Cunneyworth as practical joker?
If this team actually won the Stanley Cup, maybe the fun-lovin’ coach would have had plastic doggy doots floating around in the champagne.
Aaron Palushaj for the win?
GTFOH, you crazy monkey.
OK, I’ve had my post-game rant.
And I like Cunneyworth. Pierre Gauthier put a good, loyal hockey man in an impossible situation, and Cunneyworth did the job to the best of his ability, with dignity and grace under pressure.
At about 10 p.m. on April 7, when the siren sounds and the curtain clanks down on a miserable season, Randy Cunneyworth will be among the people who can walk out of the Bell Centre with his head held high.
The Canadiens got 100 per cent of what their coach had to offer.
And you can say the same about most of the players.
There aren’t many potential difference-makers you can point to and say “if he hadn’t been such a dog, this team would be in the playoffs.”
Did you think the acquisition of Rene Bourque punched a ticket to the postseason?
Tomas F. Kaberle?
C’mon. Let’s not be playing Poissons d’Avril on ourselves.
Just not enough chevaux, peeps.
Too many injuries.
The next general manager and coach have work to do, but heart transplants and gonad-growing aren’t on the list.
While losing for the 50th time this season to a Washington team that won’t get out of the first round, if they make it, the Canadiens displayed the heart and dedication we saw on most nights. They came back from a 2-0 deficit on the road and fired 40-plus shots on goal for the first time since Oct. 24 (a 2-1 loss to Florida at the Bell Centre).
Playing the second game in two nights after stinking out Madison Square Garden, the Canadiens dominated the third period and OT. They would have beaten the Capitals had Michal Neuvirth not made spectacular stops … plus the customary open-net opportunities squandered.
Here’s what I liked in Game 79:
• Despite taking what looked like a nasty shot on his right knee in the Rangers game, Andrei Markov was back the next night making clever passes, heady plays and sweet power-play music with P.K. Subban. The PP came up empty in four opportunities, but the passing and patience were a joy to behold; and the power-play (mostly its first wave) had 11 shots.
• Tomas Plekanec, who reached the 50-point plateau for a third straight season, and Lars Eller were brilliant in all situations – except for faceoffs. One of the first priorities for the next GM – after signing Carey Price and Subban and drafting a Top 5 prospect – will be to find scoring wingers for these two gifted centres.
Brian Gionta will be Top 6. Bourque may rediscover the scoring touch that produced consecutive 27-goal seasons in Calgary. Louis Leblanc may blossom into something, but I fear an 18-to-20 goal/third line ceiling with him.
But the creativity of Pleks and Eller demands better complementary pieces than Geoffrion, Ryan White, Mike Blunden et al.
Twenty-one teams in the NHL have scored more goals than the Canadiens this season. That situation has to change.
And 19 teams have allowed fewer goals.
On offence and defence, the Canadiens are on the bubble of the lowest tier. A full season of Markov will help at both ends of the ice, but the game at Madison Square Garden was, I fear, a better indicator than the one at Verizon Center.
It pleases me, as a Nordiques-hater from way back, to see the degree to which Dale Hunter has screwed up the Capitals.
But at least he didn’t have Roman Hamrlik pencilled in for the shootout.
The man has no sense of humour.