Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Canadiens Dodge, Duck, Dip, Dive, and Dodge...and Still Lose
Whenever the Montreal Canadiens are playing a closely contested game, the theatrics can be pathetic. In the playoffs, at home, they are downright insufferable.
In Monday night's game 3 at the Bell Centre, the Habs did all they could to embellish injuries, take dives, and even doled out a few cheap shots of their own in their attempt to take a 3-0 series lead and essentially end the Bruins season.
It started early in the first period as Wisniewski went down after a stick to the mouth from Zdeno Chara. While he certainly look injured, flopping to the ice and grabbing his face, there was no penalty called.
Later in the action, Roman Hamrlik went down after a collision that he initiated, prompting Bruins' play-by-play man Jack Edwards to utter one of the most classic lines in recent memory.
After Hamrlik struggled to get to his feet, Edwards observed, "And Hamrlik goes down as if he's been shot! GET UP!" Once I was done laughing and texting friends to see if they had heard the latest maniacal call from Edwards, I realized that the Canadiens, once again, had to resort to flopping to win. Without the benefit of a man advantage, it became clear that Montreal was going to do whatever it took to agitate the Bruins.
The most controversial moment of the night was when Benoit Pouliot launched himself in the air and made contact with Bruins Defenseman Jonny Boychuck. After several non calls on similar interference penalties, the refs finally cited Pouliot for not playing the puck, after Andrew Ference made Pouliot answer for the cheap shot.
Funny how no Habs fans objected to the Pouliot hit, but howled when Chara was throwing his body around left and right. Just another example in a seemingly infinite list of ways Montreal fans and players try to manipulate referees, especially at the Bell Center, in order to gain a competitive advantage.
Looking forward to game 4, Montreal will certainly try to continue their embellishing ways, with the main goal being to get under the Bruins' skin and attempt to goad them into taking retaliatory penalties, as they tried to do on Monday night when Ference dropped the gloves with Pouliot.
Knowing that the Habs were trying to capitalize on Ference's retaliation, he told reporters, "Well, I waited for him to drop the gloves and throw a punch before I did anything. I definitely didn't want to take an extra penalty." In order to not fall victim to shady officiating, the Bruins are going to have to use this type of restraint, while at the same time protecting their players.
The next chapter in this rivalry will be written tomorrow night at 7:30, as the Bruins take on the Canadiens, and hopefully not the referees, north of the border.