Friday, May 14, 2010

Challenges For Round 3

The Montreal Canadiens have pulled off 2 major upsets. Now they will have another major challenge in round 3 -- keeping the momentum going. The following are some of the challenges Le Grand CH will face in the 3rd round...
  1. Playing as a favourite to win. Without home ice advantage. Although the regular season still has the team sitting in 8th, they are definitely a favourite to win the third round. You don't knock off 1st place team in the east and the Stanley Cup champs and not come out as a favourite to win. Expectations are high, and Boston or Philly (the 3rd is about to start for that game as of this writing)  are gonna come in as underdogs, ready to upset "the miracle team".
  2. Playing a team of similar style. The last 2 rounds they had to shut down lethal offences and finish their limited chances. Now they'll be playing a team that grinds their goals in; plays a similar style of stiffling defence first, and a quick dirty counter attack to punish. Will our Big D be able to maintain their focus? Will they be able to frustrate players who are used to not being relied upon to score? How does the defensive system change when there is no go-to goal scorer to bury? If the opposition sits on Cammileri and Gionta, do we have the depth to respond?
  3. The Hockey Gods hate riots. Even since 1993, the Canadiens have not won a series after they riot. There were no shenanigans after the Washington win, and the Gods stuck around to help. After the garbage on Wednesday (and I know its not hockey fans) the Hockey Gods might once again look the other way...
  4. Job done? I don't think anyone in Blue Blanc Rouge is currently feeling that their job is done... but maybe if they end up down 3-2 in games, hard fought frustrating grinding games... up against an equaly hot goalie as Halak... maybe these guys will quietly take pride in what they've done and go home? 
Ok, I doubt that last one. There is a lot of pride on this crazy Montreal squad, no way they'll quit. But the game has changed for them now -- if they start reading their own press and forget what got them where they are, then all will be for not.

A third round exit means you win nothing. And although I am extremely proud of this team and what they have so far accomplished, I would be sad if all their efforts ended without a reward. The Boys deserve it!

Go Habs Go. Stay Thirsty My Friends. 

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