Christmas has come, but the news doesn't stop, somehow. I'll take a break from lacing up my son's new skates (it's his first real pair, and he likes to put them on, take them off, put them on, repeat) to post a few links:
Fox News - hey, they're always reliable, right? Just ask my dad - has a Spector blog that puts a lump of coal into the stocking of hope that the Ovechkin-to-Montreal rumours have been to many Habs fans. In short, he says the rumours are nothing more than the metastasized echoes of the wishful thinking of members of the Montreal press. Their persistence, he adds, is the result of hockey-snobbery, which continues to view with distaste the fact that a player as superb (and marketable) as Alex Ovechkin toils nightly to thousands of empty seats in a lousy hockey market. But the reality is, the owner and management of the team have no intention of trading him, and Ovechkin's impending RFA status isn't going to change anything. Well, I think I speak for all Hab fans when I say, that sucks. Merry Christmas to you too, Spector.
The Canadian Press ranks the Habs 12th in their weekly ranking. Appended is a Christmas wish for each team: Montreal's is for Michael Ryder to "start finding the back of the net again". Amen. The other wishes are entertaining enough for a quick read.
At Sportsnet.ca, Pierre Lebrun has a nice read on Mike Ribeiro's revenge on the Habs the other day ... as if you want to think about that again, I know, but still a good piece. Lebrun notes that Ribeiro is on pace for 94 points (won't happen), but agrees with many (myself included) that things wouldn't have gone the same way for him in Montreal. Lebrun cites "distractions" in Montreal as evidence in support of his belief. I think I know what he means, I've been "distracted" a few times in Montreal myself. Lebrun quotes Ribeiro on the reason for his transformation: "Maturity comes into play", and that when he was in Montreal he was "thinking less about training than I am now".
The Canadian Press looks at the situation of all six Canadian NHL teams at the Christmas break. At 17-13-6, the Habs are one of four Canadian teams on the good side of the playoff line. Of course, the CP would hardly be journalists if they didn't point out that the Habs were in the exact same position at this time last year, as no fan needs to be reminded. CP kindly advises the Habs to avoid a similar "meltdown", which doesn't quite qualify as sage advice.
Okay, here's a hilarious life-imitates-art story from the Globe and Mail. Over in Kandahar, Canadian Forces have built an ice-less hockey rink, right next to the famous Tim Horton's outlet, the only one outside North America. Their league is so active, the owners of Sportchek decided to help out the troops by donating a pile of hockey gear - a really nice gesture. A photo op was scheduled for the shipment arrival, and a member of the Van Doos (famous Quebec regiment) was all set to pose in the new Montreal Canadiens sweater he'd requested. But when he pulled the sweater out of the package ... well, if you don't know what he found, then you haven't read Roch Carrier's classic short story, and you should! This article is a must read.
Well, that would seem to be about it. I have to go lace my kid's skates again. Merry Christmas to all.