak now.

  6. DK, While watching the game they kept going back to two proud HAB fans. Apparently they out numbered the Thrasher fans two to one!!!
    Les Canadiens Sont La!!!!

  7. Mike, that attendance was ridiculous and Gary Bettman has it all wrong. Get some teams back in Canada where you can’t buy a ticket because everything’s sold out. Nice to see Habs fans in the deep south though.

  8. I don’t think Quebec will get first crack at whatever team has to move. Winnipeg will be first in line. I live 30 miles from Winnipeg…..

    Sorry Quebec

  9. Frank, Winnipeg would be excellent. Those clips of Jets players saying goodbye to the fans at their last game was heartbreaking. Winnipeg deserves a team absolutely. I believe Quebec does too and I just used Quebec as an example because Stephen Brunt, whom I respect as a hockey, and sports in general, intellectual, said they had the inside track.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>