News for Friday, December 28th: Habs win, Lightning suck, Carbo is a genius, Huet is number one, Mike Boone is funny, Four Habs Fans like pole dancers

CBC.ca says "Habs Romp Over Lazy Lightning", and you can imagine that John Tortorella couldn't object to the charge, which is as blunt as its use of alliteration. The article gives Montreal credit for notching the two points, but the emphasis is on the Lightning's terrible showing: "It's one of the worst stretches that I can remember since I've been here," Tortorella says. The article erroneously accuses Kyle Chipchura of "again" being a healthy scratch, when in fact he was a surprise scratch for the first time in a long while.

The AP carries a similar story brimming with ominous Lightning stats: they've lost 8 out of 10 and have scored 2 or fewer goals in 10 of their last 11 games. The story credits the Habs with snapping a two game losing streak and mentions Alex Kovalev's 16th of the season (he had only 18 all last year), though noting it was a lucky goal (off a Tampa defender's foot).

Pat Hickey's Gazette/Canwest story says Carbo's latest line-juggling results have him "looking like a genius". Well, it's true that the lines worked: playing between Chris Higgins and Michael Ryder, Maxim Lapierre scored his first of the season. Reunited with Saku Koivu - and alongside Sergei Kostitsyn - Guillaume Latendresse picked up his 10th. And Hickey points out that the one line Carbo left alone provided two goals, from Kovalev and Andre Kostitsyn. But while I agree with Hickey that the lines looked good - I especially liked Latendresse going to the net on the Koivu line - I would caution that just about any lines would have looked good against the Lightning team that showed up last night.

Elliot Olshansky discusses the game for CSTV in New York: he got tickets to the match at the last minute and was surprised at how pro-Montreal the crowd was. He talks with Ryan O'Byrne and gets his views.

All Headline News notes that the Habs have "broken free from Boston" in the standings at 18-13-6, good for 3rd in the East in overall points, though 4th in the actual seedings. The Lightning, on the other hand, find themselves in a last-place tie with the Washington Capitals. The Habs hold on the 4th spot is obviously quite tenuous: they are only 3 points up on Florida, which currently stands at 9th, out of the playoffs. For that matter, the Habs are only 9 points out of last overall. Just 10 points separate the worst team in the East, the Capitals, from the second best, the New Jersey Devils. Don't you love parity? What's that? No, you don't? Me neither.

The Tampa Bay Tribune's Erik Erlendsson has a nice doom-and-gloom piece on the Lightning. It has very little to do with the Habs, but it is fun to read about the Habs being "powerful" and "overmatching" their opponents.

Look out for the Florida Panthers
: the South Florida Sun-Sentinel notes that they got a confidence booster last night, defeating the Thrashers to pull within three points of the Habs. Nathan Horton scored two, and Tomas Vokoun stopped 38 shots. The Panthers always play the Habs tough, as we know, so expect them to look a lot better than a 9th place team tonight.

Pat Hickey, in the Gazette, says that Cristobal Huet will be the number one man for the foreseeable future: his consistency, Hickey says, gives him the edge in Carbo's books. I agree wholeheartedly, and have all season long. I still think a year in the AHL would have been better for Price, who is clearly doing a lot of OJT in the pros. The only problem for Huet is the large contingent of Habs fans who completely abandon hope whenever he allows a goal. Many Montreal fans are quite prepared to give up on a goalie if he doesn't win a cup in his first year with the team, as Dryden and Roy did, and obviously, it is not a realistic approach.

Finally, in the Blogosphere, Lions in Winter has another good game review, noting that the Habs best players were their best players last night. At HIO, Mike Boone has a hilarious and thoughtful review of last night and preview of tonight: he's always funny. Four Habs Fans haven't updated their site since their gloomy preview (Habs Look to get Reamed) of the Lightning game, but they do feature a sexy pole-dancing picture, if that's your sort of thing.

Check back later for a look at what the French Press are saying about the Habs.

No comments: