Overtime!: December 2007
League of Legends Guide

Monday, December 31, 2007

8 out of 12.

The Montreal Canadiens finished their six game road trip yesterday and faced the New-York Rangers at Madison Square Gardens.

The Habs had the Rangers cornered late in the third period but a goal from Chris Drury who slapped in a loose puck in front of Christobal Huet’s goal tied the score at 3-3 and sent both teams in overtime.

Brendan Shanahan took advantage of a giveaway from defensemen Roman Hamrlik and scored the game winner with a very precise wrist shot. Final score: Rangers 4 - Canadiens 3.

Both Andrei Kostitsyn and Tomas Plekanec played a great game for the Habs as they both participated to every Montreal goals. Kostitsyn with 2 goals and an assist, Plekanec with a goal and 2 assists. Girardi, Jagr, Drury and Shanahan scored the Rangers goals.

So with a harvest of 8 points out of a possible 12 during this late year road trip, the Canadiens avoided a major slide in the standing like I was personally expecting. The line changes performed by head coach Guy Carbonneau came at the right time and had positive results for the team.

Next game for Montreal will take place at the Bell centre as the Canadiens will host the Tampa Bay Lightning on january 3rd.

(Picture: Brendan Shanahan, Getty images.)


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Saturday, December 29, 2007

Habs sweeps Florida.

For the first time since the NHL is established in Florida, the Montreal Canadiens managed to win back-to-back games against both teams from the sunshine state. A 5-1 victory over the Florida Panthers completed the floridian sweep.

Yesterday, the Habs assaulted Tomas Vokoun’s net very early in the game. After only 5:03 of play, the Habs were ahead by 3-0 and forced the Panthers coach Jacques Martin to retire Tomas Vokoun from the action.

Guillaume Latendresse opened the score with his 11th goal of the season. Then the rush was followed by Michael Ryder who snapped his scoring slump with his first goal since november 16th. Then Christopher Higgins’ goal at 5:03 chased Vokoun out of the game. Craig Anderson came in relief for the Panthers.

The Habs continued their good collective work during the second period. Tom Kostopoulos lit the lamp to increase the Habs lead to 4 goals. Then during the third period, Olli Jokinen avoided the shutout for the Panthers. Finally, late in the game, Mark Streit sealed the deal when he received a great pass from Chris Higgins to score the last goal of the game. Higgins finished the game with a goal, two assists and the first star of the game award.

The line modifications performed by head coach Guy Carbonneau before the last game in Tampa allowed the team to gel together. First, we saw a very creative Saku Koivu during this short period of time. He seems to appreciate his new linemates. (Latendresse and S.Kostitsyn)

The new third line formed by Chris Higgins, Michael Ryder and Maxim Lapierre at centre worked together for a second game in a row as well. Both Higgins and Ryder broke their scoreless streak yesterday and looked much more involved in the game. The secret about this line working well is Maxim Lapierre’s very effective gritty and intense style of play. After a timid start since being called up with the team last december 5th, we are now seeing the Maxim Lapierre we saw during the late stages of last season.

I have said it last season and I will repeat it right now...I am seeing shades of Guy Carbonneau in Lapierre. He’s the same kind of effective, gritty and annoying player, managing to net in 15-20 goals per season as Carbonneau was. Yesterday, Lapierre has an assist, was forechecking, blocking shots and played on the first PK wave... the kind of assignments filled by Carbonneau himself in the 80s and 90s.

This six game road trip will end sunday as the Habs will face the New-York Rangers at the Madison Square Gardens. The Habs show a 3-1-1 record during this road trip. I personally thought that the team would crumble during this sequence but the opposite seems to be happening. The new lines formed by Carbonneau could be the highlight of the season for the Habs should they continue their winning ways.

As of now, the team is responding well to the changes. Is it only a temporary effect? We will be able to judge of it in the coming weeks.

(Picture: Lapierre-Higgins-Ryder, Canadian press.)


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Friday, December 28, 2007

Habs strikes the Lightning.

The Montreal Canadiens had to bounce back from their pityful performance in Dallas and they did just that. A good collective effort allowed them to dispose of the Tampa Bay Lightning by 5-2.

Head coach Guy Carbonneau has made substantial changes in the Habe lineup for yesterday's game. First, Saku Koivu had Guillaume Latendresse and Sergei Kostitsyn paired with him while Michael Ryder and Christopher Higgins played on the third line along with Maxim Lapierre at center. The changes worked well for this game as the Habs displayed a good cohesion all game long.

Maxim Lapierre opened the score with the first goal of the game during the first period. Then Guillaume Latendresse scored his 10th of the season, sending a juicy rebound behind goaltender Johan Holmqvist. Only 10 seconds into the second period, Alex Kovalev received a gift from Holmqvist who really looked awful on the play.

Tampa's coach John Tortorella had seen enough and took Holmqvist out of the game. The young Karri Ramo came in relief early into the second period. Andrei Markov and Andrei Kostitsyn scored during the third period, giving the Habs a 5-0 lead at the time and forcing Tortorella to send Johan Holmqvist back in the net to finish the game.

There is no rest for Montreal as they will play the Florida Panthers tonight.

(Picture: Guillaume Latendresse and Sergei Kostitsyn, Canadian Press.)


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Thursday, December 27, 2007

World Junior Hockey Championships: Day 2.

Canada was in action once again today and once again they kept their oppoenents scorless.

Kyle Turris
scored 2 goals while goaltender Steve Mason stopped 22 shots good enough for a 2-0 Canada win over Slovakia.

Both goals scored by Kyle Turris were registered during a power play. If it wasn’t for the slovak goaltender, Julius Hudacek, Canada’s victory would’ve been by a bigger margin.

This is the 20th consecutive victory for Canada in the worlds juniors, a tournament record. Canada will have a day off before facing Sweden on saturday.

(Picture: Kyle Turris, Canadian press.)

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Sidney Crosby, athlete of the year.

The Canadian press awarded the Lionel Conacher trophy given to the canadian athlete of the year yesterday to Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The last canadian hockey player to receive the Conacher trophy was Mario Lemieux back in 1993. As for Wayne Gretzky, he was awarded the award a total of six times during his career. Crosby succeeds to a basketball player, Steve Nash, who won the award in 2006 and 2005.

Here is a quick look back at past canadian athletes of the year:

2007 -- Sidney Crosby, Hockey
2006 -- Steve Nash, Basketball
2005 -- Steve Nash, Basketball
2004 -- Kyle Shewfelt, Gymnastics
2003 -- Mike Weir, Golf
2002 -- Steve Nash, Basketball
2002 -- Steve Nash, Basketball
2001 -- Mike Weir, Golf
2000 -- Mike Weir, Golf
1999 -- Wayne Gretzky (named athlete of the century)
1998 -- Larry Walker, Baseball
1997 -- Jacques Villeneuve, Racing
1996 -- Donovan Bailey, Track and field
1995 -- Jacques Villeneuve, Racing
1994 -- Elvis Stojko, Figure skating
1993 -- Mario Lemieux, Hockey

(Picture: Sidney Crosby, Getty images.)


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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Canada opens with a win.

Team Canada Jr opened their tournament with a very solid performance, a 3-0 victory over the Czech republic.

John Tavares
didn't waste any time to showcase all of his scoring skills as he scored twice during the game including the first goal of the tournament for Canada. Matthew Halischuk scored the other goal for Canada. Steven Stamkos grabbed 3 assists during the game.

Goaltender Jonathan Bernier held the Czech republic scoreless as he blocked all of the 44 shots that were sent his way. Bernier was very effective especially during the first period as the Czech tried all they could to score the first goal of the game. The canadian goaltender was chosen as the player of the game.

This one will count as the 19th consecutive victory for Canada at the World junior hockey championships.

Today's other scores:

USA 5 - Kazakhstan 1
Russia 7 - Finland 4
Sweden 4 - Slovakia 3

(Picture: Jonathan Bernier, Canadian Press.)

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Team Canada Jr. begins title defense today.

The World Junior Hockey Championships begins today for Canada as they play their first pool game this afternoon against the host team, the Czech Republic. Canada will try to win a 4th gold medal in a row.

Goaltender Jonathan Bernier should see plenty of action during this tournament. Bernier compared the pressure of winning the gold for Canada to the pressure he faced during the Los Angeles Kings season opener played in England early this last October. A game that Bernier won, registering his first NHL shutout. Jonathan Bernier has kept a 1-3 record during his short trip in the NHL with the Kings.

Canadian head coach Craig Hartsburg defined his lines before the start of the competition. Here are his offensive lines: First, Claude Giroux and Brad Marchand will play with Kyle Turris at centre, Brandon Sutter will have Stefan Legein and Wayne Simmonds as wingers, Steve Stamkos will play in centre with Matt Halischuk and Shawn Matthias then four other players are available. John Tavares, Riley Holzapfel, Colton Gillies and Zach Boychuk.

As for the defensive pairs, Karl Alzner and Drew Doughty should be paired together, Thomas Hickey and Luke Schenn, then Logan Pyett and Josh Godfrey. P.K. Subban is kept as an extra defensemen.

Will Canada successfully defend their triple title?

(Picture: Jonathan Bernier, Canadian Press.)

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Monday, December 24, 2007

Completely dominated.

The december 23rd drought continues for the Montreal Canadiens as they haven't won a game on this very date since 1945.

Yesterday, Mike Ribeiro and the Dallas Stars made sure that the Habs would not break this curse. Ribeiro scored a goal and added two assists in a 4-1 Dallas victory.

As they were playing a second game in two nights, the Canadiens were not a very difficult opponent for the Stars. Dallas controlled the play at will all game long. Down 4-0, Andrei Markov avoided the shutout with his 9th goal of the season.

The lenght of the drought is impressive. The Habs show a record of 0-10-8 on opposing rinks since 1945. To break such a bad sequence, the Canadiens will need a far better team than what they are putting on the ice since a few years already.

Bob Gainey must be kicking himself when he sees Mike Ribeiro perform like he was yesterday. Ribeiro was sent out of Montreal for Janne Niniimaa, a player who is not even playing in the NHL anymore. Nice going Bob...

Next up for Montreal: a date with Vincent Lecavalier and the Tampa Bay Lightning on thursday.

(Picture: Mike Ribeiro, Canadian Press.)


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Sunday, December 23, 2007

2007 best sport picture.

Alright! Some might not agree on this one but my vote for the best 2007 sports picture goes to Getty images for their Lewis Hamilton clip at the Shanghai Grand Prix.

The China Grand Prix has given us an unexpected turnaround for the Formula One drivers championship.
With just two races to go,extraordinary rookie Lewis Hamilton had the chance to close the books and take home the 2007 drivers championship with a decent finish in China.

But a tire failure forced the youngster to retire of the race, only to experience more trouble during the final race of the season. The crown slipping out of his hands by a tiny single point at the end.
His body language captured on this clip as he walks away from his car wins the crown for me.

(Picture: Lewis Hamilton, Getty images.)


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Playing better but losing.

The Montreal Canadiens is really having one bizarre season. One night they play awful and win then the following night they play better and end up losing.

That is exactly what happened yesterday. The Habs played a solid game yesterday versus the Atlanta Trashers but finally dropped the game during the shootout session. Final score: Atlanta Trashers 3 - Montreal Canadiens 2.

Sergei Kostitsyn seems a good fit for now on the first line for the Habs. Along with Saku Koivu and Chris Higgins, the young winger is playing better as games go by. Yesterday, he scored his second goal in his last two games.

Vyacheslav Kozlov and Eric Perrin both scored for Atlanta, giving them a 2-1 lead going into the third period. But Alex Kovalev tied the game at 2-2 during the third period with a powerful blast that went past goaltender Kari Lehtonen. The russian now has 15 goals this season and clearly leads the Habs in scoring.

The shootout allowed Atlanta to get away with the victory. Their shootout record this season is simply impressive. Four wins and only one loss. As for the Habs, they continued to struggle during the shootout as they now show a very ordinary 2-5 record.

There will be no rest for the Habs as they will play tonight in Dallas. Montreal will try to break their December 23rd curse as they haven’t won on this very date since 1945!

(Picture: Marian Hossa, Canadian Press.)


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Saturday, December 22, 2007

Bluffers, beware!

I have not played online poker a lot since the last 11 months but it happens that I have some free time lately...

So I started playing online hold em freerolls lately with limited results until last evening.

From a field of 700 players, not only I managed to qualify for the final 10 player table but I was even leading at chipcount for a good part of the late tournament stage. With only 3 players left including myself, I was still the leading stack.

Finally I ended up a only a hair behind the eventual winner, finishing in a respectable 2nd place. A very good result as I followed my pace all tournament long. I was patient but firm and aggressive when I knew I had my opponents behind one way or another.

I really like the PKR.com website. It offers a nice quality of 3D graphics and animations, plus the fact that you can manage to win cash from scratch with their scheduled 5$ and 20$ freerolls.

Follow the text link above, and enter overtime into the promo box and get 100% matching bonus up to 600$! This is a campaign initiated by myself, as a bonus for you.

For the freeroll chasers, winning just one freeroll tournament or finishing in 2nd place like I did is plenty enough to try your luck in the lowest ring tables available on the site.

(Picture: My own chipset.)


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Friday, December 21, 2007

Opportunistic Habs.

Despite playing a very ordinary game, the Montreal Canadiens have won the first game of their six game road trip, 5-2 over the Washington Capitals.

The two main actors of this victory were goaltender Christobal Huet and Guillaume Latendresse. Huet was in net for the first time in two weeks due to a leg injury and kept his team afloat with important saves while Latendresse scored twice.

The game turned in favor of the Habs during the second period as they scored two goals with their first two shots of the period. Guillaume Latendresse and Tomas Plekanec propelled the Habs in front by two goals while Huet made important saves to protect the lead.

The shot count describes the course of the game. The Capitals registered 37 shots while the Habs only produced 21 shots on Olaf Kolzig's net.

During the thrid period, Sergei Kostitsyn scored his very first NHL goal in career as he tipped a shot that went in behind Kolzig.

Next stop for the Habs will be in Atlanta to face the Trashers on saturday evening.

(Picture: Getty images.)


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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

30 games suspension for Chris Simon.

The NHL verdict has been laid down, and last saturday actions of Chris Simon on the ice will be penalized with a record setting 30 games. This is already Simon's 8th career NHL suspension.

Is it even enough? That is a valid question in that particular case. It has been said that Simon is dealing with off ice problems. The man needs help obviously. Technically, Chris Simon could come back on february 21st! Thats is just 2 months of time from tonight.

Will 2 months (including the holiday season knocking at our doors) be enough to shrug off all of his monsters? I believe that more time should be awarded to professionnals to fix Simon once and for all. With that being said, I think the league would better served the man by banning him for the remainder of the 07-08 season.

Anything short of this will eventually result in another serious (and maybe life threatning this time) aggression.

(Picture: Chris Simon, Getty images.)


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The Tortoise and the Hare.

The Montreal Canadiens waited way too long to start playing to the desired level of intensity and the Florida Panthers got out of Montreal with a 3-2 victory.

The Habs were nowhere to be found during the first two periods yesterday. After one period they were only able to register 3 shots on goal. Jozef Stumpel, Brett McLean and Olli Jokinen scored to install the Panthers in front by 3-0.

With just 10 minutes to go to the third period, the Canadiens started to be more intense and more dangerous around Tomas Vokoun's net. Andrei Markov scored 2 goals to reduce the Panthers lead to only a single goal but it was too late.

''Inexcusable.'' was Guy Carbonneau's way to describe the general team effort into yesterday's game. There is no way in explaining why the players lacked of playing intensity. If the players thought that they were in for an easy one then they have another example that you cannot win a NHL game against anyone without a sufficient level of effort and intensity.

The Canadiens are now looking at a 6 game road streak coming up until the end of the year. This trip will either force the team to regroup or it will break them into bits.

(Picture: Getty images.)


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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Chris Simon....again!

Saturday evening at the end of a game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the New-York Islanders, Chris Simon of the Islanders had something in store for Jarkko Ruutu.

The sneaky Simon took advantage of a slip and fall of Ruutu going back to his bench to give him a shot to a leg using his own skate. Luckily enough, Simon partly missed Ruutu's leg and hitted the boot of the skate, avoiding a potential serious injury.

Yesterday, Simon had a meeting with the Islanders owner Charles Wang, the general manager Garth Snow and the team head coach Ted Nolan. They all came to the conclusion that Chris Simon needed help. I totally agree with this conclusion. Chris Simon needs serious psychological help.

The NHL will probably suspend Simon this week. This will be the 8th time that Simon will be suspended for his disgusting actions on the ice. His last one costed him a 25-games suspension for hitting Ryan Hollweg to the face with his stick towards the end of last season.

My opinion is that the league should definatly ban Simon from NHL action. The league and the game of hockey don't need a dirty and sneaky player like Chris Simon. An example should be given.

How many games should Simon pay for this? The NHL will give us an answer this week.


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Monday, December 17, 2007

Brett Favre gets in front of Dan Marino.

The Green Bay Packers’ quarterback Brett Favre registered another NFL record as he got past Dan Marino for the most passing yards in career yesterday in a 33-14 victory over the St-Louis Rams.

Favre got past Marino’s 61 361 passing yards mark but once again mentionned to the press that his main focus was to win the game, not the record itself. The Packers now has a shiny 12-2 record, tied with the Dallas Cowboys, who lost to the Philadelphia Eagles yesterday. Both teams will avoid a divisional playoff game and deserved this first round bye in three weeks.

As for the New-England Patriots, they remained undefeated for the season, defeating the New-York Jets by 20-10. Their 14-0 record ties the NFL record for the most wins to start a season.

(Picture: Brett Favre.)


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Sunday, December 16, 2007

First line snaps losing streak.

The Montreal Canadiens have finally managed to win a second game in a row since a long time, finally snapping the long home drought at the Bell centre to 6 straight losses.

All thanks to the Habs newly tweaked first line. Final score: Montreal Canadiens 4 - Toronto Maple Leafs 1.

Saku Koivu, Christopher Higgins and the newcomer from the Hamilton Bulldogs, Sergei Kostitsyn, worked together for a second game in a row and created enough turmoil around the Leafs net to put the Habs ahead, and eventually by 4-0 during the third period when Alex Kovalev scored his team leading 14th goal of the season.

Yesterday, Koivu has given the fans 2 goals to finally break out of a long slump, Christopher Higgins continued on his steady contribution, getting a helper on both Koivu goals. A mention to the young Sergei Kostitsyn with his first NHL point at his second game in his NHL career.

The coming of Sergei Kostitsyn maybe woke up his older brother this week, Andrei raked in a goal and an assist at the Leafs expense yesterday. Rookie goaltender Carey Price lost his first career shutout late in the third, when he missed a screened shot from Boyd Devereaux that went in his net.

So now the addition in the Habs lineup of what seemed to be the most talented prospects made the wheel turn in the good direction for two straight games. Will it last? Next up are the Florida Panthers coming at the Bell centre in Montreal before the Canadiens go on the road for 6 straight games to end 2007.

(Picture: Saku Koivu, Christopher Higgins, Sergei Kostitsyn, Canadian Press.)


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Friday, December 14, 2007

Mitchell report: Big Bang inside MLB.

After a 20 months investigation concerning the use of performance enhancing drugs by Major League Baseball players, the ex-senator George Mitchell released the identity of a list of players who are said to have used performance enhancing drugs.

The list of players contained in the Mitchell report is simply impressive. Over 70 names are mentionned in the report. And NONE of the 30 MLB teams are spared, each and every MLB club has at least one player in the list.

The shockwave doesn’t spare the province of Quebec as the 2003 Cy Young winner Eric Gagné’s name is present in the Mitchell report. Gagné is said to have contacted an ex-New-York Mets employee, Kirk Radomski, and told him he was interested in buying growth hormones for himself. Radomski said that catcher Paul Lo Duca was used as an intermediate for Gagné as he signed two checks of $3200 each in a 6 weeks span during 2004.

Here is the soon to be famous list of players contained in the Mitchell report:

Performance enhancing products users:

Marvin Benard
Barry Bonds
Bobby Estalella
Jason Giambi
Jeremy Giambi
Benito Santiago
Gary Sheffield
Randy Velarde

Steroids and growth hormones users:

Lenny Dykstra
David Segui
Larry Bigbie
Brian Roberts
Jack Cust
Tim Laker
Josias Manzanillo
Todd Hundley
Mark Carreon
Hal Morris
Matt Franco
Rondell White
Roger Clemens
Andy Pettitte
Chuck Knoblauch
Jason Grimsley
Gregg Zaun
David Justice
F.P. Santangelo
Glenallen Hill
Mo Vaughn
Denny Neagle
Ron Villone
Ryan Franklin
Chris Donnels
Todd Williams
Phil Hiatt
Todd Pratt
Kevin Young
Mike Lansing
Cody McKay
Kent Mercker
Adam Piatt
Miguel Tejada
Jason Christiansen
Mike Stanton
Stephen Ranfolph
Jerry Hairston Jr.
Paul Lo Duca
Adam Riggs
Bart Miadich
Fernando Vina
Kevin Brown
Eric Gagné
Mike Bell
Matt Herges
Gary Bennett Jr.
Jim Parque
Brendan Donnelly
Chad Allen
Jeff Williams
Howie Clark
Exavier Logan

Bought drug enhancing products on the web:

Rick Ankiel
David Bell
Paul Byrd
Jose Canseco
Jay Gibbons
Troy Glaus
Jason Grimsley
Jose Guillen
Jerry Hairston Jr.
Darren Holmes
Gary Matthews Jr.
John Rocker
Scott Schoeneweis
Ismael Valdez
Matt Williams
Steve Woodard

As you can see, the list is simply impressive. This case is far from being closed.

(Picture: Eric Gagné, Canadian Press.)


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Winning away from the Bell centre.

The Montreal Canadiens played a solid game away from their home ice once again as they disposed of the Philadelphia Flyers by 4-1.

Montreal got away with the game in second period as they lit the lamp three times during the second period alone. Mark Streit scored twice, Chris Higgins and Andrei Kostitsyn completed the score for the Habs. The team has a respectable 10-5-1 record away from their home ice while they struggle at home, showing a 5-6-4 record at the Bell centre.

Sergei Kostitsyn was experiencing his first NHL regular season game in career and did very well in those circumstances. His speed and stickhandling opened some eyes and is making us ask why did the team waited 30 games to call him up with the club.

The Habs will try to avoid a club record tying 7th loss in a row on their home ice as they will face the Toronto Maple Leafs saturday evening at the Bell centre.

(Picture: Getty images.)


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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Sergei Kostitsyn called up.

Tonight for their match versus the Philadelphia Flyers, the Montreal Canadiens have called up Sergei Kostitsyn from their AHL farm team, the Hamilton Bulldogs.

Kostitsyn is third among AHL rookies with 22 points this season. He joins his brother Andrei who is already a regular in the Habs lineup this season. The last time two brothers played together with the Montreal Canadiens was back during the 1990-1991 season when the Lebeau brothers (Stephan and Patrick) teamed up.

Andrei Kostitsyn was forming a line with Saku Koivu and Chris Higgins during yesterday practice. Will this addition to the Habs lineup shake things up for the better? We will have an answer tonight.

(Picture: Andrei Kostitsyn, Getty images.)


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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Habs: One away from the team record.

The Montreal Canadiens have suffered a 6th loss in a row in their own building, a 3-2 loss yesterday against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Saturday evening, a 7th loss in a row will tie a 1935 record.

After taking a 1-0 lead thru Alex Kovalev's 13th goal of the season, Vincent Lecavalier and Andre Roy sent Tampa in front by 2-1. It took a lot of efforts from Montreal to finally tie up the score. Tomas Plekanec managed to tie the game up at 2-2 with just over 5 minutes to go to the contest.

The Lightning finally won the game during the shootout when Brad Richards had a perfect shot in store, a shot that went over Carey Price's right shoulder. Marc Denis was in net for Tampa and has won his first game of the season.

If the team has some pride left, they will play a desperate game against the Toronto Maple Leafs on saturday to avoid losing a 7th game in front of their own fans.

(Picture: Andre Roy, Canadian Press.)


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Monday, December 10, 2007

Colts, Packers, Cowboys and Pats clinch division title.

The four best teams of the NFL this season, The New-England Patriots, the Indianapolis Colts, the Green Bay Packers and the Dallas Cowboys have won their respective games yesterday to clinch a playoff spot and their respective divisional titles.

The Patriots still work on their perfect season as they defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers by 34-13. Tom Brady and Randy Moss hooked up for two touchdowns during the game. Tom Brady now totals 45 touchdown passes, only a handfull away from the NFL single season record.

The Dallas Cowboys needed a last minute drive to edge the Detroit Lions by 28-27. Tony Romo hooked up with Jason Witten with only 18 seconds to go into the game for the winning score. Dallas still leads the NFC with their 12-1 record.

The Green Bay Packers blew out the Oakland Raiders by 38-7 to clinch their division championship. Brett Favre continued his amazing longevity streak as he registered his 250th consecutive start despite being banged up last week.

As for the Indianapolis Colts, they completely dominated the Baltimore Ravens to finally win by the score of 44-20. Peyton Manning registered his 300th touchdown pass in career during the game.

We expect those four teams to fight in conference championship this january.

(Picture: Randy Moss, Canadian Press.)


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Saturday, December 08, 2007

Joachim Alcine retains his WBA title.

Yesterday at the Bell centre in front of 14 902 boxing fans, Montreal's own Joachim Alcine (30-0-0, 19 KOs) was defending his WBA world title for the first time against Alfonso Mosqueira (19-6-0, 7 KOs).

The Panamean did everything he could to cash in his biggest opportunity in career. Mosqueira gave everything he had, trying to keep Alcine in the ropes and hit the WBA champ with combinations. But under Alcine's increased pressure late in the bout, he visited the canvas twice during the 12th round. The fight was then stopped by the referree as the Panamean seemed unable to defend himself anymore. The TKO was registered at 2:17 of the 12th round.

Jean Pascal (20-0-0, 14 KOs) was also in action yesterday as he faced Brian Norman (15-6-0, 4 KOs). Pascal was not in optimal condition as he had some problems to his right shoulder during his last fight. The same problem surfaced again yesterday as Pascal fought the second half of the fight mainly using his left hand.

The best moments for Brian Norman came at the 6th round where he cornered Jean Pascal and hammered him with a flurry of shots, stunning his undefeated opponent who was saved by the bell. A wake up call that Jean Pascal recognized as he completed the fight the best he could. It was just enough to win by unanimous decision, the three judges giving the advantage to Jean Pascal by 98-92.

(Pictures: Joachim Alcine sends Alfonso Mosqueira to the canvas, Canadian Press.)
(Jean Pascal, Canadian Press.)


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Friday, December 07, 2007

Habs snap the losing streak.

The Montreal Canadiens really have Boston’s number as they now have won four times in a row against the Boston Bruins this season. This time by the score of 4-2.

If we include last season games between the two teams, the Habs have won their last 7 meetings with the Boston Bruins. Yesterday, Montreal started the game by leading 3-0 after the first period. Chris Higgins, Kyle Chipchura and Tomas Plekanec gave the early lead to Montreal. Then came yet another letdown during the second period which the Bruins took advantage of, scoring two goals on rookie goaltender Carey Price.

After two periods, the Habs lead was then cut to only a single goal. Hopefully, the playing intensity came back during the third period, and Matthieu Dandenault scored the insurance goal.

The win came at a cost for the Habs. Bryan Smolinski injuried himself to a knee early in the game and Steve Begin fell hard into the boards, injuring himself to a shoulder. The extend of both injuries will be known later on. The loss of two players forced head coach Guy Carbonneau to shorten his bench during the third period and play with three offensive lines. This decision gave some pace to the team as they defended their lead with success this time.

Ryan O’Byrne did very well in his first NHL game in career. Paired with Roman Hamrlik, O’Byrne ended the evening with 2 assists. The young 6 foot 5 defensemen looks ready for the big league and will put some pressure on the other defensemens. A regular defensemen on the roster will have to leave his spot to O’Byrne.

(Picture: Kyle Chipchura, Canadian Press.)


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Thursday, December 06, 2007

Bob Gainey wakes up from his coma.

After staying immobile for two months, the Montreal Canadiens general manager Bob Gainey finally woke up and decided to call up two players from the Hamilton Bulldogs to try to shake his team up a bit.

So the forward Maxim Lapierre and defensemen Ryan O'Byrne practiced with the team yesterday morning after receiving the call from Gainey. They will both be in the lineup tonight in Boston as the Habs will try to end their losing streak. This will be the first regular season game for the 20-year old O'Byrne, always a special unforgettable moment for a rookie. As for Lapierre, he already had some regular season experience from last season.

Head coach Guy Carbonneau said that the fun time is over and if some players do not perform to his liking he will not hesitate to bench them. Will the Habs snap their losing streak tonight in Boston?

(Picture: Maxim Lapierre, Getty images.)


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Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Humbling lesson.

The Detroit Red Wings showed why they were one of the top teams in the NHL yesterday as they had no problems defeating the Montreal Canadiens by 4-1.

Pavel Datsuk scored the first two goals for the Wings who managed to control the game from start to finish. They held Montreal to only 16 shots on their own goal. The Wings domination was frustrating for the Habs fans who booed their team for a second game in a row.

Montreal (13-10-4) has now lost 5 of their last 6 games with no sign of a turnaround. The team is now sinking in the standings. A serious commitment from every player will be needed very soon or their season will become a pityful one.

(Picture: Canadian Press.)


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Tuesday, December 04, 2007

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Habs-Wings tonight.

The Montreal Canadiens have a serious test tonight versus the Detroit Red Wings. The latest games were not easy for the Habs and tonight will be another tough one to handle.

Guy Carbonneau have chosen Carey Price to be in net against the Wings. Christobal Huet injuried himself to the groin during the first period of saturday's game and will miss action tonight. Montreal has called up Jaroslav Halak to replace the injuried Huet. Price will play despite a flu and told the press that Huet could only miss a single game due to the mild nature of his groin injury.

If the Habs hopes to win tonight's game they will need to play a solid 60 minutes. Anything less will result into a defeat.

(Picture: Carey Price, Canadian Press.)


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Sunday, December 02, 2007

On the cruise control again.

The Montreal Canadiens were giving a very ordinary performance inside their own building against the red hot Nashville Predators yesterday evening but were fortunate enough to lead by the score of 4-1 late in the third period.

But once again, the players decided to take the rest of the night off and pushed the cruise control button. The Predators came back gradually by scoring 3 goals during the last 8 minutes of the game, tying the game at 4-4. Radek Bonk, scoring his 10th of the season with under a minute to go during a power play intensified the booing crowd level. The game went thru a scoreless overtime. The Preds finally pulled off the comeback during the shootout session.

The disappointed fans went out of the Bell centre still booing, sick of what they have just seen. Everybody knew that the Predators were in a great streak. They defeated the Sens in a crazy game just a few hours earlier. To take them lightly even leading by three goals was really foolish.
For the Habs fans, this is without any doubt the toughest loss to swallow this season.

So after seeing such a pityful performance, I am now officially campaining for a fire sale among the Montreal Canadiens. And here is the list of those who have to go:

BOB GAINEY (General Manager) : Hello? Bob?

SAKU KOIVU: The team captain is not the player he used to be. He can still give a few good performances here and there but it is definatly insufficient. I would've traded him years ago already anyway but now I cannot take more of this.

MICHAEL RYDER: The worse 30 goal/season scorer in the history of the NHL is driving me nuts since a long time already. Yesterday's game was a vintage Michael Ryder type of game. Every scoring opportunity ended with a shot ringing in the glass or into the backboards. I cannot take any more. His rightful place is into the bleachers until a trade.

TOM KOSTOPOULOS and BRYAN SMOLINSKI: Those two players are in because of some Bob Gainey summer brainfreezes. They drag the team into mediocrity. The Habs should release them on the waivers or buy back their contracts if nobody wants them. They both are slow and useless.

JEFF GORGES: This is really the Habs worse defensemen in the lineup. They should either trade him, waiver him or send him into the AHL. He will never be of any use to the club.

All of those players need to go for the Canadiens. They will never make it as long as those stick around.

Some new blood coming the farm team in Hamilton should've been Bob Gainey's way to keep the habs rolling after a nice start. Maxim Lapierre and Sergei Kostitsyn are sure as equal as Kostopoulos and Smolinski. While Ryan O'Byrne could easily make us forget Jeff Gorges. He showed us his physical side during camp and pre-season games.

So let the fire sale begin.


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Saturday, December 01, 2007

Another loss in New-Jersey.

The Montreal Canadiens have won only 1 game in New-Jersey since 1993 and yesterday wasn't any different from the last 26 games they played in New-Jersey. The Devils shutted the Habs down 4-0.

Zach Parise scored 3 goals, a goal during each period of yesterday's game to give goaltender Martin Brodeur enough room to work with. Brodeur stopped everything the Habs threw at him and registered yet another shutout.

The Habs are now clearly in a slide. The coaching staff and the general manager Bob Gainey has to adress the team's problems to score goals while playing five on five hockey. The players seem to only wait for man advantages to start playing. A very bad habit.

Something has to be done. The Habs should either call up some players from their farm team or complete a trade to move out of their slump. Montreal is probably one of the worse team at the center position. If nothing changes, the Habs will not make the playoffs come the month of april.

(Picture: Martin Brodeur, Canadian Press.)


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