Former Canadien Chris Nilan joined columnist Jack Todd and sports editor/host Stu Cowan on this week’s HI/O Show on The Gazette’s hockeyinsideout.com website.
Among the topics of conversation were a probable first-round playoff series between the Canadiens and the Tampa Bay Lightning, P.K. Subban’s ice time, Douglas Murray’s elbow and why Toronto Maple Leafs fans have become “the Charlie Brown of the NHL.”
You can watch a new HI/O Show every week at hockeyinsideout.com, where you can also get all the latest Habs news, post your comments and follow Mike Boone’s live blog during every game.
Here are some of the highlight quotes from this week’s HI/O Show:
Nilan on a Habs-Lightning playoff series: “They’re evenly matched. Carey Price and Ben Bishop, two really solid goaltenders. I think they got a lot bigger defence than the Canadiens have, but they match up pretty well in every area. All the games have been close this year, I would expect the same in a playoff series. I think it could be a long series that goes seven games ... it’s going to be so close.”
Todd on 6-foot-7 Lightning goalie Ben Bishop: “I don’t see many goalies taller than I am, but he’s got me by about an inch and he seems huge in the net. He’s come into his own this year. I think the one answer the Canadiens might have there is Price is playing terrific hockey and he’s got a little bit more experience at this kind of thing than Bishop does. But it’s going to be tough.”
Nilan on the Habs getting extra days off in Florida: “Certain days I wanted to be off … there’s days you really need it, but some days you don’t. Before it used to be L.A. the only warm-weather place you’d go. Now it’s Florida, so you have those options. You can give guys a little rest.”
Todd on a kinder, gentler Michel Therrien: “I think what’s happened with him is he’s shown an ability to learn and adjust, and you contrast that with John Tortorella, who obviously can’t learn a thing and is exactly the same coach that he was in Tampa 10 years ago and it’s been disastrous for the Canucks. Therrien’s been able to adjust here.”
Nilan on Murray’s elbow to the head of the Lightning’s Mike Kostka that resulted in a three-game suspension: “The difference between myself and Murray, that was a reactionary one. It’s like a guy sticking the knee out. You’re going to get beat, last second you react. Mine was all premeditated (laughs). I never reacted. If I was going to elbow someone in the head, I was going to elbow him in the head.”
Todd on the struggling Leafs: “Their leaders aren’t leaders. I think that’s where it starts. When Dion Phaneuf if your captain, you’ve got a problem. Phil Kessel … what did they say? ‘He can’t spell C’.”
Nilan on David Desharnais’s bounce-back season: “His problem was partly confidence, but the confidence was he didn’t want the puck like he used to want it. He wasn’t skating, he wasn’t paying the price. I think he was feeling sorry for himself a little. It was getting to him. He started to skate, he started to want the puck and do the things he used to do to make him successful.”
Todd on the Habs’ playoff hopes: “Price, if he’s the thoroughbred that they say he is, he gives them the same shot that Patrick Roy gave them when he was here. You have that superior goaltending, if everything else comes together …”
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