Okay...deep breath...I think I've vented enough about the rotten parts of losing in the playoffs. Time to look on the bright side (cue Monty Python whistle). There are actually a whole lot of things I like about the Habs in these playoffs, even if they're not all working to get some wins on the board.
I really like Josh Gorges. He's not the biggest D out there, but, man, is he tough?! I've seen him get pounded time after time and still get up for more. His defensive play is getting better and better, and yesterday I saw him twice take out bigger Flyers one-on-one, neatly taking the man instead of the puck. He and Bouillon have formed a nice, reliable third defense pair, and Gorges has been one of the top three D-men on the ice for the Habs on many nights.
I like Carbo's stupid tie. For years, other teams have had talismans of some kind, like the Flames green hard hat they gave to the hardest worker in each game during their Cup finals run two years ago. I think it's a sign of a tight team when they can publicly admit they have a good luck charm like the tie. That's a good thing, even if the tie is hideous.
Tomas Plekanec is making me happy. He's not the biggest guy out there, and he's used to having more time and space to do his thing. He struggled in the Boston series under tight checking, but he's adapted and the last few games against Philly he's looked more like himself. His claim to fame is that he never quits and works hard on every shift. We're seeing that now, along with his opportunistic visits to the Flyers' crease that have resulted in a couple of desperately-needed goals. He's taking a page from the captain's book, and I like it.
Speaking of the Captain...what can you say? He's a playoff guy and it shows. Hurt, tired, under pressure, he always comes through when it counts most. I'm proud to say he's the leader of my team.
The signs of future brilliance from Carey Price are comforting. When it mattered, in game seven, he came through with a shutout. He'll get better with the consistency as he matures, but that was some fine goaltending under the gun.
Maxim Lapierre on the penalty kill. He's doing a great job, and his speed is helping to bother the opposition. He doesn't actually do much with the puck when he gets it, but he's really good at making sure the other team can't do anything either. And that has value.
Sergei Kostitsyn is consistently making some beautiful passes, and when he learns to control his chippiness a bit better and and stops looking for his brother exclusively, he'll be a deadly playmaker. We forgive Price a lot because he's just 20, but we forget, Sergei is from the same draft. So is Latendresse, who also is frustrating in his youth and needs time and patience.
The no-quit attitude. No matter how big a hole they get into, both on the board and psychologically, they somehow find the mental fortitude to regroup and fight back. It doesn't always work, but they keep trying anyway.
All of these things make me think this team isn't a one-year wonder, and will be back with a vengeance next year. Who knows? Maybe they'll even get it together and scare Philly a little before it's all over. Whatever happens, I like them.