So, the unthinkable will become a reality.
In principle, the players and owners are expected to approve the new work convention, a period of six years.
Therefore, the Canadian and the Pittsburgh Penguins will compete in a short series of three to five. The issue : a qualification to the playoffs. We could not have asked for a better matchup.
Yet, when Gary Bettman has pressed the “pause” button on the 12th of last march, Marc Bergevin and his group’s thoughts to the next season. Prior to the deadline for conclusion of transactions, they had already made some changes. Nate Thompson had taken the direction of Philadelphia, Nick Cousins had landed in Las Vegas and Ilya Kovalchuk landed in Washington, where the waiting for Alex Ovechkin.
In the Canadian, we had hoisted the white flag.
We are preparing for the season 2020-21, with a small glimmer of hope of winning the lottery. But, that is another story, because the Canadian, with the session selection of the best junior players occurred a few days ago, would have more chances of winning the lottery Alexis Lafrenière than before, if ever, of course, he was losing against the Penguins, a result that most observers foresee.
But one must always keep a little discomfort.
Because fear is Carey Price.
Except that it will have a special experience, as this will be the case for Matt Murray or Tristan Jarry, who, in contrast, rely on one of the training courses the most fearsome attack in the national League.
To eliminate the Penguins, Price will have to cope with two games in two nights, three games in four nights, and, if necessary, four games in five nights and five games in seven nights.
A heavy order when one must face the heavy artillery of the Penguins : Crosby, Malkin, Guentzel, Letang and company.
Some say that he will have to repeat the heroics of Jaroslav Halak, 10 years ago, while keeping in perspective that he will complete this work in a context even more challenging.
Price can steal a series ?
With gender, to influence a series translates better to the challenge that waits for the keeper.
I understand that the Penguins have been a much better education than the Canadian during the regular season even if Crosby, Malkin, Letang and Guentzel missed several matches.
But, we’re back to zero.
The two teams will be in perfect health. And, the statistics can be interpreted in many different ways.
If one focuses on the statistics of Price, during the last two seasons, it has not been rosy in the beginning of the season. But, one can always argue that there are no statistics of Carey Price in August. Good point.
The Canadian has been higher than the Penguins defense with a better rate of outages at five-on-five. Here, here.
The Habs also recorded a better ratio of shots as the Penguins…
In short, there are interesting elements. I remind you, as it has done since the end of the activities, that the Canadian has lost 22 games by one goal and 11 other games where he allowed a goal in an empty net. We speak of 33 matches. This is certainly not an aspect to neglect.
The influence of Weber
Then, can we believe in the miracle ?
Too early to say. On reflection, Shea Weber will be able to give more minutes to his coach because of this long break. It is in perfect shape, and it is to be considered. Let us not forget that the elimination tournament requires a game plan specific. And Weber is a card important in the game of Claude Julien.
But, I admit, when you look at the numbers of Penguins, it’s scary.
It puts everything in question.