Thursday, 5 April 2012

Game 81: Montréal 1, Carolina 2 (SO)

Be honest now. Did you find yourself hoping that the Hurricanes' powerplay unit would finally click on their many opportunities in the third period? Did you yell at the ref for not awarding a penalty shot to Eric Staal on his breakaway? How about the chance Chad Larose had with about five seconds left, did you wince when he booted it? Well, despite being a lifelong fan, and despite cheering every nice play (all two of them) les Glorieux made, I was guilty of all the aforementioned infractions. My biggest fear is having the Maple Leafs swiping our draft pick, not another loss at this point of the season.

If as fans we kinda sorta hope the Canadiens kinda sorta don't win, we can't fault the Canadiens to kinda sorta play with almost full effort. Guy Carbonneau had a knowing smile on as he explained before the game that for the last two games we could expect our boys to play with the tip of their stick ("du bout du bâton"), without total commitment and less inclination for sacrifice, so as to finish the season healthy and without injuries.

Different kind of Antichambre tonight, with Gino Odjick as a guest. He spoke of the need for the next management team to come from Québec and, interestingly, to be francophone, so that the team would have leadership with a deep love and passion for the CH, something which was in question with our last GM. He spoke of how the team needed to be a family again, one for all and all for one, and how 'in the old days', issues such as the Mike Cammalleri case and the Scott Gomez situation would have been taken care of in house, by the players. He also stated that the arguments between coaches and players on the bench during games would never have happened, that this would have been taken care of in the dressing room between periods. Mario Tremblay chimed in that players can feel when they are not loved by their coach and GM, that it kills their morale, and I guess he spoke from personal knowledge with his background and relationship with Scotty Bowman.

So a lot to chew on, although you have to take everything Mr. Odjick says with a grain of salt. He didn't quite come out and say it, but he broadly explained that Mr. Gomez "would have been taken care of" during a practice. Someone please alert Commissioner Goodell.

His choice for GM is Julien BriseBois, who he knows personally and professionally and holds in high esteem. He spoke of his drive to improve and get better, of his strength of character and leadership, and his presence and bearing which commands respect. He later explained how the Canadiens used to have an advantage in Serge Savard as their GM, how they used to roll into opposition towns and rinks and feel somewhat superior or invincible with him at the helm of the ship. He stated again that the Canadiens needed that kind of leadership, and that Mr. BriseBois was the man to fill that role.

For coach, he was strongly in favour of Michel Thérrien returning to coach the team, stating that he had the hunger and the passion, that he had unfinished business and a Stanley Cup inside him. He refused to even consider any other candidates, Mr. Thérrien is his man.

In any case, no damage was done by the loser point, since the Leafs and the Wild won and the Oilers also got a a regulation tie point. Not much to say about the game itself, except that it was nice for Blake Geoffrion to score a goal. The kid has talent, he won the Hobey Baker award as the best collegiate player in the U.S., so there's something to work with there. Our boy just needs to set up shop in Brossard this summer and do oodles of training to increase his leg strength and explosiveness. All summer long. No golf, no partying in Nashville. His career will be defined by the efforts he makes this summer.

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