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Habs playoff run ends. Congrats to the Flyers.

  • Well, if there was ever a more surprised group of fans than the ones who sat dumbfounded as their Canadiens defeated the Washington Capitals in game 7 of the quarterfinals, I’ve never seen it. I’ll remember that feeling for a long time. I happened to be in a pub in Toronto filled to the brim with Habs fans expecting to see the final game of our season, only to witness one of the truly shocking upsets in Habs history, and one of the greatest post-game celebrations in my history! The team that simply wasn’t supposed to be in the playoffs made it in. The team that was supposed to lose in four straight won in seven. It was unbelievable in every way given how poorly the Habs performed down the stretch of the regular season. And yet, they won.

    After knocking off the first seed, pundits began the arduous task of re-writing the course of events. The Capitals went from Cup contenders to a team ‘not built for the playoffs’ overnight. The Habs were given almost no credit for the way that they defended in front of Jaroslav Halak. Pundits seemingly forgot that Montreal blocked 1 shot for every 1 allowed in game 7 showing the heart and determination that every successful playoff team needs. Montreal once again entered a series, this time against the Pittsburgh Penguins, in which they were afforded no chance. They had done well to get to that point but they had “no chance against a Pittsburgh team who will do everything that Washington couldn’t”. Or so the so-called experts thought. Montreal went to work against the Penguins, stifling Crosby, Malkin and Gonchar in the same manner they shut sown Ovechkin, Semin and Greene. Again Montreal took the Penguins to game 7, and again we watched in jubilation as the Canadiens emerged victorious.

    With the Conference Finals came a weird sensation for Habs fans. Confidence. Slowly Habs fans began remembering the days of old. The swagger you feel in knowing your team is the team of champions. After the tumultuous few years that the Canadiens had endured, it was an uneasy feeling to think that the Habs actually had a great shot at making the Stanley Cup Finals. Unfortunately, the only thing standing in the way was the Philadelphia Flyers, the only other team in the playoffs who had experienced the kind of resiliency and determination that the Canadiens had shown. Their come-from-behind victory over the Bruins will go down as one of the great performances in NHL history. Only two teams had ever accomplished the same thing.

    The Canadiens season had a somewhat anti-climactic ending. The Flyers were able to dispatch the Habs in five games, showing all of the qualities that got the Habs to the Conference finals. They blocked shots, they got saves and they were opportunistic in their goal-scoring. While the sting of defeat is still fresh in my own mind, I have to give the Flyers all the credit they deserve. They were simply much better in all of the areas that allow you to win in the playoffs. While most pundits are clamoring to choose a Chicago victory for the Cup Finals, I wouldn’t be so quick to discount what can happen when a properly motivated group of individuals set out to do their job efficiently.

    As the Habs pack up their lockers many of us are wondering what the future looks like in Montreal. The playoffs have made a few off-season moves very easy, and some very difficult.

    -Jaroslav Halak is the starting goaltender for the Montreal Canadiens. I’m not saying Price is going to be moved, but Halak isn’t going anywhere, unless some team out there makes it very worthwhile. Montreal can afford to take a wait and see approach with their goaltending situation.

    -PK Subban is a Montreal Canadien. I simply cannot wait to watch him play with Andrei Markov next season. If people thought Streit was good with our beloved Russian, wait til they get a look at PK. The question is, who loses a spot next season? Montreal has some decisions to make on defense. You have to believe that Markov, Subban, Gill, and Gorges are locks.  Where does that leave the rest? Spacek, O’Byrne and Hamrlik are under contract next year. That makes 7 defensmen right there. Will the Habs let Bergeron and Mara walk, or will there be maneuvering in the offseason to shed some salary space?

    -After his performance in this years run you have to think that Dominic Moore will be resigned with the Habs. Similarly, Tom Pyatt emerged as a legitimate defensive forward. So where does that leave players like Pouliot, Darche, Metropolit, Lapierre, and Sergei Kostitsyn? It is clear that Montreal needs to improve its supporting cast that surrounds Gionta and Cammalleri… the question is are any of these guys the ones to do it?

    -The biggest off-season question will revolve around Tomas Plekanec. Before the playoffs started he was just about the only bright spot in a murky and tumultuous season.  The question is, was his regular season good enough to warrant the kind of contract that he is looking for? There is no doubt that Plex once again faded when the style of play switched to the more physical playoff style. If Montreal does let him walk away via free agency – where is the upgrade? The only reason to let Plex walk is if Montreal feels there is a more physical player that could compliment Michael Cammalerri. There is no doubt that Montreal still needs to upgrade size up front. They simply have no answer for players like Hartnell, Lucic or Asham.

    Those are a few of the storylines that will begin once the Cup Champions are decided. The Canadiens have earned a summer of rest and recharging, because there is no doubt that expectations will once again be set high for next season. The dormant calls for the 25th cup will begin long before October. It was a fantastic run that was fun to watch. I want to thank everyone who posts on the site, and Habsblog for the opportunity to talk about the team we obsess over. I’m sure we’ll all be back on here when there are developments to talk about. Enjoy the Stanley Cup Finals, and the rest of your summer!

    Go Habs Go!!

  1. #1 stanley says:
    May 25, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    So where does that leave players like Pouliot, Darche,
    Metropolit, Lapierre, and Sergei Kostitsyn?

    Pouliot is young and will hopefully get better, Darche didn’t play much, Metropolit is worth signing as a 4th liner, Lapierre should go as I can’t see him getting any better than he is now, Sergei is young and didn’t get much ice time so you can’t blame him for lack of production. I truely believe he is a star and we will regret it when he is gone.

    Will the Habs let Bergeron and Mara walk, or will there
    be maneuvering in the offseason to shed some salary
    space?

    Keep Bergeron and let Mara walk.

    here is no doubt that Montreal still needs to upgrade
    size up front. They simply have no answer for players
    like Hartnell, Lucic or Asham.

    get Asham.

    Contracts to shed.

    Hamrlik, Spacek, Gill go with PK Mathieu Carle, Shawn Belle & Weber.

  2. #2 esomo says:
    May 26, 2010 at 8:58 am

    I am still very proud of the Habs… They really are a great team and proved it these past couple of months. Cant wait til next season. A Loyal HABS fan…. :)

  3. #3 Senet1 says:
    May 26, 2010 at 10:01 pm

    Although my thoughts are to trade Markov if the right deal comes along, I know many do not want to see him go but he has one more year left on his contract and will want it upgraded to 7-8 M which we cannot afford so now is the time to deal when we can get something very good for him.

    We just saw what Philly did to our defence and offence so to me Weber will never make it in the NHL with us maybe someone else but we simply cannot afford to bring in another small defenceman when we have bigger ones who can move the puck. I keep Gil he was our most valuable defenceman in the PO until he got cut and he was also a leader in the dressing room, his contract is not hurting us either. Hamrlik I would like to see traded but he will be hard to move with 5M contract. Spacik 3M+ contract is not hurting us and he is a steady defenceman so unless we can get something for him and still upgrade our defence he has to stay, other than PK we have no one in Hamilton that is cabable of the minutes that he can play, having said that if there is a FA available then and we can trade him I would most definitly move him.

    As far as the forwards are concerned. I am afraid that Sergie has to go, we cannot have a player who sulks and does not do what Management ask, and besides it also seems to affect Andrea’s game too, because he did very little in the PO. So to me the kOST BROS are gone if we can trade them, Edmonton might be interested. So here is the deal, the two Kost bros and Hammer for Souray(wants out) and another player to be considered or a good draft pick. If Souray does not work out, then he would be easier to get rid of at trading deadline.

    Lappiere played about four or five great games in the playoffs were his play made a real difference, however, in games 4 and 5 and many games in the Pitts series he was non existent. I would certainly sign Moore and Pyatt and Metro if he does not want too much money.

    Then we have Plex, here is a guy who basically was our best player all season, but disappeared in the PO. Now I hate to say it but if you look at who our best players were in the PO they were all North American players except Halak. Gomez(US) played very well, I would like to see him score more but he played a lot of quality minutes, however, he also took some stupid penalties, Cammy,Gionta,Moore, PK and Gil, Gorges all played great and made a difference. Hammer, and Spacek had their moments both positive and negative, AK46, Plex simply did not produce based on their credentials. So although I would like to see Plex resigned, if he wants more than 4.5M then I would think that we should take a hard look at maybe signing and trading him. I hate to see us loose him though. Bergeron played better than I expect him to play when Markov went down but with PK up for next year then I say we have better places to put our money. Besides what did he do for us in the PO as far as PP was concerned a couple of goals and a lot of poor plays and passes. Simply not worth taking up a roster place. Mara I would not resign him but I would be looking for another #4-5 defenceman big and strong. I liked Obryne’s progress this year and wished he could have been given more playing time, but it seemed every time he got on the ice he made a mistake and never saw the ice again. Martin I am afraid did not do his confidence any good by treating him that way. But right now he is my #5 defenceman possible #4.If we cannot find another FA defence to fill our #6 spot then we have Belle and Carle in Hamilton that we can give a shot. This of course is all speculation based on what defencemen we can trade. (Hammer, Spacek etc)

    We need to rebuild our third and fourth lines with Moore as a centrepiece of our third line and Metro on the fourth line.

    Pouliot, I never liked the trade and Latendresse showed us once he was given ice time that he was in fact a player that could play the power forward position and put some numbers on the board. Pouliot again disappeared in the PO? I guess we will never know about how well Latendresse would have done.

    So as I see it, Gomez and Gionta will remain out #1 or 2 line but Pouliot has to show more spunk and toughness, I do not think he has it in him so he would be marshalled out if I could get a big strong power forward either in the FA market or by trade.

    If we sign Plex him and Cammy make up the other top line and we just have to find a big winger for these two guys who can give them some space to work. Cammy plays big for a little guy but Plex does not so much and a big power forward is on my wish list for this line.

    We all have out ideas about our goaltending, I really like both of them, but from a potential 1-2 years from now I still would put my money on Price to be the goalie that takes us to the cup. Halak played great but his weaknesses were exposed and he will not have as good a year next year because of that, Price we forget sometimes is almost three years younger than Halak, ask yourself this question where was Halak three years ago. He was backup to Huet and we all know how well he did, Chicago wish they had their money back. Huet was a one or two game goalie but you could not win a series with him if he was counted on like Halak was for us this year. Halak will remain a solid goaltender but come playoff time we willnot beat Pittsburg and Washington again next year. Philly showed everyone how to beat Halak and personally they made him look ordinary.

    That is how I see it anyway, I am proud of the habs we got a lot more than some of us deserved out of them the way we criticised them all year and made statements that they were a bunch of losers etc.

    Now it is up to the GM to improve this team. Hope he has a good prosperous summer.

  4. #4 Lopes33 says:
    May 29, 2010 at 5:26 pm

    looking forward to reading next season! thanks everyone!

  5. #5 Lopes33 says:
    May 29, 2010 at 5:27 pm

    GO HABS GO

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