Montreal Canadiens : Can They Handle It ?

Miah D.Senior Writer IMarch 31, 2008

Good news first : Mike Komisarek started to skate today, at the Bell Center; and hopefully Guillaume Latendresse and Mark Streit will travel with the team to Ottawa tomorrow. Isn't that wonderful ?

Lately, with all those injuries and the loss in Toronto, there is a little panic invading some fans (me included!) . The  truth is, it's the first time this season that the Habs have had to deal with so many injuries, all at once.

But as much as I want to get down on my knees and scream "Whyyyy?" every time one of our Habs limps to the bench, it seems the guys in the dressing room are relaxed and coping with the situation.  

Do they have a choice? Nope. The playoffs are around the corner, and there are just three games left to get back on track. So there is no time to stop and wonder what went wrong, and how life can be so cruel sometimes !

Recently, when asked about how they will manage with these huge setbacks, Alexei Kovalev delivered what could earn him the "speech of the year" award, in my annual backyard hockey ceremony.

To paraphrase, he said "We cannot stay there thinking about the injured players. There are others who worked hard during the season, they need to take their chance and show what they can do. The young guys need to prove that they belong in the NHL". (source, RDS.CA)

In a short chat on Habs Inside/Out, Mike Komisarek expressed his team's willingness to keep going on a high note. The defense-man talked about a "big splash". Well, the splash was already made when they clinched a pretty good playoff spot. The question is how long will the ripples last?

Yesterday, in Montreal, Tom Kostopoulos led the annual Greek Parade as this year's King. "Go Habs Go" chants could be heard throughout the parade route. Kostopoulos  expressed how exciting the event was,  adding that he hopes to be back for another parade in June.

I just love the way these guys are showing a confidence that's filling the team. They have proved so many people wrong from the start of the season and are determined to keep on doing it. However, bravado does not win a cup; and a "splash" can be interpreted in two ways. And yes, there will be a parade in June, the Saint Jean Baptiste parade !  

No, I am not being negative ... NOT  AT ALL ! I am just saying that our Habs will need to work harder than ever ( I know it sounds cliche, but it is true ! ), especially when we're missing key players like Koivu, Streit and Bouillon. 

In a recent poll among NHL players by Sports Illustrated, about who will be Stanley Cup contenders, the Montreal Canadiens got only 2% of the votes. 

Whenever I take a look at today's roster, I often wonder how the the pressure of the series will impact this young team. Among the players, only three veterans have won a Stanley Cup.

Alexei Kovalev got his ring with the Rangers, Mathieu Dandenault (yes, that same guy who has been a healthy scratch more times than he can count) got three cups with the Detroit Red Wings; and of course we cannot forget Patrice Brisebois, who was among the Montreal crew the last time they hoisted the cup.

As for the rest of the team, Bryan Smolinski reached a career high in the conference finals with the Senators. Of the remaining players, none ever got past the conference semifinals. However, this year's rookies did capture the Calder Cup last year in the AHL, led by our very own Carey Price.

To handle or not to handle the pressure, that is the question ...