Habs In Battle Of Titans With Slapitals
The Canadiens are currently the hottest team in the NHL over the past ten games, sharing a 8-1-1 record with Detroit and Calgary over that span. The Capitals and Bruins, the Habs the next two opponants, have an 8-2-0 run under their belts.
The Canadiens have been anxiously awaiting this return bout with Washington, as they had dropped a pair of games to this formidable foe earlier in the season. There was a late November embarrassment, a 3-0 shutout at the hands of Jose Theodore that they would love to have back, and a 2-1 loss on December 13, the first game captain Saku Koivu missed due to an ankle injury.
Tonight's game against Washington represents the midway point in the season, and Tuesday's game against Boston begins the second half. Should the Habs fare well in winning both contests, it would give their Stanley Cup aspirations a great boost. The Canadiens seem primed to do well, having dealt will all kinds of adversity and injuries to key players from the lineup over the last winning stretch.
The Capitals hardly play in a hockey hot bed, nonethless there were two slaps out of Washington this past week that made big headlines.
The more notorious of the two, was a loosely termed fight between the Caps' Alexander Semin and the Rangers Mark Staal. After a short tussle, both players landed on the ice, with Semin on top. In one of the funniest hockey moments I've ever witnessed, Semin then administered a series of left and right paddycake slaps to Staal's head, before being pulled off by officials.
The clip can be seen here right below. I've watched it numerous times and it still makes me shake my head. In some odd way, the slapfest is just as embarrassing to Semin as it would be to Staal. Imagine having the reputation as the player who was on the receiving end of the bitchslaps?
It almost makes me wish the victim had been Sidney Crosby. Maybe he and Semin will get into it sometime down the road. They've had words earlier this season, and I can almost picture the two going at it. Semin could headlock Crosby in a fetal position, and give him a spanking, literally!
Then again, too bad the victim wasn't Mikhail Grabovski!
Maybe in Semin, there's a fight that Tom Kostopolous could finally look good in!
The other Caps' slap was somewhat directed at Canadiens players, when Washington coach Bruce Boudreau criticized that All Star game format that saw his star player Alex Ovechkin excluded from the fan voted starters.
Truly, Ovechkin is a no brainer on there, but the coach just sounded silly piping up about it.
"It's dumb. It's not right that the best player in the game is not a starter. But it is what it is. We want to get the fans involved, and they've got the right to vote for whoever they want. Everybody that knows hockey knows that Alex would be in the starting lineup if it went on merit."
Now just who is Boudreau criticizing here?
The NHL, for having a very dubious voting process?
The fans of the game, perhaps those that don't "know hockey?"
Capitals fans, for not bringing it for Alex, maybe?
How about Canadiens fans perhaps, for being ultimate homers for a game which will be held in their city?
Maybe it is directed at Alex Kovalev, who seems to have robbed Ovechkin of some precious honour, in Boudreau's eyes?
I'd say Boudreau really ought to shut up when it comes to critiquing how awards are voted for. If he wants to talk about merit, he should give his Jack Adams trophy for coach of the year last season to Ovechkin and Cristobal Huet, who made him look absolutely genial down the stretch.
In an interesting subplot to tonight's game, the winning team's coach will have the honour of standing next to the Bruins' Claude Julien behind the Eastern All Stars bench in a few weeks.
Wouldn't it be nice to see Carbonneau rubbing elbows with Julien, rather than having two bald head come together to make one perfect looking ass?