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TIME TO CALL IT A DAY – July 30, 2020

After six decades covering hockey, it is time to call it a day.

It wasn’t a sudden decision but it is my view that coverage of the game (and all sports) should be left to the younger minds who are better equipped to deal with the breakneck speed in which the game is being played, analyzed and reported.  So this is my final Intentional Offside-Reuschblog column.

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Saturday night in Toronto was scheduled to be an end to what would be the Canadiens third consecutive non-playoff season.   For many, the fact that Covid19 prevented the Canadiens from playing the final eleven games of it’s schedule was a further act of mercy.

The last time the league played a game was March 12th.  Odds are heavily against the league getting back on the ice until October if not later.

In the 71 games the Canadiens did play,  they recorded 71 points. Projected to eighty-two games that would be eighty-two points which means a missed playoff berth by something like fifteen points.

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GAME #71 – WAIT ‘TIL NEXT YEAR – Nashville-4 Canadiens-2 (March 10, 2020)

The Canadiens season is done and gone.

Most of us knew that on February 18th when they lost their fifth in a row against lowly Detroit.

General manager Marc Bergevin finally showed he had given up the ghost when he shipped Ilya Kovalchuk, Nate Thompson, Nick Cousins and Marco Scandella at the trade deadline. Head coach Claude Julien inexorably resigned himself to the team’s ultimate fate when he elected to take his lineup into experimental mode with a lineup shuffle for the Tuesday night’s game against Nashville. We’re going to see a lot of that between now and the season’s end on April 4th.

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GAME #69 – MANPOWER SHORTAGE – Tampa Bay-4 Canadiens-0 (March 5, 2020)

Outside of possibly two or three players, we have learned that the Canadiens don’t do goal scoring very well.

A betting chalk player would see that the two best Canadiens goalscorers out of the lineup against a team like Tampa Bay and would be inclined to bet the house against them. They might even stretch that and put money down on the Canadiens losing by shutout, which is exactly what happened.

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GAME #66 – ATTENTION DEFICIT – NY Rangers-5 Canadiens-2 (Feb. 27, 2020)

A lack of attention to the details. Claude Julien has been complaining about it for months.

He’s right of course. When the Canadiens have their bad nights it has usually been caused by poor puck management and tactical breakdown. How else can you explain the failure to close out periods, the ceding of quick goals and the blown leads?

It was a perfect storm of all three in Thursday night’s 5-2 loss to the New York Rangers.

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