POST GAME - Brokenhearted! Caps 3 Habs 2 : Dec. 23, 2003
Despite strong games from quite a few players, the Habs fell victim to the always dangerous Peter Bondra with just 55 seconds left in the game.
Jan Bulis (7) - Saku Koivu, Francis Bouillon
Mike Ryder (7) - Francis Bouillon
This Year's Sign of the Apocolypse
Francis Bouillon had two points.
Shots on Goal
Official 3 Stars
1. Peter Bondra
2. Jaromir Jagr
3. Sergei Gonchar
Must've been chosen by the Caps media...
Lots of positives from this game. The first two periods may have lacked effort, but everyone stepped it up in the 3rd period.
The first line dominated during the 3rd. Koivu had his best game in quite some time tonight. Great plays and even better passes. Both Ryder and Bulis scored tying goals as well. Koivu had to drop the gloves himself against K., would have been nice for soembody else to do that however.
The second line had quite a few chances throughout the night. Our defense were pretty good throughout the game, Quintal's lack of speed was evident on the 2nd goal however. Komisarek lay out a huge open ice hit during the 3rd which seemed to have woken up his team mates, was also a nice way of sticking up for Markov who had just been knocked down. Bouillon played well, a good offensive rush and played the man well on a breakaway. Rivet had a solid game until his last clear, a common defensive mistake which was amplified by Bondra scoring shortly after. Souray lay a huge hit on Doig shortly after his knee on knee hit on Bulis.
I liked Kilger's and Gratton's play tonight, they brought some energy and came close to getting some scoring chances.
So nobody wants to discuss the positives from this game, only blame Rivet?
Hey I don't mind talking about the positive as there was some in that game.
1- Bulis finally rewarded for his hard work. That might come as a surprise for some, but I would consider trading Zednik way before Bulis. Zednik has good value because the guy can score 30 goals a year, but Bulis is such a complete player. He might never get more than 20, and for that he will never be a 1st liner on a strong team, but his strong overall game (passing, scoring, speed, consistency in the effort and sound defensive game) will make him a very strong asset on the 2nd line or an invaluable asset come playoff time on a 3rd line used in tight checking situations. I had a dream: Bulis - Begin - Ward.
2- Ryder is still quietly improving, making better decisions with the puck and IMO, the best part about this guy is his underrated passing skills, not because he has great hands, but because he's very creative. I see an improvement in his game every game, little plays that might not be always noticed but are important to win games. Sure he makes rookie mistkes, but the reason he plays on that 1st line is he makes far less one would expect for a player adapting to a new pace and league, and the positive already far outweights the negative, which will only diminish as experience sets in.
3- Garon is still, despite 3 goals in 22 shots, showing he belongs in this league. Not only he shows he belongs, but also that he could possibly become a #1. That's great to have such depth.
4- Komisarek, despite some rookie mistakes, has taken a habit to show us every game why we picked that guy 7th overall and just why he's already beloved, even though his play is still far from any kind of dominance. Still, he at least makes one huge bone crushing hit a game that might have the forwards slow down in the future when they see him coming hard. Also, he's the best at coming back when he coughs it up. The guy works like crazy. If he makes a mistake, he works his ass off to repair it. And the difference between him and Bouillon or Rivet (well one of them at least), is he doesn't accumulate the mistakes. If he coughs it up, he usually then make the right play after. In other words, no panicking from him. Might be a bit hesitant at times, but that's going to go away when he has one full season played in this league and when he feels he's not just playing because Brisebois is injured.
Munchausen, I've thought about that third line a lot of times, but I think what we need to do is get Rolston this summer. Him and Bulis would be phenomenal, imagine the oppositions defense trying to stop all that speed and forechecking.
BTW, I think Bulis's offensive upside is underrated. I think he can surprise many and 20 goals this year is not out of the question if he plays with Koivu. I can even see him scoring 30. He is such a complete player, who would've thought he might've become the key to the Zman trade(although Zednik has been braindead since January last year). Bulis is sort of out Lehtinen(hopefully he can developp into a franchise defensive forward like Jere), I'm sure that without him, the team wouldn't be as good or explosive.
Also, I think its time to give Bouillon a lot less ice time. He's an OK defensemen but is not deserving of what he gets. I understand Markov has been struggling and I believe it has been like that since the arrival of Julien, he's a good coach, but you can't treat your best defensemen like that.
Bulis IS underrated but seeing how well he is developing, it won't be too long until he'll get the recognition he deserves. I'll have to track down the link, but I do believe Bulis was the key to that trade. That was overshadowed by Zed's breakthrough.
God bless Bouillon for giving his all but you're right, he should just fill a supporting role and not a primary one. Markov is coming around and needs more time.
I think during this game Komisarek have played well and he deserve more icetime now . Don't gie 20 min to Rivet and Quintal , you see the goal of Halpern Vs Quintal ? Awful , Komisarek need more icetime from CJ and probably some PP icetime before Rivet . Bouillon played an awesome game too . And Ryder - Koivu - Bulis :bow: What more ?
Last night :
Same crap the night before, and the one before...
Markov's shown willingness to play like CJ wants him to. He's stayed after practice and asked what was wrong. He was there on the ice with 6-7 other guys on the last optional practice.
It just looks like CJ doesn't like the guy. I hope there's a serious and legit reason why Markov is in the doghouse. And I hope it's got nothing to do with a personal dislike from CJ toward Markov or a stupid love affair with Bouillon.
In addition to the positives listed, I also liked the following from the Habs:
1. They crashed the net. Not Philly or Toronto style (knock your goalie over every shift), but enough to cause grief to the defence and goalie and force really good rebound control.
2. The first two lines are really creating some chances. I still don't like the constant dump and chase routine, but when these lines have possession, they are cycling well and really making some nice set ups for their team-mates (and this is not just Ribs and Saku making the plays either).
3. Transition game and outlet passes are much better than they were.
4. The pace of the game and ability of the Habs to play that way was refreshing and fun to watch.
5. Kilger and Gratton look more like linemates after a few games together. A pretty decent 4th line that will give you 6-11 minutes a game and rest the others for later in the game.
6. Some really nice hits from our D. Komo and Souray levelled some players, and that inspires your team. Keep it going boys.
7. Special teams still okay. The PP generated another goal and had some really good chances and puck possession early on. Koivu is a skilled and shifty playmaker, and adds a dimension on the point. Giving up one PP goal to the 3rd best in the league is almost expected, but for a smart hook (not called) that took Gratton off the puck, it would have been cleared out of the zone, and Jagr would have been floating away with no puck.
All in all, if we can convince the league to change the game lengths to 58 or 59 minutes, all is well in Habland. Have a great holidays one and all!!
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