Call of the Wilde: Ice tilted too long
by Brian Wilde, CTV Montreal
Published Saturday, May 3, 2014 5:18PM EDT
- The 5-on-3 kill was outstanding as the Habs held the Bruins to no quality chances. Mike Weaver was the key man on the kill as the action rotated to his side. He must be a Hal Gill fan because little Mike did the octopus perfectly to hold the Bruins at bay. Weaver has been such an outstanding addition to the Habs. Defence is a lot about smarts. The right decisions mean so much and Weaver is as smart as they come. He had to be. He's not supposed to be here at 5 foot 8 inches. The goal in the second period was the cherry that he cares about only because it made it 1-1.
- Carey Price. He is the best goalie in the world. Tuukka Rask is the favourite for the Vezina. Price is not nominated.
Price's lateral movement was stunning on a Lucic shot in the second period. Price was going right. Had just pushed off. Had to push off back other way left. I think it might be the single best save I have seen him make because from a point of view of athleticism, most goalies look like complete fools on the wrong side of the net in that scenario. Lucic must have thought: "how is he there in front of me?" I have watched Price start to this point on his career. This is the best he has ever been. It is only natural he is in the Bruins' heads. Ultimately though, he will need more help. He can't work a miracle every night.
- P.K. has been in on every goal it seems for the Habs this playoffs. The TD Garden combines boos with a sense of gasping out of fear when he has the puck. He is a big money player. When it counts most then he finds his best game. Moreover, what a class act. His handling of the racial slurs is perhaps even better than his hockey and that's saying a lot on both accounts.
- Thomas Vanek. The thing about goal scorers is you don't like them sometimes until they put the puck in. Then when they do it twice. Well then you like them a lot. Goals win games. Someone has to score them. Playing a great game in many ways but having no ability to finish is a limiting thing. Vanek is a goal scorer. He had two. He was also one of four guys who met the media yesterday. Not shying away from criticism. That is a character trait that shows how you handle adversity off the ice too. You hear that Max? If you're not aware Wilde readers, Max doesn't come out much when he is struggling. Goal scorers have a certain type of pressure. Vanek gets that.
- Francis Bouillon just didn't have any luck. His partner was outstanding but Bouillon saw two pucks go off his body and into the net. Price is stopping every thing he sees. He can't stop screens and he can't stop two pucks going off Bouillon and changing direction in front of him.
- Pacioretty: 39 goals in the regular season, one in the playoffs. Not there to compete in the corners. He has to find that part of himself that won't accept this. Pacioretty was struggling early in the season and at one point an influential national reporter said that he was a perimeter player. I talked to Pacioretty about it and he was angry. He immediately went on a tear. Pacioretty has to find that inner motivation again. He is a big body. He has to learn to use it more. Win more puck battles. His playoff record is poor. The experience is there. The learning is in the bank now. Time to use the lessons.
- I know there is a lot of animosity for Chara among Habs fans, the memory of the illegal and vicious hit into the stanchion to Pacioretty will live long.
Since then I have seen many times where Chara has held back from destroying a small man. The Bruins would probably love it if Chara intimidated more. Chara, this playoffs, was goaded by the Wings Smith to fight. He could have killed his small adversary but laughed it off instead. Chara also could have massacred Gallagher too this season when the little guy gave up a foot to Chara in a confrontation. There is a reason that boxing has weight categories. Because small men can be destroyed. Chara knows this and he doesn't choose to basically MMA his rivals.
I know the popular narrative on Chara for the brutal act on Pacioretty but think of the damage he could do fighting small men that he chooses not to engage in. I will not forget the heinous act against Pacioretty because the puck was 140 feet away near the Bruins goalie when he lost his cool completely. The NHL's non-suspension was the worst call I have ever seen by the board of safety. I remain enraged that such a flagrant play could not result in a suspension.
From a Boston perspective though, as an objective Montreal reporter, Chara could destroy outside his weight category over and over when challenged by fearless yet illogical small players taking on a 6-foot-9 giant but he walks away. It isn't easy to walk away in the NHL especially from a confrontation you would win. So Chara's habit of not engaging is something positive worth noting since that awful moment Pacioretty was hurt.
- Tuukka Rask was down on his ass swimming for about 5 seconds on the Weaver goal. Get up, man. This isn't a pool. You're gonna win the Vezina. The Vezina winner isn't supposed to be showing off his backstroke.
- The Habs just keep turning away from post whistle hits and face washes. It is almost anti-hockey and it is fascinating to see it work. They have shown it can be done. I would like to see less even up from refs when one guy punches another guy in the face hard and the other protects his face from a second punch to the face. That's not an even up. If the league wants to curtail the after the whistle BS then that's how to do it.
- Claude Julien saying after the game that the Bruins had to put up with a lot of crap was disappointing. So much good in these two games from a hockey point of view. So entertaining. To always always have to angle for an edge even when there has essentially been nothing to gripe about is so tedious. Quit trying to work the refs for 10 minutes. Anyone who knows me knows that I like Julien both as a coach and man, but sorry, you think you put up with crap? I think the only crap floating up around here is listening to you angle the refs for calls in future games.