Saturday, May 01, 2010
Its funny how the playoffs go. There are always upsets. Some are not that surprising at all. Others are huge.
Montreal's upset of the Washington Capitals was one for the ages. Nobody saw this coming. My pool is fucked and I'm certainly not the only one. I'm in an under fifty pool (all players under fifty points are eligible, its not a draft) and I went heavy Caps figuring them to be heavy favourites to come out of the East, definites to make the Conference final.
No dice and I'm done.
Halak was terrific and he was lucky and regardless of how much of his success was luck he deserves credit for not cracking under the Caps' onslaught. His teammates hung in there and they cashed on the few chances they had and in the end that was it. The Caps threw everything they had at the Habs and while they deserved to win, in the end they did not. An absolute failure of a power play and mental gaffes like the two that led to Moore's goal in G7 did them in. A lot of folks called Green the goat on that one but his partner on the backend stopped skating and Moore went right by him to get that loose puck. Absolutely terrible.
The Habs aren't the Habs I grew up with. Back in the day they were the team, there was no other. On HNIC they were the club of choice for Saturday nights in Northern Ontario. We'd get the Leafs here and there (I saw the Sittler ten point game for example) but for the most part it was the dynasty from Montreal.
God I hated them as a kid. They never lost and that is almost a literal statement. And their fans? The absolute worst. If I had a nickel for every time I heard 'How many Cups?' as the end of an argument I'd be a wealthy man. Insufferable fuckers and that includes some of my best friends.
But when they moved Roy out the door then the Habs began their descent until they became just another franchise. No Cups in sixteen years. They have a glorious history but now they're just another club. A bit sad I think and I was actually happy to see them beat the Caps, something I never ever would have thought possible many years ago.
Montreal v. Pittsburgh
Even with Markov in the lineup the Habs didn't have a shot in this one. With him out its going to go five games rather than six, which is what I would have thought originally. The Pens are the only club remaining of the three Eastern teams who I figured had a shot (Caps and Sabres) and just as they had a nice draw in the first round they have another one now. They're not the club they were last year but they're still deep enough that Montreal won't be able to handle them I think. And Crosby and his teammates are a little bit of a different challenge than Ovechkin and the Caps. A bit bigger, a bit more physical, a bit more of a team that creates chances off of the cycle. Montreal is smaller and I think that while guys like Gomez, Gionta, Plekanec and Cammalleri are definitely quality I don't think Montreal's got enough up front or on the backend (Bergeron!?) to hang in there with the Pens. As I said five games and then they're a pumpkin again.
Boston v. Philly
Boston got a break against Les Sabres when Vanek went down. Without two of their top six forwards in he and Hecht, Buffalo struggled to score and with Rask playing extremely well that was it for them. All credit to the Bruins though. Buffalo got a lot of leads and Boston just kept coming back. And now they are on to the next round and Savard has returned and suddenly things look good for a club that was probably not as bad as their record indicated.
I had a hunch about the Flyers but still went with the Devils. Philly had little problem with New Jersey but I think this is it for them for one reason - injuries. Gagne and Carter and Lapierre are all out and that's too much to overcome. Boston won't be intimidated and in Rask they have one of the best young goalies in the league. Philadelphia will hang in there but it will be the Bruins in six, maybe five. They just have a lot of depth up front and the Flyers can't match it. Too bad the Flyers aren't healthy, if they were it would probably be a terrific series. Oh well.
Posted by Black Dog at 2:00 PM