Hurricanes arrive in Montreal
As the Hockey Day in Canada festivities from this past weekend become a fond memory for Habs fans, our attention now swings towards the Carolina Hurricanes, who are the visitors in tonight's tilt at the Bell Centre. It is a must win for both teams, as the Hurricanes currently sit in fifteenth place in the East, a measly four points behind the eleventh place Montreal Canadiens.
It is a game where all the clichés are applicable for both teams - put up or shut up - do or die - yada yada, we could go on. The game also marks (the face) Muller's return to Montreal for the first time since he was named head coach of the Hurricanes. I imagine there is some sort money on the table for this one (for cap purposes let us say a dinner).
There is also another member of the Hurricanes who will be making his debut tonight against his former team, Jaroslav Spacek. By all reports, he was not pleased at the way his trade was handled internally by the Habs back in December. It is interesting that he says he enjoyed his time in Montreal and I, for one, do not doubt him. He will be wanting to play his best game of the season against his former teammates.
The Habs, on the other hand, are going into tonights game on a four game winning streak. Two of these wins were won on shutout performances by Carey Price who has arguably played his best hockey of the season in the past week. Scott Gomez will be playing his first game in the Bell Centre since scoring the goal that shook the Twitter world. (For those that do not know he scored and promptly was trending world wide - gotta love Habs fans - we are everywhere).
Lost in all this is the fact that the much maligned Tomas Kaberle will be playing his first game against his own former team as well. He was not a member of the Hurricanes for long, but after he was traded, Carolina general manager Jim Rutherford did say he should not have offered a contract to Kaberle last summer. Bulletin board material methinks and extra incentive. He actually has quietly put up some decent offensive stats since coming over to the Habs. He has made some beautiful plays and passes as well as some defensive plays. Yes, he is not consistent and yes, he does turn the puck over, and his contract is horrendous, but as the cliché goes it is what it is. Not one of us would turn down a job because the employer would be overpaying for our services now would we - especially if the money was in a guaranteed contract for a few years.
In the end it will be an interesting game to say the least and yes - a four pointer in the standings. With the season of malcontent continuing for the Habs it makes you wonder if it will be the A team that shows up or the team that makes you want to Hyde.
Enjoy the game - hopefully it will be a good one.