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» 2006 » December

  • Maxim Lapierre

    Should he stay or should he go?

    Anyone who saw the past two Habs games has to agree he played very well and looks to be ready for the NHL. He was one of the best players on the ice last night. Huet, Lapierre, Streit and Koivu pretty much carried the team and won a game they probably should have lost.

    Lapierre playing well presents an interesting dilemma. If he stays in the lineup then who sits? And where do they all fit?

    Guy Carbonneau was trying different line combinations late in the 3rd again. We briefly saw Kovalev join Koivu and Ryder again, is this the future #1 line? Removing Latendresse from the first line might be a mistake since it’s the only position he’s flourished in.

    Chris Higgins was arguably the Habs best player before going down with a lengthy injury. He is back on Saturday against the Penguins. Where will he play?

    Perhaps Carbonneau will use Higgins on the second line. Higgins can play wing or center and try to light a fire under Sergei Samsonov. Assuming Samsonov still warrants 2nd line ice time. Kovalev could also use a change of scenery.

    If Begin is healthy, Higgins is healthy and Lapierre is playing well. That leaves out Aaron Downey and potentially Garth Murray.
    Unfortunate since they are great locker room guys and extremely hard working.

    The positive thing is the Habs have some depth they have not had in many years. Having too many options is better than no options and having every player working hard to crack the line up can only be a good thing.

    Projected future roster:

    Kovalev – Koivu – Latendresse
    Higgins – Plekanec – Ryder
    Perezhogin – Bonk – Johnson
    Samsonov – Lapierre/Begin – Murray

    With Higgins back and Lapierre knocking on the door, Samsonov’s floating time is running out.

  • Stormy Weather

    The Tampa Bay Lightning are moving into the Montreal area.

    The Lightning are always dangerous in Montreal. Ever since the Lightning swept the Habs in the playoffs in 04, they get special attention no matter how bad their record is.

    They have been a strange team this year, currently 13th in the East but boasting the fifth and sixth overall scorers in Vinny Lecavalier and Martin St Louis.

    The game plan should be a simple one then, contain St Louis and Lecavalier and you win. Easier said than done. Lecavalier currently has a 7 game point streak.

    Not only are they on fire, but in typical Quebecois style those two are always excited and ready to play back at home. They’ll have friends and family at the game and be ready to go.

    The Canadiens got some unlikely scoring from Sergei Samsonov against the Bruins. His first goals in 19 games. The big question, will it take another 19 games for him to score again?

    Still questionable for the game are Steve Begin and Sheldon Souray, both nursing sore ribs and sore wrist respectively.

    Souray was noticeably absent from the Habs powerplay against Boston. The Canadiens had 6 powerplays and converted only 1.

    Souray is lethal on the PP but not only when he shoots. Teams have started noticing and paying more attention to him and that opens up the ice for the rest of the Habs PP. Specifically Michael Ryder whose been allowed to freely roam the slot in recent games.

    Special teams are the Canadiens strength right now and that’s been the difference in most of their games.