News for Wednesday, December 12th

Injuries, injuries, injuries: Bryan Smolinski, out for 6-8 weeks with a sprained knee; Steve Begin, out for a month with a bad shoulder; and finally, Patrice Brisebois, out day-to-day with his own shoulder injury. Meanwhile, back on the farm, Mikhail Grabovski sprained an ankle, and is out indefinitely. Silver lining? None of these injuries should have a major impact on the team's fortunes ... things are pretty bad already!

All of the big news outlets report on Montreal's embarrassing home losing streak (extended to six games by a 3-2 shoot-out loss to Tampa Bay last night) but from different angles. The Globe's David Naylor praises Habs goalie Carey Price for keeping his team in the game, and blames the Habs supposedly potent power-play for failing to ice the game during a 4-3 in overtime. The Gazette's Pat Hickey, on the other hand, indicts the whole team for a weak effort against a tired Lightning squad with highly suspect goaltending, noting that if they'd played for even half of the game the way they played with five minutes left in third, they'd have won easily.

Blogosphere: Mike Boone of HIO asks, "When will the bleeding stop?" He then bullet-lists a highly persuasive list of reasons (provided by fans calling in to radio shows after the game) why we shouldn't hold our collective breath waiting for that to happen: Kovalev is getting old; Carbo is getting outcoached; the team can't play defense or offense, and most hockey systems require one or the other. The man's heart is breaking, you can tell, and I for one feel for him. Elsewhere, Four Habs Fans has an interesting if peevish piece bemoaning how Montreal's pre-season plan of having effectively a 26-man roster - four balanced lines that could be tuned frequently with call-ups from Hamilton - has degenerated into a desperate search for any line combination capable of providing the Habs with more than two goals per game. It cites the presence of Mathieu Dandeneault (or Mark Streit?) on Koivu's line as a tacit admission that the organization is barren of any wingers on the farm capable of stepping in. Finally, the Bleacher Report's Francois Gendron bluntly states: "If the Canadiens have any pride left, they'll play a desperate game against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday to avoid making the wrong kind of history." Well, teams don't have pride - players do. And no doubt for the Habs, that pride is stung, and I anticipate they will show up not only against Toronto Saturday, but in Philadephia on Thursday. But a desperate game? For the record, I would prefer to see them simply play a good game.

In happier news, Samsung Electronics of Mississauga announced it will donate $100,000 to the Saku Koivu foundation, which as we all know provides invaluable assistance in treating cancer in the Montreal area. Hats off to the company and the Habs' captain, one of the true good guys.

The Habs need scoring, but they likely won't be getting it from the farm: the Peoria Rivermen shut-out the Dogs last night by a five-zero score. Yann Danis got the mercy hook in favour of Cedric Desjardins.

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