A week after the game 7 elimination by Boston and Montreal still talks hockey. There have been many assessments and evaluations on how the team fared this year and what to look forward to next year. It’s still a little weird that the season ended last week. It was so heartbreaking that the Forget the Box site shut down when we posted the game 7 blog.
Ok, I wish that happened. It may forever be lost in cyberspace but here’s a quick summary of game 7: Boston was going to win, then PK Subban scored a goal, another game of “guess the overtime winner/win a beer” then Nathan Horton scored a goal, end of season. Sucks for the guy who was watching the game at four in the morning on a ipod somewhere abroad but that’s what we call a hardcore fan.
Looking back, this was the first time I actually liked the Montreal Canadiens as a whole. There will always be strengths and weaknesses for teams but for the first time there’s an actual future with these guys. I looked back on the Preseason Dilemmas entry and thought of players that made an impact.
Brian Gionta was a great choice as captain and Mike Cammalleri found his touch after being injured for 20-plus games. Andrei Kostitsyn played solid and Lars Eller had an excellent playoffs and could shape up into becoming our first giant centre in a decade. He finally found use for his size. Ryan White will be the guy who will score a goal and take a punch for the team. Let’s hope he makes the team next year. David Desharnais may be small…so what, so’s Gionta.
Defense was in near panic when Markov and Gorges got hurt, but seeing PK take the reigns and Hal Gill guiding him helped our ever-happy defenseman ease into his rookie year. And of course getting Wisniewski and Sopel for next to nothing did help. Hope these guys will be back (so I can finally learn how to pronounce Wisniewski).
Max Pacioretty was on the verge of a breakthrough season until Zdeno Chara hit him, concussed him and broke his neck. He’s becoming a fan favorite with his twitter account and appearences around the city proving that not even a broken neck will break his spirit. He’s made himself a bonafide superstar and will be back next year.
Which brings me to Carey Price. All season he’s proven himself as a solid goaltender. Getting out of the shadows of Jaroslav Halak and doing something better, playing some kick ass cowboy-style goaltending. If there are still any nay sayers about Price and what he’s done this season, I’ll say this: “Really? He’s kept the team in play all season, f**k off you losers.” Seriously, no one f**ks with a cowboy.
So if it weren’t for the injuries, this would have been a different season. However, if it weren’t for the injuries we wouldn’t have gotten a chance to see the kiddies prove themselves to make the team. I think it’s shaping to be a good future in Montreal.
So I’m done for the season. I still watch the occasional game (was right about Washington choking). My darkhorse for the final has to be Tampa Bay and I give a maybe for Vancouver (they did finally beat Chicago).
It was an adventure on its own finding bars where I could watch and scream at TVs. Montreal’s hockey culture is strong and whatever the bar is, be it chic or sketchy, there will be a game on. Hopefully next year I will find even more obscure places or finally have someone tag-team with me on games. Will find out in the off season if I can do another season like this. In the meantime, I will go back to regular life and letting my liver heal.
Last of the shoutouts: Shout out to all bar staff who worked during the games, to the kitchen staff for the snacks (a diet of nachos and burgers has its limits). Shout out to the little ones who do the preskate at the Bell Centre to get the fans and players charged. Finally, shout out to the other hockey fans I got a chance to watch games with and get into debates and bet in the overtime beer game with. Thanks again to Forget the Box for the season.