Lundqvist Presents Broadway Hat to St. Louis

…just looking at that Stanley Cup decal board, I can’t believe how close this team is.

Obviously, with Friday being St. Louis’ mother’s wake and today the funeral, everyone would have understood if his head wasn’t into yesterday’s game, but as has been the case for the last week and a half he and the entire team used it to grab an emotional edge (via New York Post)…

St. Louis…

“It’s been an emotional time for everybody. But the guys have been behind me and supporting me and their effort is unbelievable. We feel really close right now and we’re trying to keep feeding off that.’’

Alain Vigneault…

“It’s been very emotional for our whole group, and he’s handled it in an incredible way that probably has helped our team come closer together. Emotionally for us that is something really strong right now. [Sunday] is going to be a tough day for our group. We need to be there to support him, and we’ll do that and get ready for Monday.’’

Brian Boyle…

“The way he’s handled everything is beyond something I can even comprehend. It’s amazing the way he’s handled our team as a leader. That’s why we got Marty. When the trade happened [earlier this season] he instantly became a huge part of this team. We need him for everything he can do — his ability in the ice, his leadership and everything off the ice.’’

Henrik Lundqvist…

“It’s been a week of emotions. Playing in the playoffs is so intense … at the same time a teammate [is] trying to go through a rough time, so you try to be there as a support, and it makes you think a lot about a lot of things, not only hockey.’’

…besides obviously St. Louis, you have to give a ton of credit to Vigneault for how he’s handled this situation. He took a tragic event and was able to help turn it into a “Win one for Marty” rallying cry. Strategically, he has played this perfectly.

…and it’s not just the death of St. Louis’ mother, it’s also how he dealt with the scheduling insanity last round as well as the NHL not granting his team’s request to move the game to accommodate the funeral plans. He’s used the adversity to create an “us against the world” narrative that his players have bought into.

…i was just as critical as anyone of AV back in the fall, but he has done a masterful job coaching this team in the postseason.

And since I know you guys love the behind the scenes videos here’s another one from yesterday to double your pleasure…

…what strikes me in that video is how calm they all were after the goal. That was a huge momentum swinging moment and nothing more than “great job.” Pretty awesome to see them act like they’ve been there, meanwhile the Canadiens are running around like a bunch of Matt Cookes.


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