Canadiens take heart from upsets
Bruce Boudreau said Thursday morning that he was glad the Caps had a day to watch higher seeded NHL teams get upset, to open up their minds, and keep them on the straight and narrow, or something. The Canadiens said they were also beneficiaries; that watching all the lower seeds win on Wednesday had reinforced their confidence, or something. Hey, they're just trying to pass the time until the game, like the rest of us.
"I think you realize when it comes to playoffs that the rankings, the home team, whoever's supposed to win, I don't think any of that really matters once playoffs come," Josh Gorges said. "I think both teams want it so bad on any given night anything can happen, and the team that wants it more usually comes out on top. You saw it last night, some of the lower-seeded teams won, and I think they came out well prepared....I think it goes to show that if we show up and play the way we can, we have a chance."
"It's been talked about," said Mike Cammalleri. "I don't think it is anything new to anybody, but it reaffirms to you that anything can happen, anybody can beat anybody in this league. And there were interesting turnouts to the games last night."
So then someone asked if he had watched.
"I should stop my next comment," he said, but then continued anyhow. "It's just disappointing to me that when you're in Philadelphia staying at a [big-name] hotel, you can't get the NHL playoffs. That's just disappointing. It happened to me last year, too."
Now, why did Cammalerri say Philadelphia? I have no earthly idea. The Habs definitely stayed in Washington on Wednesday night. I'd try to start a controversy about this, but then Boudreau would yell at me. Regardless, he shares your frustration at the U.S. TV package.
Anyhow, Montreal Coach Jacques Martin was also asked about the upsets, and said some words about it.
"Look at the parity of this league now," Martin said. "You look at last year, for instance. I think both conference finals last year were five games, while in the preliminary series we saw a lot of [series] go seven. So it's an indication of the parity, the pressure on teams that are supposed to win, and how close each team is."
Like March Madness
Basically, every player in the dressing room was asked this question. Repeatedly, in some cases.
"if underdogs are winning, then we're definitely gonna win," Hal Gill finally cracked. "It's automatic. Those other games said it all. No, we've got a new game here, a new series. They're gonna come out hard, I'm sure of it. We just have to come out a little harder."
As for Boudreau, he previously compared this to playing on the first Friday in the NCAA tournament.
"I keep thinking of it as March Madness," he said on Wednesday's Mike Wise Show. "Notre Dame losing on the first day, now the teams that are the 5 seed going against the 12 seed know that you can't take teams lightly. You get a chance to see it, and you get a chance to see how good the 8 seeds are against the 1 seeds. It might be a little bit more of a help to us than a hindrance, I think."
Too Much Crowd?
Boudreau also said that visiting teams have a Game 1 advantage because the home team is overexcited by the crowd. And Montreal said not so, my friend, not so.
"What you hear from Boudreau is they're trying to really prepare themselves and play it down as much as possible, but I'm sure in their room they're excited and energized about playing at home," Cammalleri said. "I wouldn't expect anything else out of their comments, but I wouldn't read too much into that."
"You can harness the energy of the building, you can let it overwhelm you," Gill said. "That's why we play the games."
Martin was asked if the fact that his goalie didn't start against the Caps during the regular season is an advantage, since they don't have a book on him.
"I don't think that's a factor," he said. "I think that I believe in both our goal-tenders, and it just fell that way, that Carey played all four games against this hockey team and Jaro in the end played really well for our team."
There were two security guards preventing media members from approaching the Montreal dressing room during morning skate. That was new to me.
"It's the playoffs," one said, by way of explanation. "That's why we're here."
Also, Martin's press conferences are bi-lingual, which is a new one to me. I feel like I've been deprived all these years by press conferences in just one language. Boudreau better step up his game, and yell at media members in multiple languages from now on.
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