Marc Bergevin said, in a couple of occasions, that on hockey teams, you have players that get you to the playoffs and players who make you win in the playoffs. Those are not aways the same players. This season, the Canadiens managed to secure a playoffs’ spot but it was an uphill battle for most of the season. Coaching changes, crazy schedule with little to no practice time, injuries to key players, were all factors in the Canadiens’ season. Some had a great season, others took a long time to get going, some seem to have regressed throughout the season. But all of that is behind as the new season, the Stanley Cup Playoffs, is about to start.
Newcomers like Tyler Toffoli, Josh Anderson, Joel Edmundson and Jake Allen all had positive impacts. Phillip Danault, Tomas Tatar and Carey Price took forever to get going but they were playing to their potential…before getting injured. Shea Weber and Ben Chiarot could not sustain the demands of a shortened season, even having to spend weeks off due to injuries. Let’s not get into details as we have already dressed up an entire article on the Canadiens’ surprises and disappointments.
Regular season vs Playoffs numbers
First, let’s clarify something… scoring in the playoffs drops drastically in comparison to regular season. For one thing, teams don’t face weak opponents to pad their stats in the playoffs. Every single team is part of the upper echelon of the NHL and have shown to be playoffs’ worthy. The weak has been trimmed off.
So here are the Canadiens’ players regular season’s points per 60 minutes, compared to the same numbers in the playoffs in their career.
|REGULAR SEASON PTS/GP||PLAYOFFS PTS/GP|
As you can see, the player the Canadiens will miss the most is Jonathan Drouin. Of the skilled players, he’s one those who step up their game the most and ultimately, someone will have to fill some pretty big shoes to replace the offense the Habs will be missing without him.
The Canadiens are fortunate to count on two good goaltenders. Each year, Price is voted as the best goaltender in the NHLPA polls, voted by his fellow NHL players. He can win you a series almost on his own.
I’d like to point out Price’s numbers since the 2013-14 season in the playoffs. He’s been lights out, really.
Fans and some media members are not just upset, they’re outraged by some of the early decisions by head coach Dominique Ducharme for preferring veterans over youth for game one. Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Alexander Romanov, who have both seen a substantial drop in their play in the past few weeks, will be left out of game one in favour of Jake Evans (and Eric Staal) and Jon Merrill.
“KK struggled towards the end of the season, but I see it like a nail going in that starts to get crooked. If you keep hammering it, he will only get more crooked. With what we’ve been through to finish the season, we didn’t have time to straighten the nail because of the schedule, our injuries and so on. We had to keep hammering. What we’re going through now, the week of preparation, it gets KK straight. Let’s say he comes in for game two, it will mean that he will have played 57 out of 58 games. We just need to keep progressing. We love his potential, we love what he does, what he will become and what he can do. It’s just a matter of taking a step back to straighten him to help him become the KK that we want and that he wants to be.” ~ Dominique Ducharme
Further, Cole Caufield, who has managed five points (four of them goals) in his first 10 NHL games, will also be left out. People don’t get those decisions and many disagree with Ducharme. But remember one thing folks: it’s HIS job that’s on the line, not yours, not mine. We can disagree all we want and it’s okay to do so, but at least respect that Ducharme differs in his opinion. It doesn’t make him wrong and your right, or vice-versa… I wish more people learned that key life skill. It would make reading on social media so much more enjoyable.
Fans at the Bell Centre
The Canadiens announced that the provincial government has given them green light to have about 2,500 fans at the Bell Centre on time for game six of the series, scheduled for Saturday, May 29th, if necessary. I have predicted that the Canadiens would eliminate the Leafs in seven games so if my predictions are correct, we will finally have some fans cheering on our Habs live, in person.
So folks, it’s time to rally together. Stop your bickering against the coach, the GM, the players, the weather. Don’t be the reason why they have to put directions on shampoo. Don’t allow your butt to be jealous of the crap coming out of your mouth. If you’re that butthurt, get a colonoscopy. You’re not math so stop adding trouble, subtracting pleasure, dividing attention and multiplying ignorance. Remember that a sharp tongue is no indication of a keen mind. We have an entire life to be idiots so let’s take a day off. You get the drift, right? Time to cheer for OUR team. Management changes. Players change. Heck, even ownership changes from time to time. What doesn’t change is the logo in front of the jersey. It’s playoffs’ time. It’s time to cheer them on. Now try saying the following, it won’t hurt I promise. Ready? Go Habs Go! See? It’s not so bad…