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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Chasing the Playoffs

"I think it is very important [to get a good start]. You never know when you are are going to be missing those points. [They] could come in the first game or the second game in a season. And you might find you are missing those [lost] points in April. I think every game is very crucial and it doesn't matter if you start out on the road or at home. I you have to…try and win those games."

Those words of wisdom are coming from the captain, big "Z". Yes, those games will come to haunt you, one way or the other. Fans will remember last year's schedule when, in the first two months, the B's had an astronomical amount of games against their own conference. The result was desastrous and basically, the B's ended their season last November. It was do or die and boy, do they died! They blew the whole thing up and within two months, it was set and done. That said, winning against the conference is big, but the bigger issue is consistancy.

I remember, last year, when the B's had a lead in the 3rd period, the only thing who comes in my mind over and over was, "Do they will collapse and give a late goal to lose it or send it in OT?" Most of the time, the prediction was right and the B's lost about 15 points due to their sloppiness and lack of finish. It was clear, at the time, that there was a "coaching" problem behind all of this. Sadly for the team, Sullivan had no solutions and was overwelmed by the situation. The "dump and chase the puck" strategy became the "dumb and lose the puck" strategy. Let's face it, last year, the B's had no clue on Earth how to play without the puck and 75% of the time, they didn't have it. Sullivan never adjust to the new rules and the team didn't had the profile to play the chasing game. The B' were outskated night in, night out and quite frankly, didn't have the muscle to pressurise opponnent's defense.

This year will be different. I liked the line of TSN's Pierre McGuire regarging the B's, "Boston will be better because they will become professionnal". Yes, they will be better because for the first time in a decade, Beantown has a profesionnal coaching staff. No more "let's look in our backyard" strategy or "the cheaper, the better". They have a coaching team who knows exactly what they want to do. They have a plan and they will sell it to the players. Of course, having a guy like Chara will help. It will help because there's no substitute for leadership. The good'ol "leading by the example" was long gone last year and the result was pathetic, desastrous, frustrating, and embarassing.

The B's are ranked 7th by TSN and KDP. But, in order to make the playoffs, they will have to:

1- win against the conference
2- play a full and intense 60 minutes. There's no way to evaluate those two factors because that's they were at the center of last year's collapse. But we can be excited by what's happening in Beantown. Yes, the B's will be in the playoffs because they have improve all around. Finally, this organization had a plan, they stuck with it and maybe, this time, the result will follow.


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