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Category: Montreal-Canadiens

Mediocre In Montreal

from Brendan Kelly of the Montreal Gazette,

This is becoming a disturbingly familiar scenario. It’s spring in Montreal and there’s top-drawer, super-intense hockey being played but, sadly, yet again they’re hockey games not featuring your Montreal Canadiens.

This is the 24th straight year the Habs will not win the Stanley Cup. It is also the 24th straight year the team will not be in the Stanley Cup final. But who’s counting, right?

In the 24 years since Montreal last won the Cup, Les Boys have made it to the conference final only twice and, both times, they got smoked. It was worse in 2010, when an ordinary Philadelphia Flyers team crushed the Canadiens, with journeyman goalie Michael Leighton shutting out the Habs in three of the Flyers’ four victories. The other conference final appearance was in 2014 and that one ended before the final whistle in the first game — Rangers forward/villain Chris Kreider smashed into Carey Price and, in a nanosecond, the Habs’ chances of advancing went up in smoke.

Any way you slice it, it hasn’t been a memorable near-quarter-century for Habs fans. I get it. You don’t expect to win the Cup every year or two the way the Habs used to back in the day, but you do expect the team to be in the discussion every now and then.

So, like every spring since 1994, we stand around water coolers, cappuccino machines and bars, and mull over this sorry state of affairs as we watch amazing hockey teams out of the corner of our eyes playing amazing hockey at a level the Habs can only dream about.

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The Montreal Canadiens Are Not Winning With Carey Price, So Trade Him?

from Brendan Kelly of the Montreal Gazette,

The Habs’ game plan for several years has been simple — and simply wrong. Pray that Carey Price performs his usual miracles and hope that’s enough to win. That’s not a good plan. In fact it’s no plan at all. So maybe that’s where Bergevin kick-starts the radical change. How about taking a long hard look at the idea of trading Price?...

Bergevin should sign Price this summer. It would be a huge mistake to wait until summer 2018 when his contract’s up. If the GM doesn’t sign him, it’ll be a distraction all season. Remember the season Steven Stamkos’ contract was coming up for renewal? It was all anyone talked about all season.

So sign Price to the big deal and then wait until the right moment to deal him for something great, like John Tavares plus a top draft pick.

Why trade Price? The most important reason is that the team is not winning with him. I remember years ago my buddy Simon Boisvert, a former pro scout and current filmmaker, told me the Capitals should trade Alex Ovechkin. Why? Because great as he is, they’re not winning with him. Well same thing with the Canadiens and Price.

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Big Changes Not Expected In Montreal

from Pat Hickey of the Montreal Gazette,

Bergevin conceded that he’s working on finding help up the middle, but he flatly rejected the idea of trading Price for a first-line centre. Price has one season remaining on his contract and there’s some urgency to sign him to an extension before he’s in a position to become an unrestricted free agent.

“I don’t have any worries about it,” Price said. “I’m sure it will all take care of itself. I love playing here and I’m sure we’ll figure something out.”

When asked whether he would be willing to take a hometown discount so Bergevin could sign other key players, Price said:  “That’s part of the business, right? That’s a tough question to ask me right now. Put me on the spot, huh? Like I said, I want to stay here. I know we’ll figure out a way to make all the pieces fit and bring a championship here.”

The Canadiens can’t sign Price to an extension before July 1.

When Bergevin was asked what would happen if Price wasn’t signed and there was a possibly of losing him to free agency, he said: “We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.”

Radulov said he was grateful to Bergevin for giving him a chance to return to the NHL and wanted to stay here. He said his one hope was a deal longer than the one-year contract he signed last summer.

As for the 38-year-old Markov, he expressed a desire to stay here “for the rest of my life.” There’s never been a problem signing him in the past and he probably rates a two-year deal.

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Summer Starts Early For The Montreal Canadiens

from Mike Boone of Hockey Inside/Out,

The Captain didn’t score.

The All-World goaltender didn’t steal any games.

And – let’s be honest here, peeps – the better team won the series.

It’s going to be a looooooooooooooong summer for Montreal hockey fans.

And, at the risk of getting way ahead of ourselves here, it could be a long 2017-’18 season.

Will it be Carey Price’s last in Montreal?

The goaltender’s contract has one more season. Next summer, Price is a UFA.

The Stanley Cup is the only championship Price hasn’t won.

Is his best shot at glory in bleu-blanc-rouge?

As we say in Quebec, pas évident.

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Game highlights of the Rangers 3-1 win over the Canadiens and the handshake line are below...

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

The Montreal Canadiens Now Face Elimination After Losing In OT To The New York Rangers

from Pat Hickey of the Montreal Gazette,

The best way to describe the mood in the Canadiens’ dressing room after Thursday’s 3-2 overtime loss to the New York Rangers was delusional.

There were the usual clichés about how the game could have gone either way in overtime, but there was only one predictable outcome from the way the Canadiens played from the start of the third period until Mika Zibanejad redirected a shot from Chris Kreider for the winning goal.  

“There were opportunities to close out the game and (Rangers’ Henrik Lundqvist) made some good saves and they got a bounce on that goal,” captain Max Pacioretty said. “But nothing we can do about it now. We have an opportunity now to show what we have in this room. We’ve come back a lot this year and hopefully we can do it in this series as well.

“It could have gone either way, it really could have,” added Pacioretty.

No, it couldn’t....

The Canadiens took a 2-1 lead after the first period, but coach Claude Julien said the seeds of destruction were sown in the second period.

“In the second half of that period, we spent less time (in the Rangers’ zone) and when we got the puck in there, it came right back out,” Julien said. “We spent more time chasing and defending than we did controlling the puck and that can be tiring. They got some energy in the second half and they brought it into the overtime like we did a few games ago.”...

“In order to get through this, we’re going to need more from a lot of guys,” said Julien. “It’s time for certain players to elevate their games and have that confidence and desire to be better. There’s no doubt when you lose games and you’re behind 3-2, you can’t be satisfied as a team and you know there are certain players who can give a little bit more.”

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Watch the highlights below...

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The New York Rangers Adjust, The Montreal Canadiens Fail To Match

from Sean Gordon of the Globe and Mail,

...puck management was referenced a great deal after New York’s 2-1 defeat of the Montreal Canadiens in Game 4 of their first-round playoff series; the teams are now knotted at two victories each in the best-of-seven, and Game 5 is set for Thursday night in Montreal.

The formulation was used by both Habs coach Claude Julien (short version: my team was bad at it) and by his good friend and rival Vigneault (condensed version: we were pretty good).

Essentially, the Habs were undone by their propensity to give the puck to the other guys, particularly in the second period.

But more generally, the crisp, tight, quick defensive play that Montreal used to claw back a Ranger lead in Game 2 and which allowed them to roll to a 3-1 win in Game 3 simply evaporated.

This was not entirely their fault.

“Sometimes when I stand here and answer questions, it’s as if there was only one team on the ice,” said a mildly exasperated Max Pacioretty, the Habs’ captain.

It should be said he’s more put out at his own play; after scoring 35 goals and leading the team with 67 points, he has just one assist to show after four postseason games.

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Game highlights are below...

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Videos- Rick Nash You Can’t Do That And How Many Canadiens Do You See

No doubt a penalty but Price did embellish a bit too.

 

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Fast Forward To The Eastern Conference Final With Toronto And Montreal

from Jack Todd at the Montreal Gazette,

Nazem Kadri is a nasty piece of work and Auston Matthews has all the personality of a boiled turnip — but Mitch Marner is a treat to watch and the Leafs have as much young talent as any team in the game. And if they’re able to pull off the upset against a pretty good Washington team, I’ll have to admit Mike Babcock is not what I’ve always thought him to be: one of the most over-rated coaches in the game.

So why would a Maple Leafs win in this series sicken much of this country and why would a series win against the Canadiens or a Stanley Cup for Toronto be so mortifying?

Let’s go back to Game 2 of the Habs-Rangers series. With the Canadiens trailing 3-2 at the break after the second period, the broadcast cut to the crew based in (where else) Toronto — and Nick Kypreos went into an astonishing rant attacking Montreal’s Alexander Radulov for taking a penalty and (allegedly) not showing up for the series.

Kypreos went so far as to claim Radulov was jeopardizing his chances for a long-term contract by playing the way he was and by taking stupid penalties. Now this is what you get when you ask a Leafs cheerleader to “analyze” a Canadiens game. Kypreos was clearly biased and completely wrong: Radulov’s long-term deal is already a certainty (if the Canadiens don’t sign him, someone else will) and in any case, the charismatic Russian would finish the night with three points and score the winning goal in overtime.

There’s the rub: the 24/7, 365-day-a-year Toronto media obsession with the Maple Leafs at the expense of the six other Canadian teams and the inherent bias in virtually all the broadcasts, whether we’re talking about programs like Hockey Central, in-game commentary or studio analysis. 

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A Bad Home Game For The New York Rangers

from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,

It doesn’t matter where this Game 3 of the opening round was played. There is no excuse whatsoever for the puny performance the Rangers trotted out onto the Garden ice in their 3-1 defeat to the Canadiens on Sunday night.

What a disappointment.

What a letdown.

“We didn’t play up to our standards at all,” Mats Zuccarello said after the defeat left the Blueshirts with a 2-1 series deficit heading into Tuesday’s Game 4. “This was not good enough from anyone, including on my part. We all have to be better.”

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Watch the game highlights below...

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Video- Alexander Radulov Now A Candidate For Goal Of The Day

Made it 3-0 Canadiens, final score 3-1.

 

Filed in: NHL Teams, Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: alexander+radulov

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About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com

 

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