Without raining on Bob Gainey’s parade as he’s honoured tonight for his great years as a player, I should give some sobering thoughts to fellow Habs fans who confidently sing the Olay song at the Bell Centre, to those who confidently bellow out the “I Believe” slogan, and to those who confidently feel we have a playoff spot comfortably in the bag.
The fact is: We don’t have a playoff spot comfortably in the bag. It’s not time to be confident yet.
The team’s playing great, that’s for sure, with 75 points before tonight’s clash with Columbus. Montreal hasn’t had 75 points at this stage of the game since the 1992-93 season when they won the cup.
But the standings in the east are so tight now, all it’ll take is an injury or two to some key players like Kovalev and Markov, a tiny little losing streak, plus tiny little winning streaks by the Bruins, Buffalo, and the Rangers, plus a surge by the Islanders and Philadelphia, the two teams who now sit out of a playoff spot, and things could turn ugly. (And don’t forget about a flu bug like the one last year which ravished the team.)
I say this even though I’m a believer too. Because although the team has for the most part played really well, slumps for them have crept in from time to time throughout this season. Anything can happen, and so I’m wary until they actually clinch. And being the greedy person I am, I want them to not only make the playoffs of course, but to finish high up the playoff pole.
Have a look at how tight the east is. This is before tonight’s games (Saturday, Feb. 23rd), so it’s interesting how it might change in a few hours from now.
Ottawa 76, New Jersey 75, Carolina 67, Pittsburgh 75, Montreal 75, Boston 68, Buffalo 68, Rangers 68. And the two now out of a playoff spot – Islanders with 67, and Philadelphia with 66, are breathing down everyone’s necks.
Of course, if the Habs take about seven of the next ten, please disregard this post. They’ll be in, baby.