Monday September 24 10:45 PM
So now even Pierre McGuire says the Canadiens won't make the playoffs. During his 5:25 hit today Pierre gave us his list of playoff teams in the eastern conference, as part of a TSN project:
2. NY Rangers
3. Carolina (wins Southeast)
6. NJ Devils
Pierre wouldn't tell us who he picked for 8th, other than to say it was a "darkhorse". Not Florida. And not Montreal. There, further proof that the Montreal- born and raised McGuire hates the Habs.
Somewhere along the way being a die-hard Canadiens fan meant acting like a Leafs fan, taking every perceived slight or criticism of their team oh so personally. Maybe it's just an extension of the in-game experience at the always sold out Bell Center. (Remember making fun of those Leafs fans who kept showing up at Maple Leaf Gardens year after year while they're team finished out of the playoffs or were quickly eliminated? Still find it funny?) Treat the customer like it's the first game they've ever been to and they start acting like hockey newbies.
McGuire thinks Cristobal Huet is playing over his head. Lambaste him. McGuire thinks Sheldon Souray has trouble in his own end. Crucify him. McGuire think Guilluame Latendresse should have been sent back to Junior. Ridicule him. McGuire thinks the Habs are in for a losing season. Fire him!
I'll make my picks next week. How I think the Habs finish will depend on the make up of the final roster. In the meantime, contrary to current popular opinion, here are a few reasons why I believe the Canadiens might make the playoffs:
Alex Kovalev will score more than 47 points.
Chris Higgins won't miss over 20 games.
Andrei Markov moves into legit #1 defenseman territory.
Mike Komisarek picks up where he left off a year ago. So does Thomas Plekanic.
Bryan Smolinski is better than Radek Bonk.
Roman Hamrlik is better than Sheldon Souray.
Tom Kostoplous is more valuable than Mike Johnson.
Michael Ryder is a free agent-to-be.
Sergei Samsanov is in Chicago.
The coaching staff-with 0 days of previous head coaching experience a year ago-will be better.
A nasty virus won't re-emerge at Christmas time.
Key players (especially captain Koivu) won't take nearly as many penalties in the offensive zone.
Andrei Kostitsyn will show why he was selected 10th overall in the 2003 draft.
What about the loss of Souray on the power play? I'll get to that more in-depth next week. But of the 19 power play goals that he takes to Edmonton with him, do you think the Canadiens get absolutely nothing back?
Once again this year we at Melnick in the Afternoon are offering the opportunity of a lifetime for an enterprising business type who loves his or her Habs. The chance to sponsor a segment, small as it might be, every afternoon at 5:15 called "Michel Bergeron can kiss Saku Koivu's ass".
Please send an e-mail to email@example.com addressed to me. Imagine. Everyday during the hockey season and the playoffs you'll get to hear me say, "Michel Bergeron can kiss Saku Koivu's ass! Brought to you by (your company)". Don't wait.
Red Sox-Yankees. Yankees-Red Sox. Yankees-Angels. Red Sox-Angels. Ho-Hum.
Sorry but even as a Red Sox fan I want to see the Cleveland Indians win the world series. I've seen my miracle Red Sox season. I can wait a little longer for a second. Cleveland fans have been waiting since 1948.
Plus it would give the rest of the world a chance to see so many terrific players they know so little about including Victor Martinez, Ryan Garko, Jhonny Peralta, Franklin Gutierrez, Casey Blake, Fausto Carmona, Rafael Perez, Rafael Betancourt (5-1, 1.41, 76 IP, 49 H, 9 BB, 75 K!) and the best former Expo never to play for the Expos Grady Sizemore. Difficult as it might be to think that a team who's closer is Joe Borowski can get by Jonathan Papelbon, Mariano Rivera or Fransisco Rodriguez but stranger things have happened. And if the Cubs can win the NLCS in search of their first world series win since 1908 then we'd really have something to talk about. A world series featuring the two worst closers in modern history (Borowski-a former Cub & Ryan Dempster). Anybody seen Steve Bartman lately?
Ben Cahoon tells Herb Zurkowsky there are "in-house issues" affecting the Alouettes moments after they lose their second straight game to a very mediocre Edmonton Eskimos team and VP & GM & Head Coach Jim Popp questions the play calling of his offensive co-oridnator and two days after Herb reported that Don Matthews had been in town as a guest of owner Robert Wettenhall, something Popp was not aware of until questioned about it by Herb. There's no smoke here. It's a full blown fire. And Robert Wettenhall will not watch his team go up in flames while getting ready to add 5,000 new seats to Molson Stadium. Not Surprisingly Zurkowsky thinks re-hiring Matthews is a terrible idea.
For all those in the Montreal media (and I mean all) who couldn't stand the guy (continuously harping on Matthews as if the fans cared about their problems dealing with him) I ask, now what? There too likely goes your Grey Cup expense account.
It was so good to see singer-songwriter Ryan Adams in a positive frame of mind last wednesday in a (at least) one-third empty Theatre St. Denis. Perhaps put-off by his last performance at The Spectrum (puffing away madly on cigarettes when he wasn't downing Beaujolais right out of the bottle and challenging the obligatory idiot who yelled out "Summer of '69!") or competition from Rilo Kiley across town at La Tulipe not enough music fans came out to watch the newly straight and sober Adams with his group The Cardinals ("Our group" says Adams. "I'll never be a solo act again"). Pity. The sound was as pristine as I've ever heard in the place while Adams' voice soared to new heights. After jamming out on "Beautiful Sorta" Adams announced that his underwear had snuck up into his crack making the jam a little difficult. Yes, he was in a playful mood, describing his off-day browsing in a french bookstore, poking fun at himself "Not that I'd know what it's like to perform on stage on drugs and alcohol" and riffing hysterically on Bon Jovi and a massive leather jacket (you had to be there). Most of it all it was about the songs. Delivered with passion and focus including "Off Broadway" and "Goodnight Rose" from Easy Tiger, "Peaceful Valley", "Dear John", "Magnolia Mountain", "Cold Roses" solo at the piano versions of "Sylvia Plath" and "Sweet L'il Gal" plus, among others "Rescue Blues" and "Goodnight Hollywood Boulevard".
Here's hoping his daily speedballs are gone forever. As a singer-songwriter-guitarist and bandleader I can think of only Jack White and Jeff Tweedy who can rival Adams among the under 40 crowd in rock and roll. We need them.