COSTLY WIN OVER CALGARY


The final stats on Chris Higgins and Mathieu Dandenault were lost in the shuffle of last night’s impressive 4-1 win by the Canadiens over the Calgary Flames at the Bell Centre.

Higgins:  3:33 of ice time.

Dandenault: 9:16 of ice time.

Both players left early after taking significant hits along the boards which left them both with “upper body injuries.”  We know the extent of Dandeanault’s injury:  a broken arm.  Dandeanult had surgery today and is out indefinitely.  Higgins came away with a shoulder injury.  His condition will be assessed following an MRI today.

Needless to say, this is a bad break (no pun intended) for both players.  Dandenault had been playing solid hockey along the blue line ever since Ryan O’Byrne took a seat in the press box fives games ago.  Dandenault had been patiently biding his time as a sometime-member of the fourth line, and Coach Guy Carbonneau finally gave the veteran a chance to return the blue line after he’d seen enough of O’Byrne.

And now this.  A fractured arm.

Hello Ryan O’Byrne.

As for Higgins, this young man seems to have played much of his career here in Montreal under a dark cloud.  From high ankle sprains to a nagging groin injury, Higgins has battled his fair share of adversity: not to mention the countless trade rumors that have been linked to his name.  This season did not start well for Higgins, who spent the first six games on the shelf with a groin injury.  And except for a three-goal performance against the Ottawa Senators almost one month ago to the day, the New York native hasn’t had much to write home about in terms of his performance this season:  five goals and four assists for nine points in 20 games.

And now this.  A shoulder injury, which is likely to keep him out of action for an extended period of time.

Hello Guillaume Latendresse.

Well, not so fast, actually.

The coach clearly isn’t committed to inserting Latendresse back into the lineup for tomorrow night’s game at the Bell Centre against the Tampa Bay Lightening.  Georges Laraque is always an option for the coach, which doesn’t do Latendresse much good.  After starting the season a house-afire on a line with Saku Koivu and Alex Tanguay, Latendresse has been a healthy scratch the last three games.  His numbers so far: two goals, six assists for eight points in 20 games.  Of concern is the fact that he has shown very little of the feistiness and determination he exhibited earlier this season while playing with Koivu and Tanguay.  Clearly, he is not yet out of The Coach’s doghouse.

Sergie Kostitsyn, however, is.  He earned another shot at some ice time last night against the Flames, and contributed a workman-like effort over his 13:26 of ice time.  He saw some action on the power play, some action on the penalty kill, and simply came to play.  Which is more than you can say for some of his recent efforts that resulted in a seat in the press box for the three games leading up to the contest against the Flames.

In the meantime, Alex Kovalev and Robert Lang finally showed of the same magic they weaved as members of the Pittsburgh Penguins oh those many years ago.  Lang scored his ninth and tenth goals of the season, with Kovalev assisting on both markers.  Lang also picked up an assist on the goal by Andrei Markov.  The third on the Lang-Kovalev three-some was Alex Tanguay, who put in a fine showing against his former Flames’ teammates. Honorable mention to Jaroslav Halak, who drew a rare start and performed splendidly.

And then there’s Matt D’Agostini, who scored his fourth goal in four games: in his fifth game as a member of the Canadiens since being called up from Hamilton.  This one was his prettiest yet: a goal-scorers goal, as he blocked a shot along the Montreal blue line; outraced two Calgary defenders for a bouncing puck, and controlled the disc long enough to backhand it past Mikka Kiprusoff.  It was one for the highlight reel.

Welcome to Montreal, Matt.

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About ahefter

I have covered hockey extensively during my 30-year sports broadcasting career. From the Miracle on Ice at Lake Placid to the Edmonton Oiler dynasty years, I've shared my views on hockey with listeners in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. You can "catch me in action" on Youtube at the following URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1n5BdB9ngYw My radio stops include TSN 690 Montreal, CJAD Montreal, CKNW Vancouver, and CKEY Toronto. I also ran the Canadian Press sports desk (radio). My travels as a network reporter have taken me to four Olympics, most recently Vancouver 2010. I'm currently an Applied Assistant Professor within the School of Communication at the University of Hartford.
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