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Habs Visit Surging Stars in Dallas To Finish 2018 + 2018 Thoughts

December 31, 2018, 1:31 PM ET [92 Comments]
Brandon Smillie
Montreal Canadiens Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
The Dallas Stars top players were recently thrown under the bus by team executive Jim Lites who told his local publication to publish his very thorough analysis of the team. Lites referred to the performance of superstars Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin as “fucking horseshit” and eagerly told the publication to publish it.

The outburst has been brushed off by the two Dallas Stars, addressed by the team owner, and discussed regularly since it occurred.

Must be a highly motivated group wearing green, white, and gold right now…

Two players from the Stars have been pretty damn good so far this season though and thats Alex Radulov and Ben Bishop.

Bishop is performing at career best levels so far this season with a .926 SP% which is on par with his career best performance of the 15-16 season. His 2.25 GAA is also on pace to be the 3rd best GAA of his 10 year career.

Radulov leads all the teams forwards in CF% and FF% so he is the engine of the offense right now. Even his two linemates, the fertilizer duo of Benn and Seguin, fall 2 to 3 full CF and FF % points behind Radulov despite being his most common linemates and have performed well below their typical PPG production.

This information isn’t to undermine the Stars stars right now though. They are actually performing well lately with a 4-2-0 record in their last 6 games. Before this run though they had lost 4 straight. Their last two weeks though have helped bring the team to the last Wild Card spot in the West with Vancouver, Minnesota, and Edmonton close behind them.

The Habs come into this one after a heartbreaking 6-5 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning ended a 3 game win streak. The last loss was a difficult one to digest for us Habs fans. The Canadiens out Corsi’d, out Fenwick’d, and generally outplayed the Lightning but couldn’t finish them off due to goaltending, which sunk their game PDO to 95.9 for the game.

The Canadiens did most everything right but Niemi was clearly struggling Saturday. I don’t want to toss Niemi under the bus, he’s a Cup champion and a great team player in the sunset of his career. But he hasn’t been the reliable back up the Canadiens have needed this year and that they need right now. It is difficult to advocate for McNiven to be given the keys to the Canadiens bus but I think we also have to see what he can bring, even if it's an initial adrenaline rush performance that drops off gradually.

Habs need wins as they sit in the last Wild Card spot in the East with the NYI’s one point behind with 2 games in hand. That said, the Habs are only 3 points out of 3rd in the Atlantic so this season is far from over and I would expect that once the Habs know what they can expect from Price for the remainder of the year they will be shopping for any and all kinds of help with the cap space to absorb a bad contract for the remainder of the season. This could help them make a move that helps without having to give up too much in return if they take back someone who has a bad contract that an owner doesn’t want to pay for anymore.

The Canadiens win percentage is sitting at 51% which is a decent distance away from the desired 55% that should assure them a ticket to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. With opponents coming up like surging Canucks, the struggling Predators, and potential low hanging fruit in Minny, Detroit, and St. Louis the Canadiens might be able to fix that win percentage over the next 2 weeks. They will have to overcome the possible inconsistency in net to do it though or bring in outside help to weather the storm.

Some believe Price’s injury isn’t serious and some believe it is. What I can say it looks like he was playing through some kind of strain in the lower body that stiffened up over the Christmas break. I will say I advocate for Price to be close to 100% before returning but if the injury is simply a strain that can be handled with medication to achieve normal performance then he will be back soon, hopefully for that 3 game stretch against Minnesota, Detroit, and St. Louis.

New Years Eve

I hope you all have a safe, fun New Years Eve no matter whether you’re working or not. A new year is a chance for all of us to set a concrete date to begin change or motivation to continue down our desired path.

Last year at this time my wife and I were staring down the tail end of some home renovations to lead into a spring time sale of our home to move across the country from Belle River, ON to Calgary, AB. We were tired, nervous, and anxious all at the same time.

Our yearly New Years party of family and friends didn’t happen as it was just my wife and kids with me on the couch and I was the only one to make it to midnight. I remember watching the ball drop and the “2018” light up on the screen. In that small moment in my basement living room I felt rejuvenated. I woke up my wife and told her everything we were doing and aspiring to do was going to work.

I felt it through my body. I felt new and improved. I wanted to finish the job and move on to the next chapter. I told my wife this was our year, 2018 Year of the Smillie’s. I didn’t realize how appropriate this was at the time, but I hoped to follow through as best I could on my new hope.

We finished everything, then the day before we were to list our home our sump pump broke during one of the worst rain storms in our little towns history and flooded my basement. I lost it a bit that day (I have Cumulative PTSD from my near decade as a Police Constable) but the next morning I had the basement cleared, cleaned, and started the process of drying it out. Within two weeks of that incident the basement was fixed, repaired, and reset.

The house was listed as the last piece of trim was replaced in the basement and sold in a bidding war 6 days later. 28 days after that me, my wife and two sons, and our dog were on a plane to Calgary, AB and never looked back. My brother and his wife took us in for exactly 100 days before we found our new home steps away from the beautiful Fish Creek parklands. We finally feel settled and home again as we enter 2019.

What I’m trying to say is that change comes from within and yes outside factors can affect how well you can execute your dreams and aspirations, but if you never stop moving forward towards your goals you will never lose.

Set goals, move towards them, and remember to smile and look around along the way. At 36 years old I can say that life seems to pass by a lot faster than before. I find myself unplugging more and more to make sure I look around and breath it all in. I take less pictures because I don’t want to be staring at a screen for a picture I’ll never check out again for weeks, I want to feel fully in the moment instead with my family around me.

Life is full of ups and downs and I can say with certainty I have had my share of downs and more than my share of mental struggles along the way. But I also subscribe to the fact that nothing is perfect so I cannot expect that of myself or those around me. I subscribe to doing my best at what I choose to do at the given moment and taking care of those close to me when they need me the most. I’m managing my highs and lows better than I have in the last 4 years and my goal is to keep improving that while doing the best I can do when I have to.

I am starting school retraining to embark on a new career. I will be trying to figure out Human Resources Management after achieving an Honors in Police Foundations, graduating from the Ontario Police College, receiving an award from the former Governor General of Canada for Bravery and Excellence in Policing, and then finding myself set back in the worst way due to PTSD.

I did not come from money, in fact quite the opposite. I worked for everything I have achieved and with a better mindset then I have had in years I will push forward into 2019 with the intentions of never giving up and being proud of whatever my best may be.

I hope you can feel the same level of determination I am feeling heading into the new year and even if it doesn’t happen tonight, I hope you find it this year and strive to accept who you are and do your best. Be proud of yourself for whatever you try to do, win or lose, but always try.

Never quit.

As for me, I think this “Year of…” thing is a new family tradition for the time being. This year my wife and I have decided is going to be dubbed “2019 The Year Of Adventure”. Wish me luck.

Go Habs Go
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