Can't push over these Canadiens
"I was giving him a bad time because he got named a star," Boston defenseman
In the Department of Moral Victories, Montreal announced it planned to stick around a while with a welcome if not characteristic display of in-your-grill hockey. Rather than play the piñata to the Bruins, the Canadiens pushed back. Hard. Indeed they were the more physical team, on the stat sheet -- 31 hits to 23 -- if not always on the seismic scale. The Canadiens-as-toughs go against type, like
At times in recent years the Canadiens have played so small, they would have been lucky they could get on the rides at Disneyland. To address this obvious deficiency, to give his team an cowardly lion-like injection of courage, general manager
In the biggest surprise of Game 1, a match in which the probability of a Laraque fight was remote, the big galoot played 13:12 as a winger in place of
"He deserves credit," Ward said. "He's a hard guy to move."
Gainey's gambit made sense, certainly in the long term. Rather than taking his chances with the Koivu-Kovalev-Tanguay line, which has been effective since the GM/interim coach created it late in the season, he would try to steal a win while announcing the Canadiens welcomed the rough stuff. Until Mr. 105.4 Miles Per Hour blasted a 45-footer past Price when neither
Laraque certainly was going to make himself audible in this series, if not always visible. The Canadiens enforcer has a voice that rumbles from his shoe tops, a basso profundo that adds a certain veneer of gravitas to whatever happens to come out of his mouth. There have been 31 previous series between these ancient rivals, including some of the most celebrated playoff matches since the days when
Laraque, in French, told station CKAC that some Bruins had said their tough guy,
Placed in the context of the historic rivalry, the Laraque taunts -- as intemperate as they might have been from someone whose role remains relatively modest -- rate down the list. There is something said every spring, including the shouting match last year between Bruins coach
Apparently this is why Boston is called the Athens of America.