It just keeps getting worse and worse up in Montreal as P.K. Subban and Tomas Plekanec fought during practice today in yet another embarrassing moment for the team. After a 1-5 road trip, the Habs have just 35 points in 39 games, last in the Northeast Division and third to last in the Eastern Conference.
The Canadiens have been going through a rough stretch recently. For the first time in their existence, Montreal didn’t win a Stanley Cup during a decade when they failed to capture the title from 2000-2010. Their overtime loss in game seven last year to the eventual Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins marked the 18th consecutive year that Les Bleu-Blanc-Rouge went home empty handed. And it has not gone over well with their rabid fan base.
The Habs didn’t do much in the offseason with their biggest move being the signing of forward Erik Cole. Nevertheless, expectations remain high up in Montreal.
Then the season began. The Habs won just one of their first eight games, getting out scored by eight goals during the stretch. Things improved slightly over the next month, including a home-and-home of sweep against the Boston Bruins. But that has just fueled Boston into an incredible stretch that has seen them skyrocket to the top of the NHL standings while Montreal has continued to struggle. Read more…
Milan Lucic was forced to sit out Monday’s game against the Montreal Canadiens because of a boarding penalty and game misconduct he received in the Bruins previous game against the Philadelphia Flyers. Lucic hit Flyers center Zac Rinaldo from behind in the game and was immediately ejected from the game.
On Monday morning, Lucic had a conference call with NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan to discuss the incident and Shanahan decided to suspend Lucic for a game. I have no problem with that. Lucic’s hit was bad and he has a history of walking a tight line between playing hard and dirty. What I have an issue with is Shanahan’s explanation for the suspension:
While this hit is not particularly egregious, it is illegal. However, the overriding factor in elevating this hit from behind from a penalty on the ice to a suspension is his history of similar infractions, warnings and a fine. We’ve taken into account that Rinaldo suffered no apparent injury as a result of this hit.
Emphasis is mine.
Why does Rinaldo’s injury, or lack there of, matter? It doesn’t change Lucic’s hit. It doesn’t change Lucic’s intentions. Whether or not Rinaldo is hurt should not have any affect on Shanahan’s decision. Yet, he says the exact opposite. Read more…
A Quick One:
There’s not much bad I can say about the Bruins right now. They’re up 10 points in the Northeast Division, lead the Eastern Conference and are 19-2-1 in their last 22 games. Even though they didn’t play their best against the Habs last night, a couple timely goals and a great performance by Tim Thomas led the B’s to a win over their arch-rivals. And this was with Milan Lucic suspended for the game. As I said, there’s not much to complain about with this team. Goal for the rest of the season: avoid injuries. And then we will see if it’s possible for any team to beat the Bruins in a seven-game series. Right now, it certainly doesn’t look that way.