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04-07-2004, 08:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Lafontaine
Wow, I really have to hand it to all of those people who criticized my negative comments about Claude Julien and the rest of the boys a few weeks ago. Man, game one against Boston really made me eat my words. Clearly, Julien's skills as a motivator finally showed through with the way Montreal EXPLODED out of the gates after a dismal first period. And, whereas I thought that the Canadiens wouldn't be able to handle a bruising team that is playing them tight in the neutral zone, the dump and recover method proved to work wonders in tonights game. Montreal's BIG forwards did an excellent job of forechecking and retrieving the puck, putting all kinds of pressure on that choke artist Andrew Raycroft. I can't believe I would have considered changing those lines Julien put out tonight either. Holy cow, the strategy of keeping Kovalev with the offensively gifted Dowd and the hard working Perreault made for a fantastic two-way third unit. Besides, with the way Zednik, Koivu and Bulis are producing together it would have been lunacy to break that group up. Hey, Kovalev-Koivu-Zednik has already been tried and tried again anyways. How much time can we really afford to give those three to gel? All and all we must have just been unlucky to not come out with the win in this one. Veterans like Quintal, and Perreault really showed that they belonged. I think throwing a slower, softer young player like Komisarek into the starting line up really only could have hurt the team's performance tonight. Good work guys, I can't wait for game 2!!!

Ok, now seriously though. My opinions are get Komi in the game, freaking put Kovalev and/or Perreault on the top lines because they don't belong anywhere else, and throw together two solid checking lines so we don't get pushed around atleast 50% of the time, unlike what happened tonight. I like Montreal's chances against Boston - I really love this young Habs team. Defensively it will be a battle, but I really think that if we use our speed properly we can pick Raycroft apart on the other end. Two purely offensive lines won't look nice out on the ice every shift (there will be a lot of times we just won't be able to get through the zone), but if we are ever going to start putting them in the back of the net we have to count on speed and counter attacking. I understand why Bulis is on the first line, but really, it isn't helping all that much - put him back into his proper role on the third line to do his part there. Give Koivu someone else to pass to because he is looking stranded these days. And God, I hope Gainey makes a few trips down to the locker room to try and light a fire under the ***** of these guys. Yes, ok, I accept the concept that I don't actually KNOW what goes on in the dressing room, but you can tell a tree by its fruits and there is no doubt that this team NEVER bounces back within a game and I'm not sure they have it in them to bounce back night after night in the up and down grind of the play-offs.....Those are my two cents - bash away.
Do you feel better now!

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