Friday, 16 March 2012

Game 72: Montréal 1, Ottawa 2 (OT)

The Canadiens get a C for effort and a E for results. They squander a draft-position-solidifying loss by hanging on, in the face of a 33-14 shots-on-goal disadvantage, to a 1-1 regulation tie, and cough up the win in overtime. At this rate we're going to fall in the standings at a slower pace than the Maple Leafs.

There is a bright side. By losing to the Senators, we allowed them to vault all the way to second place, dropping the vacillating Bruins to seventh in the Conference, with champion of personal freedom (IN HIS PRIVATE LIFE!!! DON'T MISUNDERSTAND HIM! IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH HIS PERFORMANCE AS A HOCKEY PLAYER!) Tim Thomas leading the swoon.

Our boys tried hard in a way. We can assert this by relying on their penalty killing prowess, whereby they killed off 9 powerplays, which doesn't happen without a lot of sweat and pain. Ask Josh Gorges, who blocked 10 shots, and Tomas Plekanec, who played 12 of his 27 minutes shorthanded. What was missing was a little bit of passion or magic. I saw René Bourque and Ryan White chugging hard to skate back for backchecking duties, but there was a resignation in their bearing, as if they were performing a duty, as if they were trying hard for the cameras and the coaches, almost giving themselves plausible deniability, instead of being driven by a hatred for losing and a hunger for the puck. In stereo, both stood up and stopped skating as soon as they crossed the blueline, their job seemingly done.

Carey Price was cool, almost clinical in keeping us in the game. He has a few detractors among Montréal fans, but received nothing but plaudits from the Hockey Night in Canada broadcast crew, despite their documented Toronto bias. He was described as a superstar and a no-brainer choice for the 2014 Team Canada squad. We should cherish him and refuse to take him for granted.

The Two and a Half Men line didn't get on the scoreboard, which goes a long way in explaining this loss. If this team is going to have a chance to win, they can't have an off-night. We saw during the game broadcast Max Pacioretty having words on the bench, reportedly with P.K. Subban, after the latter sent a rocket from the point on the powerplay at him at earlobe vicinity, while he was trying to screen the Sens goalie. The technical crew then played earlier footage of the powerplay squad drawing up the play on the ice during a break, with Erik Cole assigning tasks, and Max skating off with a smirk on his face, as if he knew what was coming. Erik has had issues with P.K.'s shot before, I wonder if it was in the back of his mind as he told Max "You go stand in front of the net, I've done my share this year already."

Which bring to mind the question, why are the guys drawing up their plays as if they're playing shinny, instead of their coach? Why is Mr. Cunneyworth having a debate with his third pairing defenceman Chris Campoli during a TV timeout, and why does Mr. Campoli feel empowered to retort and provide his views on the subject?

Bill Parcells famously said that 'you are what your record says you are', so never mind about potential and injuries, if you're in last place you're a last place team. In Mr. Cunneyworth's case, he took a mediocre team 2 points out of a playoff spot and turned it into a bad team and drove it to the bottom of the standings. So, even bearing in mind that he was put in a difficult situation, he is what his record indicates. He must be replaced next season. I'll repeat that I want a coach who'll provide strong leadership, and will put an end to the bickering on the bench and between players. My inclination, as stated before, would be to hire Patrick Roy, a strong passionate man with credentials who won't tolerate shenanigans, and who'll make the trains run on time.

Tomorrow the Islanders. Go Habs go! No half-measures. Win outright, or lose, but no regulation tie please.

No comments:

Post a Comment