Habs Fever: An opportunity lost
Michael Cammalleri speaks with reporters Wednesday night about the victory over the Kings.(Nov. 24,2010)
Published Wednesday, December 1, 2010 11:18PM EST
You could feel it coming the entire night. The better team never led until the final moment, but the just result was found. The Habs were relying on the hot hand of Carey Price, but in the end he could not stop a tidal wave of some of the highest quality chances that the Habs have given up this year.
The Habs have had a solid habit of forcing chances to the outside this season, but not in this one. The chances were just too good for a 60 minute game. What happened was inevitable.
Roman Hamrlik was not shy in his assessment of his players saying he felt the team was selfish. You have to like an honest assessment like that. The opposite is blinders get put on and no one ever improved by not admitting there was improvement to do.
PK Subban offered the same honest and open assessment of the evening as he said that he blew the two goals he was on the ice for. The shorthanded marker PK is absolutely right. The Habs are up by one and it makes no sense to take chances. The OT winner was however more on the shoulders of Mike Cammalleri.
That brings us to the contrast that was Cammmalleri. Whereas you had Hamrlik and Subban standing up and pointing heat at themselves, you had the opposite from Cammalleri.
Now I'm going to lay some serious criticism for maybe the first time this year. There was nothing to like about Cammalleri on the winner, but the attitude in the room was perhaps more discouraging.
It is overtime and the game is on the line and Cammalleri is gliding back to Dustin Penner. He did not even offer a single stride in an attempt to catch Penner. Perhaps he thought it was fruitless. It doesn't matter whether it looks hopeless or not. You chase that breakaway like your life depends on it. If Penner feels even a little heat and is rushed a little bit, the outcome can be different.
But to glide in, not good enough. The pre season is the only place you want to see a player gliding, in an attempt to stop the winning goal in OT.
So now if you are a player and you have blown the winning goal, there is only one thing to do in the locker room after - MAN UP!
Cammalleri said when asked twice about it "I don't know. I will have to look at the replay". If you really have that little awareness of the play as a pro, that is probably even more shameful. However, we know Cammalleri knows exactly what happened on that goal. That he chooses to hide behind ignorance of the moment instead of sacking up is not something that he should be proud of.
This is a guy I was touting as the captain in the first half of last season. That is not captain's behaviour. Cammalleri has to look in a mirror right now. There is plenty of time to change the attitude, but more of this will not endear him to intelligent Montreal hockey fans.
Habs fans get what it means to take responsibility on the ice. They can recognize a small mistake from the 500 level. This won't wash with them. I guarantee many are already upset at the gliding attitude on the winner and the turnover and when they hear the lack of responsibility taken on the winner, they are going to get angrier.
What a contrast! The kid Subban rises above the fray to basically take blame for the loss and put it on his shoulders. The veteran Cammalleri hides behind a clever answer that nobody in the media, including myself who heard him say it to me and then five minutes later to Louis Jean, called him on it.
Try to guess years from now of the two who is going to own this town?
Chalk this one up as a lesson that needed to be learned against a supposedly weak team: That if you don't play within the system then you will get burned.
However, that doesn't give us any off ice solution for not facing the music a little. I mean let's get serious here. How hard would it have been for Cammalleri to take his mates off the hook and just simply say "I blew that one". Your teammates would have respected and honoured that. Honour among mates wins championships. A lack of honour divides rooms.
Frankly, it was an opportunity lost to be your best self in the face of adversity.
Because it is through adversity that we all show our truest nature. Adversity is often our defining moment. The one that stands out in the memories of our lives.
Ask yourself then of the two men that blew the third period and overtime against the Oilers which one has peace of mind tonight.