Brian Gionta and Tomas Plekanec are meticulously refining their equipment at Brossard, and Pleks is shaving the end of his hockey stick on some kind of a sandpaper wheel. I'm sure there's a technical term for this exercise. Anyway, Pleks totally screws it up and his tape ends up jamming the wheel thingy. Gio looks on and says, "Are you serious? … I hope you're not that bad tonight!"
Obviously it's fun to play pranks on P.K. Subban, who falls victim again this episode when his sticks go "missing". Wandering around the dressing room he asks bewilderedly where they are, and goes ignored. The sticks are resting atop the open dressing room double doors, in plain sight but only if you're looking. Alex Galchenyuk walks underneath them and looks sneaky, but we don't actually find out who the prankster is. "Come on, help me get 'em," says P.K. when he finally spots them, but there are no takers. P.K. grumbles accusingly at Max Pacioretty, who says, "Swear to god, on my life," which, to me, pretty much guarantees he's the guilty one.
Game night, and under-performing centre David Desharnais will be spending his first game this season in the press box; Martin St-Pierre being called up from Hamilton to take his place. Coach Michel Therrien explains to the press corps that sometimes these decisions are necessary. There's a lot of trop vite français going on here for me so I may have missed something, but was this presser called exclusively for Desharnais? Desharnais, meanwhile, talks to the press in the dressing room. This young man is obviously having a hard time with his game and would love to be playing better, and says as much; that he's just going to work hard and get back to the basics. This young man also speaks super vite and says a lot of other stuff that I'm sure is worth hearing but I don't catch it all on account of the closed captioning sucking hard.
More behind-the-scenes stuff, and we see all the game pucks going into a little freezer, since the league requires they be at ice temperature else they bounce differently. We then see them coming out of the freezer and put in a cooler like a heart ready for transplant, directly to the penalty box ready for delivery to the linesmen.
The game against St. Louis, and the bad guys score to make it 1-0 only 2:38 into the first. George Parros and Ryan Reaves get into a little fight. I don't know about you guys, but seeing Parros get pulled down will forever make me queasy.
At the first intermission, the coaches seem optimistic about our chances, and agree that the primary objective should just be to get "first on puck."
Second period,and Rene Bourque scores to tie the game 1-1, and then the unthinkable happens - P.K. Subban blocks a shot and drops to the ice and races off it to get examined, and the world ends. P.K. is holding his arm and wincing in pain, gets examined, then seems to immediately recover after he hops off the table, high giving someone we can't see and saying, "I got one for you, bud." He goes back to the bench and starts wincing again. What just happened here? Look, I really don't care, since P.K. is back in the game and the world is okay to recommence. Bournival then scores the go-ahead goal, and at the second intermission the coaches once again discuss the "first on puck" angle. To quote a favourite phrase of Michel Therrien, "it's pretty simple."
In the third, Carey Price makes more amazing stops, but the Blues end up beating him to tie the game again. Pleks is then awarded a penalty shot after the Blues moves the net on a Canadiens charge. Pleks shoots and doesn't fool Jaroslav Halak, but apparently fools Bourni, who, in slow motion, begins to cheer then his eyebrows raise in realization and then his arms slowly come back down. Actually, my notes here say, "Gally's face." I love Brendan Gallagher, and how he feels all his emotions.
The game ends in a tie, and OT has no results. In the shootout, nobody scores but T.J. Oshie for the bad guys. The Habs get the loser point and post-game, all we see is Therrien throwing what I think is his microphone on the coaches' room table in disgust.
Two days later, the boys are practicing and we spend some time with Daniel Briere who's looking to get in game-shape while recovering from the effects of a concussion. His nephew Zac Charbonneau watches from the stands. Briere gets Zach a little camera time chit-chat, and is informed that his nephew's favourite player is Michael Bournival.
The team arrives in Ottawa to face the Senators for the first time since being eliminated by them in the first round of the playoffs last year. Therrien tries to talk them into coming in, "got no fear, and we're gonna dictate how the game is going to play." Desharnais is back in the lineup and the Sens are wearing their worst jersey, the striped one. Douglas Murray delivers some great hits, Andrei Markov scores, and the game is tied 28 seconds later by Bobby Ryan.
In the second period it's Ryan White's turn to deliver some hits, and the Senators score again. At intermission Therrien tells the team that it takes scoring three goals go win a game. Ottawa later proves his point, and gets another goal to spare with the empty-netter.
November 9, and the boys are practicing the shootout, with Murray coming up the eventual winner of the contest. This is high comedy, and even Murray laughs about it with reporters. Then there's an awkward exchange between Galchenyuk and Peter Budaj, where Galchenyuk won't let go that he scored more on Budaj than Budaj recalls. I can't tell if Budaj is just being cute or he's actually annoyed Galchenuk is having all of this awkwardness captured on film.
After practice, the boys sign autographs for freezing fans outside; Prust signs a couple of tee shirts, including a Galchenyuk one. Parros and Murray are leaving in the same car, and we're reminded that they were once foes when they each sign a photo of their 2009 fight when Parros was a Duck and Murray a Shark. Shark beats duck, right? It's like rock. You're not telling me paper can beat rock. Anyway I looked it up and these two are both super genius ivy-league grads, not just Parros. Smart enough to get paid loads of money to play a couple of minutes a game, anyway.
At their November 10 practice, there's a huge attendance of novice and pee wee coaches there to get a little wisdom from Michel Therrien. Therrien tells them a lot of great things and I believe him that he believes himself, you know? Communicating with his players and getting the best from each one of them, and that each of those coaches will have a big impact on the development of these young children.
Later in the video room with the team, he reminds them, in case they forgot, that they've been having a hard time scoring goals lately and again, that they have to get three goals to win a game. "We all know we gotta win." It's pretty simple.
Next up it's the Islanders for the Habs, and we get a look at Charles Lindon Prevost, the anthem singer of the fabulous hair, and his pre-anthem warmup mi-mi-mi. He talks about getting pumped up before he sings, and with all that energy in the building, and how he has to remind himself to calm down, that he's not actually going to play in the game. It's the last game before Remembrance Day, so some of our mounties are there on the ice with him when he sings to Diane Bibeau's organ.
There are no goals in the first period, and in the second Gallagher scores the first goal. Graham Rynbend, head athletic therapist goes and lets Therrien know that Travis Moen has left the game with the flu, because Therrien himself had clearly not noticed Moen's absence. Carey Price's helmet gets wrecked, and then ensuing scene of assistant equipment manager Patrick Langlois racing to the equipment room to get a backup mask is like out of a superhero movie, complete with soundtrack. The Islanders tie, then the Kid Line gets a pretty goal. Not so pretty is Gionta, who loses a couple of teeth when he gets a stick to the face. The dentist is on hand, explaining how he'll fix up Gio's smile, and we get a closeup of the broken teeth. Bournival later scores to make the score 3-1.
In the third, the Islanders score a goal that gets reviewed, and Budaj argues with the linesman why the kicked-in goal wouldn't count, because, "I know my soccer." The goal is rendered good however, to Budaj's disbelief. No matter, because then Galchenyuk scores, and afterwards kisses his jersey's logo, in that now-famous scene that closed every sports recap show that night. The Habs finally break their slump with a 4-2 win, after scoring the three-goal minimum.
It's weird, because after the game, former goalie of the Soviet Union's national team Vladislav Tretiak is there talking to Andrei Markov, Alexei Emelin and Stephane Waite, but the narrator only mentions Markov and Waite by name. In the dressing room, I hope Brandon Prust washed his hands before sticking his fingers in Gionta's mouth, and we get a super closeup of Gionta grinning for the camera, sticking his tongue through the hole in his smile, and I can't decide if it's ugly or cool. And the show is over for another week. This is when I wish we'd get "Next week, on 24CH," previews. Bets on P.K. getting pranked again next time?
More from Eyes On The Prize:
- Top Six Minutes: Pacioretty week continues
- Complete coverage from the Habs' win over the Penguins
- Complete coverage from the Habs' win over the Capitals
- Subban joins Pacioretty's postgame interview
- Budaj trolls Crosby on the bench
- Bulldogs break their losing streak at the Bell Centre