A Hab fan can disguise things all they want .
” We competed ” They will say with partial truth planted firmly between cheek and mouth protector. ” We should have won game four . We deserved to win game five ! ” Etc … etc … In reality , not unlike the crew of Gilligan’s Island – the entire bunch would have been lost if not for courage of the fearless Carey Price .
The Savior !
The Canadiens won the first two games in Boston . On the scoreboard – yes . In the middle of the ice , in the corners and in the slot – no they did not.
Upon a return to the supposed safe confines of their own rink , the Bruins outplayed them once more . This time however , the team from Boston won on the scoreboard as well. The Habs ‘ faithful sat in disbelief as their hometown heroes squandered the lead three times. Why were the fans in disbelief ? Why did the collapse surprise everyone except for Guy Lafleur who once accurately surmised that a team cannot win Stanley Cups with four fourth lines .
Oh No - Not again ...!?
They ( the fans ) witnessed the scenario all season long . The series against their long time rivals was an encore to a concert that was already too long. Les Habitants could not seal the deal all season when they were in charge on the scoreboard and in momentum. Why should things change in the playoffs ?
Game Six – A Turning Point
In a must – win situation in game six , the Habs came out and took the play to the Bruins in the first five minutes of the opening period. Sure – the referee took away a goal with incompetence . It did not stop the Habs from playing inspiring hockey and it led to a 1 – 0 lead scored on a 5 – 3 advantage. Although they scored to send the crowd into a frenzy – it was during that powerplay opportunity when Montreal displayed all that ails them and gave Boston more hope to carry on than Terry Fox did for millions.
Les Canadiens – the former Frenchmen of the Flying variety ,
Where 's Bob Gainey when you need him ...?
appeared more like Beavers than Eagles. Brian Gionta ‘s goal was only the second quality scoring chance the team held while up by two men and if the captain had not tallied – the period would have ended deadlocked at zero. When Seidenberg beat Price early in the second period – the Bruins once more erased the momentum that sat alongside M. Beliveau in the ‘ not so cheap seats ‘.
Swinging the enthusiasm away from the home crowd was something that the Bruins did every game in the post season away from home. What happened to the mystique of the Montreal Canadiens nest ? Perhaps a renaming of Le Centre Bell to Le Forum de Bell may appease the ghosts and evoke more appearances in the future.
Dahlin - Like a ghost ?
Once the ghosts finally came out of their cobwebbed locker room – the current day players did not appreciate their ghoulish selflessness . Another five on three powerplay led to another Montreal goal yet the production on the combined pair of ten – on – sixes was enough to make the forever pale Kjell Dahlin blush a lovely shade of bleu , blanc et ROUGE . Eight shots was the grand total of the two two – man advantages in a game that meant not only survival for the Habs bunch – it was also a missed opportunity to blow the doors off the good ship Bruin.
Anyone supporting the Black and Gold colors of Terry O ‘ Reilly ‘s cousins , would be quick to point out that the Bruins were down 2- 1 halfway through a game when they should have been out a full royal flush and dialing room service for their post – game meals. The Bostonian bunch played to the end and if Carey Price wasn ‘ t Bob Gainey’s love child – the Habs would have made it much easier on their travel agent , wives and girlfriends ( or both ) .
Don ' t you know who I am .... ?
A team must instill fear into an opponent to gain the upper glove. The Habs placed that fear into the Caps and Penguins last year. The pair of Eastern Division rivals started to panic as their respective series went the distance . The teams did not know what exactly they were fearing , yet fear they did . By the time game seven arrived – the league’s trio of stars ( Ovechkin , Crosby and Malkin ) were so frustrated , they did not know up from Gord Down - ey. The difference between this season and last , the Habs never had those two teams in a position to knock them down. If they did – the Habs followed their performances by a lacklustre effort by their former hero – Jaroslav Halak.
Halak gave his opponents reasons to think he was human where
Not Invincible ...
Price gave only signs that he was the sole piece of the puzzle in beating the Habs. Washington and Pittsburgh chased Halak while the Bruins never came close to removing Price from between the pipes . It was the Habs ‘ forwards that gave Boston enough evidence that three goals against Montreal was sufficient enough to win a game. The Habs ‘ forwards gave the Bruins hope no matter what the score was and this matter must be fixed before Les Canadiens will ever lift Stanley Cup banner number twenty – five to the rafters.
The Future ?
Brian Gionta , Tomas Plekanec , Max Pacioretty , Mathieu Darche and Mike Cammalleri aside – the Habs ‘ forwards are as consistent as an O. J . Simpson killer – search.
Gomez - ' Hair ' today ...gone tomorrow !
Scott Gomez ‘ career is over . Period. No matter where the dude plays , his skates are speaking volumes when he strides around and around and around … Guy Lafleur starting playing the same as Gomez when his confidence disappeared the season before he retired from the Habs. Guy previous and Scott now – both stick to the perimeters and avoid any attempt to beat a defenceman up the middle one on on. Around the boards they circle and either attempt a blind pass to the slot or shoot from afar. Confidence is more important to an athlete than any stick or piece of equipment that a sporting goods salesman can ever give away. Gomez can only hope that a sequel is in the works for a Mystery , Alaska - 2 .
If O. J needed someone to help him find Nicole Simpson ‘ s killer or to retrieve his stolen memorabilia – Pouliot would not have been a good choice. Benoit has been searching for the back of the net the majority of the season and his talent for doing so reaches it ‘s pinnacle at the worst possible moment. Two years as a Hab and two years of playoff futility. Pierre Gauthier made his best move as G. M when he inked Pouliot to a one year deal. Thanks for comin’ out Benoit …!
The Belarusian is like a girlfriend that is good in bed but drinks too
Kostisyn - Drunk ...?
much in public. Habs ‘ management must weigh both the good and the bad and decide which is better for their long term happiness. Thankfully , there are enough G. M ‘ s around the league who are ‘ not getting any ‘ and Gauthier should be able to exchange ‘ lust ‘ for ‘ passion ‘ .
A good soldier . Came in and did what was expected of him . Killed penalties , won face-offs and added maturity in the dressing room. Unfortunately – the player that he replaced , Dominic Moore , was a little better in all areas and Jeff lacked the ‘ drive ‘ of Moore. Bad move by Gauthier but not Halpern ‘s fault.
Here a Duck , there a Duck - everywhere a Duck , Duck ...
The former Stanley Cup champion Duck was brought to Montteal to add grit and the occasional goal. In 2009 – 10 , that move appeared to be a flash of brilliance . This past season was the exact opposite as Moen seemed to have been bitten by the same bug as Gomez. What exactly did Moen do ? Noone is certain . He was not bad defensively yet was no where to be seen on too many occasions when the Habs’ Smurfs were being pushed around. Please – keep him away from Laraque ! For the sake of the man ‘s diminishing career !
If Gauthier can replace these players with bigger and more consistent ones – the Montreal Canadiens will be a very strong force in the future . They have a solid defence if they hold onto the ‘ Wiz ‘ , Sopel , Gill , Hamrlik and Markov. Add the future captain – Subban and Gorges to the mix , a seven man tandem of talent , experience and youth is what you have in front of a young goaltender that will make everyone forget about Patrick Roy’ s exploits.
The Big Question
If the Habs had remained healthy all season , it would be much easier to judge coach Martin.
- Did Lars Eller play well or – given the opportunity granted by a more offensive coach , would Eller have shone like he did against the Bruins ?
- Is Sergei Kostisyn ‘s success in Nashville a reflection of Martin ‘ s inablity to allow offensive players to be offensive ?
- Are Andrei Kostisyn , Cammalleri and Gionta hindered by their defensive responsibilities ?
- Are the twelve points that the team squandered during the regular season against lowly opposition a reflection of the coach’ s weakness ?
- Did Martin do an excellent job given everything the team had to deal with ?
The answers will be not be known until the end of next season if the team stays healthy. Jacques has gained another year for keeping his team above the frozen water line. Righty or wrongly .
See Ya Next year you lucky man ....
Pierre Gauthier did a great job as G. M with the only exception being the move that he did not make. Jason Arnott would have been a great addition at the trade deadline . Imagine him on the ice instead of Pouliot , Pyatt or even Darche ? His experience along with Gionta ‘ s would have gone a long way. Who knows ? It may have woke Gomez up as well … ?
Bonne Ete les gens ! Thanks for keeping us warm on those cold winter evenings …