I think when you ask people what was the main reason the Canadiens didn't make the playoffs this season, most people would put the lack of efficiency on the power play at the top of their list. With a 13.2% success rate, the Habs power play was downright abysmal but how was that even possible? I mean, they do have Shea Weber's booming shot don't they? We've seen the captain burry a few of those in the last few years:
In fact, we've seen 19 Shea Weber power play goals in the last 3 years (12 in his first on the team, 2 in 26 games in his second year and 5 in 58 games this year), can't deny that those big Weber rockets get the crowd on its feet and cheering. Unfortunately though, it seems that the Habs power play is too predictable. Right, sure...the Habs are the only ones betting on one main weapon on the man advantage.... I was watching Carolina play Washington Thursday and the Caps were on the power play. Surprisingly (sense the tone), Alex Ovechkin scored with the man advantage from what has come to be known as his office (the face-off dot in the offensive zone):
This season, the Caps power play ranked 12th in the league at 20.8% and the great 8 scored how many power play goals? 18. It's not that the Caps opponents do not know where the shot is going to come from, everyone and their mother knows they'll feed Ovi who'll one-time it...Want to talk about predictable? That's the very definition of it. The difference is that the Caps' passing play is just like a well-oiled war machine. That's what's lacking for the Habs. They need to stick to the same power play units and practice those passing plays until it just comes naturally to them and if that means that Weber has to be somewhat more mobile to make it work, than so be it. The Canadiens' season has been over since April 6th and no-one has lost their job. It's therefore safe to say that Kirk Muller, who's main assignment was the power-play, will be back next season. Hopefully, he provides better result than this season because as long as the power play remains dormant, the Habs will struggle to get to the playoffs.
Last night, the Leafs were taking on the Bruins in Boston for game 5 of their 1st round series and while I had enjoyed the first 4 games, last night was probably one of the most boring playoffs game i've seen. Halfway through the game, the score was still 0-0 and the Leafs has 9 shots to Boston's 10. It looked like both teams were playing some rather prudent hockey and didn't want to make a mistake. At the start of the third, they were still scoreless and a mistake was about to be made but not by one of the team...It was about to be made by the refs and the war room in Toronto. Remember this beautiful goal (again sense the tone ) by the Rangers against Price:
Ever since then, I've been wondering what exactly is goaltender interference and sadly, I still can't say for sure. To me, and to most of the Hockey Night in Canada panel last night, Auston Matthews' goal should have been overturned but the war room in Toronto thought otherwise:
You can clearly see Hyman give a cross check in Charlie McAvoy's back and then make clear contact with Rask. I absolutely hate Boston but that goal should not have stood. Imagine if that call in the first round of the playoffs had been made against the Canadiens? I mean it's one thing for the officials to mess up calls in the regular season, to forget about their whistle more often than not in the playoffs but there's no way such an important game should be decided by such a call. I know, that was the first goal of the game and it ended 2-1 Toronto but the fact is, if that goal didn't stand, the score would have been 1-1 at the end of 60 minutes. I think it's the first time of my life that I felt bad for the Bruins.
What's the solution to fixe the mess that is goaltender interference? I don't know to be honest but if anyone has a suggestion please do get in touch with the NHL and tell them about it because calls like those really aren't gret for the league's credibility.