Let's touch on "the slash". The appropriateness of the punishment is being discussed heavily elsewhere (like here, here and here) so let's not touch on that here, but what do you think we can take away from that play? Does it show that the Sens were already managing to get under P.K. Subban's skin and throwing off his composure, or was it an isolated bad decision?
Ary: Based on the comments (and our eyes), it was clear that the Habs built their team to not get bullied like they did in 2013. The Flynn - Mitchell - Prust line got a lot of ice, Habs players were being physical early on, and certain guys were targeted for hits - basic hockey stuff that happens every game. The thing that bothers me the most about Subban is his feigned innocence, because NONE of this would’ve happened if he decided to be a responsible hockey player and take care of his stick. This tweet sums up the actual play best for me.
pk i luv u but ya can't choke up on the stick to throw a slash at a guy's hand like you're trying to foul off strike 3— i, rl (@twolinepass) April 16, 2015
It’s just not a hockey play, period. There’s always discussion about hits (like Gryba on Eller), but at least you can throw supplemental factors in there like targeted body part, speed of the game, etc. People like to blame the proximal effects (I like to call these symptoms, using a medical term) of the incident, such as the Subban reaction, the penalty, Stone falling, etc. but the fact remains that if Subban decided to not target Stone’s wrist with an illegal, non-hockey play, none of this would’ve happened. Period. That’s the CAUSE of all of this - an isolated bad decision from P.K Subban.
Michaela: Trying to think positively, what Ottawa should take away from the slash is that their biggest players are targets. We like to think that we are unexpected underdogs, but after the late-season run, teams are starting to take note of our best players. Montreal knows who the key players for Ottawa are, and they are watching them closely. The Sens can't stop other players from making poor decisions, but they can better prepare their players for it, which is what I hope the coaching staff does.
Richard: I honestly was surprised that Subban got a game misconduct last night. I can't remember having seen that before, and I hadn't seen the rule until this morning. I'm sad that we lost and that Stone is hurt, but I care a lot more about how the Sens respond to this and what it means for our lineup changes moving forward than I care about what happens with/to Subban. Having Chiasson with Zibanejad Ryan and Hoffman with Neil and Legwand makes no sense to me. That being said, it doesn't make any more sense that their 4th line seemed to dominate us last night, so who knows?
Amelia: I was surprised by the game misconduct last night as well. I've read the rulebook, but don't remember everything from it. It was the right call by the letter of the law, though officials often don't do such things. I don't think it's indicative about anything in regards to Subban and I think, like Richard, Ottawa's response is more important. You roll with the same line-up if Stone can go, if he can't I guess you sub in Neil, because what other option do you have really? Smith is terrible on the wing and also there's Colin Greening.
Ross: The big thing it shows for me is Therrien should be angry. His team scores two goals in 15 seconds to get the Sens on their heels and rattle Hammond. Then, Eller throws a stupid butt-end to send his team to the penalty kill. Then Subban takes a needless slash 10 seconds into that kill. It's your chance to get a stranglehold. Everyone knows Hammond's the guy who allowed 3 goals in 36 seconds to start a game. It showed to me that Montreal couldn't handle the emotion of the game. They took the lead and completely lost control. I think that shows at least some Montreal players came into the game hyped up on media attention. Do I think Ottawa got under Subban's skin? Probably not in that game exclusively. But in the first, he brought his stick down on Pageau's head, and when he got away with it, he decided to whack Mark Stone in the wrist. If this is the kind of fire he's gonna bring to the series, it bodes well for Ottawa.
Is anybody worried that the slash could lead to the Sens being thrown off their game, chasing players around the ice in the name of being physical?
Richard: That's my primary concern.
Amelia: No, I think the message from Sens leadership (Murray, Cameron) was discipline, winning is the best revenge etc etc.
Michaela: Agreed. I think coaching staff are going to advocate for the exact opposite, and "win to get revenge." After Cameron's comments last night (which have been taken out of context by many), the last thing he needs is refs thinking that his players are out to hurt someone.
Andrew Hammond just outright didn't have a very good night. He let in a few stinkers, and got pretty lucky a few times as well. The rest of the team wasn't great either, but an average performance from the Hamburglar probably gets the win. I think we're all expecting him to start game 2, but how much rope should he be given?
Ary: I think Hammond will start Game 2 and judging by Cameron's comments, I think he'll be there for the entirety of it unless he gives up 3+ goals rather quickly. If Anderson wanted to reclaim the crease, the best time would've been during the streak itself, as Hammond finishing it off doesn't bare well for his chances. That said, Anderson's proven and beat the Habs in 2013. If Hammond lets in a few stinkers tomorrow, it'll be extremely interesting to see if Anderson gets Game 3. Remember, it's not a disadvantage until you lose on home ice.
Michaela: Some of those goals should have been stopped, true. It was not Hammond's night. But the team left him out to dry on many occasions. Mitchell was all alone on the first goal, easily tucking in the wrap-around. Plekanec's goal came from a two-on-one break. Eller was left all alone on the breakaway. The list goes on of mistakes made by the team as a whole. Hammond needs to be better, and he will probably get another chance on Friday. But if this happens again, Cameron will have no choice but to change up the goalie situation. There is no time for two missed opportunities in a seven-game series.
Richard: I think the Sens will come back determined and angry and very focused. Hammond more than anyone. He's bounced back after losses before and took beating the Rangers very seriously after giving one up to them. He's going to be fine. He'll be very good in game two and we won't have to worry about this much more. I hope.
Amelia: Hammond was bad. But there was lots of blame to spread around. Everyone's got some playoff experience now and hopefully that will help. Hammond's bounced back before and why still don't really know the health of Andy's hand. Even if Anderson is 100% healthy, he's got to be extremely rusty. It's a lot easier for a forward to ease into the intensity of playoff hockey after a long layoff. You can limit their minutes etc. Can't do that with a goalie. Fully expect Cameron to go back to Hammond.
Ross: Hammond has already been given way more leash than I expected. When he let in that poor fourth goal, I thought for sure he'd be pulled. So I think he'll be given a lot of rope, for better or for worse. Personally, I think he deserves one more start. He's normally shown the ability to not get rattled by a bad outing, and I'm hoping he can back to that. I wish I had the confidence of some of you that he's ready to go back into beast mode.