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» 2010 » December

  • Game 28: Habs/Sens

    The Habs will try to avenge the last meeting between these two teams tonight as they face the Senators with the same lineup that won against the Sharks on Saturday afternoon. Much has been said about the issue of PK Subban sitting for his third consecutive game, though I honestly don’t think its that big of an issue.

    Would I like to see Subban in the lineup? Absolutely.

    Do I want to remove Weber after the two games he’s played since he got the opportunity to play defense? Not a chance.

    At some juncture, Martin will get PK back into the lineup, and I have no doubt that the kid will be fine. He’s too good not to be. In the interim the coaching staff is getting a good look at another fantastic defensive prospect. The team is winning. So why is the sky still falling in Montreal?

    At some point before July 1, 2011 Pierre Gauthier is going to have to make a tough decision regarding our defense corps. With PK, Weber, and Picard knocking on the door (and don’t forget about Alexi Yemelin in Russia), Montreal will need to decide who it is that will be playing for the Habs next season. While it is crazy to think about where Montreal would be without Roman Hamrlik and Hal Gill – I could easily see one if not both gone next season (depending on Cap hits for their contracts). If we assume that Montreal will do everything in its power to resign Gorges and Markov (the latter is admittedly a question mark), you can see that there is little room.

    Markov, Subban, Weber,  Yemelin (I would do anything at this point to bring him over) Specek, Picard.. There is potentially room for 1 more defender. Letting Picard, Subban and Weber play this year is critical to making the proper choice this summer. So PK sits.. But he’ll be back. That you can take to the bank.

  • Game 27: Habs/Sharks

    Here’s the bad news: Markov is done for the year. He will undergo surgery on Wednesday for the second time in as many seasons on his knee. Markov had been the team’s best player throughout many seasons – and the Habs record without him (until this year) has been dismal.

    The good news: This season the Habs have played fantastically through Markov’s absences. This was a team that looked at Andrei Markov as a fantastic addition to a team that already knew how to play together. His presence on the blue line will be missed – but for the first time in a long time – it will not be a fatal blow to this team.

    The inevitable question is what to do with the cap-space that will result in Markov’s long term IR? The Habs will gain a considerable amount of Markov’s cap hit back (between 4 and 4.5M) which would go an awful long way towards bringing an impact player in return. So what do we need?

    Top 6 Winger? The Habs could surely use someone who produces points in the lineup. The one knock on the team throughout the start of the year has been their inability to really put the puck in the net. They could absolutely use a big, skilled forward to compliment their top 6. Travis Moen is a hard worker – but he would be far more effective in the bottom 6 role that he is built for. That said – Eller, Pouliot and company have done an admirable job of supporting the top lines with timely scoring and great puck possession. Finally, there is always a call-up of Max Pacioretti (who is on fire in the AHL right now) or one of his Hamilton contemporaries.

    Another Defender? The Habs are notoriously small on defense. Except they’re not. Picard, Hamrlik and Gill are large men each. Gorges and Subban play much bigger than they are, and Spacek has raised his game of late. Its hard to knock a group that has given up a only 2 goals per game on average through 26 games (second only to Boston’s 1.95 through 24).  Sure we could use another Defender – the wear and tear on the old guys will take its toll, but is that a role that could be filled by a committee of young guys like Picard, Weber and Subban? Weber looked good against the admittedly terrible Devils.

    We all know Montreal’s goal-tending situation is locked up for two years, and beyond in Carey Price. I won’t go there. Until we see more of Alex Auld – it’s hard to argue that the Canadiens need to tinker with their goalie situation.

    So what do you do? PG could wait. There is no reason to make a desperation move since the team has played without Markov for all but 7 games this season. Fans tend to be trigger happy – but the Canadiens have a tricky, and potentially critical decision to make.

    Oh yeah… Matinee versus the Sharks.

    Go Habs Go!!!!!