I've had my hockey spirit revived a bit in the last day or two, despite the fact that the Caps continue to hang on tight to that last place spot. I'm starting to feel weirdly optimistic that they can snap out of this and I have no idea why, but I'm also just remembering why I love hockey. It's amazing what a night of good, intense, Canadian hockey will do for your outlook on life, isn't it? After the Habs came my other secondary team, Calgary, taking on the mighty Oilers in round three of the Battle of Alberta. These games are always fun despite the standings, with the energy and excitement you would expect out of a division matchup (not the kind you see when the Caps and Panthers face off).
For starters, I got to watch an absolutely hysterical Habs-Bruins game last night, one that started out as a well-played, evenly matched game and dissolved into a march to the penalty box. I know, I know, fighting isn't hockey and it's the downfall of the NHL and blah blah blah...but it was funny, and anyone who watched it can back me up.
At one point the Montreal coaching staff was alerting the refs to their "unhappiness", and Carbonneau actually physically pulled Kirk Muller back so he wouldn't say enough to get a penalty...or so he wouldn't sock the ref in the mouth, it was hard to tell. Muller and Claude Julien then began yapping at each other a la Hartley and Hanlon last season, which made me laugh for a number of reasons. Montreal finished the game on a seemingly endless power play (thanks to Chara being...Chara) and won 7-4. Good stuff.
The first period alone was played at a breathless pace, and the whole game was great - made even greater by the fact that my Flames pulled out a win and looked confident and tight doing so. This is a team that was recently mired in a 5 game losing streak, folks. Things can turn around just that quickly, don't lose hope.
And then comes the news out of practice today that Alexander Semin is reportedly 100% and will be in the lineup tomorrow night barring any unforeseen circumstances. Is he the magic tonic that will heal this team and propel them back to the top of the pack where they belong?
...probably not. But his return should hopefully spark a little offense, which, let's face it, could use more than a spark - it could use a bonfire.
I'm not going to lie, I absolutely adore Alexander Semin and can't wait to see him back out there. I know that there are many around here who don't get that and who question my sanity, but I can't help it. I love the way he plays. I love his slapshot, his wrister, his backhand...his ability to dance through defenders like they were standing still and his inability to complete a pass...his feistiness and his laziness...the way he follows Ovechkin around like a puppy dog...all part of the Alex 2.0 that I love, and I don't think I should have to apologize for that. Glad to see him healthy and ready to go.
After the Habs came my other secondary team, Calgary, taking on the mighty Oilers in round three of the Battle of Alberta. These games are always fun despite the standings, with the energy and excitement you would expect out of a division matchup (not the kind you see when the Caps and Panthers face off).