To some, this will feel like rain on a parade, or like a cold wet towel to others. There will be some however, mostly those who have heard the song over the years, who will recognize the melody, and who will be signing the chorus along as it hasn’t changed for many years now.
You will have some who will once again refuse to admit that the size and physicality were lacking, who will not see that this team was hit hard and often. They won’t admit that Wisniewski, Spacek, Hamrlik, Gionta, Cammalleri, Desharnais, Plekanec and company were banged and bruised, more so than their opponents for the simple reason that they were hit harder and more often than them.
You will have people arguing until they’re blue in the face that size doesn’t matter. To them I’ll say not to believe their wife or girlfriend: they’re just being nice! Size in hockey, like skills, speed and desire to win are all important ingredients that make the difference between winning and losing.
Listening to Pierre Gauthier pretending that he has a team who had as much chance to win the Cup as the other teams in the playoffs was, quite honestly, quite disturbing to hear. If he was trying to redirect the focus of the crowds and media away from the true problems, he may have succeeded with some but not with yours truly. If he truly believes what he’s saying, we’re in deep trouble. Yes they were missing Markov and Gorges but with them, they wouldn’t have had Wisniewski and Sopel.
Jacques Martin, who most seem to see as a genius with his “take blows and be opportunistic on the PP” system, is part of the problem and not the solution. His two-tier treatment between veterans and young players on the team was appalling to say the least. The thought that Guy Boucher slipped through the Canadiens’ fingers and that Kirk Muller might do the same simply because of Martin’s contract, Bob Gainey’s biggest mistake after the acquisition of Scott Gomez, is very scary.
But all is not negative, far from there, in Habsland. Carey Price has shut-up his critics. Max Pacioretty seems to have found his game before THE hit. Lars Eller looks like a young Plekanec, only bigger. David Desharnais has proven that he belongs. PK Subban is a stud in all three zones. Yannick Weber is a Patrice Brisebois only better defensively. In spite of his years in the NHL, we tend to forget that Benoit Pouliot is only 24 years old and he has shown in the past that he can do it. Plekanec, Cammalleri and Gionta are signed long term and are quality veterans, and we saw what Josh Gorges could do on one leg, imagine with two!
But how long before they can play under a coach who gives them some freedom offensively, a coach who doesn’t make those young players scapegoats for every mistake they make? It seems like common sense dictates that young players will make mistakes, it’s called gaining experience. Shouldn’t veterans who make mistakes, who should know what to do and what not to do, be held accountable as much (if not more so) as young players?
Last but not least, those players absolutely need physical support. A big physical top 6 player and a punishing bottom 6 forward, with perhaps a physical defenseman to replace the loss of Komisarek and O’Byrne. As the Army says: Support our troops!
But we’ll be back next year… GO HABS GO!!!