November 25, 2008
This might be the brain-fart of the season, and we're only in November. Either that or Montreal defenseman Ryan O'Byrne is hoping the offensive incentives in his contract include goals scored for the opposition. From last night's 4-3 shootout win for the New York Islanders at the Montreal Canadiens, here's O'Byrne tying the game in the third period ... for the Isles:
The goal was credited to Bill Guerin at 15:13 of the third period in, perhaps, one of the earliest empty-net goals in NHL history. Red Fisher of the Montreal Gazette recalls the moment:
They were in sure-thing territory with little time left. They had a one-goal lead and a delayed penalty being called against Islanders left-winger Sean Bergenheim for holding. Alas, somebody forget to tell O'Byrne his net was vacated. Claimed he didn't know Carey Price, who gave up goals to Park and Bill Guerin in the shootout, had left his net.
I say NHLers should know when their goaltender has left the net. If they don't, they shouldn't be playing at this level.
Or, really, hockey in general. Montreal fans are getting a little edged right now, as their team is mired in a 3-4-3 slump. Future all-star Alexei Kovalev hasn't scored a goal since Nov. 1; what was expected to be a high-powered Habs offense ranks behind teams like the Columbus Blue Jackets and New Jersey Devils in goals-scored. Carey Price can't do this alone.
As for O'Byrne ... hey, at least this is the first time he's become an international punchline for the Canadiens. Oh, right: The purse-snatching thing. Forgot about that. Maybe he did deserve this vicious serenade from the Habs fans after the game: