It ain't over till it's over
Though his team trails 3-1 in their Eastern Conference Semifinal series, Carbonneau has full confidence in his troops to overcome the deficit. And while optimism might be a requirement of the job, the Canadiens’ bench boss firmly believes in what he sees.
“I like our chances,” said Carbonneau. “We’re getting anywhere from 15 to 20 scoring chances a game, and you don’t see that in the playoffs. We’re hitting posts and are doing a lot of good things. If we were averaging 17 shots on goal a game, I wouldn’t be as optimistic."
He’s not the only one with reason to believe. Eight players in the Canadiens dressing room made history just four years ago and their experience is a definite boost for everyone.
“It definitely helps having those players that were there in 2004. We’ll sit with those guys and come up with a strategy. And just last round the Bruins pushed us to seven games, so we know that anything is possible,” noted Carbonneau.
In his sophomore year behind the Canadiens bench, Carbonneau has seen just that this season, from a division title and first in the East to the historical comeback against the Rangers. Guiding the club as he has generated plenty of “Coach of the Year” buzz and his work was officially recognized with a nomination for the Jack Adams Trophy.
“It’s definitely an honor. And at 48 years old, in just my second season as a head coach, it’s pretty neat,” admitted Carbonneau. “It’s a credit to the work of everyone here over the last two years.
The script has been the same through the first four games of this series with the Canadiens frustrated by missed chances while their opponents seem to have chance on their side. Carbonneau credits the Flyers for what they’ve been able to accomplish thus far and knows that he and his players need to take this series one game at a time."
But first, a full day off for the players before practice resumes on Friday.
“We’re lucky enough to have two days before our next game. Today was a day for the guys to rest, recharge their batteries and just enjoy a day without hockey. I took advantage to play a little golf, even got a few birdies,” said a proud Carbonneau.
If the coach has it his way, it’ll be a while before he takes out the golf clubs again.
Heather Engel is a writer for canadiens.com