Kukla's Korner

The Upper Canadien

Habs-Sens Redux, Awards

3 more sleeps. That's all there is between now and game one of the Senators and the Canadiens, a rematch that needed to happen in a rivalry that can, and will, be so much more. The Canadiens have their 5 game loss to Ottawa fresh in their minds, and will be looking for revenge against an upstart Senators team that was, without question, the hottest team over the past two months of the season.

So who will win? I break it down this way: the Canadiens have the advantage in net, with Carey Price the better goalie. The Canadiens have a much deeper defence, with the addition of Jeff Petry adding a necessary mix of skill and speed to the second pairing. As for up front, it's much more even, though injuries to Milan Michalek and Max Pacioretty could play a part. However, the Senators rookie tandem of Hoffman and Stone has been electric. I'll give the Sens a slight edge here.

Behind the bench, Dave Cameron has done a masterful job with Ottawa, while Michel Therrien guided the Habs to their first 50 win season in 25 years. Given Cameron's recent success, I'll call this even, though Therrien surely learned a few things during his loss to Ottawa two playoffs ago.

I'm going with Montreal in 7. Perhaps it will end sooner, but I have a feeling that, while the Sens still have momentum, the Habs will stop it. Carey Price will be on his game, and PK Subban will take over the Canadiens' end. Those two factors, along with the physicality of Montreal's fourth line and defence, will see the Habs come out on top.

It's going to be a lot of fun to watch. 

Awards season

I'm not a big awards guy, but here are the Habs I believe deserve a nomination in the top three, if not the award in question: 

Carey Price: Vezina, Hart Trophy - Price was phenomenal this season. I can say no more. He's the surefire Vezina winner, and as far as I'm concerned, a lock for the Hart. He deserves it, too.

PK Subban: He should be a finalist for the Norris, and I believe he should win it. He is vastly superior to when he won the Norris 3 seasons ago, both offensively and defensively. He led NHL defencemen in even-strength points. He can take over a game in one play. Erik Karlsson is great, but he's not as complete a player. Shea Weber is a great defenceman, but he's not Subban. Subban should be your Norris winner.

Tomas Plekanec: Plekanec has long deserved a Selke nomination, and I hope he gets it this year. Some suggest Pacioretty will get one as he led the league in +/- for forwards, but Plekanec gets the tough minutes against top lines, and anchors the PK up front. He won't win it, but he deserves to be a finalist.

Michel Therrien: Sure, I quesitons his decisions sometimes, if not often. And sure, the Habs have Price. But the Canadiens won 50 games. With a roster some thought would struggle to make the playoffs. That's impressive, and for it Therrien deserves a Jack Adams nomination. 

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TreKronor's avatar

This is the series I’m most interested In.  Really excited to see how this one goes.

Posted by TreKronor on 04/12/15 at 10:35 PM ET

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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? theuppercanadien@kuklaskorner.com

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