Fight night in Montreal and Zdeno Chara uses his longer leash: During a Habs-Bruins game which was close in the second period, Chara elbowed Kovalev in the head (easy to do when you’re one foot taller) and then pounded on Guillaume Latendresse right after. The Habs’ Steve Begin said Chara “was probably looking for me, but he got the wrong Frenchman.” Begin had already drawn several minors on the great Slovakian eugenics experiment. The coaches got into it, too. When Bruins D-man Mark Stuart beat on wee Kostitsyn, Habs coach Guy Carbonneau went to yell at Bruins coach Claude Julien (fired by the Habs two years earlier) only to be pulled back by his assistant coach, Kirk Muller. It looked like these two Francophones were yelling at each other in English. Quebec politicians are already planning the Royal Commission. Anyway, the Habs took it 7-4, setting up a full-blown rejuvenation of this rivalry. Too bad the rest of Canada was busy watching the Leafs….which wasn’t so bad for a change. Over 60 minutes, the Leafs somehow played well in their own building, beating the league-leading Senators. This means two things: 1, it’s the last time this happens this season. And 2), that TSN, Sportsnet, and CBC, who dine from the anus of this franchise, will put the highlights on for as long as they can deem them relevant. We figure it’s two years for the Tucker goal and the few nice saves from Vesa Toskala….
It was a night of good goalkeeping around the league. Jean-Sebastien Giguere shut the door on the San Jose Sharks to steal a shoot-out win for the back-from-the-shitter franchise. They’ve won four straight…..Another goaltending miracle: Ilya Bryzgalov, given up by the Ducks 24 hours earlier, donned a Phoenix sweater and shut out the LA Kings later that day….
Further goaltending mazel tovs go out to Martin Brodeur for winning his 500th game. Brodeur upset the Flyers in their own building, eliciting boos from the fans. Not that Brodeur cared. He’s on pace to eclipse Patrick Roy for most wins of all time. To put it in perspective, Dominik Hasek is a full 133 games away from this. And to further put that in perspective, this is because Hasek is a bitch who gets hurt as he deems it politically necessary. (See Coach Nolan, firing of.)….
And before Calgary coach Mike Keenan could get the firing talk going after a five-game stink-fest, his team played an absolutely flawless game in Edmonton, peppering Mathieu Garon with 27 shots for their second win this week. It was easily Calgary’s best game this season as they held the Oil to just 15 shots, picked off passes in the neutral zone, and cycled the puck endlessly in Oil territory. Matthew Lombardi scored and set up a beauty for Owen Nolan. Had Craig Conroy not scored his first goal in about a dozen games, despite playing between Tanguay and Iginla (!) Lombardi would have snagged his spot on the top line. Keenan is already planning a smug soundbite for why this has not happened yet. He’s been practicing in front of the mirror and feels good about it. We’re betting on hooded eyelids and a dose of laconic shrugging.
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