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Game 58: Habs/Bruins

  • It never takes very much to set the mood for these two clubs. Living in Beantown last year I can tell you from first-hand experience that Bruins fans feel the same loathing and disgust that we feel towards them. Last year I watched a fat slob of a Broons fan swear at a middle aged French-Canadian woman and block her from passing his seat simply because she wanted to use the rest room while wearing a Habs jersey. As I was leaving TD Banknorth (suffering enough with the normal rage I feel when the Habs lose), I had a particularly hilarious Bruins fan shout me down saying it was “a long ride home – and thanks for Michael Ryder *&%!”. I didn’t want to get into the fact that I lived just accross the Charles River from the Arena – literally in view, or that Ryder was a ticking time-bomb of disapointment waiting to explode all over his black and vomit-yellow jersey. I feel particularly vindicated this week since Bruins management has put Ryder and his ridiculous contract on the trading block.

    For two teams with such animosity, it is interesting to think about the similar ups and downs that these two teams have shared over the past three years. Both have lead the Eastern Conference in points in the regular season. Both just squeaked into the playoffs while the other accomplished this. Both teams have relied on veteran defensemen (Chara and Markov), and tied their fates to the emergence of prospects within their system. What is interesting is how long it has been since both the Bruins and Habs shared the same portion of the Eastern Conference standings. It is this factor that makes intensifies the rivalry that will come to a head in 2 of the next 3 games.

    Both teams have struggled with injury. Both teams are capable when healthy and properly motivated of competing at a high level. The Canadiens tenuously hold 7th place with a 3 point lead on the Bruins (12th) with 3 games in hand. Wins over the Bruins would leave them in the dust. A split would prolong the misery of watching other teams struggle to jump over us. Losses would allow the Bruins to jump well past us. In a season where almost every game has been a must-win, creating exhilerating highs and bitter lows, the Habs will be put to the test once again. If they play as they did against Vancouver, we will be pleased. Play as they did in Florida and we will be in trouble.

  1. #1 Senet1 says:
    February 4, 2010 at 7:40 pm

    If the team cannot get up for a boston game then they cannot get up for anything. Last game we got scoring from two players who we have looked to all year with frustration. If I am correct and they now feel that they have to contribute more offensively, especailly SK, then we may see him blossom into the offensive threat that we all expected him to be. I suggested the other night that although he was playing smart from a defensive point of view that he may have been intimidated playing with Cammy who was scoring on a regular basis and therefore felt he had to pass instead of being creative on his own. The next two or three games could tell the tale. Here is hoping for once I am right.

  2. #2 Lopes33 says:
    February 5, 2010 at 7:39 am

    I was happy with how the Habs played last night, the past 2 games have been enjoyable to watch. Its insane how close our div is, and every win counts, halak solid between the pipes, no need to put price in right now, cami is our but thats alright he’ll come back firing with automatic weapons. Lets see how the habs do in the next 6 weeks! should make or break their season.

  3. #3 Mats Naslund says:
    February 5, 2010 at 10:34 am

    I think you are right Senet1. Sergei has played in the shadows of other players for his entire career thus far. If you watch him play with the puck however, you quickly realize that he has the kind of hands and skill that other young players simply don’t have. He is comfortable handling the puck in traffic and is capable of dynamic passes that put shooters in good positions. The problem is, after a breakout 20 games to finish the 07-08 season he was quickly (and maybe rightly) demoted back to a 3rd and 4th line role (which for anyone who understands his game is NOT going to work for him). On his junior team in London he was the point player on the PP (because of his Markov-like passing abilities) as well as the team’s #1 PK guy. A lot of people have been frustrated by his outburst earlier this season, but honestly I can say that most people dont understand what a competitor this kid is. So many nights with London I watched him get pissed off and then carry the entire team on his back setting Kane up for goal after goal. For me his natural spot is next to a player like Cammy or Pouliot – someone who will shoot (and hit the net) when he puts them in position. Once he has that chemistry, the goals will come, because defenders will have to respect how dumb he can make them look with the pass.

    This is the time that he needs to pull it together though. Fans are already ready to cut him loose. I’d like to see Martin show some confidence in his ability and put him on the powerplay. He is best suited to play on the half wall, which is tough because Martin already has Plex and Gomez in those spots. Still, Metro has been out there a long time and only has 1 goal in his last 19 games to show for it (last night).

    I also agree with you on trading Price and not Halak. If getting better quick is the goal then Price has much more value around the league for his potential. We just witnessed Calgary trading a ‘failing’ young name in Phaneuf and the return that could be possible. Its a giant leap to take for Gainey, but he could put out a few fires by trading the guy with more Market value, and keeping the guy with the better record.

  4. Although in the long run I think Price will be the more consistent goalie, right now Halak is playing like Hasek did for Buffalo. I guess the question not answered yet is whether as time goes on would he rather play for the Stanley Cup or for the KHL. I would hope it would be the SC, but so many of the good European players play here for about 8-10 years and then leave and go back home, especially now that the KHL is an option. There is no doubt that Price will bring us a better chance of getting a low round #1 pick and Halak, and depending where our goals and development plan is I believe we could get their quicker trading price than Halak. Sergie unfortunately like so many of our younger players was rushed to the NHL too soon, we can all name the players, but I agree that Martin has to show Segie some confidence otherwise his young ego will get deflated as it already has once and if so then he will have to be traded, my only hope would be that we would get another player with simlar skills like Peter Meuller.

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