Saturday, February 12, 2011

"Toughness" an overrated hockey virtue

By Montreal standards, the public clamor for more muscle on the Canadiens after Wednesday's beatdown in Boston wasn't an overreaction, because it was entirely predictable. Every time the Habs get pushed around by bigger, tougher teams, the knee jerk reaction is to pillory the front office for not having a resident cementhead to dissuade the Bruins and Flyers of this world from bullying the poor, helpless Canadiens.
Does no one remember Georges Laraque, and what a difference he didn't make after Montreal signed him to a 3 year free agent contract when Laraque was the reigning NHL heavyweight champion? It seemed like a good idea at the time, but big Georges was a bust, so why are so many people so eager to go down that road again? The Canadiens didn't win many of the fights Wednesday, but neither did they back down, and it's common playground knowledge that anytime you stand up to a bully, he tends to think twice about coming after you the next time. If the Canadiens can use their speed and skill to draw penalties and capitalize on the power play, let the goon teams bring it on. Carey Price isn't going to give up 8 goals a game very often, and if the Habs score six on the road, including four on the power play, they'll come away winners 19 times out of 20.
The Canadiens don't need to be tougher than the Bruins and the Flyers. They only need to be better.

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