The Upper Canadien
It’s here. Game one tonight from the Gahden. Speed versus size. And a rivalry for the ages.
Goaltending will be key. Special teams perhaps moreso. But a big matchup in this series being ignored? Third and fourth line depth.
The playoffs are upon us. I’ll be writing regularly about the Habs, as they do battle with the Boston Bruins, but in advance of all the action let me take a few minutes to make some predictions. Who knows? Maybe I’ll get a couple right.
Washington/New York: This one, to me, is no contest. Lundqvist is good - but he’s not that good. Washington will swamp a depleted Rangers lineup that will sorely miss Ryan Callahan. Washington in 5.
Philadelphia/Buffalo: Ryan Miller is the key here (obviously), and based on his play down the stretch, as recently as the weekend, he isn’t healthy. I don’t care how much of a slide Philly has been on, Buffalo just can’t overcome the loss of Miller. Flyers in 5.
Pittsburgh/Tampa Bay: Yes, the Pens are missing Crosby, but they play a strong system and Fleury has looked solid this year. And who knows - maybe Sid makes an appearance? Pittsburgh in 6 - and I bet Alex Kovalev has a big series.
The leaders of Canada’s national parties, or two of them anyhow, are asking the media consortium that sets such things to move Thursday night’s debate, the second of only two. Why? Because it conflicts with the first game of the Montreal Canadiens-Boston Bruins first round series.
So the Habs are in. Took long enough, eh? But they’ve got their ticket punched, and Carey Price gets a much deserved rest tomorrow against Ottawa.
Boy, was he good last night. And that got me thinking: you know what last night’s Hawks-Habs game reminded me?
How much I love hockey.
So the Montreal Canadiens eliminate the New Jersey Devils from playoff contention - but the Canadiens themselves don’t have a spot locked up. Things are looking better though, much better than, say, a week ago, when the team couldn’t score.
How ‘bout that Mathieu Darche?
That was a big game to lose. 6-2 for Carolina. Not good for your Montreal Canadiens is an understatement.
Some players looked decent, such as PK Subban, Mike Cammalleri and Mathieu Darche, who was a pinball all over the ice. At times, it looked like it was the Hurricanes vs. David Desharnais. So the good news is that there were some bright lights.
Ellers, I mean others, looked terrible. Such as Lars Eller.
Do I sound like a broken record?
A month ago, I never thought I’d say the Canadiens season could, or potentially would, come down to a game against the Atlanta Thrashers, but here we are. We have a public panicking over a lack of goals, a media clamouring over the rumours and innuendo suggested by Georges Laraque, and a team that hasn’t scored in 9 days.
Meanwhile, we’ve got three teams behind Montreal player, arguably, their best hockey of the season. That is not a good mix. That’s not even a half-decent mix.
But the Canadiens can change all of that tonight.
Not a good week for the Montreal Canadiens. But not one that should be forgotten. Many forget that adversity is what makes winners. It’s been proven time and time again. Rather than talk about individual performance, I’m going to digress a little bit and talk about the team. So, what can the Habs take away from this week that will stand them in good stead come playoff time?
Well, here’s a better question: are they going to make it?
That was brutal. Wow. Not what I expected. I’m not even sure the Habs were there.
Did that actually happen? Was it all a dream?
And to top it all off, my NCAA favourites also went down. Duke is history.
About The Upper Canadien
The Upper Canadien is your one stop shop for all things Montreal Canadiens. Since the summer of 2010, I've been providing Habs related news, notes, and most importantly, opinions. As a blogger, I don't believe it's my job to report the news, it's my privilege to comment on it. You may disagree with what I suggest. In fact, you most likely will. But that's the great part about blogging: it spurs opinion, comment and engages all involved. I've really enjoyed all the debate and commentary from readers thus far and I encourage everyone to respond with ideas on lineups, trades, logos, sweaters, mascots, whatever. The Upper Canadien is a conversation for all hockey fanatics.
I've come to Kukla's Korner with four years of campus radio and three years of sportswriting from my time at Mount Allison University on Canada's East coast. Not only do I not have any professional journalistic training, after five years in the corporate world, I've spent much of the past two years completing an MBA. Business by day, hockey by night, I'm a Canadiens fan through and through. I hope you enjoy reading as much as I do writing.
Questions or comments? firstname.lastname@example.org