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10-03-2011, 04:40 PM
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Originally Posted by MathMan View Post
Unfortunately, this is indeed only your perception, reinforced by the results and the stories that have been written about the series. The Flyers actually outplayed the Habs less than did the Penguins and the Caps; which is not surprising because those two were better clubs than Philly. But outplay the Habs they did, and the Canadiens were simply out of miracles. The notion that the Flyers did something special to change the result relative to the other two is typical human projection of results into process.
Not everything gets lost in the wash of mass perceptions and foggy memory. There was indeed a distinct style shift by the Flyers to a much more physical one, which played to Canadiens' weakness -- quite obviously, since they were shutout three out of the first four games. Yes, the Flyers outplayed them, but it wasn't like the Habs suddenly forgot how to score or suddenly ran out of luck. Watching that first game -- hell, the first period -- it was clear the Flyers had adopted a very conscious strategy of running us into the boards and finishing every check as hard as possible. The change in physicality from previous series to this one was clearly obvious by watching the game, and its effectiveness clearly obvious by watching the score.

Can I quantify this with absolute proof? Of course not -- it's a game with 12 constant variables skating around each other at high speed. So call it my perception if you wish, but that leaves this debate in a lame gray area between our two subjective perceptions. Much more fun to say I'm right and you're wrong.

The Habs have lost their last few playoff series against teams with a reputation for toughness and since they have a reputation for lack of size and physicality, it was immediately blamed. It's unfortunate that nobody in mainstream sports media bothers with actual analysis, which is why this sort of narrative myth persists.
The only narrative myth is that all the Habs have to do is THIS or THAT. Like any ebb-and-flow sport with a bunch of guys playing simultaneously, it's never just one thing. It's not JUST a power forward, or a tougher defense corps, or an enforcer, etc. It's a combo of a few elements and how they mix into the intangible soup of a 60-minute game. But we have to start somewhere.

For the longest time, it was a 5-on-5 puck possession game that ranged from "subpar" to "absolutely horrid". All the talk about toughness and physicality was a red herring to the fact that the Habs were crap at evens and made their hay on special teams.
Agree with you here. But again, this is one element among many elements all overlapping each other. I can argue that our 5 on 5 play will be vastly improved by the more physical presence of bigger forwards driving toward the net.

Then there are the little things like reducing so many minor penalties, which I think we also agree on.

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