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Random NHL Thoughts On Players, Teams, and Divisions


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I do these threads once in a while.
Just stuff off the top of my head, usually with a satirical spin...sometimes a downright sardonic spin.... of things that don't really need their own thread.
Others can feel free to comment on anything I post here, keeping it hockey related of course.
The more entertaining, the better.... :shifty: 

I'll start with the defending two time Cup Champions and my home area team, the Tampa Bay Lightning over in the Atlantic.
Man, it sure took them awhile, but it finally looks like "Cup Hangover" has gotten ahold of them.
They usually take care of the teams they SHOULD beat....but look awfully drunk against the contenders, which of course, DOESN'T bode well for the playoffs!
Then again, the post season is a different animal and teams like Toronto, Florida, Carolina, etc still gotta show they can beat the Champs in a post season scenario.
If I were the Bolts though, I'd put away the Captain Morgan (or vintage Vodka in the case of Kucherov) before the post season starts....

Staying with the Atlantic, I am forced to give the Toronto Maple Leaves® some dues.... they are actually playing better defense this season! The one thing everyone always seems to harp on them about.
They do seem tougher to play against while still maintaining their explosive offense.
Of course, goaltending may still be an issue come the post season and if they happen to draw Boston, old feelings of "Oh crap, not again" may creep in as the Bruins have been quite the nemesis for them on a couple of playoff occasions.
Could the Leaves® buck all these trends, or will other teams see their goalie and think, "Serve up the Campbell's, Toronto is good food"? We will see....

 

The Colorado Avalanche.
A favorite of many to win it all this year. Gotta admit, I was not sold on these guys as a complete team.
That said, I have slowly started to gain respect for their overall play and view them as more than just a one line team.
Like Toronto however, I do have to wonder about their goaltending. Can Darcy Kuemper, former Wild and former Coyote, REALLY be the answer for them?
And if the Avs lose a key player then get bounced, will their fans once again cry about "but we didn't have %%%%% guy in the lineup"?
Maybe they will just plow through the West as expected..... though their first round opponent, one of Dallas, Nashville, or Vegas likely....may have something to say about it.

 

Calgary Flames.
Are sneering at the above team and think they have just as good a shot. And I can't blame them.
They have certainly looked damned good and play in a manner, under Daryl Sutter, that is well suited for the post season.
But, ummmm, will Johnny Hockey, Elias Lindholm, and Matthew Tkachuk get the playoff memo and play that way when it really counts?
I realize many people take Spring vacations but this is NO time for those guys to start thinking about the Key West in the U.S....

And I'll finish this opening post with the Vancouver Canucks and the Montreal Canadiens.
Both playing much better hockey under Bruce Boudreau and Martin St. Louis respectively.
Both are going to miss the playoffs and both did what they felt was needed at the deadline to improve their chances come next year.

The Canucks will simply have to become tougher overall (let's face it, single ply toilet paper is tougher than their defense is on most nights) because they have a very bright goalie in Thatcher Demko, now in his prime, whom they don't want to waste with mediocre and soft play!

The Habs will need to remain patient with their youth, possibly retain one or two competent vets who won't mind going through a rebuild, and stay the course in what is shaping up to be a very tough Atlantic division.
Marty St. Louis has shown throughout his playing career that he doesn't believe in succumbing to the odds against.
Let's see if he can do that, and instill that mindset to his players, as a head coach.

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On 4/8/2022 at 1:22 PM, TropicalFruitGirl26 said:

my home area team, the Tampa Bay Lightning over in the Atlantic.
Man, it sure took them awhile, but it finally looks like "Cup Hangover" has gotten ahold of them.

….
 

I am forced to give the Toronto Maple Leaves® some dues.... they are actually playing better defense this season! The one thing everyone always seems to harp on them about.
They do seem tougher to play against while still maintaining their explosive offense.

 

….

 

 We will see....


And if the playoffs started today, the most interesting matchup would be Lightning ⛈ and Leafs 🍂.

 

-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-

 

An Open Thread.  Perfect.  Might as well throw it out here.  (Not that my words are wiser than anyone else’s. 😉)

 

Mkay, I would like to see the Caps win at least one playoff round.  (Easier if they overcome Pittsburgh in their last 9 games to avoid the Miami Ice, errr, I mean the Florida Panthers.)  Finally win a round since the 2018 Cup .  And yes the situation for Russian players is dicey and of unknown complexity for each individual and their loved ones back home… 
 

…But given present circumstances, the optics would just be horrible if in late June or early July, Commisioner Gary Bettman were to utter the words, “Alexander Ovechkin, come get the Stanley Cup!”

 

Even if he rephrased, the optics would be unfortunate given the well-publicized past stance and support provided by the Washington captain for a certain leader.  (No matter how “dumb” or uninformed such statements and actions were at that earlier time, or how much regret there might be now.)

 

So I’m hoping for Capitals success, but only middling success.  (Since what a mess.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by SaucyJack
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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, SaucyJack said:


And if the playoffs started today, the most interesting matchup would be Lightning ⛈ and Leafs 🍂.

 

-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-

 

An Open Thread.  Perfect.  Might as well throw it out here.  (Not that my words are wiser than anyone else’s. 😉)

 

Mkay, I would like to see the Caps win at least one playoff round.  (Easier if they overcome Pittsburgh in their last 9 games to avoid the Miami Ice, errr, I mean the Florida Panthers.)  Finally win a round since the 2018 Cup .  And yes the situation for Russian players is dicey and of unknown complexity for each individual and their loved ones back home… 
 

 

Based on today's match ups, I rather like the NYR-Pitts match up too, even though I have no dog in that fight.

Up n coming Rangers vs grizzled Pittsburgh core looking for glory for perhaps the last time? Yea, a bit intriguing.
Minnesota-St. Louis, and Calgary-Nashville could be entertaining bruising affairs as well!

Also, I know some fans are hardest on their own teams (I can be that way with my own Bolts and Wild...and to a lesser degree the Canucks), but, I wouldn't call a Wsh-Fla series a "gimme" for the Panthers.

Yes, the Panthers look all kinds of awesome, as they have all year, but well, let's just say I knew a certain REGULAR season great team that got shell shocked and swept away in the first round after winning 62 regular season games!

Now, not saying the Caps are gonna sweep anyone away (or even that they will win their series), but, the Panthers are still rather new to this whole "Look we are a winning team!" thing....and as we ALL KNOW, the playoffs are a different colored beast, with match ups, with grudges, with wily veterans (the Caps have a few of those!), and a bunch of other nuances that you simply don't find in the regular season on a game to game basis.

As great as the Panthers have looked, I still wonder whether they are fully ready for the mental grind of pounding out 4 series to win it all!
The core of the Capitals know what that trek is like, and I expect them to ramp things up in the playoffs.

And if the Florida players believe their own hype, they could find themselves in trouble against a Washington team that has looked pretty average to above average during the season, but could be laying in the weeds, as it were, for someone to underestimate them come playoff time.

I'd pick Florida as favorites in a match up with the Caps, yes....but then, I could say Avs-Panthers in the Finals, and it wouldn't necessarily make it so.
There are some teams lurking around looking to ruin some "top tier" teams' hopes and dreams. I suspect the Capitals are one such lurker...

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1 hour ago, TropicalFruitGirl26 said:

let's just say I knew a certain REGULAR season great team that got shell shocked and swept away in the first round after winning 62 regular season games!


Yes, much thanks to Tampa Bay for finishing first with 128 points only to get swept by Columbus in 2019’s first round.  
 

That took the monkey 🙈 off the Capitals who owned the previous Big Choke by finishing with 121 points only to blow a 3-1 first round game lead to Montreal in the horrible spring of 2010.

 

Ah, the memories.

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Los Angeles Kings.

The EPITOME of a complete roulette playoff team!
You just never know what you will get from these guys. They can look damned good against teams like Florida, Calgary, and Nashville....then totally shat the bed against the likes of Seattle, Vegas, and San Jose!

You've got a solid veteran core there led by Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown, Drew Doughty (though he is currently on the shelf), and Alexander Edler, and some promising young players like Quinton Byfield and Gabriel Vilardi, as well as some players that SHOULD be playing better than they are, like Viktor Arvidsson, Alex Iafallo, and Adrian Kempe.

What this adds up to, is a team that can really be all over the place on a game to game basis.

Right now, it looks like they are matched up with the Oilers and while Edmonton has some issues of their own, they also have two of the best forwards in the entire league playing for them who are more than capable of exploiting a Kings team that doesn't come fully prepared for battle in a series!

LA will have some interesting decisions to make in the off season regardless of what happens in the playoffs (lots of UFAs and RFAs), and it is critical they "get things right" if they want to have a team that is long term viable, as well as possibly getting one last run or two from their aging core.

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2 hours ago, TropicalFruitGirl26 said:

 

Based on today's match ups, I rather like the NYR-Pitts match up too, even though I have no dog in that fight.

Up n coming Rangers vs grizzled Pittsburgh core looking for glory for perhaps the last time? Yea, a bit intriguing.
Minnesota-St. Louis, and Calgary-Nashville could be entertaining bruising affairs as well!

Also, I know some fans are hardest on their own teams (I can be that way with my own Bolts and Wild...and to a lesser degree the Canucks), but, I wouldn't call a Wsh-Fla series a "gimme" for the Panthers.

Yes, the Panthers look all kinds of awesome, as they have all year, but well, let's just say I knew a certain REGULAR season great team that got shell shocked and swept away in the first round after winning 62 regular season games!

Now, not saying the Caps are gonna sweep anyone away (or even that they will win their series), but, the Panthers are still rather new to this whole "Look we are a winning team!" thing....and as we ALL KNOW, the playoffs are a different colored beast, with match ups, with grudges, with wily veterans (the Caps have a few of those!), and a bunch of other nuances that you simply don't find in the regular season on a game to game basis.

As great as the Panthers have looked, I still wonder whether they are fully ready for the mental grind of pounding out 4 series to win it all!
The core of the Capitals know what that trek is like, and I expect them to ramp things up in the playoffs.

And if the Florida players believe their own hype, they could find themselves in trouble against a Washington team that has looked pretty average to above average during the season, but could be laying in the weeds, as it were, for someone to underestimate them come playoff time.

I'd pick Florida as favorites in a match up with the Caps, yes....but then, I could say Avs-Panthers in the Finals, and it wouldn't necessarily make it so.
There are some teams lurking around looking to ruin some "top tier" teams' hopes and dreams. I suspect the Capitals are one such lurker...

Rangers would easily win the series! Pittsburgh would not put up a fight. It  would be sweep by the Rangers. I would be surprised if The Pens win a game let alone a series. I would have a heart attack if they wlin a series.

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2 hours ago, TropicalFruitGirl26 said:

 

Based on today's match ups, I rather like the NYR-Pitts match up too, even though I have no dog in that fight.

Up n coming Rangers vs grizzled Pittsburgh core looking for glory for perhaps the last time? Yea, a bit intriguing.
Minnesota-St. Louis, and Calgary-Nashville could be entertaining bruising affairs as well!

Also, I know some fans are hardest on their own teams (I can be that way with my own Bolts and Wild...and to a lesser degree the Canucks), but, I wouldn't call a Wsh-Fla series a "gimme" for the Panthers.

Yes, the Panthers look all kinds of awesome, as they have all year, but well, let's just say I knew a certain REGULAR season great team that got shell shocked and swept away in the first round after winning 62 regular season games!

Now, not saying the Caps are gonna sweep anyone away (or even that they will win their series), but, the Panthers are still rather new to this whole "Look we are a winning team!" thing....and as we ALL KNOW, the playoffs are a different colored beast, with match ups, with grudges, with wily veterans (the Caps have a few of those!), and a bunch of other nuances that you simply don't find in the regular season on a game to game basis.

As great as the Panthers have looked, I still wonder whether they are fully ready for the mental grind of pounding out 4 series to win it all!
The core of the Capitals know what that trek is like, and I expect them to ramp things up in the playoffs.

And if the Florida players believe their own hype, they could find themselves in trouble against a Washington team that has looked pretty average to above average during the season, but could be laying in the weeds, as it were, for someone to underestimate them come playoff time.

I'd pick Florida as favorites in a match up with the Caps, yes....but then, I could say Avs-Panthers in the Finals, and it wouldn't necessarily make it so.
There are some teams lurking around looking to ruin some "top tier" teams' hopes and dreams. I suspect the Capitals are one such lurker...

Pens are one nd done gainst any one they play. They play as if they lost interest. And yes I alm a Pens fan!

 

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54 minutes ago, SaucyJack said:


Yes, much thanks to Tampa Bay for finishing first with 128 points only to get swept by Columbus in 2019’s first round.  
 

That took the monkey 🙈 off the Capitals who owned the previous Big Choke by finishing with 121 points only to blow a 3-1 first round game lead to Montreal in the horrible spring of 2010.

 

Ah, the me

 

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12 minutes ago, notfondajane said:

Rangers would easily win the series! Pittsburgh would not put up a fight. It  would be sweep by the Rangers. I would be surprised if The Pens win a game let alone a series. I would have a heart attack if they wlin a series.

 

 

Jeebus!
And I thought @SaucyJack was tough on HIS team! 😄

Not that I would want you to have a heart attack, but I think the Pens stand a good shot against the Rangers.
NY, like Florida in many ways, still need to learn the "ways of the playoffs" against a veteran core like what you have in Pittsburgh.

Igor Shesterkin is good...real good.... but I have also seem him play like a KHL reject as well!

I am by NO means a Crosby fan (more like competitive angst than him as a person), but I'd be foolish to think he isn't hungry enough to get his team riled up good for a playoff match up!

Ummm...EXCEPT Evgeni Malkin-Stein... he doesn't need any riling up.
In fact, #71 riled up usually means a PP for the opposition...

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11 minutes ago, TropicalFruitGirl26 said:

 

 

Jeebus!
And I thought @SaucyJack was tough on HIS team! 😄

Not that I would want you to have a heart attack, but I think the Pens stand a good shot against the Rangers.
NY, like Florida in many ways, still need to learn the "ways of the playoffs" against a veteran core like what you have in Pittsburgh.

Igor Shesterkin is good...real good.... but I have also seem him play like a KHL reject as well!

I am by NO means a Crosby fan (more like competitive angst than him as a person), but I'd be foolish to think he isn't hungry enough to get his team riled up good for a playoff match up!

Ummm...EXCEPT Evgeni Malkin-Stein... he doesn't need any riling up.
In fact, #71 riled up usually means a PP for the opposition...

I dont think the Pens are hungry enough to go deep in the playoffs. They are struggling just to cinch a playoff spot. I really dont think they dont want to win anything. It sounds like they dont care. 

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1 hour ago, SaucyJack said:


Yes, much thanks to Tampa Bay for finishing first with 128 points only to get swept by Columbus in 2019’s first round.  
 

That took the monkey 🙈 off the Capitals who owned the previous Big Choke by finishing with 121 points only to blow a 3-1 first round game lead to Montreal in the horrible spring of 2010.

1 hour ago, SaucyJack said:


Yes, much thanks to Tampa Bay for finishing first with 128 points only to get swept by Columbus in 2019’s first round.  
 

That took the monkey 🙈 off the Capitals who owned the previous Big Choke by finishing with 121 points only to blow a 3-1 first round game lead to Montreal in the horrible spring of 2010.

 

Ah, the memories.

 

Ah, the memories.

That was the year the tuxedo birds closed the Civic Arena. They opened it with 2-1 lose to Montreal. They lost game 7 to Montreal I believe 7-4 to close it out. That is what Pens management wanted. They could have and should have the Cup that year. 

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16 minutes ago, notfondajane said:

the year the tuxedo birds closed the Civic Arena. They opened it with 2-1 lose to Montreal. They lost game 7 to Montreal I believe 7-4 to close it out. That is what Pens management wanted. They could have and should have the Cup that year.


I suppose the 2010 playoffs are a reminder of what lower seeds can accomplish.  Eastern final with #7 Philly beating #8 Montreal.  (But had Pittsburgh advanced instead, that was back when the Blackhawks were pretty good.)

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2 hours ago, SaucyJack said:


I suppose the 2010 playoffs are a reminder of what lower seeds can accomplish.  Eastern final with #7 Philly beating #8 Montreal.  (But had Pittsburgh advanced instead, that was back when the Blackhawks were pretty good.)

I still believe the Penguins would have won if Penguin ownership wouldnt have wanted bookend losses to Montreal to close out the Civic Arena. Im guessing it is supposed to be a nice story. My question why not go deep in the playoffs?

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On 4/8/2022 at 2:22 PM, TropicalFruitGirl26 said:

errr.jpg.3a59297e48140d7fb04067b8f15ec9ae.jpg

 

I do these threads once in a while.
Just stuff off the top of my head, usually with a satirical spin...sometimes a downright sardonic spin.... of things that don't really need their own thread.
Others can feel free to comment on anything I post here, keeping it hockey related of course.
The more entertaining, the better.... :shifty: 

I'll start with the defending two time Cup Champions and my home area team, the Tampa Bay Lightning over in the Atlantic.
Man, it sure took them awhile, but it finally looks like "Cup Hangover" has gotten ahold of them.
They usually take care of the teams they SHOULD beat....but look awfully drunk against the contenders, which of course, DOESN'T bode well for the playoffs!
Then again, the post season is a different animal and teams like Toronto, Florida, Carolina, etc still gotta show they can beat the Champs in a post season scenario.
If I were the Bolts though, I'd put away the Captain Morgan (or vintage Vodka in the case of Kucherov) before the post season starts....

Staying with the Atlantic, I am forced to give the Toronto Maple Leaves® some dues.... they are actually playing better defense this season! The one thing everyone always seems to harp on them about.
They do seem tougher to play against while still maintaining their explosive offense.
Of course, goaltending may still be an issue come the post season and if they happen to draw Boston, old feelings of "Oh crap, not again" may creep in as the Bruins have been quite the nemesis for them on a couple of playoff occasions.
Could the Leaves® buck all these trends, or will other teams see their goalie and think, "Serve up the Campbell's, Toronto is good food"? We will see....

 

The Colorado Avalanche.
A favorite of many to win it all this year. Gotta admit, I was not sold on these guys as a complete team.
That said, I have slowly started to gain respect for their overall play and view them as more than just a one line team.
Like Toronto however, I do have to wonder about their goaltending. Can Darcy Kuemper, former Wild and former Coyote, REALLY be the answer for them?
And if the Avs lose a key player then get bounced, will their fans once again cry about "but we didn't have %%%%% guy in the lineup"?
Maybe they will just plow through the West as expected..... though their first round opponent, one of Dallas, Nashville, or Vegas likely....may have something to say about it.

 

Calgary Flames.
Are sneering at the above team and think they have just as good a shot. And I can't blame them.
They have certainly looked damned good and play in a manner, under Daryl Sutter, that is well suited for the post season.
But, ummmm, will Johnny Hockey, Elias Lindholm, and Matthew Tkachuk get the playoff memo and play that way when it really counts?
I realize many people take Spring vacations but this is NO time for those guys to start thinking about the Key West in the U.S....

And I'll finish this opening post with the Vancouver Canucks and the Montreal Canadiens.
Both playing much better hockey under Bruce Boudreau and Martin St. Louis respectively.
Both are going to miss the playoffs and both did what they felt was needed at the deadline to improve their chances come next year.

The Canucks will simply have to become tougher overall (let's face it, single ply toilet paper is tougher than their defense is on most nights) because they have a very bright goalie in Thatcher Demko, now in his prime, whom they don't want to waste with mediocre and soft play!

The Habs will need to remain patient with their youth, possibly retain one or two competent vets who won't mind going through a rebuild, and stay the course in what is shaping up to be a very tough Atlantic division.
Marty St. Louis has shown throughout his playing career that he doesn't believe in succumbing to the odds against.
Let's see if he can do that, and instill that mindset to his players, as a head coach.

TFG is this your picture?

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1 hour ago, notfondajane said:

the Penguins would have won if Penguin ownership wouldnt have wanted bookend losses to Montreal to close out the Civic Arena.


Did the League give up on getting to the bottom of this?  E.g., which Penguins players were coerced (or bribed, perhaps threatened) to throw the final game?  (And a playoff game no less.)

 

Or do I misunderstand you or the implications of your suspicions here?

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I think the biggest question to who will go on from the first round will be which team gets the snot beat out of them, while the refs look on and ignore. 
It happens every year.

Two teams play and it gets nasty and the refs swallow the whistle until one team gets injured to the point of being helpless. 

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10 hours ago, SaucyJack said:


Did the League give up on getting to the bottom of this?  E.g., which Penguins players were coerced (or bribed, perhaps threatened) to throw the final game?  (And a playoff game no less.)

 

Or do I misunderstand you or the implications of your suspicions here?

Series went 7 games. It look like the Pens gave an effort. The Pens didnt really an effort to win game 7! Management might have told the league it would be better if the habs had won the series. It makes for a cute story! Yes it pissed me off. Still does

 

 

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2 hours ago, TropicalFruitGirl26 said:

 

Yes. Poorly superimposed on a background, I'm afraid. 

Since I will probably be babbling about in this thread, I thought that photo captured perfectly, my "babble face".  😄

I would do something like this if I knew how to do it. Plus my looks would destroy anything that it touches.

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5 hours ago, Tomdog said:

I think the biggest question to who will go on from the first round will be which team gets the snot beat out of them, while the refs look on and ignore. 
It happens every year.

Two teams play and it gets nasty and the refs swallow the whistle until one team gets injured to the point of being helpless. 

It happens in the regular season also

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An article in the Athletic mention playoffs participation odds of 88% for Nashville and Dallas, and 51% for Vegas. They forgot the 4th odd-man: the Kings, which I believe will fail, thank to the overall huge sucking of the Pacific division. And the Dreadful Coyotes left this division...

 

The Stars have a long and storied pedigree of shooting themselves in the foot. So pointing out their easy schedule is wrong IMO. They lost at home against terrible teams like the Habs and the Devils, got pounded by the Kraken as well. I would be more comfortable if they would have finished their schedule with back-to-back games in Carolina and Colorado rather than receiving the Coyotes and the Ducks. They have already failed to make the playoffs once with something like 95-96 pts, usually getting to 97 ensure you to be in the postseason. So if they play for .500 from now it would be sufficient. Bottomline: this might translate into a Bowness extension, which tremendously stinks. But maybe not if they get molested by the Avalanche. The paradox is, the Stars have the team to shut them down and to make things really difficult for them.

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Tampa Bay Lightning OFFICIALLY punch their ticket to the postseason, thus now with a chance to defend their two Cups!
They beat the Anaheim Ducks 4-3 in OT, but the Champs sure didn't make things easy on themselves.

Originally up 2-0 on an Anaheim team that is going nowhere this year, then fall behind to the same fowl 3-2 before tying it up, then winning in the extra session.
These Bolts don't look nearly as dangerous as the two teams that won Cups the past couple years, but I will hold out hope they get their chemistry together in time for the post season...likely against the Leaves®, but they could also find themselves as the 2nd WC and thus thrown into the Metro division against whomever wins that.

What the Bolts are attempting is monumentally hard and as a diehard fan, I am preparing myself for the possibility that they will be taken out in Round 1 or 2, but dammit...they are IN!
Now I just want that 3rd Cup no excuses!


I can be greedy like that... :shifty: 
 

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Carey Price.

FINALLY.....the Price has come BACK....to Monnnn-treeeal!
Price will be making his season debut tonight, at home, against the NY Islanders, as he tries to step in and help the Habs make the play...errr, hold on.
Let me start again.

Carey Price, making his season debut, is ready to...
Errr, wait. It says the Habs are on Game 75 of 82. Is that a typo? Did they really mean Game 57? Oh, we ARE in April so, Game 75 seems right.

Soooo, Price making his season debut for the Montreal Canadiens, spelling incumbent Jake Allen, who has done a stellar job in his abse....no, no, that isn't right either. Allen wasn't that good.....nor was Montembeault....nor was Primeau....

Carey Price.
Makes his season debut, and he'll be damned if he recognizes anyone on the team anymore, INCLUDING the faces behind the bench!

Umm, so yea.
There you go.
Price. Back on the ice. Playing out the string.
Maybe auditioning for someone else....unless he has the stomach for a rebuild, but I doubt that at age 34.

You Carey Price fans. There he is.
Helping Marty St. Louis further build up the confidence of this group, particularly the younger guys.

Because that is all Montreal has left in this season, after all.
It IS Game 75 you know. April and all that.....

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