It's pretty clear by now what we think of this centennial celebration: it's BS. As Leaf fans we've been bombarded with lies about "100 Saisons" that seek to re-write history, blasphemous university courses comparing the Habs to religion, and a pliable fanbase that was stoked into a frenzy by willfully ignorant members of the media that actually thought the Canadiens were Stanley Cup contenders. Last night's game has already been used as proof that the Habs are back on track. "They're 5-0-1 in their last six!" they say, forget that they've beaten three teams that have spent the year fighting it out for positioning in the draft lottery.
Anyway, the real travesty is below:
Somehow, the blind mice figured that a clean hit deserved not only a boarding penalty but a game misconduct. If you were confused Grabovski was doubly so:
I don't know why referee give a penalty to me. I think it was very clean. I don't want to play behind him and [hit him] in the back. I just see his shoulder and I play in the shoulder. That's it.
The best is yet to come of course. Here's Gainey's blinkered view of the situation:
I felt it was a little bit late. We've had an ongoing problem with Grabovski this year. He's been suspended once. Markov was vulnerable. We hope it doesn't turn up as an injury that will keep him from playing.
If Markov was vulnerable it's because he put himself in that position (sound familiar?) so if he was injured it was his own fault (remember that?) and there should be no penalty to Kostopoulos. Wait...what? It was a clean hit but the Montreal Canadiens franchise has a real problem letting go of the past. That's probably why any discussion with a Habs fan ends with "TWENTY FOUR STANLEY CUPS!!!1". The only problem that the Habs have with Grabovski is that they miss him. They act like a bunch of spurned lovers. A bunch of blind, spurned lovers.
Of course, the worst non-call by the refs was right before the fourth goal when Gerber was hit three times before the goal. The Leafs can lose well enough without getting helped out by referees trying to teach a goalie a lesson about telling their fellow zebra Leggo that he is a moron or teach a kid that if you are trying to fight a yellow bellied player that you're better off not trying to work your way past the linesman. It was the pinnacle of a night of missed calls so blatant that even Montreal fans noticed.
Imagine that Leafs goalie Gerber gets bumped and interfered with three times on the same play that results in a goal with no call being made.
Imagine a fairly harmless Mikhail Grabovski hit (is there any other kind?) that somehow crumples Markov. Grabovski, who hits Markov two feet from the boards, is then called for boarding and then roughing when he gets into it with Mathieu Dandenault, of all the defenders. The always tempestuous Grabovski somehow earns himself a ten minute misconduct in the kerfuffle.
These strange calls have actually become the norm in games between these two, but they tended to tilt in Montreal's favour in this one. Perhaps past indiscretions by Gerber and Grabovski caused officials to be a bit less forgiving - who's to say.
Well it's not a conspiracy theory if your rival admits it's fishy! The refereeing wasn't the only thing that was found to be lacking last night:
Over the last two nights, Kaberle and Hagman never led the way veterans should. In fact, the roster, aside from some spirit shown by Jay Harrison and Mikhail Grabovski, managed precious few scoring chances and even less in the way of hard play that would have caused concern for the surging Habs.
I can't really judge how those two played because I watched the game with one eye on the tv and the other towards answering a torrent of questions from family but I think now more than ever that Kaberle is playing out the string in his career as a Maple Leaf. Burke wants to make a splash at the draft and that's his best trading chip.
Hagman, on the other hand, has been a revelation for the most part. However, he could probably use the summer off to recover from a pair of vicious concussions. A summer off will probably do some good for us fans too.