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Habs / Bruins: Game 6

  • Game 6…

    Not many anticipated the series would go this far. The Canadiens themselves seemed to believe that. Now the Bruins who have outworked and outplayed the Habs have a chance to even up the series on home ice.

    The Habs still hold the 3-2 lead and the chance to end it tonight. Hopefully ‘the message’ was received by now and the Habs come out ready to win.

    Saku Koivu may or may not dress. You have to believe he will, if nothing else just to shake things up. Provide some veteran leadership and maybe stir up the stagnant powerplay.

    If the Habs close it out tonight, this can all be looked back on as valuable learning experience to carry on to the next round. If they don’t, all bets are off for a game 7 against a confident and hungry Bruins team.

  1. For example, Ryan Smyth is willing to lose his teeth to win, but I doubt that Alex Kovalev is willing to go that far.

    Right, which is why Kovalev has won a Stanley Cup (in a game 7) and Ryan Smyth…

  2. #2 NorthOntarioHabnut says:
    April 20, 2008 at 1:44 am

    Ok I just watched the condensed replay of the game and it wasn’t quite as bad as the first viewing. I mean the Habs had only given up one goal into the third when again things went out of control. On the plus side, what an effort from Koivu, especially considering his return from injury (no problem with his pulse) and he and Higgins should be a threat in game 7. If the Habs can come out and score early and often (at least two or three) we should be able to take the Bruins out as I think it’s safe to say they’ve been overachieving in the goal scoring department in the last couple of games, and I can’t see Price giving up four or five again. I mean if anyone had told me the Habs would score four goals tonight I would have been sure they would win. On the other hand, if the game remains close and the Habs play that stupid defensive style and wait for something to happen (which is playing right into the Bruins’ hands) it could be curtains. I’d rather see them lay it all one the line and try to win rather than play cautiously and try not to lose. GO HABS!!

  3. Kovalev does not have the legs that weve seen during the season. Some of those hard bodycheck and falls during the first and second game could have done some damage to slow him down. Of course, if he is playing hurt no one in the team will admit that. And we will not know until the season is over. I see frustration there, i suspect Kovalev is not 100 percent healthy. But then again perhaps, his just carrying to much load.

  4. #4 Craig Sullivan says:
    April 20, 2008 at 3:03 am

    Watch some Miller/Kordic battles prior to the game and we will all remember how fun the game was in between goals.

    North American Hockey f’n rules!!

  5. #5 Joseph says:
    April 20, 2008 at 3:41 am

    “Right, which is why Kovalev has won a Stanley Cup (in a game 7) and Ryan Smyth…”

    Assinine rebuttal. You’re talking about the 1994 Rangers, and Kovalev certainly wasn’t their Captain, or even their leader for that matter. He was, as has been exhausted in this entry, a talented complement to the NORTH AMERICAN leadership on that team. Let’s see…

    – Messier
    – Leetch
    – Graves
    – MacTavish
    – Lowe
    – Beukeboom
    – And on and on

    I think that they might have had something to do with Kovalev’s ring.

  6. #6 Joseph says:
    April 20, 2008 at 3:58 am

    NorthOntarioHabnut, well said. I also feel that the Habs’ conservative and somewhat tentative play in attempting to protect one-goal leads these past two games has sealed their fate in each of those games. Not to mention, it makes me want to pull my hair out. Here’s hoping that they do lay it all on the line in Game 7. After all, they’ve only got the series to lose if they don’t.

  7. #7 Tony from NB says:
    April 20, 2008 at 5:35 am

    Hi All, (apologize, it’s a long blog)
    Just finished reading this installment…very long and exhausting….but excellent stuff!

    Best Line of this Blog: 61 Joseph
    “As to my passion for the Habs, I enjoy watching them but they certainly don’t make or break my day. After all, all of these guys are grossly overpaid entertainers, and nothing more. It’s just a game”

    I agree…and that goes for all professional sports….don’t take it too seriously.

    Game 7…let me say that again ….Game 7??? Truly remarkable to believe that the Bruins & Habs are still dancing. Hey…at least both teams are still playing and its entertaining.(unlike the sad story in Ottawa…hmmm, Heatly or Spezza might look good in a B’s uniform)

    There seems to be this persistent **theme** developing concerning the lack of “North American” content in the Habs lineup. Dare I say this conversation is bordering “Coaches Corner”?

    I’ve always believed that your leaders need to be from Canada (and to a certain extent, from the US).

    Here’s a stat that most of you probably already know:

    – No European-born/European-trained captain won the Stanley Cup. In fact, Derian Hatcher is the only non-Canadian to captain a team to the Cup.
    -Only two European goalies have ever lead their team to the Cup.
    Dominic Hasek & Nikolai Khabibulin

    Sure, there is always a first (Koivu?, Chara?), but why is this the case? There have certainly been enough European captains and European goalies over the last 30 yrs.
    I would speculate it’s about tradition and grit. For a European youth growing up in Helsinki or Prague, the greatest professional achievement is not the Stanley Cup; it’s the World Championships or the Olympics. The Stanley Cup becomes a contractual aspiration later in their adult lives. On the other hand, a Canadian youth (and certain US youths) the Stanley Cup is an emotional symbol that carries with it blood,sweat, and tears. ( akin to President of the US needing to be born on US soil…ok, that doesn’t explain Bush 2 or Tricky Dicky…but you get my point here)

    You have to be mentally strong to win in the playoffs (every game).It could be argued that some Europeans don’t excel in the playoffs, because they don’t pay the price in the battles you face game after game.

    Tell me, wouldn’t you rather have the kid from Pickering, Ontario (the Pest) on your playoff roster, or the boys from Navapolatsk. Belarus???

    I’ll take the likes of Avery, C.Lemieux, and D.Hunter any day of the (playoff) week.

    Your thoughts….
    Tony from NB (one pleasantly surprised B’s fan)

  8. #8 Sevenmack says:
    April 20, 2008 at 7:55 am

    Ah, Joseph, since you’re not a Rangers fan (I am) and thus, have selective memory of the 1993-94 season, remember that Kovalev was one of the teams leading scorers during the regular season (56 points) and its third-leading scorer (and penalty minutes collector) during the playoffs (9 goals, 12 assists, 21 points and 18 PIM). Comparatively, Brian Leetch had 34 points (and 6 PIM) and Messier had 31 points(and 33 PIM)that year. And he got a lot of press for getting opposing players to draw penalties through some of his antics.

    So Joseph, let’s get real: Kovalev was one of the Rangers’ biggest stars and key contributors to its victory that year. Whether you like European players or not, the reality is that Europeans such as Kovalev have been contributors to playoff success for teams. Whether it be Kovalev, or a Jaromir Jagr (a bull of a player for the Penguins and now, for my Rangers) or a Peter Forsberg (one of the toughest players to ever wear skates) or your precious Koivu. Cut it out with your, well, small-minded, thoughtless bigotry.

  9. #9 Sevenmack says:
    April 20, 2008 at 7:57 am

    And to say that the Europeans don’t play as tough a game seems to ignore the play of the Forsbergs, Mattias Norstroms, the Zubovs and the Jagrs who are tougher than leather and stronger than some of the so-called native-born Habs (Patrice Brisebois, anyone?) out there. It’s not about what country from which you arrive, but heart, grit and determination. That’s not limited to Canada and the United States.

  10. I mean, we have several European players too – Chara, Nokelainen, Sturm. But they are Eastern European, not supremely talented puck handlers, and they are more than willing to fight. In game 1 the Kostitsyn’s and Kovalev scored with ease. I have to say that the Kostitsyn’s have done nothing since then and Kovalev is getting mauled by Chara and not really retaliating. Komisarek, LaPierre and Kostopoulos want it BADLY though, you can tell.

  11. #11 Tony from NB says:
    April 20, 2008 at 8:32 am

    One last thing before Game 7……the Huet trade back in February.

    As Gainey described it, moving Huet to the Washington Capitals for a second-round draft choice in 2009 was a “risk/reward” deal. The risk is obvious. Montreal traded a goalie with the fifth-best save percentage since the lockout, leaving themselves with a 20-year-old “wunder-kid” who has no safety net other than Jaroslav Halak, who had played (up to that point) two periods in the NHL this season, and was a moderate successful backup last year to Huet.
    In return…the second-rounder Washington gave up is actually Anaheim’s pick, which means it will likely by in the 50s.

    So Habs fans, is the risk worth it now? Is a pick in the 50’s more valuable than what Huet could have provided in this series?

    Also, the intangibles…Huet was a popular figure in the dressing room. Chemistry is a funny thing…perhaps leadership is another missing ingredient here. Let’s not forget that Huet saved the season when the Habs where struggling and sent Price back to Hamilton. Yes, Price did play great in the last 15-20 games…but this is the Run for the Cup Time.

    Sure, Price was hung out to dry on many occasions in this series…its how he handles it at this precious professional age that is key. 10 goals in two games is worrisome for the next Roy/Dryden, and might set expectations way too high, especially in town know to eat there hockey young. (i.e.: Penny, Theodore)

    I’d like to think that the B’s finally have it right with their goaltending situation. Thomas has carried most of the load this season. He his a “poor-man’s” Hasek. However, waiting in the wings his the #2 Future Goalie prospect (thank-you John Ferguson jr) Tuuka Rask. Sure, Rask hasn’t won gold at the juniors or the AHL Championship, but he has had International experience, and has had a terrific first year in Providence.

    Thomas will be there to guide Rask next year, and to show him the work ethic needed at this level. Thomas will also take the pressure off Rask…and he is a great guy in the dressing room. I have a good feeling that Rask and Price will do battle for years to come. However, I also feel that an NHL goalie takes longer to master his craft a this level.

    So Habs fans….it’s not 1971 or 1986…it’s 2008, and the NHL has changed. I hope you (and the Montreal media) don’t run Price out of town. Because there is a guy out in the Mile High city who has found his “mojo” again …and he was compared to the exception that proves the rule (Dryden/Roy/Ward)

    Tony from NB
    ( again, sorry for the length of this…but thanks for the chance)

  12. Guys I just think that Boston wants it alot more. We have way too many russians and stuff like that. They have young guys also but they’re canadians. If Price comes up big on monday we will win.

  13. #13 habs4life says:
    April 20, 2008 at 10:08 am

    As I mentioned previously, it’s the war between Carbonneau and Julien. So far, Julien won the battle. The final war is coming…

    Your comments are all good, but it’s all detailed individual reasons. If we look at it as a team, the problem came from coaching team, especially the Carbonneau. Did we see the difference between the games by the end of regular season and the Game 1 of playoff? Not at all, Game 1 was even better and well prepared with morale and momentum. I didn’t want to guess what Carbonneau said to his team after Game 1, but the Game 2 showed that the TEAM was OVER confident and was JUST ready to the 2nd Round… Carbonneau just eased the momentum after Game 1 and struggled from Game 3 uptil now.

    If Habs win the Game 7, we are lucky enough; If not, our rookie coach (first to playoff) will definitely learn from the history.

    (hope no heart attack in the Habs nation last night)

  14. If we some how win this next one, Montreal can go very far. The next team coming isn’t that great. Philly? Now that 4 sure, will be very easy. I said Boston could push to 6 games, but not 7. I’m very surprised montreal might lose, this one. But obviously you guys feel the same. I think the bell centre will but pressure on both teams and montreal will win, knowing it’s win or die!

  15. This game is going to be insanely intense.

  16. #16 Donnie says:
    April 20, 2008 at 10:32 am

    Good calls by everyone on this blog. This doubt(no grit) reared it’s head up to the trade deadline, and because our Habs finished the season stong and on top, we kinda all put it aside thinking maybe they could win the playoffs anyways….well here it is…the #1 team in the east, with the #1 PP in the league, and the highest scoring team in the league are in it up to their eyebrows now with a 7th game with the Bruins looming. A team they dominated in the reg season, a team who barely made the post season, blah, blah blah.

    This is what soft Euros are great for, regular season play. They’re exciting to watch in the 82 game season, and dominate with all the open ice, room to maneuver, and lack of hits. In the playoffs, this ain’t worth the paper their contracts are written on. Guys, you can’t just say to a player, “get tough, get gritty” if they don’t have it in them. They can’t magically morph into a totally different player with balls of steel. Our guys are trying, but they are just not cut out for the heavy hitting of North American playoff hockey. Our tough players are being tough, but our weaker ones, who we cheered for all year because of their scoring, are not gonna get there. The whole Kovy line, along with Markov are scared shittless and thats the way it appears it’s gonna stay.

    Theres no reason for the PP going into the negative percentile though. They are just not swinging it the way they were all year. And when our only weapon fails to fire as well….then you’re looking at a 7 game series with an 8th place team. Ta da….and there it is. The Bruins are playing like the regular season Habs and vice versa.

    Great year guys…a division title and a conference banner. I’m not saying we’re going to lose the last game, but even if we manage to suck one out at home, how much further can this team take us? The Flyers and the Rangers are both salivating at the opportunity to get us in the next round if they’re watching how we’re playing this series. Thats a 3rd round ticket.

    I’m pissed off too guys, but you can get blood from a turnip. 80 or 100 years of playoff history, and the type of players you need to win cups is not gonna change this year because we have Kovy’s line. This is all analyzed closely by our GM, and is a part of Gainey’s road-map towards another cup. And with the right player injections and trades for next year…we’ll be that much closer.
    Great season boys, I hope you do win Monday night because as horrible as your performing I do wanna see you go further. But expectations all across Hab-nation have to be much lower now. We never quite adjusted to playoff hockey, because we don’t have the means to adjust. Certain players aren’t hard or gritty and will play scared….that separates cup winners from flashes in the pan. Thanks for the terrific season. GO HABS GO !!!

  17. #17 BarrieHabFan says:
    April 20, 2008 at 10:35 am

    I trust the habs will finally play the offensive game in game 7 that they lost after game 1. They played it safe with the series lead and tried to win by sitting back and trying to capitalize on Bruin errors. But, infortunately, the Bruins have had a great series. Who would have thought that Boston could raise their game to this level? Having said that, Montreal is playing near the bottom of their potential. The offense compared to the regular season is pathetic. They can’t sustain any pressure in the Boston zone and THAT is why the defence has had problems. They are having to defend for the majority of the game. Price has been amazing. Anyone who says differently doesn’t know their ars from a hole in the ground.
    But in game 7 the offensive reigns will no longer be pulled back and I think we’ll see more offensive pressure against the Bruins, just like we got used to in the regular season.

  18. #18 Nadeen says:
    April 20, 2008 at 10:48 am

    Perhaps ole..ole…should be eliminated. It is after all a European soccer chant and this is North American hockey.

  19. #19 Sexy Hab says:
    April 20, 2008 at 11:07 am

    I for one am a very disappointed, angry, disheartened, deflated etc. Habs Fan. I am racking my brains as to why Montreal had dominated Boston all year (8 straight games) to fall to the Bruins like this. I know it is the playoffs and the slate is wiped clean, but this is rediculous. As some has stated before, Montreal has not brought one Reg. season stat over into the playoffs.

    I would sooner for Montreal just queek into the playoffs and play like they have, an 8th place team would be expected to do no more. But to finnish in 1st place in the East and to have the #1 powerplay, the most goals scored in all of the NHL, Seven 50 point players and to play like they have well, is just plain Embarrassing.

    The Montreal Fans were just way to Cocky in waving that poster to Thomas “Go Golf Go” just Jinxed the the Habs. I lost all confidence in the Habs as the series went along.

    Don’t get me wrong, I love Price to death. He carried the Habs down the stretch and into the first few games of the playoffs. He was outstanding. Game 5 he had a meltdown, ok one bad game, it happens to the best of goalies. Last night he made some very good saves, a great glove grab and a great pad save. But a game where montreal finnaly scored a few goals they were so despartly needing, Price did let in two or thre questionable goals. What is up with Carbo? a minute and 40 seconds left in the 3rd period Montreal has position of the puck in the Boston end and Price still on the bench. Price was not pulled until about 50 something seconds left. Carbo was clearly out coached by a mile in these playoffs. Carbo still has a lot to learn.

    Boston has matched Montreal in this opening round of the playoffs. Boston now have won two games in a row scoring 10 goals. Wow! Montreal can’t stop the Bruin Frieght Train now. The Habs have had two chances to put away Boston and has failed.

    Habs Fans have been saying that The Habs have acomplished a lot this season. Well, I say that they have not. Everything that they have went out the window when the playoffs started. Sure they finnished in 1st place in the East only to lose to a team that barely made the playoffs.

    It is very hard bieng a Habs fan right now!

    Well like the Leaf Fans say “there is always next year”……..

  20. #20 Habs25th says:
    April 20, 2008 at 11:15 am

    I was hopeful at the begining of the playoff series (and still am), after game 1 and 2 I was thinking rout. Lately, they seem to want to play safe, and the idea of clearing out players in front of the net seems foreign to the Habs the last little bit. If we get a first period outburst like game one, the habs are back, if I see game 6 third period I think their teeing off. Let’s hope at some point Boston screws up, cause they are playing like they want it more.

  21. #21 Sexy Hab says:
    April 20, 2008 at 11:17 am

    If people want to talk about luck, well, Thomas is the luckiest SOB to ever play net this year in the playoffs. He has had enough pucks squeeze by him and let out enough juicy rebounds for Montreal to have 30 goals. He flops around the ice waving his arms and the puck just hits him. No skill there. I give credit where it is due, he made some great saves. SOME I say. For people to say that Thomas was great need to have their MRI’s done, cause something is just not right in the head!

  22. #22 Sexy Hab says:
    April 20, 2008 at 11:28 am

    Montreal Fans got what they wished for. They wished to play Boston in the first round cause it would be a easy series to win.


  23. I will probably record the game seven and go on Habs blog to find out the outcome and if we win then watch the game,if not delete !.I just can’t handle the way Carbo sticks to his guns and wont make the changes necessary ,yet will line juggle all nite long.And now if he makes the changes in a game 7 it’s to much pressure to place on a Chipcura etc.stupid….stupid….stupid….and if we win the series its gonna be the same bullshit…..

  24. #24 Joseph says:
    April 20, 2008 at 11:56 am

    Good insight, Tony, and some good points. However, the reward of tht trade was in the hoped blossoming of Price, who, in my opinion, has done exactly that. You mustn’t forget that although the NHL was a different league back in the early 90s than it is today, Roy had his share of blowouts as well. Further, Price cannot be faulted for all of the goals last night. And truth be told, I thought that he responded quite well in the first period of last night’s game following a bit of a meltdown in Game 5. He made big saves early and then often through out the game to keep his team in it and give them a chance to close out the series.

    As to the plethora of goals late in the third, I think it’s important to focus on the nature of many of them. Fortunate bounces, defensive turnovers and deflections working at the right time were a large part of that madness. For instance, the Lucic deflection doesn’t always go in. It’s often stopped by the goaltender or deflected wide of the net. And the second Boston goal was the result of a broken pass which deflected off a Habs skate, right on to the stick of Sobotka, who then shuffled it through the five hole, gift-wrapped and all. The fifth Bruins’ goal was a direct result of Kovaleb’s less than desirable play along the boards late in the game. The same can be said for two of the Habs’ goals. And if I didn’t know any better, I’d say that the hockey gods were in attendance at last night’s game, and further, that the Bruins were destined to win that game by their divine intervention. But I digress.

    Truhfully, I wasn’t crazy about the Huet trade when it was made, but I came to realize why it was made after watching Price close out the regular season. I’ve gained even more clarity watching him perform in these playoffs. And you must remember that this team was built for next season, so they have been overachievers this season. And what a better time to allow the young Price to develop and mature, gaining some invaluable playoff experience along the way.

    You know, Patrick Roy didn’t always win the big game, just as Mario Lemieux didn’t always score the big goal. There will be let downs, but last night wasn’t one of them for Price, in my opinion. This kid is the real deal, Tony, and with Boston’s offensive outbursts these past couple of games being something that eluded them for most of this season, I have to believe that the third time will not be a charm for Bruins’ fans. If it is and I’m proven wrong, only then will I concede that the Huet move was more risk than reward. At least for this season. But until then, I’ll continue to support Gainey’s decision.

    Having said that, do I think that Gainey should have gotten more in return for Huet? Yes, I do. I strongly feel that Huet could have brought more in return. But it is what it is.

    I will heed your advice in being cautious not to run Price out of town. 😉

  25. #25 Joseph says:
    April 20, 2008 at 11:59 am

    Montreal Fans got what they wished for. They wished to play Boston in the first round cause it would be a easy series to win.


    That’s precisely what I said before this series began.

  26. #26 Joseph says:
    April 20, 2008 at 12:00 pm

    On an unrelated note, I cannot believe that I failed to realize that html works in here… stupid.

  27. #27 habs4life says:
    April 20, 2008 at 12:19 pm

    It seems I am not alone here booing the lower-coaching-IQ Guy Carbonneau. He was good on “play skill” coaching, but lacks of strategic maneuvering, something out of sports.

    Anyway, Carbonneau is by far only a General, not a Marshal.

    Hope he can learn something from Sun Tzu’s <> during the golf season, to gain some War ideas.

    Hope Carbonneau can learn and gain some “strategies”. Otherwise, Habs fans, don’t expect too much from him to provide any glory to the HABS NATION by 100 years anniversary.

  28. #28 Lucky says:
    April 20, 2008 at 12:24 pm

    hey BarrieHabFan I hope your right about the habs will be better in game 7.
    I just feel the Bruins want it more and they shut us down…..if we go down in game 7 at least we made the playoffs and we were better then last year and our youth will only get stronger and wiser.
    gentlemen I hope after monday game I still can keep reading your comments about the habs advancing to the next round, and if not I will see you guys on October….

  29. #29 rhabs4real says:
    April 20, 2008 at 12:29 pm

    I figured out a nickname for the Kovalev, Kostistyn, Plekanec line: Kan’t produce! (I know the spelling is incorrect), but I’m sure you get the jest.
    If we lose on Monday, Carbo will learn nothing from these playoffs. Why?
    Because passion, determination, grit, and emotion aren’t something you can teach! It’s inborn. Either you have it, or you don’t. During the regular season, when Kostistyn or Markov scored, did you ever see a smile or emotion?
    I didn’t. typical russian expression-NO EWMOTION EVER!
    These guys won’t last long in the NHL, because they don’t have what it takes to win in the playoffs, chokers all the way, and now they’ll have a tag attached to their name-LOSERS!

  30. #30 Joseph says:
    April 20, 2008 at 12:31 pm

    Ah, Joseph, since you’re not a Rangers fan (I am) and thus, have selective memory of the 1993-94 season, remember that Kovalev was one of the teams leading scorers during the regular season (56 points) and its third-leading scorer (and penalty minutes collector) during the playoffs (9 goals, 12 assists, 21 points and 18 PIM). Comparatively, Brian Leetch had 34 points (and 6 PIM) and Messier had 31 points(and 33 PIM)that year. And he got a lot of press for getting opposing players to draw penalties through some of his antics.

    First of all, I have no selective memory of the 93-94 playoffs. I watched the entire thing.

    Secondly, congratulations on looking up those stats (which you didn’t have committed to memory). Unfortunately for you, they mean nothing within the scope of this discussion. With regard to my point, it matters not that Kovalev brought the offensive talent to that Rangers team – that what he’s supposed to do. What matters is that he was a complement to the North American leadership on that team, which has been my point throughout this entry. I don’t know howmuch clearer I can be, but perhaps if you and others weren’t such selective readers, you would have extracted that from my blogs.

    Anyway, never mind my brief list above, theoretically take Messier out of the 93-94 equation, and take Kovalev’s ring away from him while you’re at it, becasue there’s no way he gets one without that type of leadership on that team. This is and has been my point all along.

    So Joseph, let’s get real: Kovalev was one of the Rangers’ biggest stars and key contributors to its victory that year. Whether you like European players or not, the reality is that Europeans such as Kovalev have been contributors to playoff success for teams. Whether it be Kovalev, or a Jaromir Jagr (a bull of a player for the Penguins and now, for my Rangers) or a Peter Forsberg (one of the toughest players to ever wear skates) or your precious Koivu.

    Of course he was. And he was surrounded by the right ingredients to reap the full benefits of his talent. As was Jagr, as was Forsberg. Check the rosters on their respective teams.

    And speaking of Jagr, to choose one of your examples, he was one of the leading scorers on the Penguins of the early nineties, and thus a large contributer to their playoff success. But I wouldn’t want to have him as my captain. There is no way he gets near a Cup without Lemieux, Francis, Tocchet, Trottier, Stevens, Recchi, Coffey, Mullen, Errey, Murphy, etc. How many championsips has he won since leaving that organization and becoming to “go-to guy” for Washington or the Rangers?

    Cut it out with your, well, small-minded, thoughtless bigotry.

    Do not you dare judge me or call me a small-minded bigot. It was you who was demonstrated small-mindedness in misinterpreting my blog(s).

  31. #31 habs4life says:
    April 20, 2008 at 12:49 pm

    Folks, just lower the expectation, then our lives would be bit easier.

    Go Habs Go!

  32. #32 Joseph says:
    April 20, 2008 at 1:00 pm

    And to say that the Europeans don’t play as tough a game seems to ignore the play of the Forsbergs, Mattias Norstroms, the Zubovs and the Jagrs who are tougher than leather and stronger than some of the so-called native-born Habs (Patrice Brisebois, anyone?) out there. It’s not about what country from which you arrive, but heart, grit and determination. That’s not limited to Canada and the United States.

    Well, Sevenmack, I happen to be from Pittsburgh, where I got a good, long look at Jaromir Jagr for years. In fact, I even got to know him. So allow me to dispel your myth.

    Jaromir Jagr was well-conditioned. He ran the steps of the arena before and after practices (as many offensive stars do), to develop his legs, thus making it more difficult for defensemen to knock him off the puck. Further, he worked his legs like mad in the gym. Lower body and core conditioning, you understand.

    Jaromir Jagr was not, however, “tough”. Neither physically nor mentally. In fact, he was scared shitless of the Flyers’ and Panthers’ physical play of the 90s and even said as much in the media. In fact, the Florida Panthers of 1996 used intimidation to shut him down in the playoffs that season. In fact, it worked. In fact, he became as much of a non-factor in that series as Kovalev and company have become in this series against the Bruins, who are implementing the very same strategy. In fact, he hasn’t won a thing since that potent Pittsburgh team was disintegrated and he was put in charge.

    Forsberg is a bit of a unique example because he is tough. But he has often relied upon dirty retaliatory play when he’s been frustrated by the opposition, much like Kovalev has in this series. Regardless, check the Avs roster and see where he complemented that team.

    There’s no small-mindedness or bigotry in stating that the European style of hockey is more skill and finesse, whereas the North American style is more physicality and grit. It’s simply the way that it is. History has shown that a healthy mix of both are a successful combination in the Stanley Cup playoffs, just as long as the leadership in the locker room is North American. No, Sevenmack? Do me a favour. Name all of the European captains who have lead their respective teams to a Stanley Cup championship. Take your time.

  33. #33 Joseph says:
    April 20, 2008 at 1:11 pm

    Some modern champions:

    2007 ANAHEIM DUCKS: Ilya Bryzgalov, Jean-Sebastien Giguere, Richard Jackman, Sean O’Donnell, Francois Beauchemin, Chris Pronger, Scott Niedermayer, Joe DiPenta, Aaron Rome, Kent Huskins, Shane Hnidy, Todd Bertuzzi, Teemu Selanne, Corey Perry, Chris Kunitz, Ryan Getzlaf, George Parros, Dustin Penner, Drew Miller, Andy McDonald, Todd Marchant, Brad May, Samuel Pahlsson, Travis Moen, Rob Niedermayer, Ryan Carter

    2006 Carolina Hurricanes : Adams, Kevyn (C) Adams, Craig (R) Aucoin, Keith (R) Babchuk, Anton (D) Boulerice, Jesse (R) Brind’Amour, Rod (C) Cole, Erik (L) Commodore, Mike (D) Cullen, Matt (C) Gerber, Martin (G) Gove, David (L) Hedican, Bret (D) Hutchinson, Andrew (D) Kaberle, Frantisek (D) Ladd, Andrew (L) Larose, Chad (C) Nordgren, Niklas (L) Recchi, Mark (R) Richmond, Danny (D) Staal, Eric (C) Stillman, Cory (L) Tverdovsky, Oleg (D) Vasicek, Josef (C) Vrbata, Radim (R) Wallin, Niclas (D) Ward, Cam (G) Ward, Aaron (D) Weight, Doug (C) Wesley, Glen (D) Whitney, Ray (L) Williams, Justin (R) Zigomanis, Michael (C)

    Have a good look. I can provide a lot more examples if you wish. Just say the word…

  34. #34 LeBeau says:
    April 20, 2008 at 1:14 pm

    Joseph, the bloggers I’m calling “bandwagoners” are the ones who’ve written the Canadiens off…the ones who got all frustrated by the 2 straight losses and said that Boston will win the series. I’m all for expression of opinion. I think this has been a great series to watch. I’m glad the Bruins have come out and played great, because if game 7 belongs to Montreal, this series is going to really fire them up for the rest of the play-offs.

    I’m predicting that the winner of this series wins the Eastern Conference.

  35. #35 Joseph says:
    April 20, 2008 at 1:21 pm

    Thanks for the clarification, Lebeau. Perhaps I’m too paranoid.

    I really hope that the Habs find within themselves what it takes to win Game 7. I would love to see how they do against the Flyers, and moreso, the Penguins. That would be an exciting offensive series.

    The East is up for grabs again, in my opinion, but I wouldn’t take the Penguins for granted. If anyone has an edge, I think it’s them. But it’s the West that really concerns me.

  36. I’m interested in what you guys think about the “talent gap” that was a media sticking point (from both sides) before this series started.

  37. #37 Joseph says:
    April 20, 2008 at 1:34 pm

    Tony, I must’ve skipped over your 107 whilst ducking the onslaught of daggers being thrown at me from the anti-bigots. Damn them all to hell! Go North American or go home is what I always say! And praise Don Cherry! He is our leader.

    Anwyay, that’s some excellent insight into the different brands of hockey represented in the NHL. (You really are an intelligent hockey fan!) I agree that there is something deep-rooted in the different approaches to playing the game, of course. It’s cultural.

  38. #38 Joseph says:
    April 20, 2008 at 1:40 pm


    I would say that it depends on how you measure talent. If you measure talent based on a player’s ability to dazzle with stickhandling and speed, then the edge goes to Montreal. (This isn’t to suggest that the Bruins are without such talent – Kessel showed that last night.) However, if you measure talent based on a player’s ability to deliver the big hit, shut down the opposition’s dazzling talents, or score the clutch goal, then the edge would have to go to the Bruins.

    That’s my take anyway.

  39. #39 Joseph says:
    April 20, 2008 at 1:46 pm

    Here’s my proposed strategy for Game 7:

    Carbonneau and Muller suit up and hit the ice while Gainey takes his place behind the bench. It would work… if only for the mere reason that the Bruins would be too stunned to focus on the task at hand.

  40. #40 habs4life says:
    April 20, 2008 at 2:10 pm

    Joseph, if this situation were to happen next year (2008-2009 season), Gainey would have stepped in to be behind the bench (then, bye bye, Guy). Right now? no, it’s not the reality, because Carbonneau was set enough time and space to make enough mistakes. Gainey will leave Carbonneau alone there to continue the “wrong way”? I don’t think so either.

    Gainey will be stepping in for the Game 7, but Carbonneau will be still standing behind the bench. my 2 cents.

  41. #41 habs4life says:
    April 20, 2008 at 3:31 pm

    Many of you once again raised the topic of more Euro players in Montreal. The reason is that Habs cannot procure first class local NHLers to Montreal. Free agents leave; free agents no come. (even higher bidding din’t purchase D Briere)

    On the other hand, Euro players are good in NHL in regular and playoff seasons. Up til playoff GAME 1, Habs Euro players had been playing well enough. The down sliding situation was the over confidence after Game 1. Carbonneau failed to tune the wrong tone back to normal.

    Even though Habs win the Game 7, I still downgrade Carbonneau to 2nd class (or lower) coach in NHL.

  42. #42 Joseph says:
    April 20, 2008 at 4:01 pm

    I will state this one last time before leaving this insane debate behind me for good.

    A healthy mix of European and North American players has proved to be a successful combination in the playoffs. However, as history has certainly shown, both North American physicality and leadership is required in order for a team to win a championship in this league. And while the talent of European players is also a necessity, a team cannot, I repeat, cannot take on the personality of a European team if they have thoughts of winning the Stanley Cup. And right now, that’s precisly what the Habs are: a team dominated by European players. Go ask the Ottawa Senators how well that worked out for them in the late 90s and at the turn of the millenium.

    In no way does this line of thinking make me small-minded, thoughtless or a bigot. I greatly appreciate Europeans and their culture, and have many European friends. I even love Montreal for its European influence. In fact, in many ways, I prefer European culture to that my own. It’s just that in the case of North American hockey, it takes North American leadership to win. This is not a matter of opinion but rather a matter supported by factual evidence.

  43. #43 Andy says:
    April 20, 2008 at 4:15 pm

    Including goalies, Montreal Canadiens have 11 Canadian born players, 4 American born and 10 European born. Boston Bruins have 14 Canadian born players, 5 American born and 6 European born. While certainly Boston’s 19 North American players contrasted with Montreal’s 15 is a difference in terms of numbers, it’s not really that much to me. Montreal still has a number of players who should be playing with heart to win a cup, regardless of whether Boston has just a few more or not. So this argument about getting more North American players, or Canadians, is a weak one.

  44. #44 habs4life says:
    April 20, 2008 at 4:22 pm

    “Go ask the Ottawa Senators how well that worked out for them in the late 90s and at the turn of the millenium.”

    That’s true. Sens fans just think of that. Euro players, the less the better…

  45. #45 BarrieHabFan says:
    April 20, 2008 at 5:10 pm

    Euro, North American? That’s a debate for after the season is done, if you care.
    Right now, I’m cheering my habs on no matter where the players are from.
    They made the mistake of trying to win the final games of the series by playing it overly safe and it’s backfired. Price is still awesome, Carbo is still one of the contenders for coach of the year, Huet wouldn’t have done as well as Price has and Gainey is still a great GM. Many of us talked about this year being a great step. Nothing has changed. I don’t beleive the plan was for Montreal to compete this season. They are ahead of schedule, so whatever happens in this series it should not be a disappointment. Does it always have to be doom and gloom with some fans?
    I think Montreal will re-discover the forecheck in game 7 and if they don’t, I’m disappointed but the team is one step closer to their cup in 2010.
    Go habs!

  46. The momentum of this game could go a number of ways.
    – Montreal could feel the pressure, respond with their best game and out-talent the Bruins.
    – Montreal could be stunned still, while a hard-hitting, hungrier Bruins squad finishes the job.
    – A combination of the two; both teams playing their style. Finesse and speed against, grinding and hard-hitting.

    I’m hoping for the latter.

  47. #47 Joseph says:
    April 20, 2008 at 5:13 pm


    It’s not just a matter of numbers, it’s also a matter of who your players actually are. For instance, when’s the last time that you watched Smolinski or Brisebois or Ryder drill an opponent in to the boards, or agitate them to get under their skin, or take this team by the balls and lead them to victory? Not once in this series, I bet. But I’ve certainly watched Lucic do all of the above.

    The point is that Boston’s team personality is more North American, whereas Montreal’s team personality is European. Bostons’ leadership is North American, whereas Montreal’s leadership is European. They can name Chara the captain all they want, but he has not lead his team back in to this series – Lucic and his supporting cast have.

    This argument is not at all about getting more Canadian or American players than your opponent has, but rather about getting the leadership required to win. And there is nothing weak in it.

    That being said, I do also think that Carbonneau doesn’t quite know how to work with what he has, to get the most out of his players. For this reason, I am in agreement with Boston fans that he has been outcoached by Julien.

  48. #48 BarrieHabFan says:
    April 20, 2008 at 5:16 pm

    And lastly I would like to retract some of my statements regarding Koivu.
    I still beleve that he is somewhat overrated, should never center the first line and is replaceable. However, it is clear that right now he fills a void on this team in terms of passion and determination. He was beaten in foot races in the last game that cost a few goals, but he made up for that with the additional offence he provided and I hope that he can step that pace up even more for game seven. He clearly is an inspiration to his teammates and does provide an element to the offence, if not providing some releif for an overused and exhausted Kovalev. So to him, for comments I made that he should not play for the habs, I apologize.

  49. Lucic is 19, and somehow he is the heart of this team. He inspires EVERYONE to hit harder. He will be the face of this franchise in a short team.

  50. #50 Joseph says:
    April 20, 2008 at 5:25 pm

    Look at Detroit, Andy. They have a large number of European players on their roster, but where’s the leadership, the grinders? It’s in Chelios, McCarty, Draper, Maltby. I’d trade Smolinski and Brisebois for Chelios alone. Any day. Detroit wouldn’t.

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