What a bittersweet way to end the season, to lose out to a 7th place team in only five games after going the distance against the number 1 and 2 teams. I probably would have felt better if they had made it to game 6, at least that way the fans would have been able to say goodbye properly and not have to drag everyone back out to the Bell Centre in yet another money grabbing marketing exercise. Regardless of how much of the gate goes to official Les Canadiens charities, the concessions will still make a killing as every kids and quite a few dads will now want a #76 P.K. Subban Jersey, a kid who was born on the almost the same weekend that I graduate from High School.
Subban and Halak are probably all that we will remember of this series once the fall rolls around. Hopefully Pierre Gauthier will not forget, how poorly some of the other “rising stars” played. I guess the Kotsy Bros will never play better then the echoes of last years off ice antics. So apart form the Smurf line of Gionta, Gomez and Cammalleri, a few other vets showed they had enough “Chien” to push us through 2 rounds: Jaro Spacek, Hal Gill, Roman Hammerlik picked up the pace when Markhov was sidelined and as much as MA Bergeron was a liability to the defense, I can only respect his effort in stepping up.
It was also nice to see Maxime Lapierre step it up and become the energy player we all knew from last year. Adding Moen and Dominic Moore to sides really seemed to help in getting the best out of him at times too. And although Ryan O’Byrne did seem quite lost at times without Andrei Markhov, he’s really starting to use his size better and read the play a little smarter too.
And what about Price? Well, I’m going to give him all the time and respect that I have with PK Subban. These young, fantastic, energetic franchise players need time to develop and should be allowed to make some mistakes in the process. This is nearly impossible situation in Montreal, where every press outlet and fan is looking for the next Dryden, Roy, Lafleur, Robinson and dare I even mention Richard or Beliveau. Yes, we have a very storied history and even our national anthem reminds us at the beginning of every game.
Ton histoire est une épopée
Des plus brillants exploits.
This doesn’t mean that every young hopeful needs to be held up to this insane standard the minute they put on the “CH”. But they should be reminded of how every single one the guys whose jerseys hang from the rafters just loved to play the game…
“I don’t know what his exact title is now, but he’s adding so much because you can have candid conversations with him,” Cammalleri said after the Canadiens practised Friday in Brossard. “There’s a certain protocol you follow with a general manager, because he’s still making certain decisions and you can’t have as candid a conversation as you’d like. Now him being around on a daily basis to add specific insight on how we can play is pretty cool.”
Its kind of strange but this is exactly what I want former Habs players to do rather than making the sports show rounds as some kind of analyst expert on the game. Count the number of Stanley Cup rings on those shows and then ask yourself again if their opinion really is all that important. Having a guy like Gainey around for players is huge, I’m not sure how much of this Beliveau or Lafleur do as well but I don’t see why a guy like Briser or Damphouse couldn’t tag along too. I’d even ask Svoboda to join the ranks if I thought it might motivate some the european players who dragged their heels this winter.
So am I disappointed with this year’s Habs? No, not at all. I’m only disappointed the way they went out. But, and without using on of Benoit Brunet’s corny clichés, is why Hockey is a game and not a business venture having to report to a Board or Shareholders. Hockey players and teams will always report back to their fans and this years, La Sainte Flanèle gaves its fans quite special season to remember, and for once it was for all the good reasons too.