Saturday, 21 January 2012

Game 48: Montréal 3, Toronto 1

Wait, what? We're double-shifting Scott Gomez? Then there's no doubt: we're showcasing him to the many pro scouts in attendance.

A team in the market for Scott Gomez would be looking for a 'pure passer', the purest available anywhere as a matter of fact. Let's put our thinking caps on and figure out which team would be willing to take him on.

This team has a sniper or a couple of wingers who need someone to carry the puck and feed them a diet of soft passes in scoring position. They have an injured centreman or one who is criminally underperforming. They are a cap-floor team and need help in the next few years reaching that level, so they must be a low-revenue team. The team must also be scratching and clawing to get into the playoffs to be ready to embark on such folly, so they must be hovering near the 8th playoff seed in their conference.

Ladies and gentlemen I give you the New Jersey Devils. They think they can spin the return of the prodigal son. We're getting Zach Parisé back. It's in the tea leaves. But I'd accept Travis Zajac if it came down to it.

No? Who then?

The Maple Leafs and Canadiens played as if they don't believe in this whole big rivalry that exists between them either. The game lacked passion and rhythm. The Canadiens didn't seem convinced their playoff lives depended on this game, and they're probably right. The Maple Leafs are a softer touch when Phil Kessel and Joffrey Lupul aren't filling the net anymore.

Something noteworthy was the fact that the Canadiens didn't get pushed around by Brian Burke's pugnacious Leafs. Adding a Mike Blunden and René Bourque on top of Erik Cole has a significant effect on the makeup of this team. We even saw Travis Moen challenge Mike Komisarek to a fight, an offer which the Leaf defenceman turned down. When was the last time the Canadiens were the aggressors? Good on Travis for issuing the challenge, and then carrying on with his game, and not turning into a Paul Gaustad-Chris Neil-type idiot.

This change in team makeup comes at a cost though. The Leafs seemed to be the speedier team tonight, getting lots of odd-man rushes and breakaways. The Canadiens won't be skating teams into submission anymore.

A word on P.K. Subban. It seems the sharks smell blood in the water. There were mentions tonight on l'Antichambre about P.K.'s self-centeredness, how he rubs people on the team the wrong way, which we've heard before. There were specifics for the first time though, as those in the media feel more comfortable these days breaking the Code of Silence and explaining how he is regularly late for meetings and how, in the words of one confidential source, if there are five team rules, he'll break seven.

These are the kind of details and specifics we rarely get from sports reporters, since they are usually too interested in protecting their access to, uh, report. We usually hear these concrete examples once the player is shipped out of town. This doesn't bode well for our intrepid young defenceman.

No comments:

Post a Comment