“Sandgate” or “strapgate”. Where do you want to start? Some Flyers are apparently still trying to accuse the Canadiens of pouring sand on the matting leading to the ice surface to the ice surface from their dressing room at the Bell Centre. On Saturday’s NBC telecast, Pierre McGuire brought it up the steady stream of players heading for the Flyers room in the second period to get skates resharpened. McGuire stresses he never accused anyone of wrongdoing and the saner heads around the Flyers apparently feel the same way. The Canadiens had similar problems although not as frequently as the Flyers. The “why’s” will be subject of post season investigation. Jacques Martin speculated the problem may be coming from fibres from the composite sticks winding up on the ice surface.
As for “Strapgate”. Once burned, twice shy. Josh Gorges says he would rather risk a broken foot that have the strap on those plastic footguards come loose again. Claude Giroux got past Gorges because the Velcro strap that holds the guard in place came loose and was hanging down, preventing him from turning on the play and forcing Giroux to the corner. It turned out to be the winning goal of the game.
It’s a design flaw that will have to be addressed in the off season. But the guards are too useful to ignore, especially for a team like the Canadiens, who have made it to their 19th game of the playoffs tonight, mainly on their shotblocking skills. In those 19 games the Canadiens have blocked 384 shots and many of them have come off ankles and feet. Apparently Gorges is the only member of the defence who will eschew the guards tonight.