Oh so much riding on a Saturday night Hockey Night in Canada game! Considering their anemic offensive displays of recent games the Montreal - Toronto match up tonight could provide one of the most boring games of the year by the time they get to les trois etoiles (if they can find any).
No doubt it looked pretty good on paper when they drew up the schedule, but neither the Leafs nor the Habs are shooting out the lights these days, low scoring and in some games low shot counts have brought out the worst in the home town crowds and made for some pretty slow moving television as well.
It's a tough sell for the CBC in trying to present the Saturday night match as battle for playoff spots, neither the Leafs nor Habs are actually in a playoff spot at the moment, the leafs Ninth and the Habs tenth and both looking for the bottom of the standings rather than the top at the moment. Of course we can always count on the old traditional rivalry angle, two ancient franchises locked in combat for the 671st time.
Perhaps they can ask Jean and Henri, Darryl and Bob to come on out for a skate and show these young fellows how to do things. Who knows they might be able to get past twelve shots in one game if things really go their way!
What's even more worrisome for the CBC though is the playoff picture, judging by the performance of the Leafs and Habs, a post season appearance is getting more and more unlikely with each passing game. With 31 games to go until the playoffs, the CBC may find that it's two largest markets have no rooting interest in a playoff participant. Sure there's the Sens, but lets face it, no Leaf fan is going to be sitting down to watch Ottawa roll on through the East and well the Hab fans are just as likely to adopt a Bruin, Ranger or Flyer than pick up the Sens torch. As for the Western teams, well central Canadians would have to pull out a map to find the hometowns, probably too much to hope for just yet.
The possibility of the both the Leafs and the Habs missing the playoffs has the CBC Hockey Night brass beside themselves in angst, as they ponder hundreds of thousands of dollars of advertising dollars finding a new home before May.
That's why Saturday night they'll be looking for a pulse, a twitch even a slight breath from these two possible hockey corpses. The Mother Corp is hoping that something happens soon, spring is coming fast and they'd like to have as much Canada in their Hockey Night as possible!