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Bon Jour from Montreal

ExposMONTREAL -- Greetings from Montreal, Canada's Capital City*, where tonight the Panthers try to continue to excel at Molson Center.

Do you realize the Habs haven't scored a regulation goal against the Panthers here since 2003? And one of those dudes who did score was Richard Zednik?

Anyway, going to do the live blog since tonight's game isn't being televised back to SoFla on local tv. It is on national TV here in Canada, with Canadian ESPN (TSN) on the call.

Hanging on the gondola with  the usual jokers, Brian X and Steve Y. Bonus guests tonight: Goldie, Mitchie the Kid, and Davey Joseph.

Now, onto the game...

(*) I know Montreal isn't the capital of Canada. Toronto is.

(**) OK, guys, was just joking about the Toronto thing. Everyone knows Vancouver is Canada's capital. Speaking of that, will be in Ottawa come Friday. Looking forward to it...


-- They speak some kind of weird Spanish up here. I can get around Little Havana, no problem, but here...man, none of my Spanish works. They look at me like I'm loco. Eight? Ocho?

-- Can't wait until the first intermission. Why? Montreal's famous press box hot dogs. With a little mustard and relish? Oh yeah...

-- Youppi! is walking around the ice, almost getting run over by a Zamboni. Glad the Nationals didn't take the little fella with them to Washington.

-- Ate at a killer steakhouse today. Called La Queue de Cheval. Means 'The Horse's Tail.' I said some things today that I admit was out of line. But they didn't need to call me 'The Horse's .....'

Montreal -- One thing I love about coming here is the history. Even though this arena is new and the Forum is a shopping center, you just feel something special about coming in here. This is the best place I've ever been to watch a hockey game, bar none. And just about every player I've talked to says the same. Don't see any Celine Dion banners hanging in this joint (although, if there was one arena where there should be one, this is it.)

-- As usual, a few 'Horse's Tails' have to ruin the experience by booing the 'Star-Spangled Banner.' Although less idiots than usual. Must be the strong Canadian loony.

-- Race car driver and Montreal native Patrick Carpentier is being honored today. Given a Guy Lafluer No. 10 jersey at center ice. By the Flower himself! Pretty cool. Carpentier is going NASCAR on us, joining Gillett/Evernham racing next year. Pat Gillett owns the Habs.

-- GAME ON....

-- Mike Van Ryn in the box 1:36 in; MON scores first, Alex Kovalev on the rebound, five hole...1-0 HABS

-- Goldie calling the game for Steve Y (for free)...

-- For those wondering why tonight's game isn't on local TV: According to new rules, Versus has Monday and Tuesday to themselves. If Vs. is broadcasting a national game, local teams cannot compete against it. Good for them, bad for you...

-- Tribe Time! Eight minutes to post...

-- Come on Joe Girardi! Enough of the pregame already!

-- Don't know if you all saw this, and I plan to do more later, but Tampa's Vinny Lecavalier has pledged $3 million to build a children's hospital in St. Pete. That, friends, is going above and beyond.

-- Six minutes left in first...FLA shots: 2.

-- Cats end the first with four shots. This team is dead, dead, dead....no life whatsoever.


-- FLA kills off penalty...we're in the second now...Habs outshooting Cats 16-6...

-- Flyers beating Thrash 3-0; ATL about to become 0-6. Could there be a new coach in the SE division in the coming future?

-- Panthers, meanwhile, getting dogged. Outshot (lanced?) 24-10 here midway through the second. And luckily for the Kitties, it's still only 1-0...

-- Starting to get a little chippy, but FLA still has done nothing offensively. To say they've had one legit scoring chance in the second period may be being nice. 4:06 left in the second, MON 1-0; Shots: 26-10.

-- Noah Welch and Tom Kostopoulous throw in response to Tommy the Greek decking Olli a few minutes earlier. The Greek wins, Noah should have never tossed his helmet.