Overtime!: March 2008
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Sunday, March 30, 2008

Toronto defeats Montreal at the ACC.

The Toronto Maple Leafs took advantage of the downgraded version of the Montreal Canadiens to defeat them by a score of 4-2 saturday evening.

Jiri Tlusty and Anton Stralman both scored two goals, providing all of Toronto's scoring. Stralman's second goal, an unassisted effort, was scored on a dynamic end-to-end rush, finished by a wicked wrist shot.

The most costful for Montreal is the small general letdown that resulted in a number of minor injuries. Sometimes, playing to avoid injuries result in more injuries.

The Canadiens' head coach Guy Carbonneau had to juggle with his linuep all game long. To add to the difficulty level for him, Ryan O'Byrne has been ejected for elbowing an opponent during the early part of the first period. This ejection thinned the Habs' defensive roster. No Komisarek, no O'Byrne, no Streit were available for the coach.

But despite all the lineup turmoil, Guy Carbonneau was proactive and tried a new combination, something new that might spice up just right come playoff time. 20-year old rookie Sergei Kostitsyn was looking very good and at ease at the blue line during the man-advantages. He did not produce any on saturday, as Montreal only benefited of three man-advantages all game long. But rest assured that Sergei Kostitsyn will upgrade even more Montreal's power play volatility in the medium and long-term.

So Carbonneau sent Jaroslav Halak in the net, filling in for Carey Price. Halak gave an honest performance in the losing cause. The Habs had also to deal with the loss of Saku Koivu and Mark Streit, who were both injuried in Buffalo after receiving a shot in the ankle and foot area. Rumors spreaded around speculate as up as four weeks of inactivity for the captain. Saku Koivu's state is to be evaluated by doctors today in Montreal. Francis Bouillon has also been hit by a shot during the Habs-Leafs game, his situation is to be cleared also.

The Canadiens have now three games to play before the end of the regular season. With only a single point in one of those three games, Montreal will clinch the Northeast division title and a No1 or No2 seed in the Eastern conference.

(Picture: Jaroslav Halak, Canadian Press.)


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Saturday, March 29, 2008

The comeback team has struck again.

The Montreal Canadiens has completed another comeback yesterday to defeat the Buffalo Sabres at the HSBC Arena in Buffalo.

The Canadiens were completely dominated and bottled in their own end of the ice during the first two periods of yesterdat's game. Goaltender Carey Price has kept his team in the game during the early part. Only Drew Stafford for Buffalo and Alex Kovalev for the Habs had scored goals during the first two frames.

Then into the third period, Nathan Paetssh and Daniel Paillé provided a three to one lead for the Sabres. The victory was almost in the bag for Buffalo. But a mistake was made by the Sabres... they have decided to play a more defensive style to protect their lead.

Tomas Plekanec with less than three minutes to go to the game has reduced the Sabres' lead to only one goal on a power play. Then during the last minute of the game, the Canadiens pulled their goalie for a sixth player and managed to tie the game up with only 14 seconds to go. Tomas Plekanec, with his second goal of the game, has tied the game at 3-3 sending both teams in overtime.

Christopher Higgins has struck Buffalo during the overtime period on a great pass by Mark Streit to complete another spectacular comeback victory.

Final score: Montreal Canadiens 4 - Buffalo Sabres 3.

This loss is really hurting the Sabres' hopes to participate to the playoffs. Buffalo is four points away from 8th place with only four games to play.

As for the Canadiens, they have reclaimed the first place of the Eastern conference, one point ahead of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Montreal is in action once again tonight in Toronto as they face the Maple Leafs.

(Picture: Canadian Press.)


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Friday, March 28, 2008

Thank you 10 000 times.

Well, this is it, Overtime! has just reached it's 10 000 unique visitors mark yesterday! I have to thank each and everyone of you for the interest in my writing.

The blog has improoved gradually over the years and I am trying to diversify the content as much as I can. Of course there is still a lot of room for improovement and your suggestions are welcome. All you have to do is write me your suggestions in the suggestion box. I will be glad to read what you want to be added in this blog.

Until the next milestone, I will continue to bring you my view on the various hot topics of the sporting scene. There will also be a ''3rd period'' and ''overtime'' contest in the upcoming months.

So once again, thank you 10 000 times dear readers!

League of Legends Guide

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Seven games for Jonathan Roy, five for Patrick.

The Québec Junior Hockey League has laid out a string of mild suspensions today regarding last saturday night brawl involving Jonathan Roy of the Québec Remparts at the Goerges Vézina arena in Chicoutimi.

The verdict is in my own opinion is not nearly severe enough. The league has suspended goaltender Jonathan Roy for seven games while his father and coach of the Québec Remparts, Patrick Roy, is suspended for only five games.

Other minor suspensions to the Québec Remparts have been handed. Maxime Lacroix (three games), Marc-Olivier Vallerand (two games).

As for the Chicoutimi Saguenéens, head coach Richard Martel has been suspended for two games for being unable to control his own players while defensemen Sébastien Rioux who left the penalty box to join the brawl has been suspended for six games. Charles-Antoine Messier (two games) and Antoine Roussel (one game) completes the string of suspensions. Both teams have also been fined for 4000$ each by the league.

In my opinion, the league clearly missed a great opportunity to make an example of this event and to make a strong statement in regard of those kind of aggressions. When we look at the tapes, we can clearly see Patrick Roy ordering his own son to attack Bobby Nadeau. This kind of behaviour should've been punished a lot more severely if not sufficient for a banishment of hockey. Instead of making a statement, the league decided to protect it's own product and it's established star in Patrick Roy.

The third match of the series between the Québec remparts and the Chicoutimi Saguenéens is to be played tonight.

(Picture: Jonathan Roy, Québec Junior Hockey League.)


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Montreal clinches a playoff spot.

The Montreal Canadiens are now officially qualified into the 2008 NHL playoffs. Yesterday, the team has defeated the Ottawa Senators by the score of 7-5 at the Bell centre to ensure their place into the spring competition.

The Canadiens played a perfect first and second period in yesterday's game. After two frames, the Habs were leading by an impressive 7-1. But the Senators did sent a message to the home team during the third period. The Senators went firing on all cylinders and scored four unanswered goals during the final period. But the Canadiens' lead was just too large to be covered.

Andrei Kostitsyn with two goals, his second one counting as his 25th of the season, Andrei Markov, Christopher Higgins, Francis Bouillon, Mikhail Grabovski and Tom Kostopoulos scored for the winners during the first two periods.

Dany Heatley with two goals during the third period, Antoine Vermette, Martin Lapointe and Jason Spezza replied for the Senators.

Goaltender Carey Price registered his 20th win of his rookie season. He played a solid game all around despite the five goals allowed.

The Canadiens have now carved a seven point lead over the Senators in the Northeast division and a three point lead over the Pittsburgh Penguins on top of the Eastern conference. With only five games to be played, the top spot now becomes a reachable target for the team.

The team will enjoy a three days rest before playing the Buffalo Sabres and the Toronto Maple Leafs friday and saturday. Both of these teams are fighting for their playoff lives.

(Picture: The Montreal Canadiens, Getty Images.)

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Monday, March 24, 2008

Patrick Roy's son involved in a fight.

The Quebec Junior Hockey League's first round series between the Quebec Remparts and the Chicoutimi Saguenéens promised a heated rivalry. Both teams are definitly arch-rivals and many incidents occured between those two teams in the past.

Saturday evening, the second match of the series was presented in Chicoutimi and with the home team up by the score of 7-1 late into the second period, a brawl developped on the ice. It is obvious that the visiting team was frustrated and wanted to let off some steam. Nothing really exceptionnal and nothing really surprizing up to that point.

But according to some spectators present in the arena and according to some video tape under investigation by the league, the head coach of the Quebec Remparts and ex-NHL legendary goaltender Patrick Roy has presumely invited his own son Jonathan Roy to go thru the lenght of the ice and engage the opposing goaltender, Bobby Nadeau. Nadeau did not want any part of this fight and tried to protect himself the best he could.

The aggression lasted about 25 seconds then Roy, satisfied of himself, left his victim to invectivate the crowd, sending FUs signals to the crowd. A total lack of class from the young goaltender. The league will decide if she will penalize the coach and the goaltender today.

Patrick Roy is in a delicate situation in this one. Not only he is the coach but he is also the father of the player. He is a figure of authority towards his own son and the consequences of this brawl could be painful for Patrick Roy.


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Sunday, March 23, 2008

Malaysian Grand Prix: Ferrari's revenge sabotaged by Massa.

The second leg of the 2008 Formula One championship was run today on the Sepang circuit in Kuala Lumpur. Both McLaren-Mercedes cars were penalized by the FIA after the qualifying session for running at a very slow pace after registering their qualifying time. They both were backed up by five positions on the starting grid.

The Ferrari cars occupied the first row on the starting grid. Without any doubt, the Scuderia possessed the best setup for this race. Felipe Massa was on pole while Kimi Raikkonen was second on the grid.

After a clean start, the two Ferraris were flying ahead, untouchable for their competitors. Then, Kimi Raikkonen managed to pass Felipe Massa during the first pitstop. Everything was running smoothly for Ferrari up to that point. We were already expecting a perfect one-two finish for them.

But Felipe Massa sabotaged the perfect weekend for Ferrari when he lost control of his car. Massa exceeded the limits of his race car in a curve and spun into the gravel, unable to get out of it by his own power. A catastrophic second DNF for him this season.

Lewis Hamilton in his McLaren-Mercedes had his share of problems during this race. Starting from the ninth position after the penalty, he managed to squeeze himself up to the fifth position during the first lap. But a problem with his right front wheel during his first pitstop ruined a part of his comeback. Hamilton managed to finish in fifth position.

Robert Kubica in his BMW-Sauber has run a perfect race behind the leaders, registering a second podium finish for his team. If the BMW-Sauber can avoid the DNF this season, they could play troublemakers in the constructors championship.

Here is the top ten finish of the Malaysian Grand Prix:

Winner: Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari)
2-Robert Kubica (BMW-Sauber)
3-Heikki Kovalainen (McLaren)
4-Jarno Trulli (Toyota)
5-Lewis Hamilton (McLaren)
6-Nick Heidfeld (BMW-Sauber)
7-Mark Webber (Red Bull)
8-Fernando Alonso (Renault)
9-David Coulthard (Red Bull)
10-Jenson Button (Honda)

Drivers championship after 2/18 races:

1-Lewis Hamilton 14 points
2-Kimi Raikkonen 11 points
3-Nick Heidfeld 11 points
4-Heikki Kovalainen 10 points
5-Robert Kubica 8 points
6-Fernando Alonso 6 points
7-Nico Rosberg 6 points
8-Jarno Trulli 5 points
9-Kazuki Nakajima 3 points
10-Sebastien Bourdais 2 points
11-Mark Webber 2 points

Constructors championship:

1-McLaren-Mercedes 24 points
2-BMW-Sauber 19 points
3-Ferrari 11 points
4-Williams 9 points
5-Renault 6 points
6-Toyota 5 points
7-Red Bull 2 points
8-Toro Rosso 2 points

(Picture: Kimi Raikkonen, Canadian Press.)


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Saturday, March 22, 2008

A perfect eight for eight versus Boston.

The Montreal Canadiens completed their sweep of the Boston Bruins at the Bell centre tonight with a 3-2 victory acquired at the shootout session.

This was without any doubt the best performance from Boston in those eight matches against the Canadiens but it still wasn't enough to beat them. Andrei Markov and Andrei Kostitsyn scored for Montreal while Marc Savard and Petteri Nokelainen managed to score on goaltender Carey Price.

After sixty minutes and the score tied at 2-2, the overtime period was marked by a total domination of the Canadiens. Tim Thomas was simply spectacular to preserve the Bruins' hopes in this one.

A shootout session was necessary to declare a winner and only Saku Koivu managed to score on Tim Thomas to give the victory to the Canadiens. Combined with the victory of the Toronto Maple Leafs over the Ottawa Senators, the Canadiens now have a five point lead in the northeast division.

Montreal and Ottawa will meet monday at the Bell centre.

Mike Komisarek injuried.

An important part of the Canadiens' defense, Mike Komisarek, will miss the remainder of the regular season. Komisarek was injuried during thursday's meeting between both teams. The Habs fans are hoping that the tall defensemen will be available in time for the playoffs.

(Picture: Saku Koivu, Getty Images.)


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Friday, March 21, 2008

Seven for seven.

The Montreal Canadiens have defeated the Boston Bruins for a seventh time in this seventh game between the two teams this season. This time a 4-2 win for the Canadiens.

Alex Kovalev with two goals and one assist has led the Canadiens' offense yesterday. The russian player has just released a DVD this week in which he is displaying his skills and training methods. The profits of the sales of the DVD are given to charity. He showcased his stickhandling skills in front of the Bruins' defensemens before leaving Bruins' goaltender Tim Thomas clueless.

Andrei Kostitsyn and Michael Ryder has scored the other goals for Montreal.

Both teams will meet for a eight and last time on saturday evening. Montreal will have the opportunity to completely sweep the Bruins this season.

The Canadiens with 92 points this season are now momentarily back in first place of the Eastern conference, one point in front of the New-Jersey Devils and the Pittsburgh Penguins.

(Picture: Alex Kovalev, Getty Images.)


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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

St-Louis defeats Montreal 4-3.

The St-Louis Blues were visiting the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell centre yesterday evening. Despite being out of the playoff picture already, the Blues played a solid game to defeat the Habs.

For a second game in a row, head coach Guy Carbonneau have sent Jaroslav Halak in action. At his 9th start in career at home, Halak had never lost a game at the Bell centre before yesterday night and his performance versus the New York Islanders forced the coach to use him once again.

Halak did play a good game in general. His teammates in front of him were not really supportive, except during the third period. A great pass from Sergei Kostitsyn allowed Mikhal Grabovski to score the tying goal halfway into the third period.

Bard Boyes was the only player to score a goal during the shootout session, giving the victory to the Blues.

Montreal grabbed a point despite the ordinary performance. The team now totals 90 points this season, still in first place of the Northeast dvision. The Canadiens will now play the Boston Bruins twice.

Here is the standings of the Eastern conference with under 10 games to play in the regular season:

1 New Jersey Devils* 72 42 24
6 90 188 168
2 Montréal Canadiens* 74 40 24
10 90 233 204
3 Carolina Hurricanes* 74 39 30
5 83 225 229
4 Pittsburgh Penguins 73 41 25
7 89 222 201
5 Ottawa Senators 73 40 26
7 87 231 215
6 New York Rangers 73 38 26
9 85 193 179
7 Boston Bruins 73 37 27
9 83 189 202
8 Philadelphia Flyers 74 36 28
10 82 223 216
9 Washington Capitals 74 36 30
8 80 216 215
10 Buffalo Sabres 73 34 28
11 79 227 214
11 Florida Panthers 74 35 31
8 78 200 205
12 Toronto Maple Leafs 74 33 31
10 76 208 228
13 New York Islanders 74 32 35
7 71 177 222
14 Atlanta Thrashers 75 31 36
8 70 198 249
15 Tampa Bay Lightning 72 29 35
8 66 203 230

* = Division leaders.

(Picture: Brad Boyes, Canadian Press.)


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Sunday, March 16, 2008

Not convincing.

The Montreal Canadiens hosted the New-York Islanders yesterday evening at the Bell centre.

Montreal really struggled during the first half of the game, unable to produce any consistant play. Hopefully for the fans gathered in the arena, the home team played better as the game developped.

Roman Hamrlik finally managed to beat goaltender Rick DiPietro and opened the score during the second period on the power play. Alex Kovalev and Guillaume Latendresse scored during the third period to give a bit of breathing room to goalteder Jaroslav Halak who did very well. Halak blocked 30 shots to register his third career shutout.

Final score: Montreal Canadiens 3 - New-York Islanders 0.

Montreal remains in first place of the northeast division, two points ahead of the Ottawa Senators. Next game for Montreal will take place on tuesday as the St-Louis Blues will be the visitors.

(Picture: Tom Kostopoulos and Rick DiPietro, Canadian Press.)


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Australian Grand Prix: Car cemetary.

An eventful race was presented today for the first leg of the 2008 Formula One championship as only seven cars managed to cross the finish line. The safety car has been used three times during the lenght of the race.

Lewis Hamilton in his McLaren-Mercedes was imperial as he dominated his opponents all race long. The young British driver starts his season on the right foot with a solid victory. His march towards the 2008 drivers championship has begun.

As for the rest of the field, many spectacular incidents ponctuated this race. The most spectacular one involved Timo Glock in his Toyota. His car litterally took off and disintegrated on the impact.

The clowns of this first race of the season are without any doubt both Ferrari drivers who didn't manage to cross the finish line. First, Felipe Massa took out David Coulthard who was rightfully running in front of him. Massa continued for a couple of laps after the incident before retiring. As for the defending champion, Kimi Raikkonen, his aggressive driving made him visit the gravel road a couple of times. Kimi's race ended when his engine died towards the end of the race.

The biggest surprize of this race came from Sebastien Bourdais in his Toro Rosso. Bourdais was at his very first Formula One Grand Prix and opened some eyes as he was running in fourth place with under 10 laps to go. But his engine exploded as he was resisting to Fernando Alonso's attacks. Even retired, Bourdais finished in seventh position.

Australian Grand Prix results:

Winner: Lewis Hamilton (McLaren)
2-Nick Heidfeld (BMW-Sauber)
3-Nico Rosberg (Williams)
4-Fernando Alonso (Renault)
5-Heikki Kovalainen (McLaren)
6-Kazuki Nakajima (Williams)
7-Sebastien Bourdais (Toro Rosso)
8-Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari)

Drivers championship after 1/18 races

1-Lewis Hamilton 10 points
2-Nick Heidfeld 8 points
3-Nico Rosberg 6 points
4-Fernando Alonso 5 points
5-Heikki Kovalainen 4 points
6-Kazuki Nakajima 3 points
7-Sebastien Bourdais 2 points
8-Kimi Raikkonen 1 point

Constructors championship:

1-McLaren-Mercedes 14 points
2-Williams 9 points
3-BMW-Sauber 8 points
4-Renault 5 points
5-Toro Rosso 2 points
6-Ferrari 1 point

(Picture: Lewis Hamilton, Getty Images.)


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Saturday, March 15, 2008

Lewis Hamilton in pole position.

Tomorrow for the Australian Grand Prix, the first race of this 2008 season, Lewis Hamilton will have the priviledge to start from the pole position.

This qualifying session has been full of surprizes. First, the defending champion, Kimi Raikkonen, will have to start from the 16th place because of mechanical problems. His Ferrari has stalled just before the entrance of the pitlane, disqualifying him by a new rule. This new rule states that any car stalling on the circuit during a qualifying session is automatically disqualified. A huge task is awaiting him for tomorrow's race.

Also, Fernando Alonso, who is now back within the Renault team has failed to place his car in the top ten. Alonso will start from the 12th position, a surprize itself.

As for the pleasant surprizes, Robert Kubica in his BMW-Sauber has qualified himself in second place while a surprizing Sebastian Vettel in his Toro Rosso has managed to place 10th. We also note that both Toyota drivers managed to place inside the top ten.

Here is the top ten on the starting grid:

Pole: Lewis Hamilton (McLaren) 1:26.714
2-Robert Kubica (BMW-Sauber) 1:26.869
3-Heikki Kovalainen (McLaren) 1:27.079
4-Felipe Massa (Ferrari) 1:27.178
5-Nick Heidfeld (BMW-Sauber) 1:27.236
6-Jarno Trulli (Toyota) 1:28.527
7-Nico Rosberg (Williams) 1:28.687
8-David Coulthard (Red Bull) 1:29.041
9-Timo Glock (Toyota) 1:29.593
10-Sebastian Vettel (Toro Rosso) 1:29.xxx

(Picture: Lewis Hamilton, McLaren)


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Friday, March 14, 2008

Don't just win, dominate!

The baseball season is only a few weeks ahead and thousands of people will participate in a fantasy baseball league.

With the quality of some of the participants, some leagues are very difficult to win. This is where the Fantasy Sports Prophet's Fantasy Baseball software comes to the rescue.

So what will the software add to your game? First of all, the software is web-baed and can be accessed from anywhere, anytime. Then, a player ranking system based on predictive modeling by PhD scientists is there to help you pick the right player at any given round. The advanced draft assistance tool contains all the data for you to make the right decision.

The software offers a full season roster management that includes an updated mid-season projections via artificial intelligence. Also, all the stats, injury reports, major trades and updates is also available from within software itself.

With all those functionalities working for you, there is no doubt that you will improove your ranking at the end of the season. Who knows how much money you will make for winning your fantasy baseball league this season?

Here is a glance at what the software looks like:

Also, for a limited time, with the following promotional code: BMC200, you can get a 10$ rebate off of the purchase.

So don't hesitate and DOMINATE your next fantasy baseball league. The Fantasy Sports Prophet's Fantasy Baseball software is the ideal tool for you.

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Sens defeat the Habs 3-0.

The battle for the northeast division continued yesterday as the Ottawa Senators were in Montreal to face the Canadiens at the Bell centre.

The Senators dominated the match from start to finish as they blanked Montreal by the score of 3-0. Jason Spezza with two goals and Antoine Vermette scored on rookie goaltender Carey Price who did all he could.

Martin Gerber at the other end did very well at crucial points to keep the Habs off the scoresheet and register the shutout. Ottawa regains first place of the division.

Next game for Montreal is saturday as the New York Islanders will visit the Canadiens at the Bell centre.


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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Back on top.

The Montreal Canadiens have defeated the New Jersey Devils by the score of 4-0 yesterday at the Bell centre and have regained first place of the Eastern conference, one point ahead of the Devils.

The rookie goaltender of the Canadiens, Carey Price, has registered his second career NHL shutout as he stopped the 38 shots coming his way. As for his opponent at the other end, Martin Brodeur, he did all he could but was not backed up by his defensive unit.

Bryan Smolinski, Saku Koivu, Maxim Lapierre and Michael Ryder scored a goal each for the winners.

Next up for the Canadiens, the Ottawa Senators on thursday.

(Picture: The Montreal Canadiens, Canadian Press.)

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Saturday, March 08, 2008

''All you can eat buffet'' for the 2007-2008 Hart trophy.

With only four weeks of regular season hockey to go, the voting members could have a very difficult decision to make.

Who REALLY is the most valuable player for his team this season?

In many occasions, the player ending the season with the most points takes away the honor. Mainly, because the Hart Trophy recipient leads his team into the playoffs while dominating the score sheets all season long.

This season, with the equity of the forces all around the National Hockey League and the timely injuries to star players of the caliber of Sidney Crosby, Dany Heatley, Paul Stastny, Henrik Zetterberg and Daniel Alfredsson, the decision is not carved in stone just yet.

Let's make a scan of who's in line for the Hart Trophy this year:

Alexander Ovechkin. An obvious top three nominee for the Hart trophy this season. He's the only player with more than fifty goals this far. There is only a small detail: The Washington Capitals must make the playoffs for him to attract a majority of votes from the panel. End of the discussion.

So what if the Capitals don't finish in first place of their division to make the cut?

Daniel Alfredsson. Fifth in scoring despite missing eight games to injury this season. Ottawa is an explosive unit with Alfredsson on top of his game.

Joe Thornton. This season, the San Jose Sharks' forward leads the league in passing and has always been one of the most profilic in this department.

Alex Kovalev. Nobody expected the Habs into the playoffs in october. Against all odds, the Canadiens lead their own division this far, all because of him. Kovalev currently leads the league in power play points as Montreal has the deadliest power play of the league this season.

Evgeni Malkin. Truly a breakout year for Malkin. When his teammate Sidney Crosby fell for a long term injury, many analysts predicted a Pittsburgh Penguins' difficult slump. He elevated his game, kept the Penguins afloat towards a playoff qualification. Malkin currently ranks second in scoring.

Jarome Iginla. The veteran forward of the Calgary Flames has added another forty goal season to his collection. Without Iginla, the Flames are not playoff material.

So, the next four weeks could very well tip the balance in favor of one of these six players. Especially with the Capitals' playoff life in the balance.

(Picture: Hart Memorial trophy.)


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Friday, March 07, 2008

Montreal's power play saves the day.

The Montreal Canadiens were visiting the Phoenix Coyotes yesterday evening for their second game of a four-game road stint.

Despite being dominated in the shot department and down 2-1 during the third period, Montreal's number one power play of the league clicked twice to turn the tables on the Coyotes. Saku Koivu and Andrei Markov scored to take a 3-2 lead halfway into the third period. The Canadiens have now scored a total of 80 goals on the power play this season.

Sergei Kostitsyn scored the insurance goal with only a few minutes to play on a great exchange with Christopher Higgins.

Final score: Montreal Canadiens 4 - Phoenix Coyotes 2.

Alex Kovalev completed the game with three assists, prooving his great value once again this season. The line of Tomas Plekanec, Alex Kovalev and Andrei Kostitsyn has been on fire for a couple of months, dragging the team on their shoulders.

Rookie goaltender Carey Price played a very solid game. Price blocked 37 of the 39 shots he faced. After being very generous with the San Jose Sharks, Price bounced back nicely in this one. Montreal is still ahead in the northeast division, two points ahead of the Ottawa Senators.

The Canadiens will play the Los Angeles Kings on saturday and the defending Stanley Cup champions Anaheim Ducks on sunday to end the four-game trip.

(Picture: Koivu, Markov, Kovalev, Canadian Press.)

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Wednesday, March 05, 2008

A sad day.

Yesterday was a very sad day for any Green Bay Packers fan. The heart and soul of this franchise, Brett Favre, has announced his retirement after 17 unforgettable seasons.

During his career, the Packers' quarterback has made his mark in many different ways. Favre has re-written many pages of the NFL record book. Favre played 17 seasons in the NFL and started every game for the Packers since his first start in 1992 through his retirement.

The NFL record book now has Brett Favre written all over: most career NFL touchdown passes (442), most career NFL passing yards (61,655), most career pass completions (5,377), most career pass attempts (8,758), most career NFL interceptions thrown (288).

And for the most impressive record of them all, the most consecutive starts among NFL quarterbacks (253). The consecutive starts show 275 total starts if we include the playoff games. Favre also has registered the most career victories as a starting quarterback with 160. Favre led his team to two Super Bowl appearances, winning Super Bowl XXXI against the New England Patriots.

To register so many records during his glorious career, Favre had to play despite injuries. Many would've missed a couple of weeks but the dedication to his teammates and his fans made him play despite broken fingers, a banged up shoulder or elbow.

Favre even played the day following the death of his own father. I can remember this game very well as it was a very emotional moment. Despite the grief, Favre completed four touchdown passes during the first half and led his team to a 41-7 victory over the Oakland Raiders. After the game, Favre commented his performance: "I knew that my dad would have wanted me to play. I love him so much and I love this game. It's meant a great deal to me, to my dad, to my family, and I didn't expect this kind of performance. But I know he was watching tonight."

His nomination into football's Hall of Fame is only a matter of time. His name and number 4 will also appear on Lambeau field's ''ring of fame'' among other Packers greats like Vince Lombardi, Ray Nitschke, Bart Starr, Reggie White and E.L. ''curly'' Lambeau.

Thank you for the memories Brett.

(Picture: Brett Favre, Getty images.)

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Tuesday, March 04, 2008

One bad game for Price.

Yesterday, the Montreal Canadiens began their four game trip on the west coast in San Jose to face the Sharks.

Montreal's rookie goaltender Carey Price was very generous with the Sharks as he allowed six goals during the game. At least three of those six goals could've been avoided by the goaltender.

The Montreal offense tried to cope with the generosity of their own goaltender as they came from behind three times during the first two periods. But during the third period, the Sharks finally managed to defend a one goal lead. Brian Campbell scored a beautiful goal with a spin move to give the Sharks a two goal lead.

Final score: San Jose Sharks 6 - Montreal Canadiens 4.

The Canadiens lost the first place of the Eastern conference to the Pittsburgh Penguins but are still leading their division.

(Picture: Getty images.)


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Saturday, March 01, 2008

Habs: In first place.

Tonight at the Bell centre in Montreal, the Montreal Canadiens were playing the New-Jersey Devils. At stake, the first place of the Eastern conference.

Tonight's game was a typical New-Jersey Devils game. A defensive affair as both goaltenders did well in this one. The experienced Martin Brodeur for the Devils kept his team in the game all evening long while the rookie, Carey Price only allowed a single goal.

During the second period, Mark Streit opened the score for Montreal when he batted a bouncing puck behind Brodeur. This was the 12th goal of the season for Streit, his 48th point this season. The swiss player has more points than the Canadiens' captain. At $600 000 for this season, this player is probably the best bargain in the league.

The Devils tied the game before the end of the second frame when Brian Gionta found a loose puck around Carey Price and sent it into the net tying the game at 1-1.

But the hottest line of the Canadiens worked it's magic again. Before the end of a power play, Andrei Kostitsyn went around the net and surprized a kneeled Martin Brodeur. The goal was the 77th power play goal of the season for the Canadiens who are on top of the league in that department.

Carey Price finished the job and avoided a tying goal from New-Jersey late into the game.

Final score: Montreal Canadiens 2 - New-Jersey Devils 1.

Yes, against all odds, the Montreal Canadiens are now ranked No1 of the Eastern conference. The vast majority of hockey analysts were dead wrong about this young and talented team before the start of the season. Many high profile hockey analysts all over North America were expecting a pityful season for the Canadiens. Some were ranking this team as far as 13th in the conference.

But right now, the Canadiens are having the last laugh.

A serious test for the team lies ahead as the Canadiens will now fly on the west coast to play four games on the road. The San Jose Sharks, the Phoenix Coyotes, the Los Angeles Kings and the Anaheim Ducks will host the new Eastern conference leaders.

(Picture: The Montreal Canadiens, Getty images.)

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