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Canadiens Season is Over

  • The Montreal Canadiens season ended abruptly last night with another 2-1 overtime loss to Carolina.

    What was hands down the most exciting playoff game of the series and of any series so far this year ended suddenly in overtime with a long slapshot that changed direction and caught just enough of the inside post to deflect into the net and end the game. A typical broken goal ends an excellent goaltending series.

    The deflection was definitely a Craig Rivet error that should not have happend. As he strided towards Cory Stillman elongating his stick I thought to myself ‘there’s no way he’s going to put his stick in front of that puck’ but he DID and the second he did it was bad news. Clang and in the net.

    You could also argue that Michael Ryder didn’t get the puck deep and that the play began on his error. You could also say that even if deflected Huet should still have had time and been in position to block that shot. But how far do you go back? You could blame Tomas Plekanec for missing his breakaway earlier in the game and hitting the post. For that matter you could blame him for missing chances 1 or 2 games earlier.

    The blame can’t fall on a single player or single play. It was a team effort and a team loss and took 6 games not 1 deflected shot.

    The Canadiens losses were all by one goal and twice in overtime. This was a very close series and sometimes you just come up short. That’s the nature of the Stanley Cup Playoffs and sudden death overtime.

    That’s a lot more than you can say for the Flyers who were pummeled 7-1 at home in their 6th game and horribly outplayed all series long.

    It’s a lot more than you can say for the Rangers who were swept away like hair on the barbershop floor. A better run than the defending Champion Lightning, and a better run than mighty Detroit, Dallas and Nashville. All teams who were supposed to be ‘better’ than the Canadiens.

    Maybe best of all, far better than the Toronto Maple Leafs who failed to even reach the post-season.

    A painful loss today but a successful season overall and a lot of off season and future potential lay ahead for the Habs.

    The Habs are a better team than they were in October and will only improve further with Gainey and Carbonneau getting fresh starts.

    Congratulations to the 05/06 Habs.

     

30 Comments
  1. Well said.

    You have to give credit to Cam Ward. As great as Huet was, Ward was the biggest difference out there in the last few close games. But, damn, those goalposts…

  2. Hell of a series. Your team played well, and thanks for the good writing. Wish us luck against he Devils.

  3. Hey Jeff Cam Ward perhaps up close with a shot was fairly good. I believe he will be toast against a Jersey. But give credit to Williams for his high stick and the those pretend refs which most certainly changed the momentum of the series.Look forward to what changes Gainey makes in the off season which will I believe will surprise a few…No one is safe on that team right now.Although I would not tamper with the youth movement.

  4. #4 marcintouch says:
    May 3, 2006 at 10:11 am

    Well, that was fun. Great game, and by great, I mean a sustained mild cardiac infarction, if you were in the building at the time.

    I hear that cracks are starting to show in the Gainey façade… He did a little too much post-game finger-pointing at Kovalev, and Kovalev finally had to explain to the media that he was not alone out there on the ice, although often it certainly looked like he was. He’s a diva, but a talented one, and he needs credible line-mates.

    It’s broom time, Messers Carbonneau and Gainey! Away with Bulis and Ribeiro and Zednik and Bonk! Maybe even Dandenault! Build around your key veterans (Koivu, Kovalev, Souray), your important middle-schoolers (Markov, Huet, Begin, Ryder) and your sophomores (Komisarek, Plekanec, Higgins), and throw in some more kids and a couple of free-agent rentals.

    Carolina beat us not because their goaltending was better, or their coaching was better, but because they had six 30 goal-scorers during the season, and we had one, and he got his 30th on the last day. Their scoring was distributed among their lines, such as they were, and ours was limited to: Would Kovalev Find Space or Will Souray Shoot Hard Enough.

    Easily one-third of the current Habs roster can and should be jettisoned before next season. Ship them to Chicago for draft picks if necessary. Do what you have to do!

    See you esteemed gentledudes next year!
    Marcintouch

  5. #5 fan3 says:
    May 3, 2006 at 10:17 am

    Thanks for pointing out the good parts and making us feel better, Habs Blog. It was indeed an overall success and we certainly gave them a run for their money.
    And if you want to go even further back we could blame all the games that didn’t do in our favour on the last day of the regular season, lol.

  6. #6 J-Nic says:
    May 3, 2006 at 1:05 pm

    This was a hell of a season. A roller-coster. We started the season by winning lot of game on the road, then come back home and we did a bad series. Then Theo moved out of Montreal after playing bad, then you have Huet who was great all year long. This season, all the emotions were up and down.

    What will be the Off Season like ? Who will be back next season ?

    Will Huet sign a new contract with montreal ? If yes, how much ?
    What happens with Aebischer, do you keep it or exchange it for a better player ?

    What about Bouillon, who’s contract end ?

    Will Latendresse make the team this year ?
    Bulis, Sundstrom, Bonk, and some others, where are they going to go ?

    Are we gonna be able to sign a big player to play with Kovalev ? etc….

  7. #7 I am Canadien says:
    May 3, 2006 at 1:05 pm

    We have a good core. If Huet plays like this all next year, goods things will happen. I look forward to Gainey’s off season moves. This loss only helps. If we made it deeper into the playoffs, it would have only masked the issues that need to be addressed for next year.

    It was fun!!

    Go Jays Go!!

  8. whatt a gammmee! your team played awesome and huet was stellar wow! What a hell of a seriess! its been a plesure.
    good luck next year

  9. #9 Habs4life says:
    May 3, 2006 at 4:30 pm

    the series was great, but we lost it…but played great. I mean Montreal was playing its best hockey, Huet was playing great after he lost 3 straight at the end of the year, but sometihng was missing…and it was goal scorers. Even if we had Koviu back we still would of lost, all the games we only could could put 1 or 2 past Ward and that’s not good enough if you want to win the stanley cup. Carolina had 6 players who scored 30 or more goals, we had one, who din’t do much in the playoffs. I don’t want to be a Leaf fan and make excuses for every loss because ther’s a lot that us Habs fans could say, and I’ve already seem a few. But we should take it as it is. We got beat by a better team. They were ranked 2nd and we were 7th, we shouldn’t win in that type of series. They gave it there best and still loss, so there was no way of winning this series and that’s the way it is. There’s no one to blame, we just have to wait till the off-season find who we picked up, find out who are new coach is, and will find out from there. If we can make the playoffs with the team we have now, just imagine how good were going to be when we pick up an other soild blue liner, and a few skilled forwards.

    Best of luck to Koviu:)

    avec quelques uns outre des changements de saison, je sais que Montréal peut faire les finales, et entre peut-être profondément dans les finales:)

  10. #10 Joe says:
    May 3, 2006 at 4:42 pm

    I agree that a few key changes in the off-season will enable Montreal to reach the finals, and perhaps win the Cup. They really aren’t far off from having all the necessary ingredients. Sign Huet, get rid of the dead wood and replace it with some enthusiasm and finishers, and this team will be atop the standings next season. Oh, and change those sticks! They very well may have decided this series!

  11. #11 kazmojo says:
    May 3, 2006 at 4:50 pm

    Damn straight, Habs blog. And marcintouch, I agree with you all the way until the housecleaning. With the NHL emphasis on offense, defense becomes all the more important. And the Habs stayed in this series only because of their defense (and Huet). They have a number of forwards that could fill two checking lines: Bulis, Bonk, Zednik, Murray, Begin, Sundstrom, and Plekanec. They should start there, and build their offense around Kovalev, Koivu, Higgins and Ryder. Which means adding a big, playmaking centre (au revoir Ribs) and a right handed winger (bonjour Selanne?).

    Further, two checking lines is what it will take to stop teams built like San Jose, who have two awesome scoring lines. That said, they might be able to get someone a little more defensively reliable than Souray — although his cannon would be missed.

    I didn’t see Gainey’s comments, but it would be a shame if he was blaming Kovalev. I’m not Kovalev’s biggest fan either, but it seemed obvious that he was injured (knee?) — and played through it anyway.

  12. #12 Les says:
    May 3, 2006 at 4:59 pm

    You have a better attitude than most Habs fans I’m hearing these days. There is a real propensity in this town to blame one or two players when things go poorly, or giving credit to one or two when they go well.
    Lose? Must be Kovalev and Souray’s fault. Win? Huet and Begin played fabulously.
    I don’t know why anybody would think 60-point men like Kovalev or Koivu could carry the entire team through the playoffs. These guys are not Jagr and Thornton. They’re great second tier players, but that’s all.
    It was interesting to learn just how many other Habs players ride on the coattails of those two sixty-point men. When they’re playing poorly or get hurt, there is no offence.

  13. #13 Joe says:
    May 3, 2006 at 4:59 pm

    Kovalev takes far too much heat, in my opinion. He may be a bit of a diva, but he is also a consistent producer, and often when it matters the most. He’s a gamebreaker. You don’t point fingers at guys like that.

  14. #14 J-Nic says:
    May 3, 2006 at 5:47 pm

    kazmojo: [They have a number of forwards that could fill two checking lines: Bulis, Bonk, Zednik, Murray, Begin, Sundstrom, and Plekanec. They should start there, and build their offense around Kovalev, Koivu, Higgins and Ryder. Which means adding a big, playmaking centre (au revoir Ribs) and a right handed winger (bonjour Selanne?).]

    I am not sute abour this. I think some player must stay. Plekanec is young and he did quite well for a rookie, let him get more experience and let him play with better player and I am sure he will be a good player at montreal. You can’t get Begin out of Montreal, this guy deserve to play here, just like Bouillon do !
    I think that Bulis, Zednik and Sunstrom do not deserve to stay here at all. For Bonk and Sourray, it’s hard to say. Bonk played well in the start of the playoff but then stopped, so don’t think he is worth it. Sourray made big mistake but he also did great and he is the kind of player that can change the aspect of a game, good or bad and that’s good for entertainment and I think we need to keep it cause we won’t have another player that could take his place for now.

    I also believe that Ribeiro is playing really well with Kovalev recently, even if he missed some open goals but give him time. Having a guy like Selanne or Kariya, I am sure it would be AWESOME. Having 3 guys that see the games, see the play and DO it !

    The Key players : Kovalev, Komisarek, Markov, Higgins, Ryder, Begin, Bouillon
    Must leave MTL : Bulis, Bonk, Sundstrom, Zednik, Streit

    All the others are good or bad, but can probably have another one similar somewhere else or wasn’t excellent. And yes, Huet is in the gang for me until another year. Will he keep playing the same, will have to see.

    Well, I hope to see good games next year :)

  15. #15 habsfan518 says:
    May 3, 2006 at 8:54 pm

    thanks for givving us a place to bitch bragg and talk about the habs no doubt great series hated to see it end hopefully this offseason they can work somethings out get crosby back in montreal where he belongs maybe get bertuzzi in for us anyway see everyone in october
    GO HABS GO

  16. #16 Rob says:
    May 3, 2006 at 9:18 pm

    Thanks to Bob Gainey for bringing back the pride in being a Habs fan again. Being too far inside the fishbowl, you, folks, in Montreal may not fully appreciate all that Gainey has done for this team! When Gainey took over this team, it was COMPLETELY lost, and despite some recent lucky playoff runs which were based on one player (Theo) who could be awesome one night, and a total dud the next, there was not much in the way of a TEAM.

    Now, the Habs are young, and appear to be working towards certain goals. They are obviously still a few pieces short, and do need to trim some deadwood. (Bye bye, Ribeiro!) Overall, there is a very good framework on this team, now. The pride is back so much so, that teenage phenom, Sidney Crosby, wants to play for the Habs, and generally, players of Crosby’s calibre will get what they want after they have paid their dues for a few years in the NHL.

    Don’t knock Carolina! They are a young, very talented team, and the Devils will not likely run rickshaw over them in the next round as has been suggested by many of the writers on the habsblog.

    Not to sound bitter, but shame on the CBC. After many years of their trying to convince Canadians that the Toronto Maple Leafs were “Canada’s team,” their attempts have drastically failed. Don Cherry and Ron MacLean should be called to account for their gloating and jubilation that they showed after the Canadiens lost Koivu and the game in the third match of this series. You don’t take cheap shots at hockey’s most storied franchise easily. Je me souviens. Canadiens’ fans should write the CBC demanding an explanation for the biased commentary in this series, and until an explanation is given, Canadiens fans all across the country should boycott the CBC and the sponsors of Hockey Night in Canada.

    Gainey (not Dryden) for Prime Minister!

    That’s it; I’m done. See you next season.

  17. #17 Joe says:
    May 3, 2006 at 10:03 pm

    Not to stir the pot, but who cares what the CBC members of Leafs nation think?
    I say allow them the petty bits of joy and jublilation they get from Montreal’s elmination in this season’s playoffs. Let this biased form of broadcasting be a form of entertainment for you rather than a form of frustration. After all, everyone outside of Leafs nation knows that the Habs will hoist the Cup again before the Leafs do. And just imaginae how entertaining they’ll become when THAT happens.

  18. #18 Rob says:
    May 3, 2006 at 11:52 pm

    Joe:

    That’s Ok for you to say because you probably live in Montreal, but what about the poor schmoe who cheers for the Canadiens in other parts of Canada. There are all sorts of Canadiens fans in the West, in Atlantic Canada and Northern Canada who cannot stomach the idea that the CBC has been trying to peddle for years: that being that a team that has not won the Stanley Cup in over forty years is “Canada’s team.” There is a great economic benefit to be had in trying to maintain this fallacy. If I turn on my television (say in Uranium City, Saskatchewan), and all I can see on Saturday night is a Leafs’ game on the CBC, well, that just makes a depressing life even more depressing.

    C’mon, Joe. If you don’t see that, you are missing the true point. Hockey is the only thing that has kept this friggin’ country together for over one hundred years, and it is LES HABITANTS who have led the way in that department. If you don’t believe how important the Canadiens have been to the country and its history, ask Ken Dryden when he becomes the Prime Minister of Canada what he thinks. Think about it, and then write your letter of complaint to the CBC.

  19. #19 Joe says:
    May 4, 2006 at 12:25 am

    Whoa, Rob, pull back on the reigns a bit.

    First and foremost, I agree with you with regard to the Habs. I am a huge fan of the Canadiens and feel that they ARE hockey. I actually grew up in the states – Pittsburgh – where I was introduced to the game of hockey by watching the Habs come into town and dismantle the Penguins (pre-Lemieux era), and then time and time again after that. I was hooked. I never missed a game when they were in town. And I followed them whenever I could on the television (only the playoffs were covered in the states at the time, unfortunately). I was mesmorized by the likes of Lafleur, Dryden, Schutt, and so on. Everyone I knew, however, was for the home team, despite their obvious ‘suckedness’. So I know what it’s like to be a fan of a team in a difficult environment full of hopefuls.

    Secondly, I only wish I was living in North America’s greatest city! But I actually live in TORONTO (of all places) at present! So I know a bit about the undying and seemingly foolish loyality of the Leafs Nation – I’m at the epicenter of it! And believe me, my loyalty to Canada’s true team has resulted in my fighting quite a few small battles.

    That being said, however, I understand your point. And I do sympathize. It’s just that while part of me is all about standing up for what you believe in, another part of me is about getting a big laugh out of how ridiculously the CBC is monopolized by the Leafs Nation. And I almost feel sorry for them. Almost.

  20. #20 Joe says:
    May 4, 2006 at 12:28 am

    But I’ll do my duty and write the letter. You’ve convinced me. I suppose I’ve just been numbed by it over the years. ;-)

  21. #21 jim says:
    May 4, 2006 at 1:20 am

    yo got high hopes joe montreal will never win a cup agian and this is why there best player anit the caption of the team a caption puts up ponits and that is not what kouiv did. so dont go blameing cbc host Don Cherry and Ron MacLean becasue montreal lost they suck and they shouldnt be a canadian hockey team. and oh yeah ”theo sucks” my buddy who won the habs are the canes i think the canes won just like i told u and all your fag it montreal fans that thought montreal would win. all i got to say is nanananananaa heyheyhey good bye sign it aigan nanananananaa heyheyhey good bye

  22. #22 Rob says:
    May 4, 2006 at 1:24 am

    Thanks Joe:

    I appreciate that, and I knew that you would come around to see it my way.

    Now, every TRUE Canadiens fan. Here’s what we’re going to do! Every Canadiens fan is going to talk to another Canadiens fan (near or far away), and also convince them to write to the CBC insisting they cease their biased commentary against the Canadiens effective immediately, and what is more, we will insist that the CBC covers the Canadiens on the NATIONAL broadcast EVERY SECOND WEEK! You can also ask for Cherry and Neale’s resignations if you like, I don’t really care about that.

    We need to do our part as fans. The ol’ boys in TO tried to take it away from us, but they have failed miserably in their attempts. Now, it is upto us as fans of the game that unites this country (and the Team which has been the most sucessful in the game’s history) to bring the glory back to the Habs where it belongs.

    By the way, go Oilers and Senators go in Round 2!

  23. #23 Rob says:
    May 4, 2006 at 1:26 am

    ps. Nice spelling, jim!

  24. #24 Joe says:
    May 4, 2006 at 1:51 am

    I ran this:

    “yo got high hopes joe montreal will never win a cup agian and this is why there best player anit the caption of the team a caption puts up ponits and that is not what kouiv did. so dont go blameing cbc host Don Cherry and Ron MacLean becasue montreal lost they suck and they shouldnt be a canadian hockey team. and oh yeah ‘’theo sucks’’ my buddy who won the habs are the canes i think the canes won just like i told u and all your fag it montreal fans that thought montreal would win. all i got to say is nanananananaa heyheyhey good bye sign it aigan nanananananaa heyheyhey good bye”

    Through an automatic translator, and it derived this from it:

    “Joe, you’re a true fan with very good taste. After all, no team has won more Championships than the storied Montreal Canadiens, and no team ever will! And I agree completely with the concern expressed here regarding CBC’s biased broadcasting. Money, and the marketing devised to attain more of it, are killing sport! Wow, I’m drunk! Also, Jose Theodore wasn’t very effective this year, so it was a smart move by Gainey to move him and give Huet a chance to shine… which he certainly did! (Man, we got some lucky breaks!) Further, Montreal is truly an amazing city of diversity and culture. Every time I visit there, I find it more and more difficult to say ‘Goodbye’ when it’s time for me to leave! Did I mention that I’m drunk? By the way, where’s the best gay neighbourhood? I’m single again. I apologize for being drunk. It’s become a bad habit of mine ever since I was 10.”

    Or at least that’s what I got when I translated it from “DNA-Defective Redneckian” to “English”.

    Incidentally, I’ve been told that those on-line translators cannot be trusted, so the above translation might not be 100% accurate.

  25. #25 Joe says:
    May 4, 2006 at 1:59 am

    You’re welcome, Rob. I’m in the habit of bending to the will of others these days. I’m also in the habit of making terrible predictions it seems…

    Calgary? Hello? Is anybody in there? What did you DO?!? Disney is not allowed to win. It’s sacrilege! (Jim, that means that it’s an outrageous violation of the rules.)

    But I did call the elimination of Dallas, the Wings and the Rangers, so I can feel really good about that.

  26. #26 Rob says:
    May 4, 2006 at 2:49 am

    Thanks for the translation, Joe. I was following Jim’s letter pretty well, but kinda’ got lost at the “theo sucks my buddy” part. I am glad that it didn’t mean what I thought it meant, Jim. Anyways, I’m writing to Jack Todd first off. I am seriously going to change this to the Habs’ nation

  27. #27 riser8 says:
    May 4, 2006 at 9:07 am

    I would just like to thank the Canadiens for a great effort this season and they can hold their heads high after a gutsy performance against one of the better teams in the league. I would not be surprised to see Carolina give New Jersey everything they can handle in this next round. I would also personally like to thank Habs Blog for this site and the freedom it allows us Fanatical Hab fans to vent our feelings regarding the Habs and other hockey related issues….Keep up the great work! I look forward to an interesting offseason and I am confident come next September we will be looking at an even stronger team than the one we follow now. Have a great summer folks!

  28. #28 mel (#1 fan) says:
    May 9, 2006 at 6:19 pm

    this goes out to J-nic comment # 14 was amazing i really believe the same things as you.. i think they should keep everybody but bulis, sundstrom and streit because they are no good and finally one other habs fan that likes ribeiro and who believes that he has been doing better with kovalev… mike ribeiro should saty and he needs to stay cuz then i will never stop crying because i got the chance to meet him this year and i really like him and wnat him to stay…he’s great :)

  29. #29 Shane says:
    May 9, 2006 at 10:20 pm

    “DNA-Defective Redneckian” to “English”. LOL.

    I think the habs put together an outstanding 2nd half. I give bigtime credit to Bob Gainey (he wears a cape if you ask me), but the players score the goals and I hope we don’t see a fire sale in the off-season. No-one that watches any great deal of hockey, hab fan or otherwise, should underappreciate the effort put forward by our habs against Carolina. The Cane’s are a good hockey club, with depth of talent and great locker-room leadership. Given the stress that Carolina is currently causing Jersey in Round2, I take pride that we took Carolina to Game6.

    I do have a couple of concerns that I think need to be addressed this off-season by Bob Gainey et al.

    1. Souray is a MONSTER and he often carries the team. I’d hate to see him go. But Souray has a tendency in close games to make mistakes that change momentum and lead to /minus. Gainey needs to teach this guy to play smart.

    2. Broken sticks are making me grey. It drives me crazy when I see these million(s) dollar players blow a stick in scoring position, game after game after game after game. This may have cost us our series against Carolina, and I see it in other games/series as well. There’s gotta be a more reliable product available, I suggest something made of WOOD for example. Gainey should grab all the stick Suppliers by their ties, sit them down and show some of those brutal replays. Solve this problem or discontinue using the sticks.

    Sorry for the rant. Have a great summer.

  30. #30 Bill says:
    May 14, 2006 at 8:20 pm

    The Habs had a great series and only need a little tweaking to to take on Buffalo for the Northeast since Ottawa is now on the decline and their core will probably be blown up. Firstly don’t tinker with the defence cause it was just fine, bringing Bouillon back will be all Gainey needs to do. He needs to re-sign Huet whcih will lead to the trade of Aebisher and Danis will become full time in the bigs. Montreal’s biggest problem was their lack of scoring beyond Kovalev. With Koivu coming back healthy and Higgins really coming on the first line should be just fine. For the second line Gainey needs a centre and a winger to play with Kovalev. I heard a rumor that the Wings might trade Robert Lang for Zednik and i’d be guessing a little something else and if that oppurtunity should arise he should jump all over that, if it dosen’t than it would be a smart move to try and get Arnott. I don’t like the guy but he’s big, talented, a major upgrade over the big baby Mike Ribeiro(sorry mel but it’s true) and he an actual Canadian which they need more of because you can’t win a cup with a lot of European’s. For the wing maybe Elias if they can afford him or Straka or maybe since Tampa’s looking for goaltender and looking to unload salary to re-sign Richards how about little Marty? Getting Lecavelier or Richards will never happen because they are far to valuable(sorry folks but you’ve got to look at it from a Tampa prespective as well), they need to unload salary and Aebisher would fill their need for a goalie along with say Ribeiro or Zednik? The third line which was their best in the playoffs should mature even more next season with maybe Kotstytsin of Ferland on it( Latendresse is a few AHL years away, he it at the world juniors). The fourth line will have Murray, Begin and since his contract is too big to move people, Bonk will be around till the end of contract.

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