Two more sleeps, and then …
Interesting stuff on L’Antichambre last night:
• If it comes down to coaching, Jacques Martin has a lot of experience. And during the anxious weeks leading up to the playoffs, Martin had to do some actual coaching: juggling his lineup, shortening his bench, shaking up his forward lines and defence pairings. Bruce Boudreau has been in cruising gear since the season began.
• Bob Hartley, who knows what he’s talking about, says a key will be attacking Washington’s first pass. The Canadiens can’t concede the neutral zone or – heaven help them – the blueline to an offensive juggernaut going against a slow and immobile Habs D.
The Capitals, Hartley added, have no system because they don’t need one. Their system is opening and closing the door at the bench.
• Martin will have to try to get Tomas Plekanec and Andrei Markov on against Alexander Ovechkin. But Dan Bylsma used Hal Gill against the Washington sniper in the playoffs last year, and Pittsburgh contained Ovie.
• Refereeing could be a factor. The refs in the opening round want to impress their supervisors because it’s the playoffs for them, too. Officials who do well in the early rounds get to work – and earn more money – in the later rounds.
So how does a ref do a good job? By calling a game-destroying parade to the box or giving his whistle a bit of a rest for the playoffs?
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My favourite play-by-play guy, Gord Miller, is working the Canadiens-Caps series for TSN. And so is my guru, Pierre McGuire.
As was the case for the Olympics, no Don Cherry.
• • •
Video scout Jarred Friedman says this one never gets old.