Tonight, against the Maple Leafs, the Canadian will have an interest in becoming the team he was before his last two games against the Senators. It is by applying a collective concept that the Habs have achieved success this season.
Claude Julien’s men will not be able to play who loses wins with the Leafs and will have to stay away from the penalty bench. We only have to remember their first game of the season, in Toronto.
The duel promises to be interesting. The Leafs sit first in the Canadian division, three points ahead of the Canadian, who has a game in hand.
This meeting and the eight others that will follow between the two formations could be the prelude of a series between them in the spring.
I ardently wish it.
In symbiosis with Fern
A clash in the playoffs would reignite a rivalry that has waned in recent years. Because long before the Canadian-Bruins and Canadian-Nordic series, the Habs and the Leafs were fighting for Canadian royalty and the top of the National League.
At the time of the original six teams, it was literally the French versus the English. Ironically, the Canadian wore red and the Leafs wore blue.
I see myself in the skin of Fern, his full name Fern Rivet, in the film Once Upon a Time the Boys. One day, in class, the teacher
Tanguay, whose role is played by Patrick Labbé, asks young Fern to name a great battle between the French and the English.
Fern, who is played by Jassen Charron, replies: “Toronto won the cup in six. A little thanks to Jean-Claude Tremblay, eh! Tremblay, the inventor of the spin around. Ben, has spun there once too many Tremblay. Dropped the puck, Dave Keon took it, and he went to put it in the goal for Vachon.
“Worse, I’m sick of it. I even wish they would never win the Stanley Cup again, the Toronto Leafs. Let them eat Toronto mustard! “
Writer and director Richard Goudreau took up almost word for word the reaction I had had when I saw the Leafs take the cup from the Canadiens on the evening of May 2, 1967. It was two weeks before my 13th birthday. .
Will the 54th year be the right one?
I don’t remember if I told the Leafs to eat we know what, but the odds are good. On the other hand, I had predicted that the Canadian would take the cup again the following year – which happened – and that the Leafs would never win it again.
I had seen the cut with my eyes, for the first time, at the Ontario pavilion, instead of the Quebec one, at Expo ’67.
It was turning the knife in the wound.
To my journalist friends in Toronto who ask me when I am going to free the Leafs from the bad spell I have cast on them, I answer: “No way! “
No series since 1979
Richard Goudreau had a good laugh when I told him my story yesterday. There is a bit of him in the characters he created for Les Boys.
Fern’s heartfelt cry still echoes in his ears when the Canadiens cross swords against the Leafs. Friends and strangers who recognize him in the street shout at him: “Let them eat Toronto! “
The Canadian and the Leafs have met only two more times in the playoffs after 1967, in 1978 in the semifinals and in 1979 in the quarterfinals.
It was in the last years of the great Tricolor dynasty. The Leafs were no match and had been swept in four games on both occasions. The Stanley Cup marched on Sainte-Catherine Street for the third and fourth consecutive time in those two years.
Then, from the 1981-1982 season to the 1997-1998 campaign, the Leafs played in the Clarence Campbell association (known as the Western Association in normal times). Games against the Canadiens were reduced to two per year.
The two teams have met more often since the Leafs returned to the Eastern Conference, and even more so this season. But something is missing.
A Canadian-Toronto series in May, that would be exciting!
The Penguins will change
Expect the face of the Pittsburgh Penguins to change with the appointment of Brian Burke as president of hockey operations and the arrival of Ron Hextall, who succeeds Jim Rutherford as general manager.
As Marc Bergevin did with the Canadiens this year, the Burke-Hextall duo will prioritize adding muscle to their roster over the next few years. We can also think that they will rejuvenate the team. Will they dare to trade Sidney Crosby?
It would be surprising if owners Mario Lemieux and Ronald Burkle gave their consent to such a transaction.
But do you ever know?
Wayne Gretzky has been traded twice.
The Letang case
A rumor has circulated, following Jim Rutherford’s surprise resignation, that senior management objected to a transaction involving Kristopher Letang.
The experienced defender is still used in abundance, as evidenced by his average playing time of 24:30. However, he only has four assists in 10 games.
He will celebrate his 34th birthday on April 24, as will Crosby on August 7.
The Penguins no longer have a team capable of aspiring to top honors since their double conquest of 2016 and 2017.
They gave up their first, third, fourth and sixth picks in the next draft.
In short, Burke and Hextall have their work cut out for them.
American clubs are tasting it!
It was to be expected, no doubt.
American NHL teams are more affected by COVID-19 than Canadian teams. In fact, no game has yet been postponed in the Canadian division.
The Philadelphia Flyers, who were scheduled to play in Washington last night, are the most recent team to forfeit.
accumulate. Will it be possible to take them all back?
It promises to be difficult.