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» 2011 » February

  • Game 63: Habs/Leafs

    The news got a little more interesting today as Pierre Gauthier made a deal to bolster Montreal’s ailing blue line.  With a 4th round pick and Ben Maxwell PG was able to land Brent Sopel and Nigel Dawes from the Atlanta Thrashers. Certainly not a block-buster by any stretch, Gauthier has added depth in Sopel while Dawes is headed to the Bull-Dogs in Hamilton.

    Sopel has 2 goals and 5 assists this season in 59 games this season. Most importantly he brings another veteran presence on their banged up blue line.  Sopel is a fantastic shots blocking stay-at-home defenseman who will bolster the Habs penalty kill. Considering the price I think that although Habs fans have been pining after a marquee name, the club did very well in this deal – by being able to bolster their roster without giving any significant future prospects. Given that Spacek is rumored to be done for the season – the Cap hit that Sopel brings (2.3M) is redundant – leaving space should Gauthier be looking to add any offense via trade..

    The word on the street is that Sopel will not be in the lineup tonight against the Leafs but will join the Habs for their next game against Carolina at the Bell Centre on Saturday.

    Encouraging news that defensive help is on the way.

    Go Habs Go!!

  • Game 62: Habs/Canucks

    There is lots of talk lately about what the Habs should or should not do as far as trades and roster moves as we near the NHL trade deadline. Certain teams are taking big home-run swings in order to bolster their clubs while others have remained silent. Other than the acquisition of James Wisniewski who has 16 points in 21 games with the Habs, and Paul Mara who played his first game with the club in Calagary, the Canadiens have remained on the outside of the trading sphere.

    Many question why? It has been hard for some fans to watch as the slumping Habs stand seemingly still while players such as James Neal and Chris Stewart have been dealt. While I can admit I look at TSN every morning to see if the Habs have made an addition – it makes sense why they haven’t.

    You make trades in the NHL to address a team need. You take some asset(s) that you have in abundance and you turn it/them (hopefully) in to one(s) that you currently lack.  Herein lies the problem for the Montreal Canadiens.

    The Habs’ needs are currently: 1 (possibly 2) top 6 forward(s), and 1 Top 4 defensmen, and 1 bottom 6 forward who can add toughness. Luckily we’re set in goal.

    There is NO deal which can resolve the Canadiens needs. Yes they could add a guy like Chris Philips to bolster their defense (and to replace Gomez for the team’s worst +/-). The cost of course will be young players or picks. If that is what the fans want – then by all means make the trade.

    However, what would happen if the Canadiens were to make a trade to bring one or two players in as rentals and the Canadiens were to lose in the first round of the playoffs? What would be the call from the cheap seats? I can answer confidently that their would be a mob waiting to separate Gauthier’s head from his shoulders. It comes down to how you asses the likelihood of the Canadiens’ success against other teams in the playoffs.

    Given that the Habs have shown no ability to a) score goals or b) stop goals of late, it makes no sense whatsoever to try to make some addition that could cost the team in the long run.

    It pains me to say it. Given how well the season started it is crazy to talk about building for next season. That is why I believe that if a trade is to be made, Gauthier should focus long term. The emerging corps of this team is very young. Price, Plekanec, Subban, Pacioretti, Desharnais, Weber are all young and potentially in place to be here for many years to come. This team is not a contender if they add one piece – such as Philly did with Versteeg. This team is a solid one when healthy and a fairly bad one when not. With substantial injuries to Gorges, Markov, Spacek, Cammalleri and  many others playing banged up – it may not be in the cards this season. The team has lost 6 of its last 7 games. Chris Philips isn’t going to turn that sort of thing around.

    Its a late start tonight so I’m going to watch the first period tonight and make a judgement on whether the rest will be worth watching. Damn I’m getting old.

    Go Habs Go!!!