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Mike Babcock and Jon Cooper cheer on Jim Montgomery for game #7
Credit: Capture d'écran / Screenshot
As just about everyone could appreciate yesterday, the Toronto Maple Leafs lost Game 7 to the Boston Bruins, and were thus eliminated in the first round of the playoffs for the seventh time in eight years.

It was the most plausible prediction at the start of the playoffs, that the Bruins would win in seven games, and that’s exactly what happened.

We can thank the Leafs for giving their fans false hope by coming from behind 3-1 in the series.

In short, this morning, the Bruins are in the second round, while the Leafs are on vacation.

And one of the big reasons for that, aside from Jeremy Swayman’s incredible and impressive performance, is the two guys behind the bench.

Whileone, Sheldon Keefe, blames his team, the other, Jim Montgomery, found a way to get the best out of his players in the ultimate Game 7.

The Bruins played a much better game than they did in Games 5 and 6, and you have to give Montgomery credit for that.

However, it should be noted that the Bruins’ head coach benefited from some important encouragement and advice prior to Game 7.

Indeed, in the run-up to Game 7, Jim Montgomery received encouragement from Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper, who is on vacation, and advice from former NHL head coach Mike Babcock.

Montgomery received some words of wisdom from these two influential men in the hockey world in preparation for the Bruins’ final game.

Jon Cooper knows what it’s like to win and to be at the helm of a winning team, having won back-to-back Stanley Cups in 2020 and 2021.

So his encouragement must clearly have pleased Montgomery.

As for Babcock, he is currently unemployed after the huge controversy involving him before the season had even begun, when he was hired as head coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Among other things, he had asked all his players to show him their photos on their phones.

Babcock was also head coach in Toronto for the Maple Leafs, when he was given a full contract by management. Things didn’t end well between the two parties, however, and this surely left a bitter taste in Babcock’s mouth, who today advises the head coach of the Leafs’ opposing team.

I don’t think he called Sheldon Keefe to wish him a good game either, but you never know.

In short, Babcock remains a former coach with a lot of NHL experience, and it’s clear that his advice helped Montgomery-hopefully he didn’t ask the Bruins head coach to look at photos of his players before Game 7.

Getting back to Montgomery specifically, he really managed to get the most out of each of his players, and it paid off handsomely in the final match.

Take Bruins star forward David Pastrnak, for example.

The Bruins’ number 88 was roundly criticized by his coach after Game 6, when Montgomery explained that Pastrnak had to give a lot more, given that he was having a disappointing series.

Well, in yesterday’s final game, not only did Pastrnak have a strong game, he rose to the occasion to score the winning goal in overtime, the most important goal of the entire series.

Montgomery explained that he knew Pastrnak would have a good game after seeing him smile that very morning.

Pastrnak, who actually responded to Justin Bieber on social media, explained after the game that he had no problem with his coach criticizing him in such a public way, on the contrary.

In short, Montgomery has coached his team well to the end despite the ups and downs of this series, and will now face the mighty Florida Panthers in the second round.

En Rafale

– Very good point. Go Florida Go.

– With good reason.

– It must have been incredible.

– To be continued in the case of Juraj Slafkovsky at the World Championships.

– Read more.

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