It was a week of major disappointment for
Montreal fans, as the sweep was concluded by Boston as injuries continued to
mount for the Habs. The Bulldogs managed to win a couple games, but they
too were ousted by their 1st round opponent. We take a look at the players
still playing, while the Final Thought looks at the fans as well as an opinion
on the future of Bob Gainey. This, plus the grades, in the Recap.
8.00 to 10.00:
I) Stars/Superstars playing at or above performance, salary, and role expectations.
II) Above average players producing beyond performance, salary, and role expectations.
III) Average/Role players delivering well beyond performance, salary, and role
7.00 to 7.75:
I) Stars/Superstars playing below performance, salary, and role expectations.
II) Above average players producing at performance, salary, and role expectations.
III) Average/Role players delivering beyond performance, salary, and role expectations.
I) Stars/Superstars playing far below performance, salary, and role expectations.
II) Above average players producing below performance, salary, and role expectations.
III) Average/Role players delivering at performance, salary, and role expectations.
I) Stars/Superstars playing outrageously below performance, salary, and role
II) Above average players producing far below performance, salary, and role expectations.
III) Average/Role players delivering below performance, salary, and role
Note that the average column does not factor in regular season games.
7.25 The gesture
notwithstanding, you can’t fault him for either loss. He isn’t shielded
from all blame mind you, but he did make a few key saves. (Previous:
I cringed a lot when he was in Montreal’s zone, but I really liked the offensive
side of his game. (Previous:
He made some costly mistakes, but he was the top defensive defender for the
majority of the final 2 games. (Previous:
Played way too much and the kinks showed themselves a few times. However,
given the pressure put on him, he certainly met the expectations. (Previous:
Took a bit of a beating physically, but his mobility bailed the team out on
more than one occasion. (Previous:
7.25 Average: 7.13)
Considering he was pressed into the lineup after sitting for over a week, I was
happy to see that he didn’t kill the team too often. Expectations really
have decreased… (Previous: N/A Average:
Decent, but it’s hard to clear the visions of the final 2 periods of Game 4 out
of my head, certainly not his best moment with the organization. (Previous:
Although he didn’t score like in the previous 2 games, he did have some
strong moments and wound up tied for the team lead in points. (Previous:
It may have been a lucky goal, but given the team’s lack of ability to
score, I certainly didn’t care how pretty it was. (Previous:
It was nice to see the cut in ice time; unfortunately his effectiveness
dropped with the cut as well. (Previous: 7.25 Average:
Any doubters who thought he could still be a #1 option at C are probably
silenced now, he’s a strong #2 but his best days are surely behind him. (Previous:
Played a lot better on the PK, but was unable to generate much offense like
he had in previous weeks. (Previous: 6.75 Average:
One of only 2 forwards to score this week, but considering his linemates, I
think everyone was hoping and expecting him to do more. (Previous:
Essentially the lone offensive threat with a right hand shot, and he didn’t
deliver. If it wasn’t for the fact he was stuck with Plekanec, this
would’ve been lower. (Previous: 7.00 Average:
Seemed to get way too overanxious every time the puck was within 10 feet of
him, which really limited his usefulness (which was limited to begin with). (Previous:
Became more assertive as the series went on, but the goalless drought in the
postseason continues. (Previous: 6.25 Average:
Like Latendresse, he looked more comfortable as the series progressed, but
his play was still off compared to his regular season performance. (Previous:
6.25 I sensed a lot of immaturity in
his play to be honest, although in his defence he is still a youngster. (Previous:
5.75 Well, he was better than
he was in Game 1. Sadly, that says virtually nothing, and I really don’t
feel like rambling about everything that went wrong. (Previous:
Hamilton did enough to bring the series back to
Steeltown by taking 2 of 3 on the road, but once again failed to take advantage
of home ice, going 0-3 in these playoffs.
3 Stars: 1) Chipchura – HAM 2) Lashoff – GR 3) Russell
3 Stars: 1) Maxwell – HAM 2) Gagnon – GR 3) White
3 Stars: 1) Haydar – GR 2) Galvin – GR 3) Kindl – GR
3 Stars: 1) Leino – GR 2) Abdelkader – GR 3) Haydar – GR
More rookies led the way for the Bulldogs, as
Ryan White and Ben Maxwell had solid weeks to lead the way for Hamilton.
Goals: Maxwell/White (3)
Assists: 4 tied with (3)
Points: 5 tied with (4)
+/-: White (+3)
PIMS: Belle (16)
Montreal’s other affiliate, the ECHL’s
Cincinnati Cyclones were successful in their first round series vs the Wheeling
Nailers, completing their comeback with a 2-1 double OT win in Game 7.
They’re also off to a strong start in Round 2 against the Elmira Jackals winning
both their home games, despite newly anointed starter Loic Lacasse getting
chased in Game 2.
Although the Habs and Bulldogs are still out,
there are a few players in the organization who will be in action for the next
little while. They are as follows:
Olivier Fortier: Rimouski (QMJHL), host for upcoming Memorial Cup
Jaroslav Halak: Team Slovakia, World Championships
Chris Higgins: Team USA, World Championships
Dany Massé: Drummondville (QMJHL), league finals
Alexander Perezhogin: Team Russia, World Championships
Tomas Plekanec: Team Czech Republic, World Championships
Note: Prospect defender Konstantin Korneev (Russia) is with the Russian squad
at the Worlds, but will only be added to the roster if Washington moves on to
the 2nd round of the NHL playoffs.
I’ve learned a few things it seems this past
week – playing Boston in the postseason isn’t an automatic victory like a lot of
people seemed to think, all streaks must come to an end (this will be the first
decade that the Habs don’t win a Cup), and Montreal fans are even more fickle
than I thought.
By this, I’m not even referring to the booing of the US Anthem, although that
was beyond stupid. Seeing people admit that they did this to show
that Boston was unwanted and to make Montreal seem like a tough place to play is
simply asinine and makes me crave for some small caveat on the back of tickets
for ushers to be able to throw out patrons for acts of extreme stupidity.
It’ll never happen, but boy wouldn’t it be nice.
And no, I’m not talking about the ridiculous booing of Carey Price in a game
where he had no help whatsoever defensively and more often than not was hung out
to dry. Tradition dictated that it was going to happen, justified or not.
And the chants of Carbo, Carbo from many of the same people who wanted him fired
just months ago? Again, not the smartest, but I’m not going to go on a
tirade for every stupid thing that fans have done over the past few weeks – I
don’t think you want to be reading that long.
Instead, I’d like to focus on the overall reaction to this year’s sweep at the
hands of Boston. When Schneider and Markov were taken out, all I read were
infinite posts saying, "We’re done in 4" as well as lots of comments vowing
death to all things blue and white. In those same posts, I read lots of
people saying that Gainey needs a pass on the season because of all the bad luck
with injuries, "If we were healthy, we’d get them." The playoffs start and
lo and behold, the Habs go down in 4, just as a lot of people expected.
Now, all I see are these same people calling for Gainey’s head as if there were
no injuries to begin with. What did you people expect? The 8th
seeded team, mired with injuries, who used no fewer than 5 players who skated in
the AHL this year to take out a relatively healthy Conference champion?
And because this didn’t happen, we need to blow everything up?
I’m sorry, I just don’t get it. I think back to the disastrous situation
the Habs were in when Gainey took over, and how much better off the team (and
the organization) is since then. It is beneficial for the organization to
return to this state why? I know some fans can be shortsighted, but this
seems even worse than normal. All season long, we’ve heard the problems
with having so many pending UFA’s, but now we get to see the benefits that come
along with the risks. With the ownership uncertainties, I want some
stability in the organization, and Bob Gainey is the epitome of stability.
I’m also a big proponent of letting someone finish what they started. The
team was built this way for a reason, with the ability to make a quick fix if
things didn’t pan out as they didn’t.
Those of you calling for swift changes to the team will surely get their way, as
the personnel that departed the Bell Centre ice on Wednesday night will more
certainly be different than the group that takes to the ice for the home opener
next October. But the changes need to stop there. I hope that those
of you who feel otherwise take a bit of time and consider this and start to
realize that things could still be a lot worse than they are now. For
everyone’s sake, I sure hope we don’t have to learn this the hard way.
(Even though the season is over, there’s still 1 more Recap to go, as we wrap up
the Bulldogs’ year with their final regular season grades, as well as following
the Cyclones journey to repeat as Kelly Cup Champions. Look for this final
edition to appear next Sunday).
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e-mailing me rather
than using the malfunctioning comment box below.