Call Of The Wilde: Missed opportunities
Published Saturday, April 22, 2017 11:08PM EDT
Last Updated Sunday, April 23, 2017 9:27AM EDT
The same guys are in this category basically every single night. Radulov was a bull again. Impossible to take off the puck, he made the Rangers pay every time they tried to take a run at him. Guys bounce off him to the ice when they attempt to dispossess him. It was strong play after strong play over and over again. There were times in the season he looked tired, but who cares one bit when this is the playoff version. He was the best Habs forward in this series and honestly it wasn't really close and it should be.
Brendan Gallagher had another night of driving the Rangers crazy. On the forechecking better than anyone on the team and again this should not be. Size doesn’t mean a thing to Gallagher. He goes in against guys a half foot taller and 40 pounds heavier and says that's my puck. A team of Gallaghers and you don't lose.
Emelin took a lot of heat late in the season trying to learn how to play under Julien's different system. It took some time but he redeemed himself pretty well in this series.
Lehkonen can be on my team any day. Expect him to be instrumental in a long playoff run someday somewhere.
Well, the Habs missed a real opportunity here this year. The Rangers shouldn't have too much trouble with the Boston Ottawa winner. The door was open but they couldn't push through so we have to fill this segment up tonight.
You shouldn't need your best players to over achieve in the playoffs but they have to at least live up to the math that they have already established. Max Pacioretty led the team with 35 goals. He in 6 games had to score two or three times to make his math. That's not over-achieving. It's simply doing what you do as expected. The Habs had to have it from their captain and he couldn't deliver. No goals in 6 games. He took a lot of shots but shots aren't goals. You can't win the series with zero goals from the player who is clearly your best goal scorer. I’m not going to say anything stupid like I hear sometimes on talk radio. He was trying his ass off. He cares like crazy. It wasn’t anything to do with anything other than simply not getting the puck in the net. His bottom line was not achieved.
For 5 years Marc Bergevin said getting a centre is hard. People know I think Bergevin is doing a lot right but this he simply has not addressed and he's not getting any Habs glory until he gets a 1C. Danault was a hell of a find but he is not a 1C and with no goals in the playoffs as a 1C it is obviously a massive hole. Marc, win the middle; win the game. It's time to do the hard thing because you're right, getting a 1C is hard so do the hard thing. The definition of insane is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. It's 5 years now. Stop being insane. Get a dominant centre. Give up a big piece to get it.
I reluctantly have to put Carey Price here. Not because Henrik Lundqvist had a higher save percentage. That is stupid. Price doesn't control Lundqvist's save percentage. He controls only his own. It was a strong one. It was higher than his regular season one. However, this game turned on a soft one. A moment Price masters usually. Greatness was required. In the moment that mattered, elimination, he did not provide. In the long run, a goalie needs help. He can't score. If Bergevin doesn't get some help, a truly great goalie who has won it all at every important tournament will have as his only location of failure right here in Montreal. His margin or error here is just too great. A 940 season isn't enough. A 930 playoff isn't enough. One flub and you wear the goat horns for a loss on your shoulders from a mass of fans who don't care about all your other great golden moments. They just hold you accountable for your inability to steal one as if only 970 is good enough.
Alex Galchenyuk is another who just did not do the math required. He had to come up with 2 goals to achieve at his regular season pace. He got zero. If Galchenyuk and Pacioretty do their math, the Habs are still playing hockey. Add 2 goals from Pacioretty and 2 more from Galchenyuk and the Habs got a chance. You can't always get overachieving but you simply can't have underachieving from your best players. The Habs had that and it's not good enough.
Julien did a great job with the Habs. They were a mission to abject failure before he took over. He did a great job turning the club around. The PK went from 22nd to first. He did as well as he could with this group. However that obsession with Dwight King I simply do not get. Mitchell was playing very well and he was sidelined while King was never rotated out while doing little. I assume Bergevin was in on this discussion as a lot of line up discussions would include him when so much is on the line. Just don't get it. Don't get King. Apart from that, not much to pick apart in the coaching. Like the proverbial horse that you can lead to water but can't make him drink, a coach can get the players close to net but he can't shoot it for them when they get there.
I think that there will be trades this summer. Bergevin won't stand pat anymore. Galchenyuk I think will be traded. Beaulieu didn't even finish the season playing and he won't be protected in the expansion draft so he will be traded. The Habs need a 1C. I believe Galchenyuk, Beaulieu and the Habs first round draft choice will get that 1C. This club isn't going anywhere until they do this trade. I had a strong belief in this club. That they could get through the Rangers, face a weak second round opponent to make it to the conference final. I was wrong. They ran into the brick wall that is weak at centre. One goal from their three top centres in 6 games. How the hell can you not address that issue now after 5 seasons. Trading is hard. Yes I know. So do the hard thing? Nickel and diming other GMs to improve your support pieces is impressive. Waiver wire magic is also very impressive. Kudos all around from all the vast hockey community for that. Well done. But support pieces don't win cups. Top quality guys who come through win cups. It is time for action at the centre position instead of platitudes.
Final thought: The cup is the only thing that matters in Montreal. The GM needs to ask himself honesty who is in the get you through column and who is in the get you to column on his hockey team, then make the tough calls and clear out some "to".