A new Top Shelf contest was launched on social media Thursday afternoon. After each Canadiens game, the following question qui tue will be launched – what album did last night’s Habs game remind you of?
My old pal Mike Abraham came up with the idea and the first lucky winner is my former Gaz colleague Jim Withers, who suggested that Wednesday night’s Bruins-Habs match-up could be best described by the title of Bob Dylan’s 1975 masterpiece Blood on the Tracks. Brilliant! It was just about as much of a downer as that classic divorce album.
This was a huge game for the Hab-nots. And they came out of it soundly humiliated by their Beantown rivals. Just think back to the euphoria last week in the Habs Nation following the signing of Thomas Vanek. ‘Oh we can beat anyone in the East’ said the guy on the bar-stool beside me (along with every other crazed Habs fan in the city) and folks would keep pointing to the two wins earlier in the season over Boston.
Well those fans aren’t quite as euphoric today, following the Bruins’ 4-1 trouncing of Les Boys. Yes Montreal got all kinds of chances in the first period – out-shooting the Bruins 13-6 – but all that matters is they came out of that period tied zippo-to-zippo. Chances and $4.50 will get you a milky “latte” at FiveBucks.
You have to capitalize on your chances and that’s exactly what the Bruins did. The headline on Richard Labbe’s column in La Presse summed it up nicely: ‘Savoir profiter de ses chances.’
Fact is the Habs’ scoring is still seriously broken. By the way, the team has lost three games since Vanek arrived from The Island and he’s managed just one assist. Worse, now more and more commentators are starting to mention that he’s actually quite the one-dimensional player. All he does is score. He doesn’t hit, back-check, defend, forecheck. He’s what I like to call a puck-activated player. When the rubber is not attached to his stick, he’s not moving.
And he’s not scoring. And no one else is either. Writers here love to celebrate Thomas Plekanec but I nearly spat up my Corn Flakes when I heard the commentator on the highlights – low-lights? – say that he has one goal in his last 18 games. One thing that’s clear is that Vanek hasn’t been clicking with Plek and Brian Gionta and so maybe kindly ol’ coach Michel ‘Losing the Room’ Therrien might want to keep up that third-period experiment that had Vanek skating with Max Pacioretty and David Desharnais.
The bottom-line? Having nabbed just two points in their last five games, the Hab-nots are sitting not-so-pretty in fourth place in the East, with 77 points, just four points out of eighth in the conference. Or as my pal Erik Leijon put it memorably on Twitter just after the game: ‘Habs are four points above eighth place in their joke of a conference.’
Aren’t you glad we got Vanek? What did I say a few days ago? Bread and circuses, man. Or to paraphrase a line from St. Bob on the first song off of Blood on the Tracks – It’s all just an illusion to me now.