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» 2009 » December

  • Game 34: Habs/Sabres

    It has been a frenzied few weeks of action in the NHL as the league tries to squeeze as many games as possible before the break for the Vancouver Winter Olympics. Every team has played too many games in a short period of time, but one has to wonder how this is affecting the Canadiens after watching them struggle to an OT loss in Atlanta on Saturday night. While the team earned a point, you couldn’t help but get the fealing that if Montreal had anything left in the tank they would have been able to beat a team that could only manage 3 shots on 6 powerplay attempts and had lost their previous 4 games. It was not a pretty way to hang onto 8th place.

    Jaroslav Halak will start tonight as the Habs play 2 of 3 at home before hitting the raod for 7 consecutive games to close out the year. The Habs should take advantage of the ‘friendly’ Bell Centre crowd while they still have the opportunity or we may not hold the final playoff position for very long as an extended road trip holds many opportunities for suffering.

    Here’s hoping the Canadiens can shake off the rust or whatever is holding them from using their skates.  Ryan Miller is not the type of keeper you can afford to take only a few shots on. My key to winning in this game is less than 5 PK opportunities and 10 shots per period. If Montreal can stay out of the box it will be beneficial to the number of shots they take. If they’re taking 10 shots per period, then they are holding possession of the puck and they likely aren’t letting Jaro get shelled. I’d like to make a wish for players who can skate and take the puck to the net which would result in scoring chances and powerplay opportunities – but baby steps…

  • Game 32: Habs/Pens

    The Penguins have allegedly found their way to Montreal and will presumably be able to get their bus to the Bell Centre tonight to face the Canadiens. We’ve been riding high off of some suprising victories lately. Tonight will be a true test – in the sense that by all rights Pittsburgh should win this game. Should Montreal sqeak away another 2 points I will be elated. Should they compete in the face of ANOTHER defensive injury I will be happy. My father in law always says that if you go into a situation with no expectations then you can be disapointed. I’m almost there.

    Trade talks have emerged again both here and elsewhere on the Habs blogosphere. I just wanted to say a quick word about this:

    In the NHL you have to be very carefull when making trades. Lately there have been a lot of calls to trade the Kostitsyn bros because of their turbulent past season. I completely disagree with this idea. In the NHL you have to sell high and buy low. People tend to over-react to situations in a way that GMs can ill-afford. Andrei had a tough start to the year but with excellent play of late, he is now tied for fourth in team scoring. If you trade the K Bros, you need to replace their value in the lineup in a manner that is at least as cheap as they are to the organization. The reality is – the cheapest way to a Championship is by sticking with your youth.

    Sergei has the skills to be a very valuable piece of the Canadiens future. With only 8 games under his belt it is difficult to judge that future, but if you watch how he handles the puck, you’ll notice that he is by far our best set up man on the roster. I’m not kidding about that – watch him and other young players when they get the puck in traffic. Sergei doesn’t panic. There is also a reason why he is now among the only 4 forwards on the team that see regular PK time. Defensively he is miles ahead of his contemporaries. He still has a way to go before he is what we all want him to be, but if the Canadiens as an organization continue to buy high, and sell low we will be doomed to having to continually pay OTHER organizatioins to develop our talent. It hasn’t worked thus far, and its a completely unsustainable practice.

    So – the Souray trade. Souray would be unbelievable on our roster as it stands today. He is not as expensive as others in the league (5.4m), but you KNOW Edmonton wants both Kostitsyns in return plus a defensive prospect. If the K bros continue producing in the way they have in the past few weeks Montreal will be a playoff team. They give the team 2 full lines of capable offensive play (when the roster is healthy). Take those two off of the squad and you’re left with a huge hole that needs to be filled, and no capspace with which to do so. If Montreal is patient there is a real possibility that the peices needed are already on the roster that will compliment the long-term signings that we have.