Rabid Habs

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, Vol. 8

Habs' Guy Lapointe

Written by: Karine Hains

Yet another eventful week is in the books Habs fans and it definitely hasn’t been an easy one! While our team barely scrapped by the lowly Sabres they were quite literally lit up by the Flames and scalped by the Hawks before going wild on the Wild tonight. Without further ado, here are my thoughts about this eventful week.

The Good: Nobody does it better

Tonight, another chapter of the already magnificent Habs history book was written. For the 18th time, the Montreal Canadiens retired a jersey and raised yet another number to the rafters. Tonight’s great wasn’t a forward and a flashy star but he was part of what can arguably be described as the best trio of defensemen in the history of the league. In the 1970’s Serge “le Sénateur” Savard, Larry “Big Bird” Robinson and Guy “Pointu” Lapointe were fixtures on the Habs’ blue line. While Savard’s 18 and Robinson’s 19 have been retired since 2006 and 2007 respectively, Lapointe had to wait a while longer but given the show the Habs put on for him tonight, it was well worth the wait to see number 5 go up for the second time (it was first retired for Bernard “Boom Boom” Geoffrion in 2006). The Montreal Canadiens kicked things off with a video montage relating Lapointe’s career in great detail, highlighting not only his accomplishments and stats but also his personality and importance to the dream team that was the Canadiens of the 1970’s. Then, another montage (featuring the Game of Thrones theme song – very good choice) introduced the other 2/3 of the Big Three who were asked to say a few words about their old teammate. Savard stole the limelight there and spoke for so long that Robinson only had time to say a few words but it didn’t matter as what needed to be said had been said. Lapointe then took centre stage to tell the 21,000 plus faithful crammed into the Bell Centre and the millions watching on TV how he felt about this touching recognition. While he did look like he was struggling to get the words out at one point, it was nothing compared to the tears that raised to his eyes while his number 5 was installed on the support by Andrei Markov and PK Subban and ascended in its rightful place. After that display of emotion its no wonder that the Canadiens were able to shake off their poor form of late and overcome the Wild in a 4-1 win.

The Bad: Bournival’s injury

This year, Michael Bournival had to wait until game 14 of the regular season before he was finally given a chance to play. While he clearly looked like he intended not to miss his chance in his debut on november 5th in Buffalo, fate had other plans. After just 3 minutes and 58 seconds of play, he had to leave the game because of a shoulder injury. While it’s always sad to see a player get injured, it’s even worst when it’s a youngster who’s been patiently waiting for his chance to shine and who looked so eager to make the most of his opportunity. It has since been confirmed that as feared, Bournival sustained a shoulder injury and will be out for an indefinite amount of time. For Habs fans, this came as a serious blow as Bournival’s entry into the line-up had been triggered by coach Therrien finally scratching Rene Bourque has most of Habs nation had been asking for so long. While concerned about the health of Bournival, fans were equally concerned about this meaning the potential return of Bourque in the line-up.

The Ugly: How long it took for Bourque to finally be sent upstairs

I’ve written about Bourque last week so I will not bore you with the details of his performance (or lack off) so far this season but I will say that while he was doing his best to join the ghosts of the Bell Centre (and not in a good way) both the above-mentioned Bournival and Jiri Sekac were confined to the press box. When both were finally set free against Buffalo on Thursday, it was obvious that they were well rested and ready to give it their all. While Bournival couldn’t do himself justice because of his unfortunate injury, Sekac showed encouraging signs and tonight, against the Wild, he got himself a goal, an assist and a +2 rating to booth. Eller got exactly the same and they both fired 4 shots on goal. The third member of their line, Brandon Prust, notched 2 assists and was also +2. I know, it’s only one game but you could already see some real chemistry on that line and one cannot help but think that Eller looks much better without the old ball in chains he has been carrying for a couple of season now; Rene Bourque. It seems that coach Therrien has finally decided to free Eller and to add to Bourque’s worries, Bowman was also recalled from the Bulldogs which seems to indicate that the Habs want to have another option should Moen’s effort fall below par. Could this spell the end for Bourque with the Habs? I certainly hope so but time will tell…

Until next week, enjoy the 3 games on offer: the Jets on Tuesday, another epic battle with the Bruins on Thursday and a tilt with the Flyers on Saturday.