Thursday, May 13, 2010

Dead or Canadiens?

Remember the game?  Peter Jennings, John Denver, John Candy, Michael J. Fox?  When they do the autopsy on Game 7 between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Montreal Canadiens they won't need to call in the forensics experts from CSI.  Cause of death was clear.  Blunt force trauma to the back of the net.

I haven't seen or heard an interview or read anybody else's take, but you don't need a graduate degree in iceology to know the better team won.  Pittsburgh was the better team in each of the first six games, yet the series was tied 3-3.  Last night was a blowout.  I had suggested that the only way the Canadiens had a chance in this series was if they dominated special teams.  I was wrong.  Through six games the Canadiens hadn't dominated special teams, yet they were right in it.  Last night they did dominate special teams and the game was never in doubt.  In 1967 Jean Beliveau scored the first goal in the Civic Arena as the Canadiens welcomed the Penguins to the NHL with a 2-1 defeat.  Brian Gionta put a big bleu, blanc et rouge bow of symmetry on the old building when he cashed in at 10:00 of the third period to seal a 5-2 Montreal win.

There was little drama.  Sidney Crosby took a penalty ten seconds in and for the third time in the last four games the Penguins found themselves behind in the first few minutes.  There was a moment at the start of the third period, down 4-2, when there was a chance for the home team.  The crowd was into it.  The momentum was turning.  With a four on three power play to start the last twenty, the Penguins could  close the deficit to one.  But forces, namely Hall Gil and Josh Georges, conspired against them.  And as was the case with their other five chances, they failed to score.  All that remained was the handshake line, a wonderful tradition, but such emphatic closure for the loser.

Jacques Martin put together a fabulous game plan.  Jaroslav Halak was tremendous in goal.  Mike Cammalleri continued his Guy Lafleur impersonation and the Canadiens played solid, responsible and opportunistic hockey throughout the lineup.  On Pittsburgh's side the finger pointing can start at the top and include virtually everyone.  Ray Shero's trade deadline acquisitions added little this year.  Crosby and Evgeni Malkin combined for two goals in the series.  Sergei Gonchar played his worst game in five years and hardly seemed to care.  Marc-Andre Fleury continued to be spectacularly inconsistent and, for a change, failed to come up big after a loss.  Few others stepped up to help carry the load.

The full post-mortem can be written another day, but suffice it to say the Penguins did not close the Civic Arena in grand fashion.  It is a wonderful old building with the charm that comes with age and, more importantly, memories.  I wonder if, in a nod to history the schedule makers will have Montreal help the Penguins open the new one this fall, because that's the next time the Penguins will hit the ice in any meaningful fashion.  Congratulations to Montreal.  Last night it was better to be the Canadiens.


Jake said...

I read this article while sitting in a recliner in Ken Ober's basement! Condolences on your Penguins but very well written.

TGNY said...

Those Molson Canadians went down smooth. I will admit though - Cammalleri's floater pass across the face of the goal to Gionta was a bit excessive.

Weezie said...

? Trader ?

It was no sooner "better to be a Canadien" than to fly to the moon last night if you're a Pen's fan. Maybe you should have read a few? Habs did not play fantastic hockey, Pens fumbled up and down the ice till they killed the clock. Habs got lucky, played consistantly and Halak RULED.

The Pens are the better team, proven by the entire series. Last night was a fluke, but I'd also go so far as to say, this series, Pens were not up to speed, as we expected. I had no feeling of confidence as we meandered thru this series of the fate of any game. Rather, a sickening feeling thinking, lets go guys, pump up the volume, what are you waiting for? and.... Sid where r u ? Pens, where is the rythm ?

Last night, Sid is penalized out the gate to set the stage for Habs immediate goal, which we all stated prior was key.Didn't have to go that way. Take that one penalty back / start over and it was anyone's series. Pens tanked and got psyched out as the game ensued because that happened first few seconds. Bumbling, stumbling ridiculous performances by so many it's not worthy to regurgitate. Let's just say Gonchar has himself to thank. Bylsma made lousy plays,like giving tight times to those benched for a dang good reason. Unmanaged risk.

So, Pens, w/ no synergy, no coordination, no execution and some how that translates into a stunning victory for the Habs?

I'd say poor coaching, poor leading by captain and poor performances by most Pens.

Gotta love Staal, tho, we are so blessed to have that guy.

The one Hab who ruled was Halak and boy did he slap us silly. He knocked Sid completely off balance. Part of why Sid froze up. Watch the replays. It's like watching slow motion "ah which way did he go" on those goals. Gonchar,Malkin, Crosby, it's painful to watch.

Pens were playing mental Soduko while the FABULOUS FANS were rallying and setting the tone at our dear igloo. Pens did a lousy job of laying that building to rest and Sid's comment is revealing. Fans accepted faults, fans didn't want perfection, fans accepted it all. Pens didn't, lead by said captain. Guess, what? Nobody's perfect and that was never the intention of last night. Maybe Sid should focus more on himself, his goals and synergizing his team and less on pleasing others or guessing others' expectations. Sid, it was a LOUSY ending. I don't want your tears, staying on ice long enough to aknowdge the loyalty would have been prudent. Baby. Buck it up and move on and grow.

Pen's in game 7 just couldn't rally, but not surprising when their captain chokes. The captain, who so proudly took Canada to gold. Sid rallied then and crumbled here, he's got mental angst and he needs to work thru it.I really thought he look conflicted winning gold and showing happiness to we fans, which I thought was just silly then. Not now.

Habs, if you're rootin' them on, passing compliments for Pen's apathy, you missed the boat brother.
Just my 2 cents,

The Hammer said...

More like $20.....

Bexter said...

All I know is that YES history was made,not the history we wanted though...and it hurts.

$20 said...

LOL, keep the change Hammer.

Just don't see how Pen's apathy could yield a "spotlight" performance of excellence for Habs. Apples to oranges to me, with Pens in a coma, dogs in wet suits with snorkle gear could have beat Pens. Minus the last 5 minutes when no one scored on an open net, post Pen's performance all game to protect it to no avail. "Nuff said", we agree we disagree.

Bexter's right too, it hurts, we process in different ways. Focused on thanks that Ovechkin did worse and has no opp in our misfortune. Hoping Philly gets snuffed..

Now, of "a. m." interest, is Sid leaving Mario's place. Perhaps Mario has expressed the same buck it up, reality strikes hard mentality? Sid's ready, he won't be found snagging the law. Time to grow in a few ways, big things lie ahead, he's sooo young.

Liken' your idea of opening with Habs nest season. Hope it happens.

Also pleased Sid said No /passed on playing this week, time to reflect, chill and take a well deserved break. I may be hard on him, but he's "the one".He has to stop being everything to everyone, it won't work. Dilutes him. Dance the gig, wear the shoes and polish them when you dance for heaven's sake.No one said being the leader is easy. It's lonely, it's isolating, it's pressure filled, but it's fullfilling and meaningful and well worth the growing pains. He needs to realize these feelings and GROW, not be coddled and protected from them so they don't crush his performance.

Igloo: we will sorely miss , it will live on, thankful for the great times and fabulous memories. B4 - forever :)He shoots and he scorrrrrrrrrrrres !!!!!!!!!! Ahhhhhhhhhh, Elvis has left the building ldies and gentlemen.................Good night Irene...............