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10-29-2008, 10:53 AM
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Pressure & 4 Observations

In watching the Habs, it just seems like the club is skating with so much pressure on its shoulders. 100th anniv, sky-high team expectations, many wanting to improve on breakout years last year...perhaps most evident on the PP where guys look like they are trying to hard and perhaps not being as patient as they normally are. When the team is skating they can look like the Red Wings out there, but more often than not their passing has been a little off, their breakouts a little sloppier, one too many passes when they should shoot, and then gripping their stick a little too hard when they have an open net (or an opening).

It is remarkable that the Habs are off to such a great start, because truth is they haven't really played that well (which of course is very encouraging too because they will). Yesterday, Carbo was talking about how it'll probably take 15-20 games for the team to find its rhythm and timing, which is exactly the central problem...that and consistency. All will come with time and when it clicks it'll look great (PP included, which is so beautiful to watch, except for the finishing part).

Sometimes we overlook the pressure load that these players (human beings) carry each game. Pretty remarkable thus far, but nowhere near our capabilities. Can't wait for the team to gel and skate like the wind.

Three other random NHL observations:

1- The Wild are for real (I've seen several of their games thus far). Boy can they skate and, not surprisingly, very disciplined...I would not be surprised to see them go up against the Wings in the WCF.

2- Great for hockey that Chicago is selling out again. They had 21,168 in attendance the other night, 2nd only to Les Glorieux.

3- Also great to see St. Louis drawing big crowds. The Blues have strong support in St. Louis and had the longest consecutive playoff streak before going dry these past few years. They still have a ways to go, but John Davidson is doing great work there-- a little Gainey-esque in his player development.

4- How great would the NHL be if Nashville, Columbus, Florida, Tampa, Phoenix, Anaheim, Atlanta, and Carolina ceased to exist. In our, Gary Bettman is an utter disaster.

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