It was a statement game, and the guys in black jerseys had something to say and said it – forcefully and without equivocation.
To wit: “We are better than you, and we don’t have to goon you to prove it.
“We are bigger, tougher, hungrier and – you know what? – we’re more skilled.
“And though you have had your way with us for years, yea decades, there is a new sheriff in town.”
If the playoffs began today, your Montreal Canadiens would play Game 1 in Boston, where they have lost the last two games by a cumulative score of 15-6.
That classic postseason scenario – Montreal v. Boston – still may play out … although as the teams head for the finish line, the Bruins are rising like a rocket while the Canadiens sink like a stone.
My friend and favourite hockey writer, Arpon Basu, has written an excellent explanation of why this loss was psychologically crushing for the Canadiens.
We’ll be able to assess the extent f the damage Saturday night, when Washington visits the Bell Centre.
Jacques Martin and his staff have today and tomorrow morning to right a ship that’s taken some devastating hits and is listing badly.
(We won’t make a cheap joke about Tomas Plekanec and children in the lifeboats.)
The talk shows will be in a frenzy today, pondering some pertinent questions:
• Why didn’t Jacques Martin have his team prepared to play a crucial game?
• Is Carey Price Price tired?
• Have other teams effectively sussed out JM’s system, which is designed to protect Price and maximize the Canadiens’ chances of winning 2-1 and 3-2 hockey games?
• What’s wrong with Michael Cammalleri?
• Scott Gomez: WTF?
I thought the Bruins would win last night and said so on Bob McCown’s radio show. And I didn’t think they needed thuggery to do it.
It is painful to admit in Montreal, where we think that elusive 25th Stanley Cup is just over the near horizon, waiting to be seized by our plucky heroes.
But ask yourself this:
If you were one of the NHL’s more astute general managers looking to bolster your Cup contende– Ken Holland, Doug Wilson or Mike Gillis – which Boston Bruins would you take?
Tim Thomas, Zdeno Chara, the full forward line of David Krejci, Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton, Patrice Bergeron and maybe Brad Marchand.
OK, which Montreal Canadiens?
Carey Price and P.K. Subban. Maybe James Wisniewski and Roman Hamrlik as a 5-6 pairing. Maybe a pre-injury Max Pacioretty.
You can do this exercise with several teams: which Capitals, which Penguins, which Flyers, which Lightning …
In every instance, the number of players chosen would exceed what might be harvested in Montreal.
The Canadiens have two young superstars. They have some players with potential: Lars Eller, David Desharnais, Max-Pac if he recovers (and let’s not mention Erik Cole has never been the same.)
The Canadiens have Travis Moen as a Top Six. They have Mathieu Darche (one of the few who didn’t embarrass himself last night) on the power play.
They’ve got Ryan White, who plays his heart out and might get 10 goals if God drops everything else.
Can this team win number 25?
Hey, anything is possible.
I might date Mary Louise Parker.
• • •
We had some glitches with Comments last night, but here are some good ones that got through:
From the always astute PeterD:
What we saw tonight was a Habs team that showed zero passion and zero fire coming into the Bruins home building. Maybe the Habs players are starting to hear and believe all the B.S. hyped by the media such as TSN and others…To be honest I am really sick of everyone talking about how the Habs need to get revenge or retribution for the Patches hit.
Lets all stop kidding ourselves, the Habs of 2010/11 are not built to physically challenge or rough up any team in this league and to even begin to think they will do that is ludicrous.
This team has been too small all season and everyone knows that. They are build for speed…but you know what – a lack of size does not make a team by necessity a better skilled or faster team…There are some pretty fast and talented bigger players out there. So our speed certainly was not evident tonight and any size we have was not to be seen this game either. So the skills? Where did they go…not to be seen tonight either.
Can anyone explain to me how Pittsburg can keep winning games and beat Philly tonight even as Malkin and Crosby sit out with injuries and the Habs can’t even show up in a late season game with a potential play-off match-up? I think it is pride…obviously the Pitts players want it more than the Habs players do.
I expected a lot more than we got shown tonight. With Sopel, Pleks, Halpern and Darche all returning to the lineup the team immediately became much more experienced and gritty…but alas, that experience and grit just never showed up.
This game was not about B.S. hype, retribution or revenge…no this game was about two division rivals battling in a 4 point game both supposedly reaching for that all important home ice advantage in the opening round of the play-offs and it was about pride to be able to hold their heads high above the ignorant ramblings of goofs like Recchi and Marchand. It was an opportunity for the Habs to show the league and the Bruins fans and media which organization has more class…
I still think the Canadiens have more class than any franchise in this league, but sadly it just looked like they played without spirit, skill, passion or pride out there tonight.
If they don’t do a serious gut check right now and regain their pride, sense of urgency, and take that through to the end of the season, I am afraid they may not make it into the post season at all, not with teams like Buffalo, Carolina and yes the Leafs making an all out push to get there.
You know what I think about blowouts. I also think it’s unwise to blow a single game out of proportion, all the more so when it’s a blowout. Not that this ever stops anyone, even though the demonstration is made time and time again.
It was perfectly illogical to expect the 8-1 shellacking of the Wild to start anything, and the same applies for this game.
The Habs may very well meet the Bruins again in the playoffs, and if they do, I still like their chances.
This was supposed to be a statement game, and unfortunately, the statement was “you can nearly cripple one of our players, and we will respond by playing like complete pussies”.
The season series means squat. The Bruins just officially got the Habs’ number. They scored at will against a tentative – I would say intimidated and scared – little team. They even dominated the Habs during a 5-on-3 Habs power-play … says it all.
Carey Price, after getting pulled and sitting on the bench, had to be thinking, “How did I land on a team as uncompetitive as this?” If the Habs had 20 Prices, Subbans, and Maras, they would have delivered a knockout blow against Boston tonight.
Unfortunately, we saw too much money in the bank and not enough on the ice tonight. The Habs big three – tiny trio? puny posse? sissy squad? – contributed less than zero in return for devouring a third of the Habs payroll limit.
Were the Habs scared? I don’t know. I do know that all night long they were bailing on puck-chases early and looking over their shoulders. I know they weren’t driving into high-traffic areas. And I certainly know they weren’t responding – with the exception of Mara and Subban – when Bruins were shoving them around.
JM has had all season to address the penalty issue. Obviously it is not him on the ice taking those candy-ass interference penalties, but his “system” encourages it, and at the very least, he needed to deliver a message about it long ago. It hasn’t happened.
What bothers me most is how lame the Habs were. When they win, it’s easy to overlook what a bunch of Nancys they are, but on a night like this, the humilation is just too deep.
Some Bruins troll on the other thread sarcastically suggested the Habs should call the cops. I think they should call a proctologist first, just in case they ever want to walk straight again.