Archive for the ‘Montreal Canadiens’ Category

Northeast Division Roundup

November 11, 2009

Greetings, hockey fans. This is Meaghan from the illustrious (humour me) Ottawa Senators blog known as Sens at Land’s End with the first of what should be many whirlwind tours of blogs covering the NHL’s Northeast Division.

Without further ado:

Let’s begin with one of the teams furthest from my heart, the Montreal Canadiens. Topham over at Habs blog Lions in Winter has thoughtfully taken on the now infamous Allan Walsh-Jaroslav Halak vs. Carey Price Twitter incident in a post puntastically titled “The Price of Being a Twit.”

Over in the Barilkosphere, Down Goes Brown claims to have revealed the NHL’s top secret flow chart for handing out suspensions. I’m not sure I believe the document posted is authentic, but it seems quite accurate. (This isn’t strictly speaking a story about the Leafs, but I imagine a team that truculent will at some point encounter Colin Campbell and his magical wheel of justice.)

With the Sens being the best the most interesting my favourite team in the league, I was able to find a huge amount of fascinating, high quality material about them. It was hard for me to narrow it down to just one story to post here, but in the end I thought The 6th Sens’ piece about the potential ripple effects of the Steve Yzerman to Ottawa trade that never happened was the most timely, with Yzerman’s well-deserved induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame having taken place on Monday.

Most Bruins blogs appear to be focused on happy things this week. David Krejci has recovered from the dreaded swine flu, and everyone is generally feeling joyful because the Bruins have won their last two games and may finally be getting on track. However, According to Cameron Frye uncovers the darker side of Boston, making the disturbing discovery that Patrice Bergeron may have been replaced by his evil twin.

Finally, the entire Buffalo Sabres blogosphere is evidently too shocked over the fact that Adam Mair was placed on waivers this week to write about much else.

And that’s what’s what in the Northeast this week. If you have any suggestions for posts I might link to in next week’s roundup, shoot me an email at sensatlandsend [at] gmail [dot] com and let me know. I’m sure there are tons of worthy blogs I’m not aware of, and I’d appreciate any tips pointing me in the direction of great material.

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Four Habs Fans shares Montreal Canadiens draft thoughts

June 26, 2009

Four Habs Fans adheres to many of our favorite Internet traditions, throwing out equal parts clever, cruel and … curvaceous. Don’t be fooled by the random eye candy, though, because under that exterior is a core of fabulous hockey writing.

In traditional FHF fashion, their post is brief but blistering. Make sure to follow their work during an off-season that could change the Canadiens for a long time.

1. What direction do you expect the Canadiens to go in with this year’s draft? What’s your preference?

As always, no direction at all. Habs will take who they think the best player is at the position they draft. Alternatively, any American college defenseman will do.

2. Looking back, discuss some of the highest and lowest draft moments in Habs history. What are some of the “steals” and groan-inducing moments that Montreal fans will never forget?

You really can’t beat Patrick Roy at 51st overall for a highlight. There is a three hundred-way tie for worst moment from all our first round stiffs – Lindsay Vallis, Doug Wickenheiser, José Charbonneau, Brent Bilodeau, David Wilkie, Terry Ryan, Eric Chouinard, Jason Ward, Alfie Turcotte, etc., etc., etc.

Soapbox time: take this opportunity to discuss the Canadiens and/or NHL in general.

Please enjoy fine Molson products. We need the cash to sign our UFA’s.

If you liked Hockey Orphan, you might like:

April 11, 2009

There have been a bunch of Hockey Orphan entries the last couple weeks, so we thought it would be a smart idea to point fans of the recently represented teams to posts that they might find interesting and/or entertaining.

Montreal Canadiens (
Written by HabsFan29 from Four Habs Fans)

Twinsies: How the Montreal Canadiens are the NHL’s version of the Boston Celtics

The Canadiens would be the most exciting matchup for the Boston Bruins

Columbus Blue Jackets (
Written by Bethany from Bethany’s Rants)

Chris Kontos thought the Blue Jackets would be the San Jose Sharks’ best dance partner


Florida Panthers (
Written by Whale4Ever from Litter Box Cats)

Who IS Jay Bouwmeester, anyway?

The Return of the Rat Pack

10 Things that are cool about the Florida Panthers


New Jersey Devils (Written by John Fischer from In Lou We Trust)

A post with a bunch of the Brodeur links

Comparing Brodeur to the Plantes and Vezinas of yore is a losing endeavor

Brodeur is voted the goalie of the aughts

Are Brodeur-type workhorse goalies a dying breed?

Remember when the hockey world was stunned that the Devils seemed like they didn’t miss a beat without Brody?

Philadelphia Flyers (Written by FGSB from Flyers Goal Scored By)

Salary Cap Outlook: Flyers

San Jose Sharks (Written by Gray from Couch Tarts)

Dance Partners: San Jose

Both teams have had their struggles, but it’s interesting that Boston – San Jose still might have been a Stanley Cup preview

***

Of course, there is also a bunch of content on all the Hockey Orphan teams in our trade deadline coverage as well.

Hockey Orphan: HabsFan29 from Four Habs Fans on the Montreal Canadiens

April 7, 2009
Click on the logo above for all the Hockey Orphan entries

(Thanks to Four Habs Fans for their one of a kind Hockey Orphan entry. If you follow them, this will come as no surprise. If you’re not familiar, make sure you acquaint yourself with their unique take on the Montreal Canadiens. NOW.)

So you need a new hockey team, eh? You want to go where the CHampions are? You want to join up with the greatest and most successful franCHise in professional sports? You want to roll with us, bitCHes? Well I’ve got two words for you:

Fuck off.

We don’t need any more fans. The only reason we will permit you to be a Habs Fan is you come from one of the following places:

1. The Province of Quebec
2. Turku, Finland
3. Belarus

The rest of you can go root for Atlanta. I can’t get a ticket at the Bell Centre because there are already too many Fucking Habs fans. You think we want more? Fuck and no.

Have a nice day.

The Montreal Canadiens’ NBA doppleganger is, quite obviously:

March 26, 2009

=


Since Vance from Bangin Panger had to be a poopy head* and correctly point out that the New Jersey Devils share obvious parallels with the San Antonio Spurs, we’ll probably let that one go. Unless there’s some outpouring from the comments for a Spurs to Devils comparison (snicker).

* – My phrase for someone who’s smart enough to guess something.

Anyhooters, before Vance trots out his big brain again, here’s the other NHL to NBA comparison:

The Montreal Canadiens are TOTALLY the Boston Celtics of hockey.

1. The Champions of being uh, champions

Flair: The FUCK are YOU gonna do about it?

Both the Celtics and Canadiens own the most championship belts in their respective sports. For years, they’ve been veritable Ric Flairs: stylin’ profilin’ jet-setting limousine riding something somethings. When some punk ass pretender flexes his 24 inch pythons/fast break offense, Flair puts four fingers in the air and says “To be the man, you’ve got to beat the man.”

Then the Canadiens/Celtics stomp really hard on a mat and their opponents act like they just got their shit wrecked. It’s awesome.

2. Old as fuuuuuuuuugees

Dudes, those teams are friggin’ older than Andy Rooney‘s balls. And AR’s balls predate him by like, 20 years.*

* – Science

3. Teams that could never be replicated in a salary cap era

Those Montreal Canadiens teams were so absurd, Ken Dryden was able to write a book while playing goalie for those teams. Oh, we’re not talking about thinking of ideas. No no. He would start with a notebook in the first period, just scribbling down ideas and the like. By the second period, he had some leggy editor looking over his stuff and proofreading his notebook with red ink.

But old “Dry-sie” didn’t take well to some (as Dryden would say) “broad” editing his work. Let’s just say the second period was a dark time for women’s rights. In Dryden’s crease, at least.

Most perceived this as Dryden’s “thinking pose” but it was actually his, “Listen … bitch” pose. What a dick.

By the third period, Dryden would get really frustrated and simply bring a type writer to his net. You’d think the refs would have done something about it, but:

1. They were drunk.

2. They knew Dryden went to law school, so their apparent drunkenness seemed illegal and they didn’t want to lose their jobs. Plus Dryden let the refs pull down some (as Dryden would say) “of his leftovers.”

At this point you’re thinking “Fuck you, James.”

Good point. But how do you think “The Game” was so descriptive and great? Obviously, he was writing it as the game was happening because his defense was so freaking good. Just think about it.

No? Fine then, assholes.

4. Historic arenas torn apart by heartless douche capitalism

This is a shame, but remember, college-aged readers: never show sadness. Especially for old stuff.

Instead, hide behind a mask of cruel bemusement and fake materialism. When some old man (who probably reads books, the fucker) comes up with some “why, the Forum had ghosts of Jean Beliveau blah blah correct statement that everyone hates him for” … just scoff.

Scoff, and say “Jean Be-le-who? Isn’t that that (slur against homosexuals) from Bloodsport?” even though you think Bloodsport was pretty sweet because it had all those awesome scenes where the dudes wrap crazy shit around their knuckles. Remember, this isn’t about what you like and dislike, this is about uprooting an old man who happens to be making a good point. Besides, if you don’t make fun of him, your friends will. Sleep on that, Ace.

5. Old white dudes

Yeah, I’m running out of reasons. Plus that’s basically the same as Point #2. I don’t see you doing anything about it, Ace.

6. Morally questionable team building

“Searching for Bobby Orr” details the sort of shady, sell-your-children-to-slavery “system” hockey used to have. Basically, you turn 18 (sometimes not even 18) and then sign some ridiculous lifetime contract with a team. Almost makes you think Scott Boras isn’t satan, and he’s not. At least Satan gives you something cool for selling your soul. Boras is just kind of a dick. From what I’ve read.

The Celtics had their own questionable shit, at least in the fact that Red Auerbach would drop N-bombs whilst riding Bill Russell to glory and smelly cigars. We’d hate him for it, but just go ahead and try to hate a guy named “Red.” It’s not going to happen.

Editor’s note: This is the most factually devoid, rampantly incorrect thing ever to see the light of day at Cycle like the Sedins. You’re welcome.

Bits and Pieces: Malkin’s ‘struggles,’ Ovechkin’s celebrations and falling giants

March 20, 2009
  • Boy, it sure is amazing how much a bad Stanley Cup Finals performance can hurt you.

Just ask Evgeni Malkin, the man who likely would have been “The Staal Trophy” winner last season with a 100-plus point performance in the regular season and a fantastic playoff run. Until the SCF, of course.

While Malkin clearly struggled against the Red Wings, his performance was slightly inflated by playing against some fairly weak Eastern opponents in previous rounds. The Penguins cruised through the playoffs (only two losses in three rounds!) so easily that they must have been shell shocked once they played against a team that was actually more talented.

Still, the idea that Malkin will lose Hart trophy votes because of last season is pretty stunning. It’s not like he has a small lead on Alex Ovechkin. Nine points is a tremendous lead.

But that’s a debate for another day. If people penalize Malkin for SCF struggles, maybe they should consider the fact that Ovechkin never even sniffed the second round of the playoffs yet.

  • Speaking of the anointed saint of hockey media, Ovechkin’s Jimi Hendrix goal celebration is getting some heat.

Frankly, for us it’s not really that he taunted his opponents. As fans of Ric Flair, we are huge fans of tormenting opponents as you defeat them (especially if you hook the tights).

No, instead, our biggest beef is that the celebration was kind of lame. If you’re going to do the Hendrix burning guitar gimmick, you really have to sell it. Kneel on your knees. Take off your gloves so you can really pantomime that “smoke coming from the stick” effect. Hell, get one of your teammates to find you an afro wig.

After all, Ovie never had any issues with using props, right?

While everyone can agree Ovechkin is awesome, it’s only fair that he gets a little cheap heat since people are always frothing at the mouth to tear apart Crosby.

  • So, the Boston Bruins and San Jose Sharks might not be the dominant forces – or at least not as dominant – as they were believed to be.

After holding a huge lead in the Eastern Conference, the Bruins are taking on water and may in fact relinquish the No. 1 spot to the New Jersey Devils or Washington Capitals. Injuries are wreaking havoc on the Sharks roster. When you combine that issue with an increase in road games, the mighty seem only strong.

The Bruins have the least to worry about, on some level. Let’s face it: this team was not necessarily primed to dominate just yet. There may be a lot of pressure on the Bruins to succeed, but this season should still be a success with or without a Cup. Of course, if they lose in the first round of playoffs, then that tune would change quite a bit.

The Sharks, on the other hand, must be wondering if their window is about to close. Although there are some great young talents in their nucleus, trading for Dan Boyle and signing Rob Blake made San Jose take a “win now” position. Sharks fans must be hyperventilating right now.

  • Finally, a lot is being made about the Montreal Canadiens having a plethora of unrestricted free agents, but this is not necessarily a bad thing. The Habs can re-construct their roster next season, focusing on good value (and maybe a headliner or two) instead of their current “big talent, high speed, no heart” model.

With the cap ceiling becoming a serious question in the short term future, the Canadiens have a chance to build a winner while remaining cap flexible. This will be an envious position sooner or later.

Living GM vs. Blogging GM: Northeast division

March 10, 2009

To wrap up our Trade Deadline coverage, we’ll take a look at the big moves (and non-moves) in each division one-by-one. Did our contributors and their respective GMs see eye-to-eye? Would those guest posts provide a better reality than what really came about? Let’s take a look at the Pacific division:

Real Life: Montreal Canadiens do nothing (except for, of course, the firing of Guy Carbonneau)

HF29 of Four Habs Fans said:

“If I were Bob Gainey, I’d stick my finger up my ass and not do anything. We are not in a position to win a cup with the addition of a rent-a-player, we are about to lose half our team to free agency this summer, and we can’t dump all our great prospects who will be replacing the UFA’s. So I’d go find a beach that has no Blackberry service.”

No reports available regarding digital penetration, but Gainey mentioned that he canceled his trip to Florida once he realized that his coach’s execution was imminent. So Four Habs Fans nailed this one pretty impressively.

Real Life: Ottawa Senators trade Antoine Vermette for Pascal Leclaire and a second round pick
Dany Heatley Speedwagon from Scarlett Ice said:

“If I were the Sens GM right now… I’d start filling out job applications.”

DHS might be more right than we can know. That being said, getting Leclaire might be worth the risk but the second round pick makes the move more salvageable. So much for the Sens becoming less of a big salary no depth team, though.

Real Life: Boston Bruins trade three prospects in two trades that brought in Steve Montador, Mark Recchi and a second round pick

Evan from Stanley Coup of Chowder rightly predicted that Manny Fernandez would not be moved and the Bruins would not trade for Erik Cole or Keith Tkachuk. He didn’t predict the mid-level moves, but let’s just say 2 out of 3 ain’t bad.

Real Life: Buffalo Sabres shuffle second round picks, move Ales Kotalik and acquire Mikael Tellqvist to give Patrick Lalime a backup while Ryan Miller heals up.

Vance from Bangin’ Panger said:

“1. Trade Maxim Afinogenov for anything…anything at all. At this point, I would accept “Future Considerations.”

2. Trade Nate Gerbe, Drew Stafford, & a 1st for Olli Jokinen, Derek Morris, and a 3rd. Oh wait, that’s too serious.

3. Sign Tim Connolly. Then in turn, announce that the “Future Considerations” is in fact the purchase of a Chinese facility which genetically engineers single body parts for the recently signed Tim Connolly. Win – Win situation.”

This trade rumor mongering is too much for me, Let’s leave it to the experts…like Eklund.”

The Sabres could not find a bag of pucks for Afinogenov and didn’t make a big splash trade, but they did sign Connolly to a contract extension. One of our three … isn’t awful? This is why I’m not the next “Weird Al” Yankovic. Though I do love puns.

Real Life: Brian Burke makes very few changes with the Maple Leafs, except for that wacky trade that brought in Olaf Kolzig. The one “real” trade was Nik Antropovto the New York Rangers for a second rounder and a 2010 conditional pick.

While Loser Domi of Pension Plan Puppets spoke of boozing, while Bitter Leafs Fan said the Leafs should have a fire sale.

Just about everyone was fooled by crazy old Burkie’s “move” but few were surprised by the Antropov trade.

Canadiens go on a Carb-free Diet

March 9, 2009

In case you haven’t heard the news, Guy Carbonneau was fired. A commenter at KK said it was “predictable” but the news left me stunned, at least. This marks the first bit of a hockey news I heard first through Twitter (which for some reason, is nowhere near as disconcerting as the time Facebook status updates keyed me in on Heath Ledger’s death).

It also begs the regrettable question: is there Carbonneau scandal, too? Or is the “scandal” just an underperforming team playing its 100th season?

If you were the GM (Northeast division)

March 4, 2009

(With the trade deadline upon us, Cycle like the Sedins decided to ask about 30 or so friends in the blogosphere to represent his or her team and answer the question: “What would you do if you were the GM during the trade deadline?

Since things change in a heartbeat, the date of each person’s submission is listed next to each entry. So before you start screaming “BUT THEY TRADED HIM!” while food spills out of your mouth, we’re showing what they thought at the time.

Don’t like it? Psh.)

Montreal Canadiens

HF29 of Four Habs Fans

(submitted: March 2)

“If I were Bob Gainey, I’d stick my finger up my ass and not do anything. We are not in a position to win a cup with the addition of a rent-a-player, we are about to lose half our team to free agency this summer, and we can’t dump all our great prospects who will be replacing the UFA’s. So I’d go find a beach that has no Blackberry service.”

Chris Kontos: This is the easiest move for any NHL GM to make. Suspend the entire team for 2 games. They’ll come back and the team will go undefeated into the playoffs.

James O’Brien: It almost seems like the Habs are in a comfortably uncomfortable spot. They’re not the not new thing this year. But it still looks like they should make the playoffs. The obvious move is simply to stay put. They traded for Mathieu Schneider. That should be good again.

Let that whole scandal “blow” over. Ha ha. Ho Ho. *wipes tear*

***

Ottawa Senators
Dany Heatley Speedwagon from Scarlett Ice.
(March 1)

If I were the Sens GM right now… I’d start filling out job applications.

Chris Kontos: If laughing at the misfortunes of Bryan Murray is wrong… then I never want to be right.

James O’Brien: You know, Jay Bouwmeester for Jason Spezza might just be idiotic enough to not work for both parties. So maybe, give that 10-1 odds? (I mean, if you trade a first-rounder for Chris Campoli and Mr. Hillary Duff, why start making sense?)

***

Boston Bruins
Evan from Stanley Cup of Chowder
(2/24)

Manny Fernandez:

Chiarelli has indicated that Manny won’t be moved, which I think is the right move. I’m a lot more comfortable with the Bruins having two veteran goaltenders heading into the playoffs. We have seen so many goalies get injured around the league this year, so depth at the goaltending position is always a plus. Some B’s fans have lobbied for Fernandez to get traded and promote Tuukka Rask to be the backup, but I don’t see how having Rask rot on the bench while the Bruins take on his $3.2 million cap number for a few months helps him or the organization.

Cole or Tkachuk?

Neither. I think both of those guys will cost the Bruins too much, both in terms of player assets and the cap hit. The B’s want to keep as much of the current big league roster in place and I’m not sure they could do that and still bring in either of these guys. I’m not sure Cole is the answer for the Bruins. He was struggled out in Edmonton this season and appears to be in the decline stage of his career at only the age of 30. As for Tkachuk, a return to his hometown would make a great story and all but I’m not sure it is the best move for the Bruins. I would rather see them make one or two smaller deals. Ideally one for a big winger with a left-hand shot and one for a puck-moving defenseman. The more I look into Nik Antropov, the more I like him as an option. I think he has a lot of what the Bruins are looking to add at the deadline. Someone like Jordan Leopold would also be a nice addition to the Bruins blue line.

Chris Kontos:Tkachuk to the Bruins would be a major get. But I don’t think the Blues are giving up Uncle Walt. The Bruins are a fantastic team, I would keep both goalies and look forward to battling Washington in the semi-finals.

James O’Brien: If the Bruins can make a Chris Pronger deal work, then do it. This is a fantastic opportunity for the Bruins to make a Stanley Cup run and let’s face it: there’s going to be a bit of a drop off since it would be hard to keep David Krejci, Phil Kessel, Tim Thomas and Manny Fernandez under the cap next year.

Somehow, if the B’s were the team with the two biggest meanest D in the league … they would probably be OK. Do it!

***

Buffalo Sabres

Vance from Bangin’ Panger
(Mar. 2)

1. Trade Maxim Afinogenov for anything…anything at all. At this point, I would accept “Future Considerations.”

2. Trade Nate Gerbe, Drew Stafford, & a 1st for Olli Jokinen, Derek Morris, and a 3rd. Oh wait, that’s too serious.

3. Sign Tim Connolly. Then in turn, announce that the “Future Considerations” is in fact the purchase of a Chinese facility which genetically engineers single body parts for the recently signed Tim Connolly. Win – Win situation.

This trade rumor mongering is too much for me, Let’s leave it to the experts…like Eklund

Chris Kontos: Sign Tim Connolly and then put him in a plastic bubble to be worn at all times, especially on the ice. This is the same Buffalo team we’ve seen for the last few years except for one. They are going to do anything to change it.

James O’Brien: Something needs to happen to the city of Buffalo, already. They had such a great run but of course … it’s Buffalo. Heart break was inevitable. Here’s a dream scenario that would restore some harmony to the universe:

Flyers put Danny Briere on waivers. Briere comes back up and is claimed by the Sabres. The Sabres get one half of their likable-before-their-idiotic-contracts duo at what Briere should make in a season. (Half of what he’s making now, you see.) Make it happen, universe.

***

Toronto Maple Leafs

Loser Domi from Pension Plan Puppets
(2/27)

If I were the Toronto GM, stock in vodka would go through the roof. You may also find me passed out in the sewer (like a boss).

From Bitter Leaf Fan
(3/03)

Under the current CBA, it strikes me that teams have a limited window to compete before increasing player compensation makes it a challenge for teams to hold on to the requisite pieces to remain among the elite (Ottawa, Pittsburgh, Tampa have all had to shed key parts in order to retain their top tier players).

If I was Brian Burke, pretty much the entire Leafs roster would be for sale. In return I’d put an emphasis on getting back prospects over picks. Prospects are a bit more of a known quantity, are further along in their development and therefore closer to stepping up to the NHL.

The Leafs have a very small nucleus (of sadly moderate talent) to build around: Schenn (’89), Tlusty (’88), Stralman (’86), Pogge (’86) and Mitchell (’85), Grabovski (’84). It’s this sad sack lot that the Leafs need to build around by acquiring more players born between 1986 to ’89. Players who are still three or four years removed from RFA status and five or six or so from UFA status.

By building around cost-controlled, younger players the Leafs can hopefully dip into the UFA pool in a few years when they’re competitive again (fingers crossed) for a star or two to help push them over the top.

Chris Kontos: Guaranteed, Brian Burke turns this franchise around in a season and half. I saw it with my own eyes across town. I hate you Brian Burke. He will pounce on any other GM who is willing to overpay in the slightest… and then get him to overpay even more. This is a man who found a way to get rid of Fedorov and that horrible contract.

James O’Brien: Getting out of that Fedorov contract was quite masterful, indeed. If Tomas Kaberle, Nik Antropov and any plus-$3 million isn’t in danger of being moved, then check Burke’s pulse.

Although I will say: Kaberle’s contract is a steal. (Also: there is not a single Burke photo that fails to make me laugh. That’s pretty impressive)

Dance partners: Boston (plus a quick note)

February 18, 2009

Before delving into this fun little diversion, a quick announcement: the individual posts for the All-Decade team will sprout up starting tomorrow. So far, there are three contributors, plus myself and two possible late additions. Send me an e-mail if you’re a blogger and want to send your picks (OK … OK … if you only comment but happen to harness a hidden mine of snark gold, then maybe we’ll make an exception). Please do not get huffy if your e-mail doesn’t make it.

(E-mail: jamestobrien@hotmail.com)

***

The playoffs are reaching the “can almost smell it” level of close-ness now. Here’s a fun new running feature, then: Best Dance Partners. It’s better than it sounds (so stash that White Man’s Underbite in your closet of shame along with your Snuggie, Creed CDs and mistress). Basically, the feature boils down to the three teams that would make the most entertaining matchups for the NHL team in question.

This week’s installment is the Boston Bruins:

1. Montreal Canadiens (the fifth seed with 66 points, but tied with four other Eastern teams so this isn’t as improbable as it sounds)

Last year’s Montreal – Boston seven-game series brought enough intensity to start a Montreal riot (as Rocket Richard shook his head in shame from Hockey Mount Olympus).
Interestingly enough, this hypothetical series would be quite the role reversal (Boston and Montreal switching no. 1 and no. 8 seeds along with traditional favorite-underdog positions). Plus, the Bruins’ breakout season would crash head-on with what currently is a free-falling centennial edition of the Habs.

Oh yeah, also, both teams can bring plenty of speed, depth and a traditional hatred marinated in decades of bad blood to yet another playoff series. Surely, the journey to shake that Montreal monkey off the Bruins’ back would cause blood pressures to rise in both Original Six markets.

2. Pittsburgh Penguins (currently in 10th place, would need considerable good fortune to make it to the playoffs)
NBC would rank this potential series WAY ahead of a series with Montreal. But a Pens-B’s match brings a lot to the table for more than just casual hockey fans.

It would really allow the Boston Bruins “brand” to grow as bigger audiences would finally get to see the best team in the Eastern Conference take on Pittsburgh, the team with the highest hype-per-win-capita in the NHL. Either that, or the Bruins would be upset by the Penguins leading Gary Bettman, Versus and NBC to jump for joy (while wishing the Penguins knocked off a Canadian team instead of the big market Bruins).

The more likely Bruins-crush-Pens scenario is oddly similar to that time Andre the Giant “put over” Hulk Hogan at Wrestlemania III. If, you know, Andre the Giant really sucked that year.

3. Buffalo (currently the seventh seed with 66 points)

Buffalo vs. Boston would be a battle between a small market obsessed enough with hockey to produce huge local ratings and a huge market with other sports on the brain. Even though the Bruins aren’t a perpetual Goliath like Detroit, Buffalo’s underdog factor would be pretty appealing in this one.
Plus, the hockey would probably be very good and Buffalo brings some similar strengths (deep scoring, good goaltending) so the series could even generate a few nail biters.

One bland pairing that would make fans yawn and TV execs drool

Boston vs. New York Rangers

Are we the only people with a slight urge to see the Rangers miss the playoffs? They’re such a mess of a roster, with four HORRIBLE contracts (Chris Drury, Scott Gomez, Wade Redden and Michal Rosival) and a limp lifelessness to their recent play.

Sure, they are two big markets. Sure, the networks would probably show Boston Red Sox/Yankees montages. And, sure, Sean Avery would bring lowbrow attention to the series (predicted Avery quip, spoken in typical monotone: “Zdeno Chara is a tall glass of ugly.”)

But what’s in it for, you know … hockey fans? Not as much as those three other matches, to be sure.