"How far can they fall" was the sports section headline above the usual Toronto Sun crime scene / sunshine girl front page spread. It caught my eye while shuffling from security gauntlet to security gauntlet deep in the bowels of Pearson International. Our foes in TO were certainly loving the second straight defeat to the lowly Islanders although the lack of a professional hockey franchise anywhere in the province might be one more reason for a younger generation to consider moving west (if McGimpy's new driving restrictions don't force the issue). Take it from painful experience though, the first 20 games is an awfully crude indicator of how the rest of the regular season will unfold. If you don't believe me, I've got a 1976-77 Canadiens yearbook to sell you.
Drawing into the lineup tonight are the Super Bass-O-Matic 76, Brendan Bell (possibly working the PP) and Ilya Zubov. On the outs are Fisher and Neil (who have been largely unnoticeable with the exception of the Dumb Penalty Face(TM)), as well as Christoph Schubert (appropriately enough on Kick a Ginger Day).
Look out Habs! The lads are almost ready to play some real hockey. OTT's goal diff only puts us at 10th in the east after 20 (still much improved from how the last quarter ended). You'll note a certain first round opponent and eventual EC champ started off in Ottawa's position last year. Once the offence starts clicking again (i.e. the issue of how to move the puck smoothly out of our own end is resolved), we may be back on our way up.
Sens 5, Habs 1 (Bass, Bell, Heatley 2, Spezza), Scotiabank's second most irritating visitors save their applause for the post game strip at Pigale's.