As the Habs power forward on this incredible 6 game win streak, the team will look to put the final nail in the coffin of the Jets season. The team is playing their best hockey at the right time, and one player who is not getting the full credit he deserves is Philip Danault. There is one person however who has fully been on the Danault train during the playoffs, and he is ironically a Leafs fan!
Healthy Skratch co-host and Hot Sauce resident analytical savant, Kris has been pumping Danault’s tires since the Habs beat the Leafs and for good reason. While I may not share the exact same sentiments as Kris as I feel that Price is the Habs most valuable player both based on his play and the confidence that he instills in his team mates on a nightly basis. However, Kris is one of the few (at least that I have seen, and I’m no Twitter/Social Media expert) who have given Danault the credit he deserves for being an integral part of the Habs success not only during this win streak, but all playoffs long.
Danault was a poster boys for the Habs fanbase’s frustration at multiple points this season. He was not living up to expectations and was mired in a lengthy goalless drought that fans and media loved to remind him about every game he went without a goal. Danault was in a contract year this season and the rumours of him declining a contract extension only made matters worse for him, however his gamble on himself appears to be finally paying off.
The line of Danault, Gallagher and Tatar have been a top line for a couple of years now, while simultaneously playing some of the toughest minutes in the league. The problem for this line coming into the season was that the Return To Play made it clear that Suzuki and Kotkaniemi would slowly be given more and more responsibilities and prime Offensive Zone time. Something that had been reserved for the Danault before the youngsters arrived.
Despite all of the flack that Danault took during the regular season, his play in the Playoffs deserve nothing but praise. As evident by friend of the show, Jason Paul’s tweet, Danault’s prowess on the defensive side of the puck has been nothing short of spectacular. I can respect fans/media/analyst who wish to remain consistent in their assessment of player’s value, however Danault is caught in this trap/ignorance. Inside the locker room (which is really all that matters) his value to this team is immeasurable. He has bought into his role on this team and is thriving, keeping some of the NHL’s best player’s at bay and has been a constant thorn in their side.
While the kids have been the talk of the town, Danault’s play is what allows them to play freely. His defensive shut down play has allowed Suzuki and co to play their game and produce on the scoreboard for the Habs. Just like Carey Price brings a calmness and confidence to the team that allows the players up front to take a few more risks offensively, Danault’s ability to shut down the opposing team’s top players gives the remaining lines more room to breath as they are never playing catch up. Something that his team mates fully appreciate.
While the Habs still have a massive mountain to climb if they want to continue to have playoff success, the fans need to take a moment to appreciate what this team has done. No one in the league wants to give the team any credit for anything they’ve accomplished, it’s always about how others ‘Chocked it away’. Danault is as close to a perfect personification of this bulls**t narrative as you will find. I feel safe in saying that Habs fans everywhere are praying to see him breakout the pizza post-game once again!
As always don’t forget to check out the rest of the Hot Sauce family and check out our Youtube channel for all of our videos and podcasts! This week on the Life & Fantasy podcast, Spence and Kaveh breakdown the first round and preview what’s to come in the second round!