Written by Nic Sulsky
The Leafs beat the Habs last night. How did I know? The half-dozen emails/Fbook messages I received. Leafs nation rejoice! It’s amazing to me how influential one victory can be on my desperate collection of Toronto Hockey loving friends. How many Habs fans give a shit about winning one game against the Leafs; in February? Most importantly, what did the Canadian’s organization think about last nights matchup? 4 letters. A-U-L-D.
It was actually perfect timing for the point of a blog that I’ve been procrastinating on. The Habs are not a great team. They might not even be a good one. But the Habs do have one shot to make it far in the playoffs. I’m not going to quote stats or trends or historical evidence…I’m going to call the spade a spade. The Habs go as far as Carey Price will take them. They are not strong up the middle or extraordinarily fast or tough BUT they do have a goalie that has an air about him.
Ryan Miller & Dominik Hasek were playoff goalies that willed their team deep into the Playoffs. Goalies have not been as influential in recent years. Ironically, Halak was the closest last year. This might, just might, be the year another goalie steps to the forefront. If not the Hab’s chances are as good as the Leafs.
I like the addition of Dawes and Sopel. I like pieces, but the Habs have way to many holes and inconsistent players. Cammi needs to become the monster he was late last year and through the playoffs. Pacioretty & Subban need to continue developing and push production. Gomez needs to grow 4 inches and a set of stones. Somewhere, somehow by EOD Monday the Habs needs to find a tough defensive minded centre that can also put the puck in the net in the playoffs (like Dave Bolland did last year). Not gonna happen. One and only one thing gets the Habs to the Finals.
I also would like to point out how much joy I get from the yearly February/March Playoff hug & hope session Leaf Nation experiences. First of all, the Leafs are not making the playoffs (as per norm). Secondly, would it matter? Ya think you can pull a “Flyers” and take an 8th seeding all the way to the cup finals? Way too tempting….