There’s not a lot I can add to the Montreal Canadiens situation after what’s being bandied about on radio, TV, the internet, morse code, and around the potbelly stove where grandpa sits.
The Canadiens almost went up two games to none over the powerhouse Boston Bruins, but settled instead for a win and a horrifying loss after blowing the lead late in game two. It was enough to drive someone to drink.
But instead of dwelling on what could have been, I’d rather talk about Rene Bourque, the Man Who Wasn’t Helping.
He is now though. For whatever reason.
I find it mind-blowing to see how Rene Bourque has played in the playoffs so far. The guy we wanted gone. The guy who looked uninterested and unmotivated and often half-asleep. Now transformed into a force to be reckoned with.
What happened? Did the thought of being bought out finally sink in? Did he have some sort of awakening while sitting on the couch at home, that maybe if he tried harder he could be a strong and incredibly key guy on the team?
Did a teammate call him out in front of others, which is what I was hoping for?
Or do the Canadiens have a terrific head doctor who made Bourque his pet project?
Whatever it is, I like it, because one can never have enough great skating, great shooting power forwards. It’s what Bourque was supposed to be in the first place when he came here in the Mike Cammalleri trade in the winter of 2012.
But as good as Bourque has been playing, and ditto for Lars Eller – another who many of us were truly disappointed in because we’d seen glimpses of greatness – we now need the DD, Max, Vanek line to stop spinning their wheels and lend a hand.
Vanek scored two the other night, but they were merely tip-ins on the power play, which is great but also one-dimensional. We need these three to dangle and pass the puck around like a pinball, like we saw when Vanek showed up in the first place when the line gelled and we were overcome with giddiness.
Vanek has 5 points in 6 games, which is decent, but his overall play is hesitant at best. DD has 3 points in 6 games and Max also has 3 in 6. All three seem invisible for long stretches, and we know absolutely that they can be much better than that.
But no one knows it better than them. The question is, can they do something about it, like Bourque and Eller somehow managed to do?
Against the Bruins, we need all hands on deck, which isn’t rocket science.
For some reason, whatever the DD line was doing in the regular season seems to be gone at this stage. They look tentative and unwilling. They seem nervous. Their passes aren’t of the pinball variety, they’re more like the kind I make.
And about others, is Brandon Prust (1 point in 6 games and often a non-factor in all aspects) playing at 90%, or 70% or 50%, and is his nagging shoulder the reason his play lacks pizzazz? Almost definitely, to answer my own question.
Should Ryan White replace him and maybe add a spark?
Should Douglas Murray replace Francis Bouillon and help calm down the Brad Marchand, Jarome Iginla, Kevan Miller, Milan Lucic feistiness?
Kudos to Brendan Gallagher, who continues to be a whirling dervish. Kudos to so many, Carey Price and PK Subban especially.
The team’s in the thick of the hunt and it’s all we can ask, except for some great players to pick it up a bit.
Just need some tweaking and three more wins in the next week or so. And again, all hands on deck.
I just heard from two different sources, Marjo and TSN 690, that Rene Bourque has the flu and may not play in game 3. Gawd.