Injury Bug Strikes Habs

A playoff berth assured, the biggest challenge a team often faces is to avoid injuries as they play out the string of games that usually mean a lot more to their opponents, some of whom are still trying to extend their season.

On Friday evening Montreal played all out for about six minutes and stole one from the Sabres. Seems the victory came at a cost. It seems that Saku Koivu and Mark Streit, who had combined to set up Chris Higgins’ overtime game-winner, both stopped pucks with their feet in the early going and would miss the next game.

Saturday afternoon was devoted to repainting my son’s bedroom, a task that could no longer be postponed. It had been stripped to the basics of bed and dresser some weeks earlier – nothing on the walls to cover the graying Landlord White, no socks and underwear protecting the carpet from spills and, probably against Child Welfare legislation in these parts, no screen access of any kind.

By about two o’clock the trim had been done, a chore made more interesting by my general ineptness and the fact that it had been decided that two colors were better than one. Three if you count the ceiling, a stucco-ish surface that I’m never taking on. I’ve never used it so I don’t feel I ought to be stuck painting since it can’t be done neatly with a brush or basic roller. I know my limits and even a home improvement project of this tiny magnitude is pushing the envelope.

An hour later the roller had been thrown away and the walls glistened as if freshly repainted. Even the inadvertent spots of contrasting colors had been wiped off, leaving a surface dotted with dull spots here and there that I would have done up right if I owned the walls.

Shortly after that the local English all-sports radio station claimed that Koivu had broken a bone in his foot and would be out for the next four to six weeks. I’m not familiar with Connor McKenna, but he sure got a lot of folks talking.

Fellow TEAM 990 staffer, Tony Marinaro, seemed to have trouble believing the report. Other media outlets ran with it, repeating the information but not confirming it. Online discussions savaged the report, many posters questioning its veracity.

The discussions around the Koivu injury proved to be a lot more interesting than the game against the Maple Leafs turned out to be. Montreal played a first period that was adequate at best, losing Ryan O’Byrne for the night midway through the frame, not because he stopped a puck but for throwing an overenthusiastic forearm that got him a five minute elbowing major and into the shower before the hot water ran out.

Toronto, playing without the pressure of the postseason looming, held a three-goal lead as the clock ticked down to the finals minutes. Unlike Friday’s game, this one ended without an explosion of goals to give Montreal an unexpected and undeserved victory although Tom Kostopoulos did bury a backhand with fifteen seconds to go.

Late in the game, Francis Bouillon left the ice, unable to continue, yet another puck-related hobbling and Maxim Lapierre, (I think it was him. By then the headache from the paint fumes was at its peak. The pizza hadn’t arrived yet, compounding the problem, and so I wasn’t at my sharpest) one of the few who seemed to come to play last might, took one off the back of his leg. Looks as if the Habs are going to be eligible for bulk rates at the x-ray clinic on Monday.

The team that managed to go almost unscathed through the season seems to have had the law of averages come into effect with a vengeance recently. Mike Komisarek is out with either a hip of lower back injury, depending who you choose to believe. Guillaume Latendresse has been suffering neck spasms that have kept him on the sidelines recently.

Add the lower body injuries suffered in the past two games and space is at a premium in the clinic all of a sudden.

The Montreal roster isn’t the only thing that’s looking a little thin. The natural light streaming into the recently redecorated bedroom brings out a number of places where I didn’t put enough paint on the roller. As a result the original, non-color shows through as drab as ever, only highlighted now by the new contrasting hue accentuating it.

I can go back and fix them but there’s not much I can do about the contrasting blotches that I didn’t notice yesterday and let dry into permanent reminders that I’m really not cut out to earn a living in the building trades. Well, pictures have to cover something.

I can fix some of the damage and hide the rest. We’ll find out soon enough if the Habs can do the same.

Tomorrow I’m actually going to leave the house, having agreed to spend a day at Concordia University. Hope to get an idea what the leaders of tomorrow feel heading into what for many of them might be the first real run they’ve had chance to experience firsthand rather than through family legend.


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