The Curtain Closes

And just like that, it comes to a crashing halt.

Blanked 1-0 in game six at Madison Square Garden and the Canadiens’ season closes way too soon. We wanted more but I guess fans of every team except the Cup winner want more and don’t get it.

It was a game where the Habs had a blanket thrown over them almost from start to finish, a game they never found themselves truly in, a game where passes were off, they were checked into the ground, and the flow never flowed.

The Rangers tightened things up so much, Montreal, fighting for their lives, could only muster five shots in the first, eight in the second, and just five in the third when they should’ve been pulling out all the stops.

The attack was non-existent. So was pressure on Henrik Lundqvist. And the Rangers move on to the Stanley Cup Final and the Canadiens say their goodbyes in the next few days and spread out to different corners of the planet.

It’s a tad shocking as I pound the keyboard with two fingers. We had so many hopes and dreams that ended before they were supposed to. It sucks when the hopes and dreams don’t pan out.

This also isn’t  a night to say this guy didn’t do this or that guy didn’t do that. It just wouldn’t feel right.

It’s a night, for me at least, to look back and appreciate the terrific season the Montreal Canadiens gave us. One of only four teams left standing. How great was that?

Carey Price was on the sidelines, Dustin Tokarski stepped in, and the goaltending never lost a beat. But against the Rangers in this game especially, the team in front of Tokarski looked to have run out of gas while the Rangers still had a full tank.

In the next six months there will be some tweaking, some guys gone, a couple of young defenceman will find themselves with regular jobs, our kids like Alex Galchenyuk and Michael Bournival will have another valuable season under their belts, and PK Subban will get signed and continue on his road to the league’s best d-man.

We can get into changes and non-changes in the next while. It’ll be interesting to see what Marc Bergevin decides to do. I just hope Dale Weise, who had only signed a one-year contract, is in the plans.

We missed Weise’s character in this game six because of John Moore. Who is John Moore again?

This run has made our guys better. The experience is invaluable. Next year they’ll be one of the elite teams, one that when playoff time rolls around, they’ll be be a force and that parade will be much more of a possibility.

I’m truly proud of them. They gave us a great year, but they just aren’t quite there yet. Next year they will be because it’s a large and strong nucleus that make up our Montreal Canadiens, and the near future looks extremely bright.

One final note before it’s lights off. As I mention every year when the Habs season draws to a close, I don’t go away. This blog carries on throughout the summer so please continue to stop by.

Tomorrow’s another day. It’s also my weekly beer day at the local pub!



32 thoughts on “The Curtain Closes”

  1. They played horribly is there a chance of a fix in all of this cause subban played like an rookie Markov sucked I don’t even want to talk about vanek….anyway thanks for all your blogs and I’m coming to Montreal next year for sure with my aircanada buddy so can you get good seats and I’m still looking for Montreal Canadiens bobble heads….thanks Dennis for a very exciting year

  2. Sorry about the loss tonight. Never met so many Habs fans on the west coast. Wasn’t the goalie’s fault. Was a good run. If you get a chance, tell Nilan I’m still listening. Cheers!!

  3. We are extremely fortunate to have been blessed with a hard hearted hard working team that gave us the thrills and chills of an amazing season of glorious hockey. Thank you all to all who donned the jersey with hard work , honor and class . You give us faith and a reason to believe with the effort you give every single game . I am honoured to be a fan and thank all you players for doing your best game in game out ! Proud Habs fan to the end

  4. Kinda hard to make myself clear on a keyboard, but here goes—we hear of “rebuilding for future” a lot over the years, we may have heard it when Bergeron became GM also. It gets to wear one’s patience to say the least!! BUT this playoff run leaves me at peace with our team. Yes there’s obvious changes to be made–which other folks are paid to decide about. The “tweaking” moves at the trade deadline Wiese, Weaver were bigger then “tweaking” He seems to have a feel for players potential and impact on the team. Yes, yes there’s the Vanishing Vaneck— hopefully we’ll hear soon what happened there. I,m sure the GM will have a shopping list this summer. Hopefully this run left the boys hungry for next year and if they “get no respect” they can just go about their business.There are more folks in the various hockey rinks when the Habs are in town— that may be to see them get beat, but it also translates as a form of respect. More would have been great this spring, but this year’s run is the best I’ve felt about our team. Dennis, for ALL your diligence in “keeping us posted” thru current affairs and amused with your endless supply of memories , I say THANK YOU!!!!! Looking forward to what you have for us this summer. In closing–fellow fans hold your head up,the boys may have run out of gas too early, BUT THEY GAVE US 7 GAMES OF BLISS WITH BOSTON!!! We beat those bums and saw some awesome hockey in the process.

  5. I’m not going to spend one line dissing anyone. They gave us thrills, hopes and almost made it. Tokarski is world class and did us and himself proud. I believe that we might have taken it with a healthy Price, especially in games 2 and 3, but who knows? Last night we certainly missed a healthy feisty Weise and Emelin. But, again, who knows? Thanks for your great blog. I will certainly be back to check on it from time to time over the summer.
    Habs fans are forever… a great classy team from the most passionate hockey city in the NHL.

  6. It was a great, great run, and getting to see them rubbing Boston’s noses in the dogshit was worth it all for me this playoff season.

    You have to give credit to New York last night, totally. They played immaculate, textbook defence. They ruled the neutral zone. It didn’t help that Montreal’s d-men played like grandmas, especially Beaulieu and Markov. But enough about that.

    Like others have said before me, this amazing run has only made this team better. I look forward to next season even moreso now. With a great management team behind them, a smart head coach, and great core, I think this team is poised to join the truly elite teams in league.
    I really do think there will be some players gone after these playoffs. I don’t think Gionta will be back. Nor Vanek (that goes without saying). I’m wondering if Beaulieu will have competition from Tinordi for a job next season as well. When the pressure was on, Beaulieu seemed to crumble. I think it should be a no-brainer to re-sign Weise to something like a 2-yr deal, he’s a real character player, a core piece. And the last question is Budaj. I think he has 1 year left on his contract, but now that Tokarski has blossomed, Budaj isn’t really needed now, is he ? All interesting questions that may, or may now be answered in the off-season.

    BTW, who the f*ck is John Moore ?

  7. The positives from this season are plentiful! Our GM is a shrewd judge of character and added quality for a song. Our coach does have a system (although maddening) that pays off in post-season. Our team team has a bright future. And continues to serve in the best way possible as my Canadiens fix from far away (we’ll be moving from New Orleans to the NW corner of Louisiana in 3 weeks, about 2 hours from Dallas) .

    The pluses include ripping the guts out of the Senators (the team I dislike the most) late in the season, ending the run of two obnoxious groups (Boston and HNiC), and watch Rene Bourque just explode during the post-season.

    The bummers include the disappearance of the Captain and Vanek in April and May, the timid play of Max during the Rangers series, and having my favorite, Moen, in the press box when the team needed another muscle out there.

    I believe 24/7/365! Go Habs Go!

  8. Good run from a pesky hard working team Habby fans …

    Nice job on A-hole Bruins to…

    …reluctant compliment from Leaf Fan

    have a good summer ..

    til the draft ….GO Leafs Go…..

  9. Thanks Leaf Fan. Maybe one of these days the Leafs and Habs will clash in the playoffs, which would be great fun.

  10. Mike M., one of these days you have to tell me how such an intelligent Habs fan with excellent thoughts can be in the deep south and have such a love for the team and hockey. For example, what did you do before the internet came along? It’s awesome.

  11. Excellent, Travis. I think Gionta and Vanek are gone too. And what about Markov? There’s a big decision. I think both Tinordi and Beaulieu will be regulars next year. Beaulieu did struggle late in the playoffs, but it’s part of gaining experience and some of those mistakes won’t happen next time around. You’re right, the core is great and there’s lots to be excited about. John Moore? Isn’t that a piece of farm machinery?

  12. Mona Lisa, just great that you have shared your thoughts here and I thank you for checking this site out. So much appreciated. And your last sentence has been put over on the “Quote du Jour”.

  13. Peter, I think the rebuilding is now over and it’s a matter of filling some holes that need to be filled. This was such an awesome year, full of fun and stress and excitement, highs and lows, and next year, with Bergevin making a few changes, I think we’ll be in for a serious ride. look out hockey world, the Habs are coming! Always enjoy seeing your name come up here. See you in Montreal (or Orillia!) hopefully in the near future.

  14. Good stuff Joe. You bet they’re an awesome bunch. They came closer than many thought, and the future is bright. Can’t wait to see what Bergevin does.

  15. Homer, I feel a little piece of your heart has the Habs in it now. Great to hear from you. Please say hi to everyone for me.

  16. Mike Gooch, I can’t say for sure but I bet souvenir shops, especially in Old Montreal, have the odd bobblehead. Thanks a lot for reading and have a great summer.

  17. disappointing lost but like you said we had a good run. This run in the playoffs is only good if the GM betters the team. the temptation to sit on what you have will be great (because we went deep). Changes that need to be made are more ones of philosophy. We need to get away from so many small, soft guys. Get bigger guys with speed and who will work hard. So here is my list of potential cuts or trades. Plekanec, Gionta, Briere…bring in guys that are bigger and faster and provide toughness. Now hear me out on this one. Keep Vanek until March deadline trade. Why? because he does well in the regular season. Our defencemen need to get bigger also. Eller need to be no higher than a third liner. He rarely makes a good offensive play. Keep Gallagher and Desharnais as your small players. Markov seemed slow and out of place so often but he has been one of my favorites for so long.

  18. We came very close.

    Had that shot by Alex Galchenyuk that rang off the crossbar in game four gone in, we’d be going to game seven in Montreal. With the home crowd, Ginette Reno, the last line change and maybe a few of our injured players back in the lineup, who knows? But it was not to be.

    The Habs looked like they simply ran out of gas. Meanwhile the Rangers looked like they were running on jet fuel or something. They Habs didn’t play with the kind of desperation and determination I was expecting for a do-or-die game. It was the same old story – you can’t win if you don’t score a goal. It hurts because they came so close and let it all just slip away.

    I blame the short break between the Bruins series and the first game – which was a dreaded matinee match – for breaking the Habs’ rhythm. The Rangers had an extra day off and in hindsight, it looks like it gave them an advantage. Then losing game two at home was the back breaker. That was the game we held the lead for 17 seconds only to have the Rangers respond with a goal and then Nash and St. Louis stuck the daggers in us. Momentum swung their way and it was an uphill struggle for the Habs from that point on.

    Losing Price was a big blow, but Tokarski was simply terrific. Even so, I believe we would have fared better with Price quarterbacking the passes to get the puck out of our zone which he does so well. Maybe Price could have stole us a game, (maybe game four) who knows?

    It’s the way we lost that was such a letdown. How can a team score seven goals one night and then shoot blanks for sixty minutes? After beating the Bruins, it certainly was an anticlimactic way to end the season. It just boggles the mind. It’s tempting to do some finger-pointing here but we don’t know the whole story. Some players were playing hurt while others may not have been giving 100%. Some will stay and some will go. These things will be sorted out in the off season.

    The good thing about this incredible run is that Marc Bergevin has a very clear idea of what is needed to make this club even better. In his short time with the Habs the GM has turned things around and made remarkable progress. It will be interesting to see his next moves.

    We went deep. We finished in the final four. We beat the Bruins. And we are definitely one of the top teams in the league right now.

    I’m just sad we won’t be able to go down to Montreal and meet up with Dennis to watch the parade this year. Maybe next year.

    So now we hope for bigger and better things from the Habs – beginning in little more than three months when the pre-season games begin.

    Thank you Dennis for your great blog and to all the fine people who come here to share their thoughts.

  19. Ditto what Danno said, all of it.

    As much as Tokarski was good, I think that losing Price was a mental blow. That, coupled with the emotional letdown after winning against the Bruins are factors that led to our elimination. I think the MSG fans got to them last night I think they played nervous. It’s too bad. I’m sad it’s over. With 30 teams in the league how and when will we ever come this close again? Now we can watch the Kings crush the Rangers.

    We need to beef up our defense. Hopefully this can be taken care of in the off-season. It will be interesting to see who stays and who goes. And will they keep Budaj or Tokarsky?

    And now it’s time to go through Habs withdrawal…

  20. Trade Tokarsky! Pittsburgh will give up everything, save Sid! Or Dallas, or San Jose, or (my favorite because they have a few players who’d look great in the bleu blanc rouge) EDMONTON

  21. I just wish it ended on a game where more than the rookie goalie showed up. Oh well the timing is good. today is a nice bright sunny day. A sure sign that summer’s here and that’s no time for watching hockey. Especially not Saturday’s at 1 pm. For me the start time of that first game doomed us from the beginning.

    I have lots of opinions about player moves, but that can wait until I’m over this loss. Can’t think about the future, while I’m still thinking about what could/should have been.

  22. Didn’t know you had a Quote du Jour… I feel honored that you used mine today. My daughter was at the Bell Centre last night. Was disappointed they didn’t get one single goal to cheer about. Her text to me at the end of the game said it all… Mom, I’m heartbroken…. (she is fine today, by the way). So much passion and so much belief in this team… a team we were ready to abandon (temporarily of course) in the winter; along with Therrien. My last thought is that Tokarski’s value has gone up so much in the past week that I am wondering if the Habs will keep him as their back up and get rid of Budaj or keep Budaj and get some pretty good return on Tokarski… He’s too good for a backup, right? what do you think?

  23. We should be very proud of our team, no one thought we would make the playoffs let alone be that close to going to the show! It just seemed last night we just held our sticks a little tighter than needed to, it should have been flat out & let the chips fall where they may. A great season & look foreward to a better one next time around, Tokar will be a great B/UP for Price next season, he has that same composure as Price!
    les Canadiens sont la!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  24. I wanted it to keep going on forever. Or at least into June!

    I know there are plenty of things to feel positive about. But the loss still stings and I kind of feel like this little guy…

  25. Christopher, same with me. I’m not ready to think about future moves. But I have my thoughts.

  26. Mona Lisa, I think Budaj will be gone. It was a slap in the face for him, and a revelation to the team about Tokarski. Although, like Mike McKim says, he’d be great trade bait now.

  27. It was a great season, eh Mike? A tremendously interesting year for us. Love the core of players.

  28. A tough one, Danno. But the playoffs are such an incredible grind. To think of teams that won four or five in a row, it’s amazing. We have a fun future in the next few years as Habs fans.

  29. Tokarsky has proven himself a 30+ game goalie. I can’t see the Habs going down that road again with Price. Budaj is good for 10-15 games, which all we should allow a backup to play with a healthy Carey Price. And, oh yeah, there’s this Quebecois named Furcale… Trading Tokarsky seems like a no-brainer.

    The blue line gets real exciting. Greg Pateryn is ready. And he’s big. We signed Dalton Thrower today. I remember his hit in the Memorial Cup last year, when he smiled after blowing a kid up. Think Lucic, except he’s not cheap shoting the jewels and he’ll be ours.

    If they’d give me the keys, I go hard after Matt Moulson. he’s slow, but park him in front of the net and he’s not going anywhere. I’d toss $54M/6-years at PK. Markov gets 3 years, but loaded with incentives, or 4 years guaranteed if he can convince Ilya Kovalchuk to play in Canada (I think letting Devils off the hook for screwing the cap allows him to resign with anyone). Oh, and the wives personal assistant would be Dennis…

  30. I like Mike’s logic with the goalie dilemma. Three years is too long for Markov. I’d offer him no more than two and that’s pushing it.

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