With the thrill of the Canadiens shootout win fully savoured, and before the Habs take on the Senators tonight, it seemed like an ideal time to raise one nagging issue from Saturday’s game that few are talking about. Maybe it’s just me.
I really haven’t bought all of the Jack Adams trophy hype about Claude Julien (nor Guy Carbonneau for that matter). I just happen to think that there are far more deserving potential candidates. But that’s a debate for another time.
Rewind to the end of the overtime period last Saturday night. There were a number of things that happened in the shootout. What was Carbo thinking sending out Mark Streit? When will (the very creative) Alex Kovalev find a new move; one that works? Don’t you love watching the confidence of Carey Price in the shootouts? How grateful is Koivu that he was facing Thomas who allowed the flubbed shot to slide in? These may be interesting questions but not the one that has been on my mind.
The Boston Bruins were facing the very real possibility of a season sweep by the Montreal Canadiens. Claude Julien had to decide on his 3 players for the shootout. For his first shooter, Julien sent out Zdeno Chara who is known for his height, punishing checks, and a blistering slapshot. Chara is NOT known for his speed, creativity and soft hands, qualities that are usually a plus in the shootout.
So why was he out there? Let’s leave that for a minute. First let’s recall, what happened. Chara lumbered in across the blueline until he was between the faceoff circles and blasted a slapshot right at Carey Price. Chara didn’t seem to have any interest in picking a corner but instead drove the puck directly at Price from a few feet out. Price made the pad save and got up slowly.
So I wonder…afraid of going 0-8 on the season, did Claude Julien direct his big defenceman with the 100+ mph slapshot to go out and soften up the sensational rookie goaltender of the Montreal Canadiens? And in turn, I ask you: Jack Adams worthy or bush league?
(photo credit: Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images)