Thursday, October 01, 2009

Tonight We See

Habs At Leafs Preview

A little sneak preview of tonight's game. Though it's not all based on carefully weighed stats (I hope that's alright), Game #1 gives an opportunity to have some more fun, before results cloud the real picture...

The (alleged) lines

Pacioretty - Gomez - Gionta
Cammalleri - Plekanec - Kostitsyn
Latendresse - Lapierre - D'Agostini
Moen - Metropolit - Laraque

Markov - Spacek
Gill - Mara
Gorges - O'Byrne


  • Don't like Pacioretty on the first line, no matter how much good skating he does on his goalless shifts – if I were Sergei, I'd be upset at this too
  • Do like Cammalleri with Plekanec
  • Defence should change if Hamrlik is healthy – Gorges and O'Byrne is a mistake
  • Price the starter – more questions abound on the meritocracy in Sergei's head

The opposition
Maple Leafs.

Popular gravitation to the word truculent – because it's the first word in the dictionary that new GM found that he could apply to his team. Funnily, hopes for descriptors beginning with "Contendin", "Goo", "Grea", "Playoff-boun" and "Skille" were thrown out in early July, search for new tag was commissioned.

Key strengths: PR, sales

Key weaknesses: Forwards, goaltending, and if you go by last year, defence (3.49 GA/G)

The strategy
Shoot, shoot, shoot. Test goalies and defence's weakness with the other part of hockey (aka, playing the puck) early and often. Don't get sucked into a fight – it's their only advantage and they know it.

The momentum
0 playoff wins vs. 0 playoff wins – a toss up. Leafs and Habs is always a toss up (recently).

The relevant
1) RDS "Zone de Match" – not ready
2) Tobalev's Game Reviews – very ready

The irrelevant
1) Pat Hickey's bland follow-up to his enticing title: "Price the fly in ointment"
2) Everything Brian Burke says

Quote for the day
(Not quite Jose Mourinho, but a nice polite slap in the face from Gainey)
On dismissing the genius' plan:
"It's a little out of character as to where the NHL is going," Gainey said. "But hockey is a tough sport. Hockey is a physical sport."

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