Certain Habs need to increase intensity level, Therrien says (with video)

Following a 1-0 overtime loss to the Bruins Thursday night at the Bell Centre, the Canadiens didn’t practise on Friday before flying to Boston for Game 5 Saturday night (7 p.m., CBC, RDS, TSN Radio 690) with the Eastern Conference semifinal series tied 2-2.

Canadiens coach Michel Therrien held a conference call Friday morning with reporters and the main topic of conversation was the struggles of the three members who used to make up the team’s No. 1 line: David Desharnais, Max Pacioretty and Thomas Vanek. Desharnais and Pacioretty have one goal each in eight playoff games, while Vanek has scored three times. Desharnais and Pacioretty had one shot each in Game 4, while Vanek failed to get a shot on goal. Vanek has four shots on goal in the four games against Boston.

When asked if he could explain Vanek going without a shot in Game 4, Therrien said: “Tough for me to answer that.”

Vanek has been dropped from the top line in favour of Brendan Gallagher and has been put on a line with Tomas Plekanec and Michael Bournival.

Therrien noted that the intensity level in the NHL is at a certain point at the beginning of the season, raises by the middle of the season, goes up again at the  end of the regular season and then “goes to another level” in the playoffs.

“From our standpoint, our good athletes offensively, they got to make sure they adjust to the intensity of the playoffs and fight through those adversities and make sure that they’re impact players, because I always believe that there’s a certain way to play the game,” Therrien said.

“Early in the season, the intensity is at one level and after that the more the season goes on and on the level of intensity it’s always higher. But when we get to the playoffs this is where it reaches the peak and you want to make sure your offensive guys are capable to adjust to the intensity so they could be successful offensively and be successful defensively as well.”

Therrien had praise for his third defence pair of Mike Weaver and Douglas Murray, who were on the ice for the Game 4 overtime goal by Matt Fraser.

“I thought they played really well,” the coach said. “I thought they were physical, I thought they were blocking shots, they contained really well for the most part of the game. Guys like Douglas Murray, he’s a tough customer. He’s tough to play against. He’s physical and certainly he’s a presence out there for us and I thought Weaver and Murray did a fantastic job for us.”

Therrien added about his team as a whole: “I like the way we’re playing. Anything can happen in a best two-out-of-three situation. We’re gaining confidence every game.”

(Photo by The Gazette’s Allen McInnis)

(Game 4 locker-room videos by The Gazette’s Brenda Branswell)

Game 5 Preview, NHL.com

Now it’s a best-of-three series, by The Gazette’s Dave Stubbs

Top lines struggling for both Habs and Bruins, by The Gazette’s Pat Hickey

Putting CHaracter back in the CH, by Gazette Sports Editor Stu Cowan

Habs Playoff Notebook, Canadiens.com

Habs-Bruins tickets fetch steep price, by Pat Hickey

Bruins rookie ends Game 4 in OT, by Pat Hickey

Fraser improbable hero in Bruins’ stunning win, by Dave Stubbs

Both goalies phenomenal, Therrien says, by Pat Hickey

Fraser’s OT goal resets series, NHL.com

Tug of war, Canadiens.com

Bruins find a new weapon, Boston Globe

Canadiens take solace in best-of-three, Boston Herald

Mother of Rangers’ St. Louis dies at age 63, NHL.com

 

783 Comments

  1. Stanley Cup or Bust ! says:

    If we play like this tonight we can’t lose.
    Go Habs Go

  2. habs001 says:

    Bournival is a fast skater and he battles but i am not sure if he is anything more than a 12-14 goals scorer in the league…Looks like a solid 3rd liner or 4th….

  3. montreal ace says:

    I think MT has a lot of pressure, as soon as the season starts to make the playoffs. The luxury of giving rookies time to work their way into the lineup, at the expense of missing the playoffs, is something that does not happen in Montreal. The money the Habs and city businesses make, is not going to be sacrificed for player stats or rookie mistakes.

  4. habfan100 says:

    Forgive me if you guys already know, but I thought I would post it anyway.

    http://bostonherald.com/sports/bruins_nhl/boston_bruins/2014/05/canadiens_to_stick_with_goat_douglas_murray

    Despite heavy criticism from fans and media, Canadiens coach Michel Therrien indicated yesterday he will stick with defenseman Douglas Murray as part of his third pairing with Mike Weaver in tonight’s Game 5 at the Garden.

    Thoughts? I would play Bouillon on the 3rd line, with Julien having last change. But I’m not an NHL coach. Just hoping Murray has a solid game and keeps the crease clear for Price to see the shots.

  5. frontenac1 says:

    Mike likes what Murray brings and so do 93% of posters here according to this week’s poll. Whether he plays tonight or not is not dependent on a vocal 7%. Tonight Max comes alive wreaks havoc! Habs in 6!

  6. habs001 says:

    Habs may have to win next 2 games 1-0 or 2-1….unless Rask gives up bad goals or Habs get flukey goals i am not confident that the Habs will score too many goals…..

  7. B says:

    In a battle of winless teams, Martin Reway and Team Slovakia take on Team Canada at 1:30 PM on TSN today. Reway picked up an assist yesterday in a 3-2 OT loss to the Czechs.

    –Go Habs Go!–

  8. Stanley Cup or Bust ! says:

    Carpe noctem

  9. FlyAngler says:

    Hopefully, Tukka Rask’s new baby was colicky as all hell last night causing him to toss, turn and have a miserable night’s sleep.
    Since today is the anniversary of the infamous “too many men on the ice penalty” hopefully kharma will be on the Habs side tonight.
    Canadiens.com points out that MT is 5-1 at the TD Garden since taking over in 2012 and that Carey Price has a .940 save percentage in playoff games at the T D Garden.
    I am looking for a big game from the Captain who always seems to play well in the T D Garden perhaps because it brings him back to his younger days when he played there while Captaining Boston College.

    “Gardez la Foi! Keep the Faith!”

  10. 5wings says:

    lack of intensity, not even close to being correct.. how many fans would have thought we would be even at 2..Boston is not Tampa with subpar goaltending..maybe the best NHL team this season and we are hanging with them..tonight is a big test..I would put the DD line back together and try to generate more offence..the D men have been doing a great job I wouldnt change a thing..get Subby out with the DD line as much as possible to create more offence..

    GO HABS GO!!

  11. piter says:

    For tonight’s game, the few changes I would make are Prust in, Bournival back to 4th line, Vanek with DD and Max, and the Cube instead of Murray. The line changes and matching will be focused on by Boston big time, hence, Murray out, Cube in.

  12. CH Marshall says:

    Whew! No feature on a former Bruin as of yet

    • FlyAngler says:

      How would you feel about a picture of Don Cherry standing up on the Bruins’ bench during game 7 from 1979? Today is the anniversary of that glorious victory for the Habs which still causes misery, heartache and pain for Bruins fans. Maybe he will talk about it tonight on Coach’s Corner- LOL

      “Gardez la Foi! Keep the Faith!”

  13. DipsyDoodler says:

    Reasons Therrien might be costing us the series (with no reference to #6).

    1. Breaking up the DD/Pax/Vanek line. The most explosive line we’ve had since the heyday of Kovy. Sure they scored less lately – every team knows how to shut down a good line. Even Crosby can be stymied. But now Vanek’s beautiful passes are going to Bournival instead of Pacioretty (and I love Bourni don’t get me wrong, but…).

    2. Subban with 23 minutes TOI. People were talking about Subbie for Conn Smythe. He’s emerging as a pan-Canadian superstar this Spring. What is it? Jealousy? Is he still sending him messages?

    3. Calling out his players for lack of intensity. First, it isn’t even true. We’ve been standing up to the Big Bad Bruins, who are fortunate it is 2-2 in the series. Who’s not intense? DD and Gally battling Chara in the corners? PK? Gorges? Pacioretty who is getting hit relentlessly, but keeps coming?

    Coaches who are out of ideas say stuff like that. “We need to up our compete level.”

    You up your game Therrien and stop blaming your players.

    4. Not trusting Beaulieu and Tinordi to learn from their mistakes all season long, meaning you can’t trust them now.

    —–
    Moving. Forward.

  14. Stanley Cup or Bust ! says:

    “Carey Price needs to answer with shutout of his own.”
    The media just make it up as it goes along. Just like the refs!

  15. Stanley Cup or Bust ! says:

    If I know anything, I know we need to Crank it up tonight!
    In some ways this is the most un-boston-Montréal series I’ve seen.
    Can anyone tell me of a player who has Cranked it up during the playoffs that was a surprise ?
    The one I’m thinking of was Gilbert Dionne(93).

  16. HabinBurlington says:

    Well its gameday, I don’t care who MT decides to dress on blueline, while I have had reservations with MT since the day he was hired, it is hard to argue with the results.

    It has been difficult but all I can do is accept his decision making process and CHeer like crazy for the lineup he chooses to dress. Heck who knows, maybe he goes bat sh*t crazy and throws a wrinkle in the lineup tonight in the form of Beaulieu. All I know is that we have a good chance to win tonight.

    Go Habs Go!

  17. The Gumper says:

    Without trying to beat the Murray in or out scenario to death, I think that it’s MT’s most important decision to make in this series. I love the guy, despite his rather sizable limitations but at this point, he does us more harm than good. I’m not a big Corsi/Fernwick guy but it’s pretty apparent to me that we’re getting dramatically out shot while he’s on the ice. The BEST that he can do offensively is to chip the puck into the neutral zone as he is, no doubt, instructed my MT. It not only gives the Bruins easily gained momentum but it precludes us from using our forward line speed to take advantage of the relatively slow Bruin d-men. We’re playing right into Julien’s hands by thinking that we need some kind of physical deterrent. If you haven’t noticed, the Bruins have been playing like choirboys since his insertion and it’s not because they are afraid of him. They are simply better off maintaining possession of the puck and creating chances and, sooner or later, those chances are going to payoff. Will the Bruins take a few more liberties with Crank out of the line up? Almost certainly they will but that’s what we want. I’ll take the PP’s anytime and fill their net. It’s time that we stopped playing into Julien’s hands…..

  18. JUST ME says:

    I did not know that Nathan Beaulieu had left the Black Aces group and was travelling with the team in Boston. I wonder if it means anything but honestly i do not expect any changes to the roster since last game was so harshly fought. As Therrien said though let`s hope that everyone raises their intensity level one notch .

  19. montreal ace says:

    I really loved watching Weise, on the bench just before the game started. The energy level he was showing, while just sitting and taking smelling salts was incredible, he does not need any motivation at all. I hope Bournival goes back on the 4th line, seemed to me his offence looked better there

  20. My son’s first tier one soccer game tonight. 6PM start, what’s more important? haha no need to answer, that’s why god invented PVR.

    CRANKSHAFT CRANKSHAFT CRANKSHAFT

    Shane Oliver
    @sholi2000
    http://www.sholi2000.com
    A Little fun during the Intermission
    Brandon Predators

  21. PrimeTime says:

    Both teams are probably confident if they play their game for 60 min they will win. Sounds pretty cliche, eh? But if any player doesn’t believe that, they’re done! Bos did not play they “style” in game 4 but Rask stole one. Can Rask steal 2 of 3 games? I don’t think he will if Habs can get 4 lines going. Fans for both teams are nervous. Series is tighter than….. (insert your own humor).

    º¤ø ¸„ø¤GO HABS GOø¤º°¨¨¨°º¤ø ¸„ø¤GO HABS GOø¤º°¨¨¨°º¤ø ¸„ø¤GO HABS GOø¤º°¨¨¨°º¤ø ¸„ø¤GO HABS GOø¤º°¨¨¨°º¤ø ¸„ø¤GO HABS GOø¤º

  22. montreal ace says:

    I think the players decide if Murray is in the lineup or not, play harder if you enjoy not getting faced washed, so score on your chances. I think our overall effort as a team is better when he plays

    • PrimeTime says:

      With line change advantage to Julien, I say Murray’s sits out.

    • third generation haber says:

      I agree, and while I’m excited about Beaulieu’s future, I don’t have a clue as to how he would perform if he were thrown into this fire. Murray goes into the corner and comes out with the corner; Boston doesn’t want him on the ice! We don’t have a hulking fourth line forward who could keep the Bruins honest, so Murray is our only answer now.

      Had we won game 4, which was just a matter of one goal, no one would be questioning or blaming Murray.

      j.p. murray

  23. Stanley Cup or Bust ! says:

    There’s an epidemic goin around.
    Do you obsess over 4th liners?
    Do you overthink how your team lost in OT?
    Do you pray for ungodly injuries to the other team?
    Diagnosis: Playoff fever.
    Treatment: Steady diet of libations. Frequent naps while peeking at the clock.
    Cure: Stanley Cup

    GO Habs GO!!!
    GO Habs GO!!!
    GO Habs GO!!!

  24. Maritime Ronn says:

    While maybe unlikely, perhaps something most or all can agree upon.
    We need to see Much, much more Subban tonight.

    While sometimes penalties for and against can dictate ToI, Subban needs to be closer to 30 minutes than 20 minutes. (last game 22:52)

    Subban is a beast – a workhorse, that doesn’t ever get tired.
    Did he look tired when he scored the OT Game 1 winner?
    In that game he played 33:49 including 29:17 of Even Strength time.

    Nothing against the 3rd pairing of whomever, yet they could be matched up against the Bruins 4th line (about 8-9 minutes) plus some 1-3 minutes penalty kill time.

    Playing the Habs 3rd pair Dmen (13-14 minutes) against the Bruins 3rd line of Soderberg-Eriksson-Fraser is a mis-match.
    Coach Julien would take that all night, and for the rest of the series in a heart beat.

    The Habs also need better 5X5 offence, and that is where the Subban pairing could be a difference maker.

    It’s quite basic.
    When the Habs 3rd pair is on the ice, most hope the Bruins won’t score.
    When Subban is on the ice in any situation, there is a goal possibility.

    Subban/Gorges and Markov/Emelin can handle 98-100 Dman minutes between them.

  25. Bob_Sacamano says:

    This place is unbelievable. This Habs get constantly outplayed when Murray is on the ice and people still think it´s not a big problem. What a joke. His lack of pace and skill and his urge to leave his position to get involved in useless battles hurt this team. We would be so much better off with Beaulieu. We need someone who can skate and move the damn puck.

    Yes, Thornton might be p****d off when Murray pushes him around. Big deal, he isn´t going to score anyway. On the other hand players like Bergeron and Krejci surely enjoy seing Murray playing because they know getting pucks on the net will be easier for them.

    • Here’s the thing though, no one in the Organization cares what we all think, so ROLL WITH IT BABY!

      CRANKSHAFT CRANKSHAFT CRANKSHAFT

      Shane Oliver
      @sholi2000
      http://www.sholi2000.com
      A Little fun during the Intermission
      Brandon Predators

    • Hobie says:

      I agree we’d be better off with Beaulieu or maybe Tinordi! Unfortunately the guys who get paid millions of dollars, have played or coached all their lives don’t. Maybe they know more than us? Or should we listen to Andrew Bershire or Connor McKenna instead lol?

    • Maritime Ronn says:

      Beaulieu hasn’t played an NHL game since April 9th.
      His prior NHL game was February 8th.

      His last AHL game was April 19th.

      Do you believe it would be a wise move to throw him into this type of situation?
      Game 5 in Boston with zero playoff experience, and not having played a real game (AHL) in 3 weeks?

      Some believe in the sink or swim theory, while others believe it could hurt a career.

      • Hobie says:

        I don’t think throwing him or Tinordi now would work. I meant the could have been groomed down the stretch and possibly be a better option than Murray or Bouillon now.

        Although I seem to remember Tinordi being 100% responsible for a few goals. Murray was one a few guys responsible for the one the other night. Plus Pacioretty can’t score. :-).

        • Maritime Ronn says:

          Hobie

          There was some disappointment from here that 1 of Beaulieu/Tinordi are not ready for this.
          I guess MT/Bergevin and staff felt they weren’t ready for prime time.
          Next year has to be their year.

      • Bob_Sacamano says:

        Good question. I´m not sure to be honest but then again: Douglas Murray had played 24.8 5 vs 5 minutes during which Boston had 39 shot attempts in the series. 39 after not even 25 minutes! Beaulieu just couldn´t do worse.

        The sad thing is that a full season was wasted with Bouillon and Murray while neither Beaulieu nor Tinordi became a regular player.

    • DipsyDoodler says:

      Did you notice that after they scored in OT, NOT ONE BRUINS PLAYER WENT TO FACE WASH CAREY PRICE?

      —–
      Moving. Forward.

  26. third generation haber says:

    @ Just Me

    I noticed you responded to my earlier post proposing a roster shuffle for game 5 which looked like this:

    Patches/ Briere/ Vanek
    Bourque/ Eller/ Gio
    Bournival/ Pleks/ Gallagher
    Moen/ White/ Weise

    (Not sure if Prust is ready)

    Subban/ Gorges
    Emelin/ Markov
    Murray/ Weaver

    I replied to you, but I realized u may not see my belated reply, so I’ll re-post it here:

    “thanks for your reply! I believe DD, as a first line center, is only as useful as Patches makes him. If Patches isn’t scoring, I have no use for DD.

    As for changes, I’m sure u wouldn’t advocate throwing in an AHL forward who’s scarcely played in the NHL, but that’s exactly what the Bruins did. Did it work???

    In a long series, teams are always making adjustments to counter what’s worked for their opponents. Removing DD would be an unexpected curve-ball.

    As for chemistry, since the 1st line has had no chemistry in this playoffs, chemistry itself is not in-danger.”

    j.p. murray

    • PrimeTime says:

      Easy to say when you’re a fan and know the idea will will never be tested. But you were MT with everything on the line, you need to know the idea has past success before you would make such a change. Just like a lawyer, you need to know what the answer will be before asking the question.

      º¤ø ¸„ø¤GO HABS GOø¤º°¨¨¨°º¤ø ¸„ø¤GO HABS GOø¤º°¨¨¨°º¤ø ¸„ø¤GO HABS GOø¤º°¨¨¨°º¤ø ¸„ø¤GO HABS GOø¤º°¨¨¨°º¤ø ¸„ø¤GO HABS GOø¤º

      • third generation haber says:

        Good point about everything being “on the line”, that’s where I’m at now. I think we will lose game 5 with the same lines we had. I am already, as @Just Me suggested, at the “desperate” stage. I don’t see DD as the right guy against the Bruins in the playoffs. I think he’s one of those guys who “gets you there” (MB).

        Furthermore, I’ve always felt White has a lot more hockey upside than the fourth line role he’s been cast-in.

        Great chatting with u guys!

        j.p. murray

      • third generation haber says:

        Just read @Maritime Ron’s post below which included some telling stats on DD:

        “Real Cup contenders have 1st line centers such as Toews, Kopitar, Carter, Bergeron, Getzlaf, Crosby, Malkin…guys that can shoot, score, pass, and make their way through traffic.
        These guys get a team Through the playoffs.

        This really shouldn’t come as a suprise:
        18 career playoff games- 1 goal 4 assists.
        During the past season:
        Against 14 non-playoff teams: 35 points in 41 games
        Against the 16 playoff teams: 17 points in 38 games”

        Let’s give Briere a chance and add White to the 4th line!

        j.p. murray

    • JUST ME says:

      Thank YOU also for the reply.

      I would rather go the safe way at this stage of the playoffs and put Gallagher back on the first line for good since we know that he does bulldoze his way where Max and D.D. are not going. I find he completes the line better than Vanek does but it`s just me !

      I agree though that this late in the season if they did not all get used to each other whatever line they come from there is a problem …

      Since Therrien does not have the last choice today maybe he will try something different who knows but still i tend to see major changes at this stage as desperate measures wich are not needed so far…

  27. Storman says:

    Me so happy game day, and Stubbs did not post his tribute to Jay Miller or any other love fest Bruin article,. For this i will wear a bow tie,, nahh cant do that,, so i will eat bow tie pasta in his honor,

  28. Stanley Cup or Bust ! says:

    If we win 67% of the games remaining with boston will be in the drivers seat.

  29. DipsyDoodler says:

    This is a faux-pas and I know it, but I’d encourage anyone who is interested to look at this article on EOTP. Forget the prickly author, it mostly summarized the stats of Olivier Bouchard, a guy who knows what’s what (now writes for NHL.com – not sure if he’s responsible for their cheesy headlines).

    http://www.habseyesontheprize.com/canadiens-playoffs-2014/2014/5/9/5700104/douglas-murray-not-an-nhl-player-canadiens-playoffs-2014

    —–
    Moving. Forward.

    • Hobie says:

      Sorry, saw the name of the author, read the first paragraph and realized it was total crap.

      First paragrah:

      Michel Therrien has been a Jekyll and Hyde coach for the Montreal Canadiens.

      He was brilliant in his first regular season, the lockout-shortened 48-game shocker that saw the Canadiens leap from 15th to 2nd in the eastern conference. In his second season, he was a league-wide punchline, continually benching his Norris winning defenseman, and deploying a strategy that saw the Canadiens record the biggest year-over-year possession collapse in league history.

      *****

      The Canadiesn just swept the lightening, PK Subban is playing the best hockey of his career, Therrien is doing a fantastic job and we’re tied 2-2 with Boston. The regular season last year or any year really means nothing. Getting your team ready for they playoffs and building a playoff team is what counts. The Canadiens have the best and most well rounded team they’ve had in 20 years. Berkshire continues to be an idiot.

      Year over year possession collapse lol!

      Sorry man.

      • Marc10 says:

        Wow. I know people NEED to be right about Murray being good/bad, but quoting that gigantic troll is a step too far.

        If stats were everything and completely accurate, Raphael Diaz would be more than a journeyman.

      • Strummer says:

        I get you don’t like Berkshire- but did you read the data?

        ____________________________________________________
        “You are not T.J. Oshie. Do not shoot pucks at people without a helmet.”.

        • Hobie says:

          Ya it just doesn’t add up, no pun intended. Let’s put Subban with Murray for 10 games, let Murray play with Vanek, Pacioretty and Desharnais, be on the ice for a bunch of offensive zone faceoffs and then check the numbers?

          • DipsyDoodler says:

            Hobie

            One of the points they make is that Murray HAS been playing with Desharnais and Pacioretty. Half of the time!!!! This may be why Patches isn’t scoring as much.

            Fully 1/3rd of the DD line’s shifts are spent helping Murray and Weaver get the puck out of their zone.

            —–
            Moving. Forward.

        • Marc10 says:

          Yes, but I also watched all four games and most this season. I can’t say I’m a huge fan of Murray or Cube. They are at best spare parts for a would be contender. So was Hal Gill… No one wanted him either. But it worked out.

          I have to trust that the coaches (and it’s important to add the plural here) are not dressing Beaulieu instead of HIOs two favourite whipping boys on D for a reason. Gallant coached Beaulieu in Junior for Pete’s sake… Surely there’s data there that’s being overlooked.

          Stats guys have it all figured out, except the bits they know nothing about. Maybe Murray broke Bergie’s rib on that hit of his… That’s worth another shift, non? Maybe Beaulieu makes the veterans nervous… Who knows. The numbers aren’t sexy, heck they’re really bad, but they’re not the whole story. If that we’re the case, we’d all be in agreement.

          • Just a Habs Fan says:

            I think it insane that anyone would think MT could possibly know who to put in the line up at this stage of the season…he coached the team to 100 points…been awhile since that has happened……he is in the second round of the palayoffs and even up with what most think are the eastern conference finalists and possibly Stanley Cup winners. Who is hell does he think he is making line ups at this point in the season. I think it time to turn that over to the posters here….they ( most all of them ) know more than he does without question. I believe this site is for opinions and that’s great but come on do you read your own posts…many are dribble. How can anyone with a mature mental build question MT’s decisions about who to play…most of us watch the game on TV and see a small cross sesction of the play and players effort overall. Yes MT shoud be reading this site and using the wealth of stable comments to form his strategy.

    • PrimeTime says:

      Correct me if I’m wrong, but have you not been a defender of EOTP in the past and a proponent of coaching by stats?? I apologize if I’m wrong. I would trust the mind of any NHL coach over the stats dissected from past results. Moneyball was a great movie but I sports is not won or lost in the “lab”. I guess some of us are a little more human than machine.

      º¤ø ¸„ø¤GO HABS GOø¤º°¨¨¨°º¤ø ¸„ø¤GO HABS GOø¤º°¨¨¨°º¤ø ¸„ø¤GO HABS GOø¤º°¨¨¨°º¤ø ¸„ø¤GO HABS GOø¤º°¨¨¨°º¤ø ¸„ø¤GO HABS GOø¤º

    • third generation haber says:

      Isn’t relying too much on stats a “short-cut to” watching the actual game?

      If u love EOTP so much, why not dedicate all of your thoughts to their site?

      j.p. murray

  30. Danno says:

    Certain blogs need to increase level of new items – with intensity

    ________________________________________

    “Hey Richard, two minutes for looking so good!”
    Updates, highlights & great discussions on all things Habs

  31. CJ says:

    Good morning folks.

    A quick story before I turn my full attention to hockey…..

    My great aunt has been kind enough to provide me with a portfolio, containing my great grandfather’s service records from the second world war.

    Quick background – my great grandfather, a Canadian, worked in Northern NY state, which was connected via ferry from Morrisburg ON to Waddington NY. He met my great grandmother and they settled in Upper Canada. At 39 years of age, despite being too old for active service, he lied about his age and was accepted in St. Jean as part of a tank brigade. He served from 1939 through 1945. Everything is documented in these records, including his examinations, dental records, etc. In any event, I thought it was a great treat, providing a unique opportunity to get to know him a little better and to also see the war effort through a new lens.

    Shifting gears, or perhaps more appropriately, changing lines, now back to hockey….

    Let me just say I don’t care who plays tonight. I really mean that. I just want to win. Sure, I think I have the answers – which of course I don’t, but at the end of the day I will take a win whether it’s with Murray, Frankie, Beaulieu or anyone else on the back end. The issue, IMO, is not the defence. Anytime you can hold an opponent, especially one as strong as Boston to nothing for 60+ minutes I am going to like our chances of winning. Our top line needs a better showing. Sadly, and I do appreciate that some might take offense with this comment, but DD is proving ineffective. To be one of the final four teams you need a number one centre with both skill and size. DD has a place on our team, however it is in the number 2 slot. Going forward, if we want to be one of the top tier teams in the league, we will need Chucky to develop as our 1A. Again, it’s going to take time and the future is very bright, but it’s all about tonight. DD is at least giving everything he has right now. Max simply needs to be better, which, by extension, will help his linemate succeed. On the biggest stage, you need your best players to shine. PK and Price have both stepped up. Max has not. Of course, my fanatical side tells me tonight is the night he breaks through. I hope this is the case. Otherwise our prospects of taking this series remain somewhat less likely than bitcoin being recognized by international monetary agencies.

    Yes, I am that extreme dude who pines for guys like Ryan White to get into the series, bumping Briere/Prust or Moen to the press box. I would have liked to have seen Beaulieu play, as I believe he could be an X factor. Again, I am not living in a dillusional state and understand that neither change will occur. You don’t go out and spend $4 million on a playoff performer only to scratch him in a pivitol game 5. Nor do you play an untested rookie who you didn’t have enough trust and confidence to face the Islanders, at home, in game 81 of the regular season.

    Perhaps that is what frustrates me so much about the Bruins – a team I love to hate – I envy them. Sure, I hate the slippery, slimy way the organization works the media and officials. Sure, I can’t stand the look of Lucic, Marchand, Thorton, Chara, etc., and I hate the diving, but I like the results. I like the fact that they have the confidence to bring in an untested rookie, who just happens to create the winning goal in OT. I love that they trusted Krug and Hamilton both in last year’s playoffs. I love the fact that they have guys who can fight and hit. Maybe it’s early and maybe my faculties are not with me….

    In summary, I want to win tonight and rub it right in their greasy face. I want to fly down to Boston, grab a slice at Pizzeria Rigina, swing over to Mike’s pastry for dessert and then paint the town red at Union Oyster house. I just hope the ghost’s of the Forum like seafood. We could use a bounce, break or otherwise tonight. Whether the winning goal comes from Frankie, Briere, White, Prust or anyone else, I couldn’t care less – so long as it comes for us, not against us!

    Enjoy your day everyone. Go Habs! Cheers, CJ

    • Ron says:

      CJ, as a person who has dwelled heavily into family history for many years as a hobby make sure you keep such documents in a safe, dry place. Items such as that are hard to replace. Have a good game day.

  32. Mattyleg says:

    @ Dipsy:

    My laptop died last night so I didn’t get a chance to respond to your post…

    You said that Therrien’s decision was questionable or the reason we lost or something…
    I imagine the decision you’re talking about was putting Murray out against their third line.

    I don’t see the problem with putting our third pairing up against their third line. He’d done that most of the night to great success.

    Should he have played Subban all overtime? Or Markov?

    It’s not five minutes, it’s endless.

    I don’t have a problem with that decision, and only a bad bounce made the difference, and it would have happened against any D pairing.

    —Hope Springs Eternal—

    • Maritime Ronn says:

      You had a great post yesterday about potentially why the Habs 3rd pair was on the ice early.

      Subban/Gorges just came off against the Bergeron line.
      Instead of Julien throwing out the Kredji line, he opted for Soderberg-Eriksson-Fraser line.

      Perhaps Coach MT felt comfortable with the Weaver/Murray pair knowing quite well that the Krejc-Bergeron lines were to follow… and he would have Markov/Emelin on Krejci, and come back with Subban/Gorges against Bergeron.

      Luck just wasn’t on the Habs side for that.

    • DipsyDoodler says:

      Yes I think it was a mistake. And the goal was partly due to bad luck but also to Murray and Weaver getting beaten to the puck and running around, as they had done all game.

      Given how bad the bottom pairing was in regulation time almost all of OT should have seen our top 4 D on the ice, with the bottom guys coming on only when absolutely necessary due to fatigue.

      Just my opinion.

      —–
      Moving. Forward.

    • third generation haber says:

      +1

      j.p. murray

  33. Marc10 says:

    Elliotte Friedman was mentioning one facet that might explain why Patches and co are struggling on the first line (other than being matched up against Chara…) is that they aren’t getting much time with our best defensive puck movers, but seeing more time being supported by our third D pairing. If that’s the case, that could explain things a bit. No long PK bombs for Patches…

    Yet another puzzle to figure out for Therrien and co. Should be a good one today. Gut check time… Again.

  34. JohnBellyful says:

    Unfortunately, the Bruins haven’t provided any dressing room fodder to inflame the Canadiens and ramp up their intensity level. But there’s more than enough material on this site to get the players raging and ready to do battle.
    MT, run off a few reams of HIO comments about some of your players and post on the wall, and then give a stirring speech about winning this one for the gripers.

  35. JohnBellyful says:

    Would the series be tied if not for a pair of fluke bounces that resulted in goals for the Bruins?
    Hey, if it works, stick with it, eh?
    Well, that, and having the league dock the referees every time they call a penalty.

  36. HUDSONHAB says:

    Pacs has to skate and play harder, never give up on a play, keep his feet moving on O and D!
    Vanek just needs to try!

    One question… Does Vanek realize that this could be his best chance to ever win a Cup?

    ….Hab4life….

  37. Strummer says:

    Ken Dryden wrote an interesting piece in the Toronto Star on the PK-Price dynamic.
    http://www.thestar.com/sports/hockey/2014/05/09/montreal_canadiens_carey_price_pk_subban_study_in_contrasts.html

    ____________________________________________________
    “You are not T.J. Oshie. Do not shoot pucks at people without a helmet.”.

  38. HankHardball says:

    The Bruins won the series when Julien convinced the refs to keep their whistles in their pockets after game 2.

    Games 1 & 2 – 22 penalties called.
    Games 3 & 4 – 5 penalties called.
    Total PP goals – 4, all by MTL in games 1 & 2.

    Allowing interference negates scoring chances and hurts the production of top scorers. The Bruins are better 5 on 5. The Habs are better on special teams.

    Not calling penalties favours BOS.

    • JF says:

      It’s hard not to conclude a head-office decision has been taken in relation to officiating in this series. The 2011 playoffs showed that there is one standard for the Bruins, another for their opponent, perhaps especially when that opponent is Canadian. Do you think Therrien should speak out?

      • HankHardball says:

        I agree. The disparity in penalties between the first 2 and 2nd two games makes it look like a decision has been made somewhere.

        And for the sake of American TV ratings, you’d certainly have to think the league would prefer BOS win this series.

        But I think it’s preferable if the Habs rise above it and win the series despite it. If Therrien speaks out, too many people will say he’s just making excuses for losing.

        • Mad Habber says:

          Didn’t hear too much when Julien did it.

        • JF says:

          This disparity becomes particularly striking when you watch any other series – in which obvious fouls are penalized. In our series, the rule seems to be that we get one powerplay per game, the Bruins get two. (But I imagine that if we scored on our one powerplay chance, the Bruins would get three or four – like in our last regular season game against them.)

    • DipsyDoodler says:

      NHL head office might have been involved.

      —–
      Moving. Forward.

    • FlyAngler says:

      I am more suspicious of the NHL’s head office than most, but if you look at how games were officiated and managed in round 1 in the LA-San Jose and Chicago – St. Louis series, it becomes hard to conclude that there is a conspiracy to favor the Habs over the Bruins. I think that the decline in the number of penalties has as much to do with both teams adjusting and exercising greater restraint and discipline.

      Do I hope that they call it tight tonight and Monday- Hell yeah, but I am relatively confident that the officiating will be fair regardless and that the Habs will have a great opportunity to win the next two games and the series.
      Tonight we should see either Furlatt & McCauley or O’Halloran & Sutherland- all very good officials.

      Go Habs Go!

      “Gardez la Foi! Keep the Faith!”

      • JF says:

        I think it’s the other way round. Not calling obvious fouls gives the Bruins a huge advantage. Not only do they commit many more egregious fouls than we do, they also haven’t scored a powerplay goal against us in the playoffs since 2009.

      • HankHardball says:

        I didn’t say the officiating was uneven in regards to the teams. I said after game 2, the officials have been letting too much go. And that favours the Bruins because the Habs have been better on special teams.

        And your point about the players “exercising greater restraint” is not true at all. The play has gotten dirtier since the refs put their whistles away. If it continues, don’t be surprised if a top Hab suffers a serious injury in game 5 or 6.

        • FlyAngler says:

          I get your point Hank. And I agree that tighter officiating is better for the Habs. The Refs have to try to find that fine line where they are not calling marginal ticky-tacky stuff on the one hand or letting blatant clear fouls go on the other. I don’t think that the officiating has been a big problem. Even the hit on Max the other night which I did not like because I am a Habs fan was such that IMO he did turn as Iginla was about to hit him which caused the contact between his head and the boards. Sometimes it still gets called. Sometimes it doesn’t. There is a shade of gray there which causes officials to err on the side of not making a call if they have some doubt about whether a given act was truly a penalty. I would not mind winning on a marginal call in the playoffs at all. But I definitely do not want to lose on one- especially against the Evil Bruins. Let’s just hope that the 4 guys in stripes do their best to enforce the rules fairly and have a great game tonight themselves and that the Habs do what they need to do to win.

          “Gardez la Foi! Keep the Faith!”

  39. Maritime Ronn says:

    While the Corsi Fenwick few were quick to bash Murray after last game-so quick and Kamikaze furious only 30 seconds after the game was over, the question became what’s the agenda and why.

    These same have a trend.
    They disliked the soft Corsi friendly Diaz trade, but loved the Christin Thomas (5’8″-175) trade.
    They despised the draft picks Michael McCarron (6’5″-237) and Connor Crisp (6’3″-226), yet they adore Reway (5’8″-170).

    They always talk about a smaller Chicago team winning Cups, but would never give credit to a Bryan Bickell that plays huge in the playoffs – the same Bickell that knocked Chara on his butt in Game 4 last year…and then Chara finished the last 3 Bruins losses going Minus -6.
    Toews said that was a turning point.

    Basically stated, it’s called changing the subject and not dealing with the real elephant in the room for the Habs in these playoffs – that easily being the designated #1 center David Desharnais.
    The word invisible comes to mind.

    There is no doubt that 51 has a great hockey IQ and great vision – skates fast, works hard and possesses a certain degree of courage, yet he is not a bonafide #1 playoff hockey center for a true Cup Contender – especially when all Eastern Conference roads lead through Boston.

    Real Cup contenders have 1st line centers such as Toews, Kopitar, Carter, Bergeron, Getzlaf, Crosby, Malkin…guys that can shoot, score, pass, and make their way through traffic.
    These guys get a team Through the playoffs.

    This really shouldn’t come as a surprise
    18 career playoff games- 1 goal 4 assists.
    During the past season:
    Against 14 non-playoff teams: 35 points in 41 games
    Against the 16 playoff teams: 17 points in 38 games

    • Strummer says:

      Ronn – the problem I have with Murray as his posession stats reveal is that during his 13 minutes of ice time, the puck is in the Habs end the whole time which is 13 minutes per game when no offense can be generated. I won’t mention the icings.

      I think DD is palying well in his own zone. He has to because Gallagher is not. As a result the Max-DD-Gally line is spending too much time in the Habs zone and can’t generate any offense.

      ____________________________________________________
      “You are not T.J. Oshie. Do not shoot pucks at people without a helmet.”.

      • Maritime Ronn says:

        Strum

        No doubt that singular stat doesn’t look good.
        Murray is a 6th-8th Dman with mobility issues- he is not Drew Doughty

        Anyone can make any player look good or bad, yet it was the instant attack on Murray that was curious and followed an obvious trend

        By the way, last game Murray had 3 offensive zone starts, 4 neutral zone starts, and 7 D zone starts

    • Hobie says:

      You hit the nail completely on the head. There’s 4 or 5 guys on this site, I won’t mention names, that are just so in love with the speed, finesse and numbers part of the game, which I enjoy too, they go completely overboard. All those aspects of a team or player do play an important part in putting together a good team but so much more goes into it.

      If it were up to that group of posters here, we’d have Mike Cammelleri, Brian Gionta, Martin St. Louis, Saku Koivu, David Desharnais and Daniel Briere as our top six and Andrei Markov, Raphel Diaz, Jaro Spacek, Yanick Webber and Mark Streit on defence.

      We’d then get crushed in the 1st round or miss the playoffs entirely. But the Corsi would probably look pretty good cuz we’d been skating around the ice with the puck, getting hammered all night and taking shots from the outside like crazy!

    • JUST ME says:

      With all due respect mister Ronn i find myself going over any statistic analysis more and more . I just do not think that they are worth anything when trying to explain human moves. It`s a well known fact that you can have numbers talk the way you want depending on the point you want to make. A bit like income tax report for some…

      • Maritime Ronn says:

        Hi Just

        I also share your like of the stats part, yet let’s not forget what Stan Bowman said about advanced stats – which they use and have developed in house, and the game itself:

        ” “You can get bogged down in stats and analytics,” Bowman said.
        “That’s the concern, it’s still a dynamic game, there’s still an awful lot happening.
        It’s a quick, reactive game. It’s different than some other sports that are a little more static.
        So there might be a limit to how much you can use analytics.
        They don’t replace anything for us.
        But they do complement and supplement.”

        http://www.suntimes.com/27179980-419/advanced-analytics-are-the-blackhawks-secret-formula-for-success.html

    • Ron says:

      @Ronn, would you PLEASE repost this again on the new game thread when it appears. You know I agree with the context of your post most heartily as per my comments a few threads back. Thanks and have a great game day.

  40. You would think the Bruins’ media would have learned from Krug and Hamilton opening their big mouths.

    https://twitter.com/Dave_Stubbs/status/465087290402811904/photo/1

    Shane Oliver
    @sholi2000
    http://www.sholi2000.com
    A Little fun during the Intermission

    • Marc10 says:

      That’s awesome. We’ll see how they like it when the Goat gets his horns on Bergeron or Soderberg again.

      Keep shooting your mouth off Boston. It will only make our victory that much sweeter and rewarding.

    • DipsyDoodler says:

      That headline falsifies one common notion: that the Bruins are afraid of playing against Douglas Murray. In fact they’re licking their chops about it.

      —–
      Moving. Forward.

  41. Ian Cobb says:

    Letters to the Sports Editor: Habs fans rejoice – Montreal … The Gazette … Ian Cobb, Belleville, Ont.

    Thank you, Geoff Molson

    We have the Molson hockey family owning our Habs franchise again and Geoff Molson has re-established old-time hockey in Montreal. He hired a quality GM in Marc Bergevin with the help of Serge Savard and each hire has been leaning toward the Molson philosophy of business and old-time hockey values. The game of skating with finesse and speed has come back to Montreal. Yes, the Habs are for real! Thank you, Mr. Molson.

    Ian Cobb, Belleville, Ont.

  42. 24AW says:

    In regards to murray, I wish we had a few more like him, this series would be over by now there wouldn’t be a Bruin healthy enough to play. Great job Crankshaft and don’t let up, keep sending the message of what they try to do to our players, we can beat them on the scoreboard and physically.

  43. JohnBellyful says:

    With Murray, it’s a question of whether you put your faith in stats or splats.

  44. third generation haber says:

    I’d like to see a change at center for the next game. I know DD is giving it his all (and is a very nice person), but I don’t think he can be effective against Boston in the playoffs.

    How about:

    Patches/ Briere/ Vanek
    Bourque/ Eller/ Gio
    Bournival/ Pleks/ Gallagher
    Moen/ White/ Weise

    (Not sure if Prust is ready)

    Subban/ Gorges
    Emelin/ Markov
    Murray/ Weaver

    j.p. murray

    • JUST ME says:

      If you are to do a bold move as difficult to undersand and justify as sit D.D. then i would sit Max who has been even more invisible .If you think this would be fair then at least do not go half way.

      This 3rd line looks promissing also but i am afraid that we will not see those this year. There will be no major shuffle of the roster at this stage of the season cause now there is no time to wait for chemistry to set in i hope you know that.

      I see that you keep on doing scenarios where you would change lines but why exactly ? It think that the Habs in a way had us fooled and are performing strongly and holding on to this effort level quite nicely and are also getting results difficult to duplicate .

      • Habfan17 says:

        I would say it is a bold move, but sometimes bold moves are required. I am not saying they should make the change, but to answer your question, Therrien changed lines! He moved Vanek to the 2nd line and moved Gallagher up. It proves line changes can be helpful. At this point in time, the players should know each other well enough with the line combos MT used during the season, to be able to move around and play well. It also throws a monkey wrench in Julien’s plans if he had set lines to cover certain players and then MT shuffles them around!

        Habfan17

      • third generation haber says:

        thanks for your reply! I believe DD, as a first line center, is only as useful as Patches makes him. If Patches isn’t scoring, I have no use for DD.

        As for changes, I’m sure u wouldn’t advocate throwing in an AHL forward who’s never played in the NHL, but that’s exactly what the Bruins did. Did it work???

        In a long series, teams are always making adjustments to counter what’s worked for their opponents. Removing DD would be an unexpected curve-ball.

        As for chemistry, since the 1st line has had no chemistry in this playoffs, chemistry itself is not in-danger.

        j.p. murray

  45. slyCH says:

    I’m actually far from worried, even if they lose tomorrow. The series is tied and will probably go the distance as most expected, unless a bruin fan, which then the series should have been finished by game 4 in their feeble minds, and now the refs and bad bounces make up for their lapses. I guess.
    Murray is not a problem, he’s a plus. A big Friggin plus. I was half awake for the last game, literally sleeping, and yet, that series in our own zone, I think it was the 3rd, where Murray PLOWED into 3 Bruin players, one bruin drip twice, was a thing of beauty. Absolutely nothing slow in his reaction time. NOTHING slow in his desire of punishing or completing the job at hand.
    I hope to GOD MT keeps Bouillon away and lets Murray demolish the likes of Thornton and what not at bay. The game, between my snooze, actually remained boring because the Goons wanted nothing of Murray. Put that in your pipe and puff away.

    • rhino514 says:

      Funny you should say that, everyone assumes that because the advanced stats tell a bad story, the reason is he must be incredibly slow and cannot moe nor skate. But for a big guy out there I see him skating just fine.
      Advanced stats used in short term situations have very little value, here is why I think so;
      The Bruins most dangerous line right now is the soderberg line and they are often being matched up against our third pairing.
      The Bruins are a deep team with three good lines and we simply cannot win the matchup on all of our D pairings…just like Bartkowski/Mezjaros and their partner have been a nightmare defensively for Boston.
      Stick Bouillon in and I bet the that line continues to dominate (though I can understand Bouillon subbing for Murray in Boston, but that has more to do with me thinking Bouillon is grossly undervalued for his one on one coverage, rather than me hating Murray)
      Also, the advanced stats apply to Weaver, the other half of the pairing, just as much as to Murray. It would be just as logical to say Murray is a decent Dman being held back by Weaver´atrocious play than the opposite story, which is the one we are hearing.
      The truth probably lies somewehere in between; they are both having trouble against the line which has the best chemistry going for the Bruins right now.

  46. Dulljerk says:

    “A guy like Douglas Murray, he’s a tough customer,” said Therrien. “He’s tough to play against, he’s physical and certainly he’s a presence out there for us.

    “I thought Weaver and Murray did a fantastic job for us.”

    Nuff said. For all you analytics freaks, the coach does not agree with your evaluation.

    No eternal reward will forgive us for wasting the dawn.

    • third generation haber says:

      Love the way he smashed the B’s along the boards; they had absolutely no response to his brute force.

      The entire team played a few inches taller b/c of Murray. There is no fancy stat for this, so he won’t be getting any love from the co%k smokers at eyes on the prize.

      j.p. murray

      • DipsyDoodler says:

        Played a few inches taller doesn’t have a fancy stat, it’s a cliché. It’s a substitute for thinking.

        There’s also no stat for looking like the keystone cops while the opposition scores the winning goal in OT.

        —–
        Moving. Forward.

        • slyCH says:

          Hey asswipe, is there a stat for a lucky bounce? You suck and are a big reason why I stay away from this site. Dripfan.

        • third generation haber says:

          Are u, by chance, a writer for EOTP?

          “A substitute for thinking”? Do u have any idea what an absolutely, arrogant a-hole u sound like?

          U sound like an EOTP writer! Are u still angry about the Diaz trade?

          Overall, in Games 1-2 the Bruins played more nasty, in games 3-4 the habs played more physically, “think” about that!

          And whether u agree or disagree with another member’s opinion, try not to sound like a pompous jerk-off when u reply.

          j.p. murray

    • 24 Cups says:

      Two quick points. The Bruin overtime goal was based on a fluke play. I’m not blaming the 3rd pairing D for that one. However, it’s a real struggle in our end when Murray is out there. His lack of speed, mobility and agility puts a ton of pressure on Weaver and Price. My heart is in my throat every shift they are out there. Murray’s presence and physicality comes with a price.

      24.4 Cups

  47. Un Canadien errant says:

    Watching the Penguins-Rangers game, I thought about how much of a difference one good player makes on your roster, how the arrival of Thomas Vanek made our forward corps so much stronger, more balanced, better able to absorb an injury or two.

    I was thinking that as I watched Chris Kreider play left wing on the Rangers top line.

    And Ryan McDonagh.

    Just a thought I had.

    ———————————————————————–
    My sources are unreliable, but their info is fascinating.–Woody Paige

    http://relentlessineptitude.blogspot.com/

    • CAPSLOCK DAN says:

      CHRIS KRIEDER WOULD HAVE BEEN A GREAT ADDITION IF WE HADN’T OPTED FOR SOFT-CORE SEPARATIST PANDERING IMO.

      • slyCH says:

        What a loud dip-schlock opinion.

        Yeah, I just made that dip-schlock word up. Actually schlock means an inferior opinion in a loose way, (loose way meaning translation for an obvious drip and dip of inferior English lingo grasp), so the dip was my creative addition. It makes as much sense as your scrap post. If I was ever to meet you in person I would make you eat it deep throat in a violent fashion. I live in Key West. Have nooooooooo problems meeting a scrap like you and putting you in your place.

        • Just a Habs Fan says:

          Very mature slyCH……people like you are a minus on this site. Oh yes and generally people like you who threaten others behind a electronic wall are also useless in many ways….

  48. Chris says:

    Sorry everyone…you have to endure one more!

    What a freaking game! Just got back from watching Guelph clinch the championship on home ice. They came out absolutely flying, but couldn’t get one on Jake Smith, who had a fantastic series. The game settled down for a while, and Nick Paul bagged a power play goal to give the Battalion a 1-0 lead. But less than a minute later, Carolina 2nd round pick Brock McGinn unloaded a howitzer off the crossbar from the point. About 10 seconds later, he had the same chance from the same spot. This time, he delayed the shot by a half-second, opening up a better shooting lane and blew it past Smith.

    The crowd was absolutely rocking, but the resilient Battalion managed to put some doubt in the minds of the Guelph players. First, Brett McKenzie picked up a goal with a minute to go in the first on a beautiful tip from the high slot off a very nice passing play. Guelph was out of sorts in the first 10 minutes of the second, having all their passes go astray, and their cute passing plays were getting broken up in the North Bay zone by very active pokechecks (Stan Butler coaches his players better than anyone to be very active with their sticks in the neutral zone and defensive zone, and it is devastatingly effective). On a Guelph power play, a brutal turnover at the Guelph line by Jason Dickinson sent North Bay captain Barclay Goodrow and he made no mistake, bagging his 14th goal of the playoffs to give North Bay a 3-1 lead. An NHL team should absolutely take a flyer on Goodrow: he has decent hands (24, 26, 38, and 33 goals in his last 4 OHL seasons), good NHL size (6’2″, 218 pounds) and excellent defensive awareness. I wouldn’t mind seeing the Habs adding him to the mix in Hamilton.

    With Guelph’s fortunes looking a bit glum, captain Matt Finn (Maple Leafs 2nd round pick) took the bull by the horns and potted a very important goal with less than a minute to go in the 2nd. Finn was absolutely fantastic in these playoffs, exhibiting the skating and skill that had me comparing him to a poor man’s Drew Doughty when he was 16 years old. Finn’s goal fired up the Storm, and they had two more glorious scoring chances in the final minute.

    The Storm came out strangely flat in the third for the first five minutes, but then they started to turn it on. I now know how Montreal felt with Boston in Game 2…there wasn’t a fan in the building that didn’t KNOW that Guelph was tying that game. It was only a matter of when, not if. In the last 10 minutes of the game, the Storm out-shot North Bay 13-1, and got the tying goal with 4:30 to go by Columbus fist rounder Kerby Rychel. I wasn’t a big fan of Rychel early in the playoffs, but man did he heat up. He wasn’t skating and I was questioning his speed…I take it back. He was one of the guys that seemed to really step up his game when the Storm needed him.

    With the game tied, the Storm kept coming, and North Bay was holding on for dear life, hoping to get it to overtime where they could steal one and go back to North Bay. They did their best, and they definitely gave Guelph more trouble than any of Plymouth, London or Erie, but in the end Guelph’s depth was just too much. Rychel bagged his second of the game off a great rush by Robby Fabbri and the celebration was on.

    When you look at the final playoff scoring stats, you get a feeling for what a historically deep team this was:

    W Kerby Rychel – 20 GP, 11 G, 32 PTS
    C Zack Mitchell – 20 GP, 12 G, 30 PTS
    C Robby Fabbri – 16 GP, 13 G, 28 PTS (Playoffs MVP)
    W Scott Kosmachuk – 20 GP, 10 G, 28 PTS
    C/W Jason Dickinson – 20 GP, 8 G, 24 PTS
    W Tyler Bertuzzi – 18 GP, 10 G, 17 PTS
    D Nick Ebert – 20 GP, 5 G, 16 PTS
    D Matt Finn – 20 GP, 5 G, 14 PTS
    W Brock McGinn – 12 GP, 6 G, 12 PTS
    D Steven Trojanovich – 20 GP, 1 G, 11 PTS
    D Zac Leslie – 20 GP, 1 G, 10 PTS

    Anytime you have a team with 7 forwards at or near a point per game and 4 defencemen with over 0.5 points per game, you are going to be a tough out. More importantly, Scott Walker recognized his kids’ strength and implemented a game-plan that was all about speed, forechecking, and more speed. Guelph simply tired out whoever they played.

    In the Memorial Cup, they can be beat because of their penchant for an ugly game here and there. But that was perhaps the most fun hockey team I’ve ever had the good fortune to see play.

    • Un Canadien errant says:

      Chris, thanks for posting, I had the Penguins-Rangers game on and the NFL draft, so didn’t get a chance to watch the OHL game, thanks for your report.

      Quick question: I watched all the episodes of “Quest for the Cup” on Sportsnet, trying to keep tabs on Mike McCarron through the season. The Knights are obviously a good team, but not the powerhouse we maybe expected them to be. I know not getting Olli Maatta back hurt them, but aside from that, what ‘went wrong’ for them this season?

      My hunch is that their goaltending isn’t up to snuff, they keep going back and forth between Anthony Stolarz and Jake Patterson, reminds me of the old saying about quarterbacks, if you have two QB’s, it means you don’t have one.

      What do you think?

      • Chris says:

        The Knights had two problems: one was their defence corps, which was a weak link throughout the season but was devastated when they lost both Zach Bell and Brady Austin to injury in the first round.

        The other major problem for the Knights was their division. I don’t think anybody foresaw Erie being quite as dominant as they ended up being, but Guelph was always going to give London a run for their money.

        What really doomed the Knights was the usual Memorial Cup horse-trading that goes on within each league. Guelph picked up one of the top-10 forwards in the league in Kerby Rychel plus one of the top offensive defencemen in Nick Ebert. They also landed a solid veteran checking-line center in Steven Pierog and another very solid two-way defenceman in Steven Trojanovic from Peterborough.

        Erie was able to pick up Brendan Gaunce from Belleville, a 1st round pick of the Canucks and one of the better two-way centers in the NHL.

        London, desperate to add some defenceman struck out…nobody in the league seemed particularly interested in dealing anybody to them. They trolled everybody for their top defencemen (both Guelph and London wanted Slater Koekkoek out of Windsor, but he didn’t want to get traded again, so Guelph got Ebert and London got nobody).

        The Maatta thing was a blow, but I think they probably should have planned more for that as he was linked to the Penguins very early on. The Zadorov thing absence hurt, but they did get him back.

        Overall, the Knights had a very good season. They just got stuck in a division full of elite teams. Guelph was the best team in the OHL all year long. I’ve posted a couple of times that they didn’t lose back-to-back games since November 7th, a run of over 70 games. London just couldn’t handle their speed.

        In any other year, London is every bit the powerhouse you expect them to be. But the Storm were a historically good team, maybe up there with the 2004-05 Knights that went 59-7-2 or the 2008-09 Spitfires that went 57-10-1. The Storm ended up 52-12-2-2, but they did it in an unprecedentedly difficult division: never in CHL history has the same division produced three 100 point teams. Casual observers have no idea just how tough the Western Conference has been this year, as you can throw in the Soo Greyhounds that finished with 95 points. These teams were simply beating each other up all season.

        The Knights had a solid year. McCarron was not at all good through the first half, but he came into his own when he was given top-notch veteran wingers in Welychka and Smith. Next year will be a big year for him, but he’s going to have to do it on a team that is rebuilding.

    • habstrinifan says:

      You captured the atmosphere very well. I was looking for a mention of Tyler Bertuzzi. I thought this playoff year would determine if he’s NHL or AHL material. Lots of drive but alas size could be a drawback.

      • Chris says:

        Trini: I’ve been raving about Bertuzzi for the past two rounds. Size won’t be a drawback…he has grown quite a bit over the past couple of years. He is now listed as 6’1″, 187 pounds.

        He was probably the Storm’s MVP against Erie, and he was very strong in Games 1-4 of the finals against North Bay. Good speed, timely goals (10 goals in 18 games from the 3rd line is outstanding), great work ethic, and an incessant chirper. He will absolutely make the NHL, at the very least as a Brad Marchand/Maxim Lapierre/Vernon Fiddler type forward. He was a revelation this year, as I wasn’t very high on him in previous years, and I think he brings an element that the Red Wings desperately need.

        He got rocked on a hit in the first period last night, and he looked a little tired or out of it for the rest of the game, but he was fantastic otherwise in the playoffs, especially when you consider he came back as if he hadn’t missed every game for 3 and a half months.

    • D Man says:

      I watched the game on Sportsnet last night. In the last few minutes if found myself saying -go Bilts go-. Tells you my age and hometown.

      You can’t be both a Habs and a Leafs fan

      • Chris says:

        Hehe…there are tons and tons of Biltmore Hatters jerseys at home games. The Storm hired a professional fan for last night’s game, adn the guy was worth every penny. He had the crowd absolutely insane whenever he swung into their section.

    • Ron says:

      Great recap Chris, thanks. Its great when the team you have passion for comes through. Lets hope its the old double wammy.

  49. Storman says:

    David Ortiz breaks up Yu Darvish no hitter with 2 outs in the ninth inning, with a lined single to right field through the shifted infield at that.

    Make some money bet on Darvish anytime he pitches nasty stuff..

  50. WindsorHab-10 says:

    Sportsnet hockey panel were discussing last night’s game & Doug McLean blasted MT for limiting Subban’s minutes to just under 23 for the game. His explanation was that PK is the go-to guy & one of the reasons the Habs have had success in the playoffs, not to mention that Subban is a thorn on Boston’s side & his reduction in minutes played was welcomed by the Bruins.
    He also thinks there’s a love/hate relationship between coach & player. I definitely agree & makes you wonder why that crap happens at this stage of the playoffs.

    • habstrinifan says:

      It’s like a cycle. Subban gets big media attention and MT reacts by reducing his ice time.. it’s a pattern I didnt expect in the playoffs. But what do I know, or for that matter Doug McClean. People here say its perfect.

  51. alfieturcotte says:

    Vanek / DD / Gallagher
    Pacioretty / Pleks / Gionta
    Bourque/ Eller / Bournival
    Prust / Briere / Weise

  52. Storman says:

    Yu Darvish 113 pitches through 8 innings No hitter, going into the ninth, Lost perfect game on a fly ball error by 2nd baseman, but he has since walked a batter,, but his no no is still intact..

  53. Mr_MacDougall says:

    Does Patch have one more hot streak left in him? If he does, and is reunited with Vanek, the Habs could run away with this bad boy!

    ~~ Plekanec at the Disco ~~

  54. Mr_MacDougall says:

    Anybody notice Bournival track down Bergeron from behind last game and put a slick little move on him, lifted his stick and swiped the puck and was immediately at top speed in transition?.. I love that stuff

    ~~ Plekanec at the Disco ~~

  55. hitgurl says:

    Is Vail being let go? 83 points In 67 games…. Can’t be.

    • Storman says:

      They still have 3 weeks to sign him, but i was discussing with a former coach of mine, seems kind of strange he is not signed yet , and then they signed a similar type player in Daniel Carr out of Union College after the NCAA Frozen Four, i have not done a Habs pro contract count of late, but it seems to me he would have been signed after the Hamilton tryout contract if they were planning on signing him,

      • Chris says:

        I wouldn’t sweat it until they actually let him go. He strikes me as the kind of player that Bergevin is going to try to keep in the system. Unfortunately, the Habs were at 49/50 contracts before Carr and Crisp were signed. They’ve got to clear some deadwood out before they can get Vail signed.

  56. hitgurl says:

    I don’t think Murray was the problem last game.

    But it might be that Murray in the lineup makes others feel like he’ll bring the grit and they can just rely on talent.

  57. UKRAINIANhab says:

    That apple commercial makes my stomach bad…just listening to it. :(

  58. Mr_MacDougall says:

    Jeez, the post game interview with St Louis was tough to watch..

    I couldn’t imagine a world without my folks.

    ~~ Plekanec at the Disco ~~

  59. Storman says:

    Yu Darvish working on a perfect game through 6 innings against Red Sox.

    • Mr_MacDougall says:

      What station?

      ~~ Plekanec at the Disco ~~

      • Storman says:

        I am streaming it on adthenet,, omg second baseman with 2 outs in the 7th just missed a fly ball for an error, could have been scored a hit, he was camped under it and then just let it go,,Perfect game gone, no hitter still intact.

    • Mr_MacDougall says:

      All I have is Pawn Stars reruns, damn it!

      ~~ Plekanec at the Disco ~~

      • Storman says:

        Pawn Stars is some good history lessons at times,, but it has become so scripted over the years, probably always was scripted, but now the scripted part just seems so corny, for guys that are not actors. i hear the 3 Harrisons and Chumley are rarely even in the store, never mind sitting at those desks behind the counter.

        • Mr_MacDougall says:

          Yeah, they weren’t in sight when I was in Vegas..

          ~~ Plekanec at the Disco ~~

        • Mr_MacDougall says:

          It is scripted, but it kinda,has to be.. The Old Man is far more cranky now, I love that stuff.. But the history is what really makes,the show.. That’s why I like American Pickers over Canadian.. The Canadian guys were found to make a show, where a show was made because the American guys were entertaining.

          ~~ Plekanec at the Disco ~~

  60. HabFab says:

    Baie Comeau takes game 5 (6-5) and series lead. Gregoire with 2G & 1A while Hudon had 2 assists.

  61. Ozmodiar says:

    The Rangers or Penguins are gonna get smoked in the conference finals.

  62. B says:

    Baie Comeau wins 6-5. Grégoire with 2 goals and an assist, Hudon with 2 assists. BC now 1 win from joining London and Guelph (the OHL champs after knocking off North Bay tonight).

    –Go Habs Go!–

  63. Chuck Kept Calm and Carey'd On says:

    Dear Certain Habs Who Need To Increase Their Intensity: It’s the playoffs. Against the Bruins. What more motivation do you need?

  64. Mattyleg says:

    Wild draw first blood.

    —Hope Springs Eternal—


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