Playoff Hab-It: April 18th, 2011

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Talk Violence in Hockey With Chris “Knuckles” Nilan

It’s not often I get to hear a formal NHLer talk to a group of students about violence in hockey, so when my school board invited former Habs’ enforcer Chris “Knuckles” Nilan and former NHLer and president of Itech Hockey, Mr. Robin Burns, to speak at Marymount Academy, I jumped at it.

The discussion was moderated by The Team 990 Sports Director and host of Melnick in the Afternoon, Mitch Melnick. Also on hand was the new president of the QMJHL’s Montreal Juniors, Sebastien Courcelle. The group discussed the lack of an honour system in the NHL. Nilan, while discouraging bullying, described his upbringing and how it helped him as an NHL enforcer. He often got up to demonstrate different angles of bring hit.

Mr. Burns, known for his sense of humour, joked about his time as a student at Marymount, over 50 years ago, and talked about concussions in today’s game from a sports equipment manufacturing point of view. He stated that while the game of hockey isn’t violent, it is the players and their mentality that have made it that way. Having played in an era when hockey gear was paper thin, he made the distinction between older and newer equipment. The students, as well as myself, were enthralled by the discussion.

Kostitsyn Close To Returning

Andrei Kostitsyn found his usual spot this morning at the pre-game practice in Brossard, alongside Tomas Plekanec and Michael Cammalleri. While that means nothing as far as the lineup is concerned, he looked great and was skating quite well. Coach Martin did not disclose anything at the media scrum post-practice, but my money’s on AK46 being in.

What’s With Not Talking About Injuries, Line-Ups

It’s really starting to get to me how all these NHL coaches are being smug about who or what is going on as far as their teams are concerned. I mean, Zdeno Chara had to runs two days ago and was weak. The Canadiens will know pre-game whether he plays or not, so what’s the big secret, Mr. Julien? Do you honestly think with a 2-0 series lead, the Habs will change their game plan because of ONE player? I’d honestly be more worried about Nathan Horton laying an egg on Saturday, as well as Milan Lucic skating in quicksand. Maybe you can get Dr. Recchi to give his diagnosis.

Peter Laviolette of the Philadelphia Flyers did the same when asked about his goaltending situation. Come on, guys. After Brian Boucher’s performance in relief of Sergei Bobrovksy in goal for the Flyers, he’d be an idiot not to start Boucher. And we all know that Coach Laviolette is no idiot!

More Of The Same

Look for absolutely nothing to change in the game-plan of the Canadiens. Even given their home-ice advantage and last change, they should continue to employ the same tactics against the Bruins. As long as Carey Price remains hot, and the Habs withstand the initial onslaught of the Bruins, the Canadiens should leave the Phone Booth with a 3-game stranglehold on the series.

Et Cetera

You can follow Knuckles on Twitter @KnucklesNilan30, and on his website, www.knucklesnilan.com.

Tune in to Habs Talk Radiopost-game where JD, Edge, Guru, the Ref, Boum and myself will dissect Game 3.

And as always, keep your eye on Too Many Men On The Site