Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun,
P.K. Subban. Thomas Vanek. Andrei Markov. Brian Gionta.
The Montreal Canadiens will have some key decisions to make in the upcoming off-season regarding these four players, among others.
Over to you, Marc Bergevin.
In trying to deal with the heartache of his Habs season-ending 1-0 defeat at the hands of the New York Rangers on Thursday, the Canadiens general manager will quickly have to turn his attention to the cache of off-season business that awaits him.
Priority No. 1 should be to get Subban, a restricted free agent, inked to a long-term deal, one that likely will be in the $8.5 million-$10 million US range. True, Subban was not as dominant in the Eastern Conference final as he was in the first two rounds, but the Habs would not have gotten this far without the young franchise blueliner. And don’t forget that he has only just turned 25.
from Mike Boone of Hockey Inside/Out,
Let’s be the knowledgeable and classy Montreal hockey fans that we like to think we are by giving credit where credit is due:
The New York Rangers deserved to win the Eastern Conference Final.
They did so by playing textbook defence in Game 6, choking the last gaps of life out of a Canadiens team that was running on empty.
But what a run it was!
Your Canadiens lost the first and last games of their 2013-’14 season.
In between, they played better hockey than most of us expected.
On Oct. 1, when the Bell Centre siren sounded to end a 4-3 loss to Toronto, did anyone think the Canadiens would be ending their season by losing 1-0 at Madison Square Garden on May 29?
This team overachieved for the better part of eight months. They displayed character and resilience, capturing the hearts of a city that needs some distraction while we wait for the Champlain Bridge to collapse.
“I’m proud of this team,” Michel Therrien said – and fans should share the coach’s pride in a group of players that never quit.
“We made big progress,” Therrien added. “We battled hard in the regular season. We battled hard in the playoffs.”
The New York Rangers need to have a game 7 mentality in order to pull out a win.
The Montreal Canadiens will want this game to force a game 7 back in Montreal.
A battle is about to begin and I feel Lundqvist will have a comeback game and the Rangers will be the first team in the Stanley Cup Final.
Enjoy and the game starts just after 8:00pm ET and is on NBCSN, CBC and RDS.
Lundqvist has put game 5 behind him...
from Bruce Arthur of the Toronto Star,
After Dale Weise was hit in the head by New York Rangers defenceman John Moore he rolled right back up and he tried to turn and he nearly fell down. His eyes were glassy and his hair was wild, because his helmet had come off. P.K. Subban grabbed him to hold him up, like a trainer hugging his boxer after throwing in the towel to end a fight. Tomas Plekanec helped Weise onto the bench; a trainer held Weise by the elbow on the way to the dressing room. It was the third period.
And Weise came back. The Montreal Canadiens had a two-goal lead in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference final, and Weise played 1:44 the rest of the way, including most of the final minute. He was ruled out for Game 6 on Thursday morning. The Canadiens denied he had a concussion.
From Montreal head coach Michel Therrien’s press conference before Game 6 of the Eastern Conference final:
Q: Is there any regret about having Dale come back given that the symptoms, obviously, came on after the game?
Therrien: You’re presuming it’s a head injury.
Q: Am I not correct?
Therrien: You’re not correct.
from Tony Gallagher of the Vancouver Province,
When Henrik Lundqvist was hooked from Tuesday night’s Game 5 in the Canadiens-Rangers series, you had to wonder about goaltending in the NHL East this year.
On paper, you are looking at one of the great goaltending mismatches in league history. The Rangers boast perhaps the best goaltender of this century to date, and while you’d most certainly get an argument on a lot of fronts making that contention, there is a strong case to be made for the Swede who has kept the Rangers on the map and in the playoffs for years behind some odd rosters.
On the other side, you have this would-be Rogatien Vachon figure in the Habs jersey, Dustin Tokarski, trying to become one of the Habs legendary rookies who come in and win a Stanley Cup the way Patrick Roy did in his first year in the league in 1993.
The only problem is, Tokarski is so far from a Roy it’s laughable. For starters, he hasn’t had a full season playing extremely well the way Roy did, nor does he appear to have anywhere near the kind of physical attributes or technique to even become a starter in the league much less a Hall of Famer.
from Dave Stubbs of the Montreal Gazette,
The Habs are still a long way from being out of hockey’s proverbial woods. But their ridiculous 7-4 victory over the Rangers — the game was ridiculous, not the win — has dramatically changed the complexion of this series.
The pressure was on the Canadiens Tuesday to stave off elimination, the third time this postseason, twice on home ice, that they’ve had their backs to the wall. The pressure is still on, of course, Thursday’s game at Madison Square Garden another win-or-go-home tilt (8 p.m., CBC, RDS, TSN Radio 690).
But the heat felt by the Habs might not be as severe as that which now bakes the Rangers. On MSG ice, the Blueshirts will have little forgiveness from their fans who want nothing to do with a seventh and deciding game in this best-of-seven and who, for the love of Mark Messier, can probably feel their heroes’ collars tightening.
Win now, Rangers fans are saying, and let’s get to the Stanley Cup final for the first time in 20 years.
“How,” veteran centreman Brad Richards was asked Wednesday, “do you build from game to game in terms of belief and not feeling the pressure?”
“It has nothing to do with us right now,” he replied, turning the question around. “You’re asking how the Montreal Canadiens are going to do that. You can ask them. I’m not going to tell them how they should feel.”
from Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun,
If Carey Price is the face of the Montreal Canadiens franchise, then P.K. Subban is its poster child.
With his trademark chapeaux and swank threads, the young Habs defenceman has been a magnet for the television cameras every time he’s sauntered into an NHL arena during these Stanley Cup playoffs.
Yes, when it comes to making a fashion statement, Subban has very few peers.
The same can be said for his production on the ice.
Add it all up, and the conclusion is obvious: It is imperative that the Canadiens sign Subban to a long-term deal this summer, even if it puts a significant dent in the team’s wallet.
This is the type of blue-line building block almost every team in the National Hockey League covets. And if general manager Marc Bergevin wasn’t sure of that at the beginning of the 2012-13 season, he should be now.
“Everybody talks about how (Lundqvist) is a great goalie. Has he been better than (Montreal goaltender Dustin Tokarski) this series? I don’t think so. (Tokarski) made some big saves for us too.”
-Rene Bourque of the Montreal Canadiens via Bruce Arthur of the Toronto Star.
Tomas Plekanec gets caught and is called for diving.
In game 4 of the series, almost the same type of play, but Plekanec sold it just enough to get the call on Brian Boyle. Watch it below...
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.
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