Coaches make nice, almost, after Devils square series

stepan-zajac

Smashmouth hockey: Rangers’ Derek Stepan connects with an elbow to the jaw of Devils’ Travis Zajac.
Bruce Bennett, Getty Images

So we’ll play six, at least, in an Eastern Conference final that gets a little uglier by the game.

The New Jersey Devils clawed, scratched and banged their way back into their series against the New York Rangers, the Devils’ 4-1 win Monday night squaring the best-of-seven set at 2-2 with Game 5 back in New York on Wednesday.

Monday’s game at the Prudential Center featured Rangers’ Mike Rupp taking a gloved punch at the chest of Devils’ goalie Marty Brodeur and both coaches – Peter DeBoer of New Jersey and John Tortorella of New York – leaning over the boards to give what-for at each other. Both men wouldn’t address the exchange after the game, and in-game rinkside reporters Pierre McGuire of NBC and Glenn Healy of Hockey Night in Canada unhelpfully muted their microphones as the insults flew back and forth in front of them.

Tuesday night, the Los Angeles Kings have one more chance to eliminate the Phoenix Coyotes, up 3-1 heading into Game 5 in Glendale, Ariz.

81 Comments

  1. Gumper Knows Best says:

    As correctly predicted 4 weeks prior to the naming of Marc Bergevin as GM when the many didn’t even know he existed, here is the new predicted Habs hockey set up. So listen up :-)

    Bergevin is waiting for the Memorial Cup to be over out of respect to the City of Shawinigan Quebec, Canadian Major Junior Hockey in general, and Canada wide junior hockey fans.
    Once finished next Sunday, look for a Monday-Tuesday announcement. Bergevin could wait until the SC finals are over, but it is irrelevant as there are no Canadian teams left to spoil or distract from the spotlight.

    Due to almost the process of elimination, Bob Hartley will be named head coach with a 3 year contract, or 2 plus 1 year option. This is the safest, short term solution while Bergevin figures out exactly what he has and creates the team he wants while other candidates will appear down the road. Bergevin may force his contact Denis Savard as an assistant, then let Hartley choose the other. Savard would bring an interesting dynamic.

    Hartley is now 52 years, has probably matured from his many experiences, and has won everywhere he has gone. A Memorial Cup participation-a Calder Cup-a Stanley Cup. His knock was that he was a youngster career killer back in his early NHL coaching years when he was in his late 30’s early 40’s. Hartley can handle the press and doesn’t need to be baby sat.

    The Habs do not need a Patrick Roy at this moment. There are just too many unknown variables with him for the rookie GM. It’s about TEAM and not about EGO and WANTS. Crawford? Jeff Molson doesn’t need anything else and the Moore trial is on the horizon. Carbo and Therrien are the past…

    Super scout Timmins will be allowed to get out from under the imposed shell. One wonders if and how many times he was overruled then muzzled.

    Media under-rated Carriere will stay as Bergevin’s right hand man, and known rink rat Rick Dudley, aka Mr. Hockey Player Encyclopedia will join the team. Look for a mini scouting purge, then a beefed up Pro and amateur scouting department both in North America and Europe. There is no salary cap on administration and for many known reasons, there will be greater emphasis on both Quebec and Eastern Canada.
    Look for some specialists or more assistant coaches to be hired plus greater emphasis on the relationship between Hamilton and Montreal.

    Cunneyworth might be offered Hamilton, yet will also be allowed to choose his destination elsewhere. He was a trooper. Don’t be surprised if Clement Jodoin is purged and replaced by some solid, bilingual progressive Q coaches to plan for a possible succession.

    • Jim Edson says:

      Hartley please no!

      He’s a stiff and a killer of young players!

      Wonder why he’s been unemployed for so long?

      Must be a good reason he was snapped up by another team in the last two years!

      Hope he jumps on the Calgary chuckwagon!

      The Canadiens need new ideas and methods from their coach not recycled good old days or the rest of the NHL’s rejects.

      ———————————————————————-
      What does the Commissioner of the NHL do?

      In short, a league commissioner is the action man for the Board of Governors.

      They tell him what they want done and he works to make it happen through his subordinates while making sure that individual franchises play by the rules.

      ******** Translated if you haven’t won the Stanley Cup in 40 years your NHL team is becoming irrelevant in a sports mad city long behind MLB, NFL and NBA teams, you just tell the commissioner(who you gave a new contract at 7 plus million per) to make it happen and the rules are bent sufficiently to action the command.

    • The Dude says:

      So Gumper,stating one right guess does not make Hartley the new Habs bench boss, thank the hockey gods! Last nights Rags -Devils game with the intimidating Torts is exactly why Roy is the MAN! Roy would of taken care of mister mouth,and inspired the Habs while doing it!

  2. The Dude says:

    So who would do a trade consisting of Plecs , Cole and Kaberlay for either Ovie or Malkin? I would tout suit!

  3. habsfan0 says:

    Draft is exactly 1 month from today.

  4. BC HAB says:

    Someone give Tom Nickle his own blog. The guy is a “Know it All”.

  5. TomNickle says:

    Many think John Tortorella’s actions and words take the focus off of his players. Sometimes it can. But I compare it to Rex Ryan of the New York Jets. Drawing the attention works over the short term but if it continues it becomes a distraction.

    He’s refusing to answer questions and making the Devils/Rangers about him. I think at this point it’s fair to say that Tortorella has made himself more of a distraction than anything else.

    As Peter De Boer said last night, this isn’t about John and I. His head is in the right place. Tortorella? I don’t think so. Acting more like a spoiled brat than NHL coach.

  6. The Dude says:

    Roy and Robinson will join soon…it’s in the air! As soon as the Devils have a season ending”Cup?” it will be official.

  7. 24 Cups says:

    You have to wonder if New Jersey will forfeit their 1st round pick this year. The best they can hope for is the 28th spot.

    That would move Montreal up to the 32nd position. They also would be primed to maybe move up into the lower end of the first round to grab a specific player. I’ve posted examples before, but there have been lots of solid players who have been drafted at the top end of the 2nd round.

    • TomNickle says:

      I like the idea Steve but moving back into the first round can be expensive. Usually takes two second round picks and though we do have them there may not be a significant difference between #32 and #22-#30.

      If there is I hope that Bergevin makes the move though.

      • commandant says:

        I can almost guarantee this will be the year Jersey forfeits their pick. With Brodeur getting older, no guarantee that the next two years won’t be much higher selections.

        Go Habs Go!
        Visit Your NHL Draft Headquarters
        http://lastwordonsports.com/category/lastwordblog/nhldraft/

        • HabinBurlington says:

          It would indeed make the most sense. Do they have to announce in advance of the draft, or can they wait up until it would be their turn to draft and then depending on who was available could decide to forfeit at that moment?

          • Malreg says:

            They have to notify the league a specific amount of days after the Stanley Cup is awarded. I believe its something like 10-14 days.

          • Habspark says:

            Hey Habsburl… In reply to your question earlier: Yes and yes, and thank you for your kind feedback again, Habsburl.

            To fill you in: I love hockey, so not my first time to the World Championships. If Montreal make the playoffs, I’m at the Bell Centre, and if it is going to be a good game – wallet/time-willing – I’ll be in Boston, Pittsburgh, wherever. Once the Habs are out, some years I keep following, some years not, it just depends, but I’ll always keep an eye on the World Championships – it is great hockey. If we don’t make it (like this year), if I can – no question – I’ll be at the World Championships (admittedly, first time since Quebec!) I’d prefer to watch the Russians (particularly this year) any day over the teams in the playoffs right now (and I’ve caught a few games)… That said, obviously when I booked my tickets I was hoping that Canada was going to be in Slovakia’s place!

            I’m fortunate in getting to see alot of sport on both sides of the pond, and for me it’s very interesting to see the similarities/differences/prose and cons between them all. My loyalties lie firmly with Canada, hockey and the Habs. I am possibly more passionate than most about enhancing the game internationally because I mainly spend my working life with sports-mad Europeans! They tend to thoroughly enjoy the hockey – for the sport (who wouldn’t?!) – but some less polite ones comment that the atmosphere at the Bell Centre is ‘artifical’ and slightly lacklustre in comparison to what they are familiar with – upsetting, particularly for me who has to hear it and attempt to explain/promote it with good humour, but sadly (between you and any others reading) I can see where they are coming from.

            The hockey-loving ones among them knock Canadians/North Americans for not showing much of an interest beyond their own shores, the old cliche, and that gets the others on the bandwagon – with yours truly caught in the middle again!

            So, I know my recent comments have more than likely been boring/irrelevant/antagonistic to those engrossed in what is happening in our backyard, but my reasons for these attempts to spur some enthusiasm into the the World Championships might make more sense to you now!

            In my opinion, we have a lot to learn from other sports and their culture, and if we took the positives and amalgamated them into our own hockey culture (emphasis on the positives – I would hate for the Bell Centre crowd to turn into a Chelsea FC mob), we wouldn’t just be promoting our hockey team, but ourselves internationally. I say this all with special preference to my home, Montreal – the last things I want is the Air Canada Centre becoming the best place to watch hockey – we can lead, the others can follow! This however explains my emphasis on the atmosphere at world championship hockey games (I’m not going to start comparing the noise to a soccer match, the game dictates that), because they really do put us to shame in Montreal, with a many thousand less fans! I would love to meet a Czech who could catorgorically say, yes, Montreal fans are the best in the world – not someone Anaheim saying we are the best in North America.

            Interestingly, I was talking to some of the organisers within the IIHF and they were saying that it’s not difficult to get the Europeans to take part – they love representing their country and they always have support in the crowds which grows the further they get into the tournament. But, the North Americans who come, come purely through patriotic pride and say it’s not easy for them when there is (a) no support in the stands (it’s usually only a few family members – and one brilliant guy from the Yukon this year!), (b) people viewing the tournament as second-rate/irrelevant compared to what is happening in the NHL and (c) comparatively very little coverage at home – I wonder if this is at all related to the bosses not wanting to encourage their players to play internationally?

            I don’t think anyone expects a stadium’s worth of Canadians to spend hard-earned bucks on flights to Europe every year, but I think every (underlined) North American at/who appreciates the WCs wishes for more positive coverage from the media at home (and sadly this site, which I enjoy at all other times, is a prime example). Some hockey unsmarts are quick to denegrate the tournament, not knowing that the standard of hockey to be seen really is world-class, played out by men passionate to win for their country, but by not at least reporting on it enthusiastically, it is a sad slight on Canada, and the States.

            Well, Habsburl, if you’re still reading – well done, and sorry to have probably repeated already spoken thoughts, but rather than just replying with a double yes, I know I am outside of the norm, and probably not a very popular voice, but I hope I make a bit more sense to you now! Here’s wishing to a gold for Team Canada which will just add to the mass euphoria of our Stanley Cup making it’s way down Ste. Catherines in 2013, and then repeat it all with an Olympic gold to boot in 2014 – Cheers!

    • HabinBurlington says:

      This will be an exciting draft to watch, hard to believe I am typing that, but with no playoffs this years, the starvation for Habs activity has increased.

      How is the golf game going Steve?

  8. HardHabits says:

    I see there is a nice civil debate going on today at TomNickle Inside Out. ;-)

  9. HabinBurlington says:

    With continued pushes from the Russian gov’t to try and have star players play in the KHL, I wonder if winning the world championship will have an affect on more players choosing to go the KHL, especially with Sochi approaching.

    • TomNickle says:

      The Government’s influence in Russia has had the reverse effect on players’ desire to stay. The pay for playing issue leaving more talented players on the bench or off of the roster, the militia like approach to the competitions and the fact that the large majority of Russian NHL players left their homeland for that very reason.

      The dollars may not even work. The conditions of the areas they’re required to live, the influence of the mafia on professional sports in that country and the unsafe working environments themselves are far less desirable than what’s being offered in North America.

      • HabinBurlington says:

        I agree with all that, but don’t they say Winning cures everything? And they are winning.

        I guess I just think that most Russian players are proud of their countries hockey traditions just as Canadians are proud of theirs. And I think the continued uncertainty of NHL’s involvement may be a factor over the next 2 years.

        • TomNickle says:

          There will always be excellent players who decide to stay in Russia but I’d be surprised if there’s an increase. I’d also be surprised if the NHL didn’t participate in Sochi.

          If their goal is to grow the game they can’t afford to stay away.

    • Cal says:

      The death of Alexei Cherepanov in 2008 displayed the terrible lack in medical facilities around the KHL. I have seen nothing about the KHL improving this, and I think that is a huge reason NOT to play there. Aside from their planes, that is.

  10. j0nHABS says:

    The Lions organization in Zurich has now said that Hartley will not be back because he is going back to the NHL.
    I know he could end up in Calgary but my gut is saying he will be the Habs next head coach and will be announced soon!!

    • TomNickle says:

      Just keep in mind that Hartley was fired abruptly by a very good friend of Rick Dudley’s. If his opinion means anything to Bergevin, Hartley becoming the Habs coach is a longshot.

      • j0nHABS says:

        I am aware of that but with out knowing the reasoning behind it we will never know if Dudley agreed with it or if it is something that he sees as a problem now.
        Hartley as a long shot is a bit of a stretch.

        • TomNickle says:

          I find it much more likely that Dudley agreed with Waddell than disagreed with him. Those decisions are usually bounced off of right hand men.

          I will say that Hartley has a better chance than Michel Therrien(who was fired by one of Bergevin’s best friends but is somehow considered a favourite for the job) and Carbonneau who had a mysterious falling out with the organization and has been dreadful as a coach since.

          Hartley might be the best coach, but due to his history with friends of Bergevin’s I feel it’s reasonable to call his candidacy a longshot.

          • j0nHABS says:

            I would hope our new GM will be able to look past what his friends think of him if he is really the best choice. Out of all the french speaking coaches out there (and I wouldn’t care if they hired a English one, but I know they won’t) Hartley is the best choice.

          • TomNickle says:

            That’s your opinion. I’m not sure what you’re basing it on short of admiration for Hartley because you haven’t said.

            Many in the media and among fans have been strongly opposed to Patrick Roy as coach because of his temper and late game antics when things aren’t going his way. Hartley while in the NHL was essentially a carbon copy of that.

            I don’t watch many Swiss league games so I don’t know if that has changed. Even if it has I don’t think it would be fair to call him the best coach if credentials mean anything.

          • j0nHABS says:

            He has one of the better winning records in the nhl out of the coaches mentioned and just took the lions to the Swiss league cup and won. Plus he has won the stanley cup as well. Winning matters not personality. I think Roy could be a good coach in the NHL but I’m not sold on having a rookie coach for the habs right now.

          • TomNickle says:

            Hartley’s Cup and record still leaves him as the second best out of work candidate if you’re going by the numbers.

            And the new hire is dependent on the mandate. If it’s win now and later the coach must have a track record of developing young players and winning when it’s time. Something that both Hartley and Marc Crawford have proven they can do.

            If the mandate is to develop now the team could go with a young coach who’s an assistant with an NHL team now like Pascal Vincent or Sylvain Lefebvre. They could even go with a couple of junior hockey coaches like Roy, Groulx or Beaulieu. They could also bring in an outside of the box candidate like Denis Savard or Jacques Lemaire.

            The personal relationships in the game of hockey are as important, if not more important than the actual credentials of the candidates. The coach’s strategy must match the GM’s mandate and there must be implicit trust. I’m not sure it would be there between Bergevin and Hartley based on history.

            I think Denis Savard, Pascal Vincent, Marc Crawford or Sylvain Lefebvre are more likely.

          • j0nHABS says:

            Marc Crawford has done nothing, they only reason he did well in Vancouver was because of the team was so talented but choked every year in the playoffs. Then did nothing in LA and and DAL. Lemaire has already said he is not coming out of retirement to coach again. Savard coached two seasons for the blackhawks and proved he wasn’t the best coach. Vincent and Lefebvre maybe.

          • TomNickle says:

            So Hartley is the best candidate because he won a Cup in Colorado, Crawford’s done nothing even though he has the same accomplishment.

            Crawford missed the playoffs in the NHL in his last season with 95 points with Dallas.

            Hartley’s been coaching in the Swiss league.

            We wouldn’t have to worry about Dan Cloutier creating an early exit if Crawford coached this team ;)

          • j0nHABS says:

            Do you really think that Crawford is the best choice? If you do that is your choice. My choice is that Hartley is the better consistently winner of the two. If you look at all the numbers of the two from the junior clubs, NHL, and most recently Swiss league in Hartley’s case (I know the Swiss league is not the NHL but there is still good hockey being played there).
            All I was saying to start this debate was that the Lions are not expecting Hartley back and that he may end up in Calgary, but that from all the things I have read that indicate that Hartley is one of the coaches on top of the Habs list. I think it is a reasonable expectation that he may be the next head coach of the habs. You may be eating you words in a week or so, and I may be eating mine, we’ll just have to wait and see.

          • TomNickle says:

            I have no idea what Bergevin is looking for so I can’t say who the best candidate is. I can only play what ifs.

            If the team wants somebody who can get the most out of its star players and develop young talent. I believe Crawford is the best choice.

            He has developed players like the Sedins while getting the most out of players like Brendan Morrison and Todd Bertuzzi. He’s developed players like Jack Johnson and Anze Kopitar while getting the best out of Alexander Frolov and even Sean Avery(side note: Has anyone handled Avery better than Crawford?)

            People seem to enjoy referencing Crawford’s time in Los Angeles and Dallas and point to failure. He was 19 games over .500 with Dallas and was only let go because of a change at the GM position. In Los Angeles with a young roster very much resembling the Blackhawks prior to their emergence he had to start eleven goalies. Show me a coach having to play that many goalies who made the playoffs and I’ll concede that Crawford did a bad job in California.

            This is all dependent as I said earlier on the mandate of the GM.

            My personal opinion? This team should hire a young coach who played the game at a high level, bring in a mentor for that coach to serve as a consultant like Jacques Lemaire and develop the coach like a prized player. Give that coach room to grow with the roster and hopefully you end up with one of the game’s better minds in a couple of years.

      • HabinBurlington says:

        Are we to assume Dudley is coming over forsure, and it is just details right now holding this up?

  11. HabinBurlington says:

    Shawinigan is representing itself well as a host city and being very competitive. I know these are only two teams from the Q, but the Q is showing through these two teams that they are competitive with the OHL and WHL.

    Great to see such an even tournament so far.

    • TomNickle says:

      If anything the WHL would have had problems with compete level had a representative from their league been a host.

      Edmonton obliterated the competition outside of their WHL championship series. It really looks like any team other than Portland hosting the Memorial Cup would’ve been embarrassing for the WHL. Having said that, the host team usually loads up on talent to ensure they’re able to at the very least hang around if they don’t win their league Championship.

      But, from the QMJHL Halifax, Rimouski and Quebec all would have been competitive in the tournament from where I sit. From the OHL, Ottawa, Niagra and Kitchener would both have been competitive in all likelihood. I realize that Kitchener and Niagra didn’t extend their series’ with the Knights very far but almost every game with them was close and could’ve gone either way.

  12. habsfan0 says:

    i’m wondering if the possibility of a strike/lockout will cause the Habs to defer their decision somewhat as to when they will hire a coach?

  13. TomNickle says:

    The Devils may empty the tank in this Conference Finals Series, but it’s been my belief since the series was set that they will win it.

    It just sets up perfectly for them from a matchup standpoint. The Rangers collapse in their own zone and that does not work against a team that forechecks relentlessly. Also, the Rangers don’t generate enough offense to create a fatigue factor in Martin Brodeur or take advantage of the Devils’ weakness which in my opinion is their group of defensemen.

    • Cardiac says:

      Historically no team has played the first two rounds in seven games back-to-back and won the conference final.

      It’s quite simple… the Rangers are running out of gas. Lundqvist and the gang came into this series already banged up. I’m surprised they’re so as well as they are.

      “There’s genius everywhere, but until they turn pro, it’s like popcorn in the pan. Some pop… some don’t.”
      – Jerry Maguire

      • TomNickle says:

        The seven game series takes a toll for sure but I think it’s more of an emotional toll. The next series can easily become a letdown.

        I don’t think the Rangers are any more tired than the Devils. Brodeur is almost a decade older than Lundqvist and the Rangers are younger at forward and on defense. If the Rangers lose this series I’ll be very disappointed if the fatigue of two seven game series’ becomes the reason or scapegoat.

        The Rangers have played three more games than the Devils if you want to count a triple overtime game. It’s nothing to sneeze at but there isn’t a player in the league this time of year who isn’t tired.

        • jedimyrmidon says:

          I’m sure you’re probably aware of all this, but wouldn’t the Rangers style of game contribute to more fatigue? Especially for the all-important top 4 D men who play very high minutes every night and block so many shots? Sure, you could say they’re better conditioned from having done it all season long, but after a while, they must run out of gas. Isn’t it likely that after 2 extremely tight seven game series followed by playing a very good forechecking team in the Devils that they would be tired?

          I don’t see any reason why not, i.e., I don’t see how the Devils would be just as tired.

          • TomNickle says:

            Tortorella said it best when he referred to McDonagh’s 57 minute performance against the Capitals as “easier minutes”. The Capitals had an almost non existent forecheck.

            The Devils had the Panthers and Flyers. In my opinion, those two teams are much harder to play against than the Senators and Capitals and I would probably welcome two seven game series with the Caps and Sens ahead of a seven game and five game series with the Panthers and Flyers.

            Against the Capitals the Ranger defensemen rarely had to venture into a corner, had almost no pressure on them when they retreated for the puck and didn’t have to engage against physical forwards outside of about four. Against the Senators, they were up against a group of very skilled forwards who don’t apply much pressure on the forecheck.

            The Rangers are younger and have had softer opponents than the Devils.

            This is just my opinion but I believe that if one of these two teams should be more tired than the other, it’s the Devils based on their age and the opponents they’ve played so far.

  14. Psycho29 says:

    ” Rangers’ Mike Rupp taking a gloved punch at the chest of Devils’ goalie Marty Brodeur ”

    Hmmmm…..didn’t look like a ‘chest shot’ to me…..

    • HabinBurlington says:

      I especially enjoyed Torterella’s comment that it would have never happened had the referee’s not called the earlier penalty and just let them play hockey.

      Okay John, the punch to Brodeur never happened….

      • commandant says:

        The punch wasn’t severe and it didn’t hurt Brodeur, but its just a bunch of garbage.

        This is something that Shanahan should look at IMO (but we all know he won’t).

        A total garbage play to go after the goalie, unprovoked and for no reason whatsoever, in a game where you are down 3 goals late. Its that kind of goonery and crap that the NHL should get out of the game.

        Go Habs Go!
        Visit Your NHL Draft Headquarters
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        • HabinBurlington says:

          I think Bettman loves this new NHL, where after the whistle you are allowed to take swings at opponents. ie Marchand on the Sedin player last year. I know there was some after the whistle skirmished in the 70’s and 80’s but seems to me now is worse. And I think the league office likes the almost WWE type hype surrounding these plays.

  15. Habspark says:

    Just back from Helsinki, having watched the IIHF semis and the bronze/gold games, but followed the tournament throughout via youtube which was playing the games live. Some notes on the Habs players,

    Yemelin played ALOT of minutes… He was solid for the most part, but did lapse at least three times which resulted in goals against. However, against Sweden, he wound up Franzen something special and essentially bought two goals that way bringing Russia the win – Lapierre et al, eat your heart out! He played a good tournament and clearly has the coaches trust.

    Plekanec worked hard, smart as always, and looked great with Erat and Nedved (who did not resemble a 39 year old, fast, strong and worked very hard throughout)… Czechs were the only team who could have made the Russians work hard for the gold, but they just could not bury the puck in the net, despite some great positioning passes from Pleks. As a team, man, they were excited to take home the bronze, just a shame it was Finland they had to beat – 30 years since the hosting team of the World Championships has won gold!

    Eller played well on a weak team. I would not hold his statistics against him.

    Pacioretty was really coming into his own on a larger ice surface before the US were knocked out…

    Russia, undeniably, by far and away the best team in the tournament, with only 6 NHL players… An Olympic calibre Canadian team would have been lucky to beat them… They skate harder than anyone else (almost as if they have different skates on) and have ridiculous skills… Ovechkin came in late, but the chemistry was instantaneous. For the Olympics, the smart money is on Russia – and the noise will be deafening! In short, they are an absolute pleasure to watch, similar to the Flying Frenchmen of old I would think.

    A couple of players who stood out to me and probably won’t get much press were:

    Antti Pihlstrom, Finnish winger, very fast skater and a real work-horse.

    Petr Prucha, Czech forward, much like Pihlstrom, and netted the critical goal in the bronze medal game.

    And… Mikko Koivu – don’t get me wrong, I love/loved Saku, but man would his ‘little’ bro look good in a Habs jersey! VERY smart player, strong on the puck, and a great leader.

    Re the crowds/atmosphere – you have got to love the European hockey-fans: Considering you have a mix from various countries in the seats, ie., not ‘all’ going wild for ‘their’ team, the noise generated by the various pockets dotted around the stadium is fantastic. Unlike Bell centre games, there are no computer-generated calls for ‘make some noise’, or ‘oh “lait”‘ etc., they are spontaneous, consistent and LOUD, with more than just the equivalent of ‘go-whichever team-go’, they have several different chants and songs which they drum out (literally).

    As a country, Finland/Helsinki is pretty similar to Quebec/Montreal, I can see how Saku felt quite at home here.

    Some highlights:

    Slovaks beat Czechs in the semis:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nffFVZRa22k&feature=relmfu

    Czechs win bronze:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_SgWJ7HyTAw

    Russia win:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3CgsXYhaL6g

    • HabinBurlington says:

      Out of curiosity, do you live in North America and did you fly all the way to Finland to watch the World Champsionships? Nice report by the way, sounds like you really enjoyed the atmosphere. CHeers.

  16. TommyB says:

    The Stanley Cup playoff run seems to be the great equalizer, in a way, doesn’t it? Look at this year…LA finishes in eigth place in the West, and NJ finishes in sixth place in the East. Here we are just over a month later, and both of these teams could compete in the final for the Cup. When the puck is dropped to start the playoffs, every team is on an even footing. It’s a new start. If you get off to a good start and get some momentum and jam going, you have a good chance to win the Cup, whether you entered the playoffs in first place, or last place in your Conference.

    So it’s no wonder some teams go through the regular season with just that thought in mind….just get into the playoffs. This is what helps to keep floundering franchises afloat. If you are a floundering franchise, then I guess it’s a good thing. But if you are not a floundering franchise, just getting into the playoffs should not be anywhere near good enough. The compete level should be intense all through the regular season in an effort to finish as high in the standings as you can. Win your Division. Win your Conference. Then, as you enter the playoffs you set your sights on the Cup, bearing in mind that the other fifteen teams have just as much chance to win it as you do. That’s reality.

    That’s the kind of organization I want the Montreal Canadiens to return to. An organization that wants to compete every night. I’m not so sure they have been that kind of organization for quite some time now. We don’t (well, I don’t) sit in front of the TV for 82 games hoping we will be around in April for a shot at the Cup. I watch those 82 games because each one is important to me, as a fan. If I was the type that I mentioned, then I’d sit and watch Pawn Stars or Doomsday Preppers for six months, and then tune into hockey at the end of 82 games and hope the Habs were in it. Am I making any sense here? I want to be excited, as a fan, from October through to the end of June. It used to be that way. Am I asking for too much? The fact that Geoff Molson has stated that he would like to see a return to that kind of organization, is an admission that it was not just in our imaginations. It was true. The Habs were deteriorating as a competitive, proud franchise. I’ll end my rant with this worn our saying, but one that remains true….Talk is cheap, Mr. Molson. Make it happen.

  17. Gumper Knows Best says:

    When you look at New Jersey, it just goes to show how far behind we are or were or are in Management and all its components of Pro and amateur scouting, player development. They know how to identify talent especially UFAs and later draft picks. Sweet Lou and David Conte are masters. We have a long way to go.

    From undrafted 30 goal man David Clarkson to Top 4 D UFA signings Salvadore and Greene to stealing Zidlicky from Minn. for a bunch of fringe NHL/AHL players and an acquired Wash 2nd round pick and yea getting Parise 17th in the 2003 AK draft and signing a mean caring talented Russian in IK.

    Yea, we need a coach, but he’s only as good as the horses he gets. Gainey Gauthier left a thin stable with few great building blocks, but worse they left a 1970’s style thin organization believing they alone always knew best.

    • commandant says:

      What a difference a year and a half makes. In January 2011, the Devils weren’t exactly seen as geniuses.

      Brodeur was washed up. The defence was in shambles, Clarkson was overpaid. Ilya Kovalchuk was a heartless Russian with an albatross contract. The narrative was far different at that time.

      All because of what? thats right, bad coaching by John Maclean.

      It doesn’t take as much to turn around a team as you make it out to be here. Check out Ottawa for another example of just how valuable coaching is.

      Go Habs Go!
      Visit Your NHL Draft Headquarters
      http://lastwordonsports.com/category/lastwordblog/nhldraft/

      • Gumper Knows Best says:

        A bit of Murphy’s Laws set in last year and you surely remember they were without Parise for all of but 13 games.

        It’s also hard to argue with their success. In the last 17 years, they have won the Cup 3 times and went to the SC finals once and are on the verge again. In the last 22 years, they have missed the playoffs just twice.
        That is remarkable management seeing as Lamoriello has been there for now 25 years. That’s no fluke.

        • commandant says:

          I’m not saying Lamoriello is a fluke, clearly he’s a good GM.

          The point of my post is that coaching is far more important than you give it credit for…. when you dismiss things as “Yea, we need a coach, but he’s only as good as the horses he gets.”

          A bad coach, and lets be honest thats what Cunneyworth was, can make his team look a lot worse. Look at what good coaching did in Jersey, look at what coaching has done for Ottawa, for St. Louis, and for a number of teams.

          As for the Parise argument… thats true, but this team was without Markov and Gionta for the great majority of last season as well.

          A good coach, one defenceman (a 20+ minute per game guy ala a Jackman/Allen), and one 2nd line forward, and this team is competing for a playoff spot again.

          As for the Murphy’s law argument, that was also true of the Habs this year. A team that was -4 GF/GA on the season (taking out the shootout) should not finish in 28th place. In fact our GF/GA was better than Florida who won their division. So there was some of Murphy’s Law going on with the Canadiens this year as well.

          Go Habs Go!
          Visit Your NHL Draft Headquarters
          http://lastwordonsports.com/category/lastwordblog/nhldraft/

          • Gumper Knows Best says:

            Of coursse coaching is important, but first management has to purge the team of unwanted elements and the selfish lazies that don’t put team first no matter who it is. The situation also has to be right. As good as Hitchkock is, his last 9 seasons of coaching has shown he has been fired 3 times-missed the playoffs twice-lost in the 1st round twice

          • FanCritic says:

            Blame RC all you want about his coaching. How are you suppose to coach a team with four good forwards. ala MAX-PAC, COLE, DESHARNAIS, PLEKS who do we have after that GIONTA and he was injured. if you see players on this team that was as good as these five name them because you watched a different team than I had watched. made up of 3rd mostly 4th liners. I don’t care who they bring in to coach. if they don’t improve the front end, don’t get your mind set on winning a cup. the teams still playing have good all around players with great goaltending. take any of these coaches put em on the Habs with the players we currently have and you wouldn’t see much of a change. bottom line bring in better players and a coach that hasn’t been fired.

          • commandant says:

            Hitchcock is a great coach, but a taskmaster like him has a short shelf life, eventually his players rebel against his rigid system.

            However that doesn’t change the fact that he produces immediate results, even in Columbus with a horrid team.

            Go Habs Go!
            Visit Your NHL Draft Headquarters
            http://lastwordonsports.com/category/lastwordblog/nhldraft/

  18. commandant says:

    Jake McCabe of the University of Wisconsin is our next prospect.

    http://lastwordonsports.com/2012/05/22/nhl-draft-prospect-profile-46-jake-mccabe/

    Go Habs Go!
    Visit Your NHL Draft Headquarters
    http://lastwordonsports.com/category/lastwordblog/nhldraft/

  19. The Cat says:

    Unfortunately, I fell asleep before it got ugly. But this series is interesting. Hate is setting in.

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


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