The Canadiens annual golf tournament marks the unofficial start to training camp and the new season. The Habs staff and players mingle with the media on the golf course and start dissecting the team and the upcoming season.
On a positive note, Guy Carbonneau said his starting lineup is already decided and on paper it looks pretty impressive and deeper than it has in many years.
Higgins – Koivu – Ryder
Samsonov – Ribeiro – Kovalev
Perezhogin – Plekanec – Johnson
Begin – Bonk – Murray/Downey
Gainey also gave hope to some of the Habs prospects saying that there is a spot available for them to earn.
What first stands out is the offensive punch of the first two forward lines. Higgins is about to breakout after a stellar first year, Ryder is a proven goal scorer who is just getting started.
No one can deny the talent Samsonov and Kovalev bring. If they stay healthy all year they could put up big numbers. However, the success of those 2 lines may be dependant on the 2 ‘troubled’ pivots, Koivu and Ribeiro.
The news about Saku Koivu was not overly optimistic. Koivu is still suffering from the eye injury he received last April and apparently did not seem very confident about being 100% ready for the upcoming season.
Until Koivu can test the eye in training camp he is uncertain whether he can start the year. Should that be the case, the Canadiens depth and leadership will be tested right off the bat in game 1.
Pre-season broadcasting gets underway September 19th against the Bruins.