Boston-Tampa Bay Series Breakdown

stu1

Here’s a look at how the Eastern Conference Championship round shapes up, looking at the key categories and assessing who has the advantage in each. You can draw your own conclusions. No predictions from me because, as Toe Blake always said…

…”Predictions are for gypsies.”

OFFENSE

Boston –
Right behind the Lightning in playoff scoring (37 goals) and in average goals per game (3.36) as well as being the playoffs best team 5-on-5 (31 goals), the Bruins may not have the elite level players Tampa Bay has, but they make up for it with a strong top six and good depth after that. However, they enter the series without second line center Patrice Bergeron, sixth in playoff scoring, who is recuperating from a mild concussion suffered when checked by the Flyers Claude Giroux in Game 4. How long he’ll be out is uncertain but what the absence of his creativity and faceoff prowess will mean for linemates Mark Recchi and Brad Marchand is unknown. Chris Kelly will move up from the third line, where he’s done well Rich Peverley and old friend Michael Ryder. Peverley will now move to center and rookie Tyler Seguin, who has yet to play in the post season, will take that spot on the wing. But much of what the B’s do offensively will hinge on the top line of David Krejci between Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton. It took a while for this threesome to get going in the playoffs and Krejci and Horton got there before Lucic, who only found the net in the last game against Philly. The fourth line of Daniel Paille, Gregory Campbell and Shawn Thornton brings energy and their crashing style might help break down the Tampa Bay defenses. The big weapon on the blueline is the mammoth shot of Zdeno Chara. Tomas Kaberle has yet to consistently display his top offensive skills in a Boston uniform, but Johnny Boychuk has a good shot and Dennis Sidenberg makes a good first pass. Not known for his offense, Andrew Ference has contributed some timely plays this post-season. The Bruins can produce goals off the rush and also grinding it out along the boards, but they’ll need a better plan to pierce Tampa’s 1-3-1 than Washington, whose dump and chase didn’t work and would couldn’t effectively skate through the neutral zone.

Tampa Bay – Leading all playoff teams in goals (38) and average goals per game (3.46), the Lightning not only boasts some of the NHL’s most dynamic forwards in Marty St. Louis, Steven Stamkos, a revived Vinny Lecavalier and Simon Gagne (when healthy), but have also gotten excellent contributions from lesser-knowns Teddy Purcell, Steve Downie, Sean Bergenheim and ex-Hab Dominik Moore. Coach Guy Boucher spreads them out well over his top three lines and when he’s also got an experienced player capable of timely contributions in Ryan Malone. Their third line of Downie, Moore and Bergenheim flustered the Penguins and Capitals. Gagne’s return would allow them to dress 12 forwards (they went with 11 in his absence) and make their top six even more dangerous. They also have some good offensive talent on their defence corps, although it hasn’t shown yet statistically, likely because Boucher has reigned them in. As Habs fans know, Marc-Andre Bergeron has a great shot and can make a strong first pass. Veteran Eric Brewer and young Victor Hedman both have good offensive skills as well. If Pavel Kubina can return from his suspected concussion suffered when elbowed by Jason Chimera during the Washington series, he’d provide another big shot from the point. He still hasn’t resumed skating. This is a quick strike offense that has good speed in transition and traps opposing defenders behind the play.

ADVANTAGE — Tampa Bay, especially because of Patrice Bergeron’s absence.

DEFENCE

Boston – Playing a rugged, typically-Bruins style in all three zones, the B’s have allowed the fewest goals among teams remaining the the playoffs. Coach Claude Julien is a defense-first coach, and his clubs usually play a responsible game without the puck. Chara can  dominate a game merely with his size, and no one on Tampa Bay is his equal, although he’s seemed less than 100 percent since his bout of dehydration in the Canadiens series. The Bruins’ extended rest should help him. He’s been paired with Dennis Sidenberg, Boston’s best shot blocker (tied for fifth most in the playoffs),  and they’ve formed a formidable shutdown duo. The rest of the B’s blueline corps, with the exception of Kaberle, can play a hard game and they’re complimented by forwards who are not reluctant to take the body at every opportunity. Their biggest problems are 1) refraining from being overly-physical to stay out of the penalty box and 2) a lack of mobility (or a penchant for not moving their feet, depending on your orientation) that can be exposed by quicker forwards. That happened against both Canadiens and Philadelphia, and the Bruins have allowed over 34 shots a game (a high number, although somewhat skewed because of the four overtime games they’ve played), but goalie Tim Thomas has been the great equalizer in those situations. Large rookie defenseman Adam McQuaid, who had played effectively, injured his neck missing a check against the Flyers Mike Richards and crashing into the endboards. It’s expected he’ll be back for Game 1.

Tampa Bay — As the dismantling of the Capitals showed, this is the most underrated part of Tampa Bay’s game. With the Lightning, it’s all about Boucher’s 1-3-1 scheme, a modified version of the neutral zone trap that clogs up the middle of the ice, making it difficult to attack with speed (and here’s an excellent video presentation of how it works). It has worked well enough to tie the Bruins for fewest goals against among the teams remaining in the playoffs. It masks whatever deficiencies the Bolts have among their defence corps, but while that group is not considered particularly strong, they are fine within the system, and not as bad as detractors believe. Since Brewer arrived in February, they’ve cut their goals against average by a full goal per game, from just over 3 to just over 2. Boucher deployed the tandem of Brewer and Mattias Ohlund against Alex Ovechkin last round with young Hedman (who has played his best hockey ever this spring) and the improved veteran ex-Hab Brett Clark as the effective back-up. The consistent play of Mike Lundin has been another plus. Marc-Andre Bergeron’s deficiencies are well known, but he’s been spotted well by the coaches. The Lightning have blocked more shots than any team in the postseason and their top four defenders rank in the top five on the shotblocking leader board. They’ve also been getting good two-way play from their forwards and following Boucher’s system has reaped great rewards, so they have bought in. The Bolts have allowed over 35 shots per game, but that’s a somewhat misleading figure because they allow the opponent low percentage shots which goalie Dwayne Roloson gobbles up.

ADVANTAGE — Even



GOALTENDING

Boston — Very simply, no one is playing goal better than Tim Thomas this spring. Like his team, he has gotten better as the tournament has gone on after the shaky start against Montreal. While he barely trails Roloson in the key stats of goals against average (2.03 to 2.01) and save percentage (.941 to .937), he has allowed almost no leaky goals since the early stages of the Habs series. Time and again he’s bailed out his team in tough spots with amazing saves. His remarkable dexterity and reflexes not only allow him to make all the saves he should but many that he shouldn’t, and that’s the mark of an exceptional goalie. His value to the team is incalculable and if he continues this form and the B’s advance to the final, he’ll be a strong Conn Smythe candidate.

Tampa Bay (4) — Pretty close to equal with Thomas this spring, Roloson is the perfect goalie for Boucher’s system. He plays a technically sound game and allows very little to get through him. He’s been to the finals before and knows the territory. The rap on him was he has lost some of his mobility with age, but if so, he’s been able to compensate with better efficiency. Unlike his predecessors, he’s given the Lightning confidence to push the play offensively with the knowledge that he’ll be there at the other end. Like Thomas, he is capable of the spectacular save when the defenses breaks down in front of him. Also, like Thomas, he plays better under pressure and has raised his game in the playoffs. He has excellent leadership skills, despite his cranky old man image that has Tampa Bay fans buying Roloson “Get off my lawn” T-shirts.  He also could be a Conn Smythe candidate should the Bolts advance.

ADVANTAGE — Slightly to Boston


SPECIAL TEAMS

Boston — If the Bruins have had an Achilles’ heel this spring, it’s here. Their power play was miserable against the Habs and only 2-for-37 in the first two rounds — and those two came late in the second round, one on a 5-on-3. Kaberle has not been the missing ingredient hoped for when he was acquired from Toronto, he’s just been missing. B’s fans have to hope the late success against the Flyers carries over, but Lightning penalty kill could extend their misery. Boston’s PK has allowed eight goals in 41 kills, 80.5 percent, not terrible, but the lowest of the four remaining teams in the playoffs, and they won’t have Bergeron, at least at the outset, for either the PK or the PP. Krejci will take his spot on the PK and hopefully those elevated minutes won’t take a toll on him at full strength. They’d be wise to stay out of the penalty box and focus on full strength hockey.

Tampa Bay – With 12 power play goals in 11 games, the Lightning lead the playoffs in extra-man goals and own the best percentage (26.7) of the remaining teams. The power play is a Boucher specialty, and was his calling card to the big time, first in the QMJHL, then starting in 2006 as Team Canada’s special teams coach for Under-18s and later the World Junior Championships. He has lots of weapons: one-timers by Stamkos or Lecavalier, the mobility of St. Louis, the sniping of Gagne, the blasts from the point by Bergeron, the net presence of Malone and more. Their PK is also the best of the remaining teams, having killed 51 of 54 advantages, a staggering 94.4 percent. Moore, Bergenheim, Adam Hall and Nate Thompson do a fine job up front when a man short and it’s here that the shot-blocking D really stands out. Assistant coach Wayne Fleming masterminded the Bolts’ PK. Diagnosed with a brain tumor, he had surgery early this month and hasn’t been with the club much recently. But his illness is giving the club extra motivation.

ADVANTAGE — Tampa Bay

COACHING

Boston – A veteran of four previous Stanley Cup appearances, one with Montreal in 2004, Julien has never taken an NHL team this far in the playoffs. He coached the Hull Olympiques to the Memorial Cup championship in 1996-97. His defensive style works well in post-season play, but his critics charge he is tactically inflexible (and they cite his unwillingness to overhaul the season-long struggling power play) and perhaps overly loyal (he’s had Michael Ryder with him off and on since Hull and resisted calls to bench Ryder when slumping, which was proven right against the Habs in the first round). His players credit him with remaining calm and confident when Boston fell behind Montreal 2-0  which helped them turn the series in their favor. There’s not much in the NHL he hasn’t seen, but how he navigates Boucher’s scheme will be his biggest challenge.

Tampa Bay –
Not afraid to be different or flexible, Boucher has won over his players and impressed observers with his innovative system, tireless preparation and motivational tactics, which have borne obvious fruit this spring. If his in-season transformation of an offense-happy club into a more well-rounded group didn’t fully penetrate the collective consciousness of the hockey world during the regular season, it certainly should have by now. Highly educated, averse to routine and considered a strong people person, Boucher somehow mixes the traditional notions of player’s coach and demanding disciplinarian in the same way Mike Babcock does (two McGill grads, Mr. Boone). And, like Babcock, his players respond. He’s had playoff success at every level — in junior hockey, in minor pro last year at Hamilton, and helped win championships for Canada in international play. It’s safe to say no first-year coach has made this big an impact on the NHL in a very long time.

ADVANTAGE – Tampa Bay

INTANGIBLES

Boston – Beating their biggest rival after trailing 2-0 (and they’ve won all their home games since), then sweeping the Flyers after last year’s collapse gives the B’s a confidence and a warrior spirit they’ve lacked in previous springs under Julien. Bergeron’s quick return would help, and that’s been hinted at. Thomas can steal any series. If they have early success against the Lightning’s 1-3-1, that will build on itself and their physical play could wear down Tampa Bay.

Tampa Bay — With confidence of their own after a comeback win over the Penguins and sweep of the Caps, this team has a Cinderella quality to it. Plus they have some key Cup veterans on this team and a bit more knowledge of what it takes to go all the way than in Boston’s dressing room. Scotty Bowman always says playing a different system than everyone else can give a team an advantage, and if they can avoid the B’s disruptive pounding in the transition from defense to offense and then capitalize on the Bruins’ average speed in their own end and keep the puck there for extended periods, it will go a long way to dictating the run of play.

ADVANTAGE: Even

162 Comments

  1. Ian Cobb says:

    Great Breakdown Stu.!

    Tampa in 5 or 6 games.! I will put money on it,! (canadian tire money!)

  2. Danno says:

    I’m kind of torn about who I want to win. I hate Boston and would love to see TBL humiliate them, but if Boston goes all the way at least we could say the Habs came extremely close to beating the best team in the NHL.

    ________________________________________

    “Hey Richard, two minutes for looking so good!”

    • The Cat says:

      Anything can happen but I see Vancouver and San Jose as the 2 strongest teams left.

      [Disclaimer]: I’m a hockey fan. I care about the habs, but probably not as much as you.

  3. SeriousFan09 says:

    You know, I get not everyone is like me. I enjoy dry wit and offensive humour and I get that some people find things funny that I don’t amusing at all.

    However, is it just me or has the Puck Daddy Eulogy circuit this year just been ridiculous? It’s not been funny, it’s been people grinding axes about teams they hate with a burning passion and were given license to do so.

    Consider this Red Wings Eulogy that they gave their staff writer Ryan Lambert (who is also their worst writer by a country mile) license to put up on their site. http://yhoo.it/myR9V1 It’s even worse than the filth they let the Bruins fans run up a while ago about Montreal.

    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.
    SF09 on Twitter

    • pat s says:

      SeriousFan09

      and montreal fans and announcers don’t trash talk to the buins and their fans. Every team has its fan base where they trash other teams including the habs. Don’t be so bias. Just b/c they were able to beat us and physically bully us don’t take it on them, its more useful to advocate change in Montreal b/c that is what is needed. B/c this European style of hockey we play in Montreal is a joke

      Maybe you should listen to Don Cherry.

  4. ooder says:

    R.I.P.
    Derek Boogard, a guy who spent a lot of time giving to others and helping out in the community

    ——————
    Gomez: 34 and counting!

  5. Everyone remember to vote for Cammalleri in the TSN plays of the year competition: http://www2.tsn.ca/showdown/2011/

    It’s really close as of now, Cammalleri is losing by less than a percent! Make it reverse HIO!

  6. Steven says:

    I don’t know if any of you noticed, but the Rangers’ Derek Boogaard passed away.

    • ari says:

      so unreal.life is not fair always.

      • Steven says:

        Tell me about it.

        They say there’s a reason for everything. I can’t figure out that reason on this.

      • Everlasting1 says:

        He’s become aware how unfair it is for US, that we still perceive this imprisoned limited physical reality as ‘who and what we are’. He is in a much better place.

        ——————————————————————-
        Elohim:”Let us make an Adam in our image and after our likeness.” – Genesis 1:26

        “We don’t see things as they are, but as we are.” – Anais Nin

        • OneTimer says:

          Are you for real?

          • Everlasting1 says:

            Define ‘real’.

            ——————————————————————-
            Elohim:”Let us make an Adam in our image and after our likeness.” – Genesis 1:26

            “We don’t see things as they are, but as we are.” – Anais Nin

          • G-Man says:

            Don’t bother. He’s descended from ancient aliens, don’t you know.

          • HardHabits says:

            @Everlasting1

            re·al [ree-uhl, reel]
            1. true; not merely ostensible, nominal, or apparent: the real reason for an act.
            2. existing or occurring as fact; actual rather than imaginary, ideal, or fictitious: a story taken from real life.
            3. being an actual thing; having objective existence; not imaginary: The events you will see in the film are real and not just made up.

            Or to sum it up. The opposite of what you post.

  7. HardHabits says:

    Before I repost this comment from below I want to explain something to the commentariat. I debate. I stake a position and go the distance with it. The purpose being to provoke the more intelligent amongst you to counter my arguments. Sometimes I take the pro position and other times I take the con one. I am not bi-polar. Rather, I am balanced in my judgement and I see both sides of an argument, however when I debate I debate one position. That is one of the fundamental principles of debating.

    For people who have a hard time understanding this principle I recommend you watch The Measure of a Man (Star Trek: The Next Generation) to see what I am talking about.

    I would like to commend Jan_Pronounced_Yan, TomNickle and SF09 for engaging in the debate with due respect. Many of you, rather than debate my ideas, choose rather to attack me personally, most notably AndrewBerkshire and G-Man. I suggest you two mature.

    Here’s the post:

    Since 1994 when the Conference format was introduced every team that won the Cup save two were in the top 5, the other two being top 10. That is an astounding percentage. I have to admit that had Edmonton not lost Rolonson in the SC Finals to injury, who knows. But who cares about what ifs? History has yet to made in this department and whenever it happens it will be an aberration, not the rule. The rule is top 5 teams win the Cup. With very little variation. The Habs had 1 top 5 finish since their last Cup. One. Losing in the ECF is the best the Habs have done in the play-offs since then and that happened only once too. That is not good at all.

    I would suggest people get over the once you’re in the play-offs anything can happen mentality. It’s a fools dream and has yet to happen. If it does, and I am not saying it can’t, it is highly unlikely that it will be repeated again for a very long time and the more than likely scenario is that a top 5 team will win the Cup for consecutive years after that.

    In order to be a contender a team has to finish in the elite, that means being in the top 5 over-all. Those are the facts. That’s the reality. The anything can happen mentality is wishing and it’s no way to build a championship team. Nor is playing rope-a-dope hoping for that opportunistic goal and then desperately trying to hold onto the lead.

    Regular season success is finishing in the top 5. Play-off success is winning the Stanley Cup. History has shown us that you have to achieve the former to achieve the latter.

    • Jan_pronounced_Yan says:

      Fine, I respect that. I know you have been pushing this point for quite some time. And, I don’t disagree with the main gist of your point, which is that the Habs can’t be content with where they are at. I am optimistic that they are not and I think that they ARE building towards being in the top-5.

      I have said to my friends who I talk hockey with for the last couple of years that the Habs will not win the Cup until it is the young guys that they have that are the leaders of the team. Luckily for us, it seems as if Price, PK, Pacioretty, Eller and to a lesser extent White and Desharnais are developing fairly rapidly.

      I think the main idea behind Bob Gainey’s rebuild was to bring in character players who had won cups to ease that transition. Whether you agree with the way the team was constructed after the Centennial or not, it is hard to argue that the young players on our team aren’t surrounded by strong leadership. This team has proven time and time again that they will not give up when everyone writes them off.

      That is a good environment for young players to develop in. Plus, building a strong farm team also helps players develop in a winning atmosphere. That can’t be underestimated. Players who grow up on losing teams do not turn into winners magically.

      I think people that you label as “fans with rose-coloured glasses” are just genuinely excited that we finally seem to have some good young talent that we are developing properly. It’s been a long time since we could say that about the Habs. We are still short on star power up front, but that is very hard to come by, so meanwhile, at least we have some real star power in net and on defense that is surrounded by some good young complimentary players. That’s why people say we are close. We are one or two home-run draft picks away from being LEGIT.

      • habsfansince91 says:

        agree with this completely.

        Also to add to this (for HH); If you look at the last couple drafts from the habs, you would see that the habs management is addressing the size issue by drafting many players that are at least 6 feet tall in the last two drafts. I think all this negativity towards PG is unwarranted because the players he’s drafted haven’t even had a chance with the habs yet.

      • pat s says:

        Jan_Prounced_yan—nicely stated and you are correct that some of our young players are developing pretty good.

        The only this for me is that how you infer that Gainey was a good GM is beyond me. He made the Canadians into the softest team in the NHL. Terrible GM

    • deggy24 says:

      Sensible post based on facts, so you’ll get no argument here. I’ll go one better to the point with an assertion that those who think Josh Gorges is a significant difference maker for this team, are in a fantasy land. Josh as a sixth man would be great but for those posters who claim he is a significant upgrade on Hammer or Spacek, you really need to cast off your emotional attachment to a ‘nice’ story and get grounded in the real world. We need 3/4 d who are much better than all 3. The fantasizing about Markov is nearly as dubious. In his physical prime, he was a fine player maybe top 15 d in all the world (I know some who have put him on a pedestal for his form, rather than his substance, will disagree). But he is so far removed from those years, I’m doubtful. We need 3 or 4 studs in their prime to move this team to top 5.

      Habs Win!

      • Jan_pronounced_Yan says:

        I sort of agree with you. I do think that people overvalue Gorges, but he is still a BIG part of this team, because he is a very good stay-at-home d-man who blocks lots of shots and is a tremendous leader. He is also still relatively young, so there could still be some improvement in his game.

        As for Markov, I don’t think you should write him off yet. The man is still a great defenseman when he is healthy. He can play lots of minutes, makes a terrific first pass and can be lethal on the power play. He is also pretty steady in his own end even though he doesn’t really play a physical game.

        I agree that the D needs to be younger though, which is why the Emelin signing is encouraging, because he could be a big step in the right direction. Hopefully Tinordi also develops into the player we all would like him to be. If those two join PK as difference makers on D in the next couple of years, we will have a very strong defensive core for quite some time.

        • ari says:

          if we get lucky not to lose subban by 6 mil offer from maple leafs by the time emelin and tinordi develop into our desire players.
          i never heard anyone suggested that josh is a top 4 d.but he is very good 5 or 6 d.

    • G-Man says:

      “Sometimes I take the pro position and other times I take the con one. I am not bi-polar. Rather, I am balanced in my judgement and I see both sides of an argument, however when I debate I debate one position. ”

      I love to argue as well, HH. The thing is that you can’t take both sides of the argument and call it being balanced in your judgment. I look at the the whole history of the NHL instead of just thinking about post-94, which only supports your anti-Habs management and coaching position. Yes, there are other teams who have had more recent success. It all comes down to whether or not you are a fan(atic) about the Habs. We all sound schizophrenic as we react to games and series results on this board, and yes I may get personal (I do try not to), but I try not to criticize every player move the team makes.

    • NoTinFoilCups says:

      Well HH at least in this time around you didn’t call all of us who disagree with you as idiots. Perhaps you’re maturing as you have advised others to do or perhaps things have just stabilized for you. Have a wonderful day.

    • pat s says:

      HardHabit–i noiced that on this website–if you take any position that is different, many people start personal attacking as opposed to sticking to the issue

      the reson–its easy to do that behind a computer as oppsed to telling the person face to face

  8. Bugs says:

    Happy to say that I scrolled down the whoooole lot of TB-Beaner breakdowns above and didn’t read a single word. Hell should I? Let those sumbastiches deal with their own problems in their own way; none’o'MY dang biness I don’t mind tellin yehs.
    Ain’t gonna predict nuthin neither. My first prediction of Habs in 4-5 was GROSSLY insulted by stupid garbage talentless LUCK working against it. My second prediction of same said stupid garbage talentless luck coming up against ANOTHER club well-versed in stupid garbage (slightly less talentless) luck and being cancelled out was undermined by an open net fillin in as goalie, so this time around, I reckon I’ll just keep my mouth shut and let GOD do his thing. I mean…God? Time to do your thing, huh? Whaddaya say? Enough BULLspit, ok? Just do your thing.
    So I’m not here to talk about any’o'that horsePOOP. What I’m gonna do is give yehs my review of the movie “Hanna”. Summer season; keepin things light around here won’t hurt nobody.
    Here’s the review: It was a pile’o'sh*te.
    Flick took itself seriously. By doing that, it has us believe that a 15-yr-old girl what grew up in a dang SHACK in the dang FOREST and got trained by her DADDY to be a super CIA killer, or whatever, can somehow run around CIVILIZATION kickin OTHER CIA agents azz who, apparently, have NOT received any training at all over their many years of experience in different theaters of war.
    Didn’t buy it. Once you don’t buy it, you’re out. I was out.
    Some nice photography. Nothing innovative though, and certainly nothing “Run Lola run” didn’t do, and that much better.

    Gone figuratively fishin filibusts L. B. Potter, esq.

    • punkster says:

      Hmmm, OK…but on the other hand I also just came from that movie and found it not bad. No award winner, mind, but certainly not a pile o’sh*te, as you say. I’d say different. Sort of a toned down, not-so-cutting-edge, David Lynch kind of odd. Some unusual characters, a few weird scenes, but overall an OK time waster. Of course a rather weak premise (which thank heavens was not entirely revealed until near the end) doesn’t help the whole thing because you keep expecting some sort of unveiling of the plot to appear at any moment and it just doesn’t. But at least it didn’t star Will Ferrell and the soundtrack wasn’t by U2, either which would have put it into the pile o’sh*te category for me.

      ***Subbang Baby!!!***

  9. SeriousFan09 says:

    One of the most notable fighters in hockey, Derek Boogaard was found dead in his Minneapolis Apartment by his family today, he was 28 years old.

    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.
    SF09 on Twitter

  10. habs365 says:

    Vancouver and Sharks–Vancouver in 6 or 7

  11. habs365 says:

    Boston and Tampa Bay series will come down to goaltending
    Best Goalie wins..nothing to do with regular season.

  12. Tony McLean says:

    Terrific job Stu.

    - Happy birthday Jaroslav “Hero” Halak!

  13. SeriousFan09 says:

    So apparently we need to schedule the World Championships so it’ll be convenient for us and we can send all our top players.

    Okay, for a moment, take the time to examine what other countries have deployed to this tournament. http://www.iihf.com/channels-11/iihf-world-championship-wc11/teams.html

    This is not a conspiracy where all the other countries have their absolute elite lined up to beat us. They’re hurting too on this and if Canada still can’t win, they should examine who they’re sending and who they coaching the team.

    And for the record as much as I get tagged as a Habs apologist by some, I’m fully prepared to tar and feather Timmins and Gauthier on June 25th, 26th if they mishandle this draft.

    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.
    SF09 on Twitter

    • Duracell3 says:

      Sweden with 9 NHLers and Finland with 5 playing in the gold medal game.

      USA with 3 college kids, and Germany with zero NHlers go as far as Canada.

      Every team sends the best available. While I think it’s dumb to harp on individual players, Hockey Canada, as Yzerman did in the past, should remember their refusal for dumb reasons when Sochi roles around.

      Although that said its hard to think of anyone available for Canada who didn’t play who I would really want to over anyone who did. The only questionable players were on D, almost all the others are future or current stars albeit young ones. Canada didn’t really do bad, Russia was good again and had the edge, a different team only may have made a difference and Russia could have made the same argument with Semin or Datsyuk, probably Markov, and all of their goaltenders.

      Nothing wrong with playing them on the big ice with players they will play with in future WC’s, World Cups, and Olympics. And for most it is also the only chance they will have to play with each other before the next international events.

      • dre1744 says:

        Maybe bums like Iginla, Giardano and Boumeester should of went to play for there country. Oh wait Iginla was busy making more scotia bank commercials!!!!!!

        • Duracell3 says:

          I wouldn’t be surprised if none of the Flames players were asked, perhaps bourque, given the obviously youth infested rest of the roster

    • _Habsoloutly_ says:

      I don’t think Hitchcock did a very good coaching job. Schenn and Phaneuf were horrible, and Tony’s man-crush Reimer didn’t look very impressive in his starts.

    • Propwash says:

      SF, is there anyone worth watching given our draft position?

  14. 24 Cups says:

    Shoutout to Stu for providing such a detailed report. So much more interesting than debating who will be the Habs depth Dman next year.

    • Yeats says:

      You’ve never had the pleasure of doing a post mortem after a shift with Stu at Tuesday night pickup like my brother Charlie and I have. Needless to say, Toe would have been proud!

  15. J.J. of Turku says:

    Just testing. I can’t see my posts.

    http://media.turku.fi/kamera1.html

  16. HardHabits says:

    For all those who say the Habs are a great team, the past 10 years speaks for itself:

    2000-2001 24th
    2001-2002 18th
    2002-2003 20th
    2003-2004 13th
    2004-2005 lock-out
    2005-2006 15th
    2006-2007 19th
    2007-2008 3rd
    2008-2009 13th
    2009-2010 19th
    2010-2011 14th

    Anyone claiming that is a success needs to give their heads a shake.

    • ManApart says:

      Habs have never been close to a great team since 1989. They are a middle of the pack team, who are competitive, but not contenders. I think after seeing those results written out like that, we should give management no more slack in our wait for a contender. If they hit a bump to start the year or have ANOTHER bubble playoff year and out in the 1st round, they absolutely must be fired. For me it would be 3 years too late, but whatever.

      • TomNickle says:

        If the state of the franchise were comparable to the season where the team missed the playoffs in the final game to Toronto, I would be inclined to agree. But this group has improved. They’ve improved enough to be given some slack. Changes were made and there is a deep talent pool now in Hamilton, the NCAA and the CHL. On top of that they have core players to build around in Subban, Pacioretty and Price and have players like Plekanec, Kostitsyn and Gorges entering their primes and young players on the roster who will be valuable contributors in the least and have high ceilings which could make them elite players like Eller and Desharnais. The injuries this team has battled over the last two seasons are frustrating but show how much character the group has and magnifies their improvement. The aging defense group and their unwillingness to be physical in areas that demand it have also been frustrating, but those players are on their way out. Subban, Yemelin and Gorges are very physical in the dirty areas and will make life difficult on players who wish to go to them. That’s the biggest area of weakness in my opinion. This team can win low scoring games, but mental mistakes and a passive style in dangerous areas cost the team too much. Some more offensive depth and a more tenacious mentality in front of our net would make this team elite.

        • habs365 says:

          A deep talent pool in Hamilton, don’t know what team you’ve been watching.

          • TomNickle says:

            They’re in the Conference Final. So I don’t know what you’ve been watching. Players that aren’t even in the lineup for them right now are talented. Like Avtsin, Fortier and Stejskal. Dawes is one of the leading playoff scores, as are Palushaj and Boyd. Engqvist has elevated his game by all accounts. Kyle Klubertanz quietly had a great season and Brendon Nash will be a full time Hab within two years if there’s room for him. Maybe you should watch a little closer.

          • habs365 says:

            TomNickle: it’ll all boil down to training camp–I see Palushaj and maxwell as having a chance in making the big team–Dawes and Boyd NHL cast offs anyone else good luck–maybe surprises–and maybe you see something I don’t see–we’ll both see come october 2011–you may be disappointed…..

          • jon514 says:

            habs365: Maxwell was traded, along with a 4th round pick, to Atlanta for Dawes and Sopel… He did make the NHL though…

            “Let’s be clear on the facts…”

        • HardHabits says:

          The biggest area of weakness with this team is a lack of offence which in large part is due to the lack of enough big, physical and gritty forwards, most notably a true #1 centre, and that the Habs rather have an abundance of small and supposedly skilled and speedy forwards.

          To be elite the Habs would need to do everything they did with special teams and goals against last season and score 30-40 extra goals.

          The team needs more offence to jump to the next level, not better defence.

          • TomNickle says:

            I think they need to be better in both areas to become elite. There isn’t really enough physical play in front of our net. The only way teams seem to be able to score on Price is to get garbage goals in close. If there was a strong commitment from everyone to be more physical around our net the Habs would be in the top 5 for goals against. Offense 5 on 5 is a problem, and that does come from not being able to maximize time in the offensive zone. That doesn’t necessarily mean we need more size, I would argue more skill. Desharnais was our most effective forward at establishing possession down low and maintaining it. Eller was very good at it also so the truth to this argument I’m sure lies somewhere in between our ideas. But either way. A nastier attitude from the defense corps prevents two of the three overtime goals the Bruins scored in the first round.

        • LA Loyalist says:

          …how about some tenacious-osity in front of the OTHER team’s net?

      • Ton says:

        93 was a good team, this is fact, they were great, this is fact, they were the best, this is fact, they won it all, this is fact……………….and so on…………..

      • pat s says:

        ManApart–i agree –too much tolerance and too many excuses in montreal these days–its always my dog ate my homework, escpecially when Gainey was the GM-

        montreal was predicted by many to lose in five, but they lost in 7 and now that is supposed to be impressive–there was absolutely no way boston was going to lose that series

    • joeybarrie says:

      Well if you only measure success by the regular season then I see your point. I do not measure success by the regular season.
      I see us as being the 1st in the East in 07-08.
      I see us as being 4th in the East in 92-93 and winning the cup.
      Pens came in 8th and won the cup.
      Its not 1955 nor are there 6 teams in the league.
      Why do the Stanley Cup playoff standings effect the draft position?
      I guess anyone claiming 25 of 30 teams have any type of success is also wrong?
      I can explain it simply. Be in the top 16 and make a run for the cup.
      71 playoff games in 10 years is not terrible.
      Measure the Habs success against the top 16 teams in the league this season and compare…
      Cant win every year in a cap system.
      BUT YOU CAN GET FIRST IN THE EAST AND MAKE IT TO THE CONF FINALS. Not too shabby.

      There may be other teams, but only ONE Club De Hockey…

      • HardHabits says:

        Since 1994 when the Conference format was introduced every team that won the Cup save two were in the top 5, the other two being top 10. That is an astounding percentage. I have to admit that had Edmonton not lost Rolonson in the SC Finals to injury, who knows. But who cares about what ifs? History has yet to made in this department and whenever it happens it will be an aberration, not the rule. The rule is top 5 teams win the Cup. With very little variation. The Habs had 1 top 5 finish since their last Cup. One. Losing in the ECF is the best the Habs have done in the play-offs since then and that happened only once too. That is not good at all.

        I would suggest people get over the once you’re in the play-offs anything can happen mentality. It’s a fools dream and has yet to happen. If it does, and I am not saying it can’t, it is highly unlikely that it will be repeated again for a very long time and the more than likely scenario is that a top 5 team will win the Cup for consecutive years after that.

        In order to be a contender a team has to finish in the elite, that means being in the top 5 over-all. Those are the facts. That’s the reality. The anything can happen mentality is wishing and it’s no way to build a championship team. Nor is playing rope-a-dope hoping for that opportunistic goal and then desperately trying to hold onto the lead.

        Regular season success is finishing in the top 5. Play-off success is winning the Stanley Cup. History has shown us that you have to achieve the former to achieve the latter.

    • SeriousFan09 says:

      Didn’t say they were great, I’ve said they are moving in the right direction. Key is to play the 11-12 season and see what the CORE can actually do when they’re together.

      For all the talk that other teams are way in front of us, those gutless punks in PHI are hopeless w/o Chris Pronger to hold their hands and take them far.

      - I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.
      SF09 on Twitter

  17. Everlasting1 says:

    Patrik Berglund bags two more for Sweden and advance to the finals. He now leads the tourney with 8Gs.

    ——————————————————————-
    Elohim:”Let us make an Adam in our image and after our likeness.” – Genesis 1:26

    “We don’t see things as they are, but as we are.” – Anais Nin

    • HardHabits says:

      How does it feel going from supporting one mediocre team to another?

      • Everlasting1 says:

        I feel the Blues have a future..barring crippling injuries, of course. Look at their depth on offense, and the likely call-up of Vladimir Tarasenko. The D can only improve as will Halak’s numbers. Once again, I project them to be a top 5 in the West next season – if relatively healthy. David Perron is the biggest concern, and I hope he returns 100% from that concussion.

        ——————————————————————-
        Elohim:”Let us make an Adam in our image and after our likeness.” – Genesis 1:26

        “We don’t see things as they are, but as we are.” – Anais Nin

        • TomNickle says:

          If only they had a goalie.

          • Everlasting1 says:

            I’ll remember you said that.

            ——————————————————————-
            Elohim:”Let us make an Adam in our image and after our likeness.” – Genesis 1:26

            “We don’t see things as they are, but as we are.” – Anais Nin

          • TomNickle says:

            Please do. I believe they set the NHL record this season for goaltender changes.

          • Everlasting1 says:

            As you once emphatically stated..a goalie pull is often a message to the TEAM. Penalty minutes were an issue, along with a poor PK/PP.

            ——————————————————————-
            Elohim:”Let us make an Adam in our image and after our likeness.” – Genesis 1:26

            “We don’t see things as they are, but as we are.” – Anais Nin

          • TomNickle says:

            So was goaltending. Your saviour had a save percentage under .900 after his first 10 games.

          • Everlasting1 says:

            What? He recorded 3 SO in his first 10 games, and only 2 games were below .900. Might want to do that math again.

            ——————————————————————-
            Elohim:”Let us make an Adam in our image and after our likeness.” – Genesis 1:26

            “We don’t see things as they are, but as we are.” – Anais Nin

  18. LA Loyalist says:

    As much as I dislike Vancouver we cannot let San Jose win a Stanley Cup. If San Jose wins one then dumps like Columbus, Nashville and Toronto are going to want one too.

    • habs03 says:

      As much as I’d like seeing them loss, I want them to win it this year, I feel for Patrick Marleau, someone said it best, he is too nice to be a hockey player.

      • LA Loyalist says:

        … and I must admit it would be a fun trivia stat for Niemi, to win back to back cups for 2 different teams! I doubt that would ever happen again…

    • SeriousFan09 says:

      I don’t know, it would be a damn good laugh if SJS lifts the Cup with Jumbo Joe as the Captain while Boston looks on.

      - I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.
      SF09 on Twitter

    • pat s says:

      I want san jose or boston to win–thatt will really put pressure on montreal to go with a more gritty, blue collar style of hockey as compared to this european, play nice billy type of hockey

      however, vancouver/tampa are not a play nice hockey billy team, they have an element of grit and toughness incorporated in their lineup

  19. savethepuck says:

    ” It took a while for this threesome to get going in the playoffs and Krejci and Horton got there before Lucic, who only found the net in the last game against Philly.”

    Really frustrates me that even our reporters, like across North America, still talk of how bad the Bruin’s top line played against the Habs, instead of giving credit where credit is due by praising the Habs lines that matched up against them and shut them down.

    “That beautiful bastard scored semi-conscious.” On the Rocket’s Game 7 game winning goal against the Bruin’s April, 1952

    • ManApart says:

      It’s more likely a combination of the two. Lucic was absolutely horrible vs the Habs and mostly vs Philly for that matter. It was more him than what the Habs did. Overall though, the Habs did an excellent job of implementing JM’s system and shuting down that line, although Horton got some huge goals when it mattered.

      • HardHabits says:

        Lucic was/is injured. He mangled his wrist in a fight prior to the play-offs. He’s probably healed now.

        • ManApart says:

          Your wrist doesn’t affect your legs. If he was hurting, maybe he couldn’t shoot that well, but the guy was tentative, confused and way too reactive rather than proactive in his play.

    • pat s says:

      savethepuck–i hear what you are saying but who won and who lost

      look at the last 4 years to who we lost in the playoffs

      at the end of the day, they were the better team–they won and we lost

  20. ManApart says:

    Holy, if you haven’t seen it, check out Marcus Grandlund’s goal for Finland at the WHC on TSN’s site.

    Nice signing and pick up by The Islanders on Grabner. Poor Florida. They put him on waivers, the Iles pick him up and he scores 34 goals as a rookie. He also won the fastest skater at the all-star game. 5 years for 15 million. Very nice for Garth Snow.

    • Mark C says:

      Snow knock this one out of the park. A steal of a deal. Grabner’s agent must have hated signing that contract.

      • ManApart says:

        The bubble teams, including Montreal, better watch out next season. The Islanders are coming. They need some defensive depth and a goalie, but they are certainly not a joke anymore.

        • LA Loyalist says:

          Don’t forget that Tampa are already much better, and New Jersey was coming like a freight train and just ran out of track. They could be deadly if they get the right coach (Muller?).

          And meanwhile in Montreal… massive improvements are being made to lift us out of mediocrity… really.

          • ManApart says:

            People don’t like to admit it, but if Burkie makes a few moves this summer (Richards?) they are ripe to seriously challenge for a spot. montreal is going to have to improve to keep pace. Gauthier better get some offensive depth and another top 6. You can’t just rely on a system that wants to win every game 2-1. It will keep you competitive, but long run you need more weapons.

          • SeriousFan09 says:

            Okay Loyalist, question, if TBL were missing Ohlund, Hedman and Malone going into the playoffs, than Kubina jams his hand, Thompson is out with a bad knee, what exactly does that do to their run?

            Playoff drives are not won when multiple key members of a team’s core are injured. Hence the term “Core” as this is what makes the team successful. MTL-TB went head-to-head four times this year and split the season and MTL was always held back by injuries far more than TB was.

            - I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.
            SF09 on Twitter

        • OneTimer says:

          If Montreal comfortably made the playoffs in 6th place with so many key players out, are they a bubble team when fully healthy?

        • pat s says:

          with this lineup, unless price stands on his head we are not a threat

          this play nice billy hockey doesn’t work–the sooner more montreal fans accept this the better–

    • Duracell3 says:

      You are incorrect, It was his older brother Mikael Granlund, owned by Minnesota.

      The Islanders are still a joke sorry. If the habs are worse, they’re just a bigger joke.

  21. HardHabits says:

    Don’t be so depressed people. If the Bruins go all the way and win it all the optimists will be able to say the Habs were 1 OT goal away from winning the Cup.

    • shiram says:

      Who is depressed?

    • ManApart says:

      Wow, you are really starting to sound like me lately. Everyone knows how I feel about management, but if Emelin comes over, i’m liking our D for next season. I’m giving Gauthier a chance to pick up a couple of forwards by July 10th or so. My choice is Jagr and Cole. if he fails I will bash him for not doing anything, but for now I’m feeling slightly optimistic that the team can improve next season.

      • LA Loyalist says:

        Assuming we get Yemelin and the new Mark Streit would you sign Wiz (if $ possible) so we have some depth to trade from for a manly forward later in the year? If we let Wiz walk for nothing… it just bothers me. We are never deep enough to have any leverage in a trade.

        • ManApart says:

          I’m not sure what you mean. The new Mark Streit? Do you mean if we have Wiz, we can use Weber in a trade?

          I really liked Wiz, but I just don’t think you can sign him to 4+ mil a year in a multi year deal. Markov will make big money, Gorges gets a big raise, Subban’s going to get a big deal next season. Price? I mean we have just too much long term cap space, as it is, wrapped up in Gomez, Gionta, Cammy, Pleks. I think you’ve got to give yourself some leeway to maybe sign a real good forward in next year’s UFA group, when Spacek goes and maybe Gomez can be moved. I don’t like to lose Wiz, but it just handcuffs the cap space too much, for future forward signings, IMO.

          • LA Loyalist says:

            I meant the new Swiss guy, Ravioli Diaz, Gomer’s cousin, who could potentially become the next Mark Streit unless Weber becomes the next Mark Streit in which case… — anyway, your point is what I feared, we can’t afford him.

            …we have alternates’ jerseys on my old-timer’s team; if a regular is out having his prostrate checked or it’s date night or something, problem is they are all #5, so we end up with 3 #5′s on a shift. I think the regular #5 did it on purpose to up his points totals at the end of the year….

    • SeriousFan09 says:

      I’m not depressed about anything and I’d call it “we were one act of aggravated assault on Max Pacioretty” away from Round 2.

      - I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.
      SF09 on Twitter

  22. Tony McLean says:

    Boucher will out coach Julien. Marty and Vinnie will be on fire. And more than one Bolt will torment FrankenChara, who will lose it more than once.

    Props to “Canadiens South.” Away les boys!

    • LA Loyalist says:

      … and Domenic Moore will score a big goal while everyone is busy checking St. Louis, Stamkos and LeCav. Remember I predicted it here.

      Tampa in 6 at the most.

      Boucher in the finals in his first year. That’s what I want to see. We’ll hit 2000 posts that day, for sure.

  23. _Habsoloutly_ says:

    Go T-Bay!!

  24. Hobie Hansen says:

    Trade, Spacek, Gomez, kostitsyn, Desharnais, Pyatt, Darche, Pouliot, Weber and Picard for Downie and Malone please, thanks.

  25. nek25plus says:

    I hate both…bad sport I know. Go Canucks!

  26. G-Man says:

    Bruck the Fuins! Go TB!

  27. Propwash says:

    Go Tampa!

    • LA Loyalist says:

      Slightly off topic, but check out Bob Nicholson of the IIHL blaming players who were not even on the team for Canada losing two years in a row.

      What a loser. He should commit honorable sepuku and apologize to all Canadians.

      In other news, looks like Gauthier has gone shopping in Switzerland again looking for the next Mark Streit! Sounds exciting (Toronto Star has the article).

      • avatar_58 says:

        The tournament sucks, live with it. No one cares whether the rejects of the playoffs win or not who “just happen” to be canadian. The olympics or bust. Why they can’t get it through their heads is beyond me.

        • LA Loyalist says:

          If we don’t go to win why go at all? What’s the point?

          What’s the point of the IIHL then? Why fund them? All it does is create a culture of mediocrity where finishing in the middle of the pack is good enough…. oh crap… what did I just say? I was talking about the IIHL, not the Habs, really, I mean we just won the cup… what? 17 years?

          I’m going to cry now.

          • Tony McLean says:

            If we win it next year it will be 19 years. And we won’t win it next year, we’re not close. Wtf is Gainey still doing here 2 years after he quit? Time to start letting Geoff Molson know how fed up we are. Gauthier’s incense and peppermints are not getting it done and Martin barely has a pulse.

            Props to “Canadiens South.” Away les boys!

      • Duracell3 says:

        The fact you don’t know what the IIHF is pretty much destroys this and all future points you attempt to make on the subject.

        • LA Loyalist says:

          I know that a guy who complains that guys who aren’t on the ice loses us the game makes no sense.

          I know who they are. International Ice Hockey Federation. They run the girls’ leagues.

          • Duracell3 says:

            Literally don’t know who the IIHF is, must know a lot about international hockey.

      • SeriousFan09 says:

        That’s a load of crap, Canada still sent one of the best rosters to the World and they couldn’t get it done because every year, Hockey Canada picks a coach who can’t get an NHL job thanks to the Old-Boys network.

        - I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.
        SF09 on Twitter

  28. Bruins in 4, I’m still upset the Habs lost to those losers!

    Shane Oliver
    http://www.Sholi2000.com
    Brandon, MB,Canada
    R7B 2R7
    hockey@sholi2000.com
    Ph- 204 724 8418

    • LA Loyalist says:

      Bruins in 4? I don’t think so, unless Roloson falls apart, and at his age he knows he will never get this shot again to get to the final.

      • LA Loyalist says:

        P.S. They are bagging on Cammalari right now on The Fan 590 for not playing for Canada.

        • avatar_58 says:

          Good, why would Cammy want to play with those rejects? Phaneuf? Schenn? Spezza? What an allstar squad

          • pat s says:

            what a double stndard–if price, subban, cammelleri go you would be trashing the other players for not going

            nobody should refuse to go unless they are hurt—you should never refuse to represent your country

        • shiram says:

          Wasn’t he hurt during the PO’s??

        • ManApart says:

          They also asked Price and Subban.

          • LA Loyalist says:

            It’s embarassing. We should tell these bureaucrats either they schedule it when our real playoffs are over or we don’t go.

            Send our best or forget it. Some of you guys are not old enough to remember when we couldn’t send NHL guys to the Olympics, we had to send college kids to play the Red Army team. Not going back there. This IIHL guy has no dick. Sorry but either stand up to the Euro’s or shut the f* up.

          • SeriousFan09 says:

            You do know that a lot of top European players are also not playing for the teams due to being in the playoffs as well right?

            Team Canada generally sends one of the better teams anyway, they shouldn’t blame the guys who were playing through injuries they really should not have been playing through for turning down an invite for a C-Tournament.

            - I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.
            SF09 on Twitter

  29. HalifaxHabs says:

    Holy sh1t, I pray the Lightning bounce these clowns.

    Time for the Bruins and their fans to get back to their yearly choking fest.

  30. ooder says:

    that was my first thought… taking repeated fists to the head cannot be good for you… although this might not have anything to do in this case the NHL’s pathetic attitude towards head injuries is sickening…
    the fact that marc savard might go home and not remeber his kids names all because of a “hockey” play is really scary… in the end this is entertainement, and I do not want to see players die on the ice

    ——————
    Gomez: 34 and counting!

  31. The Cat says:

    Ive even noticed some arenas starting to play songs featured in wrestling.

    [Disclaimer]: I’m a hockey fan. I care about the habs, but probably not as much as you.

  32. Ian Cobb says:

    CONCUSSION

    What is a concussion, as comprehended and explained by myself.

    I have picked up a lot of information working first with veterinarian pathologists when I was doing research on my fox and mink ranch with calcium.

    And I have been involved lately with the neurology research dept from a major medical university. Only as the handler of the research birds involved in the study.

    Pertaining to concussion,

    I will try to explain, the best that I can, what happens to the brain cells that have been concussed inside the skull. And why one must stay completely resting after a concussion.

    The very soft brain cells, when violently thrown against the skull, are damaged and the neuron releases a potassium chemical out of the brain cell. Leaving a void.

    Calcium that is already present around the outside of the cells, seeps into the cells replacing the potassium. This calcium is what gives the chemical imbalance to the brain and is what causes the damage.

    Until all of this calcium leaves the brain cells completely, and it can take a long time, depending on how much calcium was taken on each cell. The patient is left extremely vulnerable to instant death upon a second bump, or at least permanent brain damage.

    Even a hard coughing spell or light exercise can cause severe pain and damage. Complete rest is needed.

    These damaged cells have to be cleared completely of this calcium before one can resume activity to avoid more serious consequences including death.

    This is very acute in young people under the age of 24 as the brain is still growing and developing.

    Please, coaches and parents know this, every contact to the head can cause some cells to expel potassium and take on calcium. A second, even slight bump, with the cells still containing calcium, can be even more deadly.

    Ian Cobb

  33. pat s says:

    Leave fighting alone in the NHL and take out the instigator rule in the playoffs —-its part of the NHL and most importantly, its part of CANADIAN hockey–always has and always will be


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