Wednesday, March 31, 2010

When pucks get a mind of their own...

Something really crappy happened yesterday.

photo cred: E. Bolté, 24heures. don't worry, we're cool. I give him lineup sheets all the time.

Five overtimes (five periods, actually, but it felt like five overtimes) and no dice. The Montreal Junior lost three consecutive games after being up 3-1 in the series. Gatineau took the series in 7.

And I really do mean TOOK the series. They grabbed it by the horns and never let go. Thankfully I have no problems in hoping Saint John (team #3 in my Q radar if you're counting) puts them in their place. Being the little opportunists that they are, though, the Olympiques should be right on task to give the Sea Dogs more of a pestulent attitude about being the lowest seed in Round 2 than, say, PEI did in Round 1.

As for the Junior, well, I want to discuss one little thing. The goal that got away.

It was a shot from the red line that bounced off the back glass as Jean-François Bérubé was backing up. Somehow the puck got between his right pad and, with the obvious movement pattern, the wrong side of the red line. Poor guy was absolutely furious. I was about ten rows up from the incident and couldn't stop staring at the puck as he kept slamming his stick against the ice. I couldn't believe that that was it. The goal that ended a season.

It fit the situation, but not the game. Both teams fought for almost 82 minutes of play and the Junior players' adrenaline was practically seeping out of their eyes as they threw everything they had at Olympiques 'tender Maxime Clermont. The first overtime should have been it. They were right there. But somehow, Clermont found the puck, even lay on it once and didn't move a centimetre for fear of his life.

As for JF, as angry as he is right now, it'll be a huge building block in his character. No one blames him (or should) for a freak accident like that, and as someone who tends to be irrational in his case, neither do I. If his former teammate Jake Allen found his way out of the events last January to wind up with the best GAA in the CHL (and I have a feeling it won't stop there), I have no doubts that Bérubé will be able to come out in a big way next year.

What I really want to say is that this doesn't just apply to the Q. Bad goals happen, "are part of the game," and really sure do suck a lot, but finger-pointing isn't the way to deal with it. Just a few words to keep in mind for a certain NHL team we happen to love a lot and that's fighting for its life right now.

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