Guilty as Charged: Lightning 3 - Habs 2

If there were any justice in the hockey world, the Habs would be arrested for grand larceny after posing as an NHL team last night. Of course, if you want to arrest the Habs these days, you have to get in line.

HIO reports that CKAC says that Ryan O'Byrne's purse-snatching victim has decided not to press charges, but this hasn't been confirmed. I imagine it will be confirmed soon enough, however: most multi-million dollar organizations have the kind of lawyers who specialize in making things like this go away. It will involve a meeting with the woman, a sincere apology, an explanation of the trouble a conviction would cause poor Ryan and his girlfriend what's-her-name, and the leaving of some money on a table. Poof! Justice, rich-people style! Unfair, you say? Well, that's because you're a little person, and you don't really matter anyway.

As for the game, there isn't much to say besides that would-be contenders Montreal dropped a listless match against the worst team in the East. They stunk the place out, managing just 21 shots, getting outshot 17-5 in the third period when they were supposedly pressing for the equalizer. Make no mistake, Tampa Bay is a crappy team: but the Habs made them look pretty good last night. Consolation? The Habs looked marginally better than they did last Thursday, when they were creamed by the second worst team in the East. After losing back to back games against division rivals in embarrassing matches, you would think the Habs would be looking to reassert themselves, but no. I'm not saying the Habs were hungover for this game, but I am saying I hope they were.

The Lightning were certainly glad to see the distracted and disinterested Habs in their house. It was just what Vaclav Prospal needed to break his slump, which he did in fine fashion, scoring two goals and dominating the - admittedly quite submissive - Habs. The curse of the French Guys continued as well, as Vincent Lecavalier notched two assists, while Michelle Ouellet scored a first period goal.

Prospal probably crossed the line by dissing his coach in the post-game interview: upset at being demoted by coach Tortorella, Prospal was happy to be back on the first line, and after scoring the winner he called the game "the most satisfying" of his career, and added that he felt like he'd "shoved it up somebody's ass". Well, the article here says "backside", but somehow I doubt he used that word. Anyway, Prospal refused to say precisely whose ass he'd violated, but it seems clear that he meant Tortorella, who laughed the whole thing off. "I'm not here to be the happy man and make everybody happy," he said. Oh, don't worry John: you're not.

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