So on Friday the FHF was having our usual email discussions and we thought it would be a trip for all of us to participate in the last regular season game recap. We'll each give you our thoughts, updating this post as the day goes on.
One problem - by the time Panger and yours truly came up with the idea, we're not sure of HF10 and HF4 saw the email. We hope they did. We're like a dysfunctional family - we have problems communicating. Anyway, on with the show.
HF29 - a decent finish to a decent season. That's high praise coming from me! Habs take care of business, avoid any more injuries. That's all that needed to be done. Price showed he's ready to go. We got some sort of freak performance from the new guy (Gregory "Stewie" Stewart), who looked like a Flying Frenchman for most of the game, then showed his true colours in a tilt with McCabe with two seconds left. Not much more really to say.
I'll close with this - 12-0 against one team in a year is not possible. Let's just hope 12-something is. Go Hockey. Pants.
Panger - a great finish to a terrific season. The Habs went beyond all but the most irrationally-passionate fans' expectations. Last night was like so many other games all seasons: solid goaltending, superb special teams, timely goals (although thanks to Paul Maurice for starting Andy "The Sieve" Raycroft) with a few big hits sprinkled in.
I'll close with this: when was the last time we had a collection of young players that all had a shot at being stars? At the least, the list includes TFS (tm), Komo, Higgins, Turtleplek, Big Tits, Little Tits, Rhino, and Guimauve.
HF4 - True or false. The ovations given to Kovy before the game and then to the entire team at its conclusion gave me goose bumps at the Bell Centre last night. None of your business.
It was a truly convincing trifecta of games, with this Captain K short team committing to a defence first approach. They handcuffed the Sens through 60 minutes of nearly perfect hockey. They replicated that effort against the Buffalos. Why not finish off the season in this newly discovered style; one which doesn't sacrifice too much offence, a defense so stifling it makes Jacques Lemaire look like a Harlem Globetrotter.
This season has been about Alex Kovalev. Period. Take the man's picture. Call Wheaties. In the last 3 years, I've often said, imagine what this guy could do if he played an 82-game schedule. Well, it's a bit late to get an answer, but you can argue that Kovy mailed in one of the best seasons ever by a player in his mid-thirties. In terms of imagination, skill, creativity. Kovy threw in a couple of jaw dropping moves a night. He led this team, mentored the youngsters, fostered a new bond with the coach. Most of all, he smiled, almost every night. Kovy probably had the time of his life this year, minus, say, a certain run in 1994.
Kovy had 28 goals through 61 games, meaning that he did trail off a bit. At that very juncture, another player emerged as the real billing. If Kovy's story this year took a page out of the late blossom edition, another proved to be cut from the cloth of the early bloomers. Carey Price owned the final 20 games of the season. His spectacular form finally emerged from its earlier, blander shell. The team responded to his unyielding play with unrelenting confidence; the type they never even demonstrated in front of a formidable Jose Theodore during his Heart Trophy year.
Top scoring team in the NHL. Splendid goaltending. Kovalev painting strokes of wizardry. However the Canadiens fare in the playoffs, 2007-2008 was the best in ages. Ages.
HF10 - An excellent ending to a season that defied all my expectations. Interesting to the last, including something happening to my part of this post (I know it was up ... people commented!) Last night the Habs did what good teams are supposed to do: they beat a team they should beat with a workmanlike performance. And beating the Leafs is always, always, always nice. The "67" chant is also fun ... I hope it becomes as ubiquitous as the "1940" chant used to be.
And now, 1st in the East and a springtime date with the Old Enemy, the Bruins. It doesn't get any better than that. Best rivalry in hockey. Yeah, I said it. Bring it on, and Go Hockey.