Tonight is version 2.0. Expect the Islanders to bring it considering the sHalaking they took last time around. AK46 has been demoted to the fourth line. I’m not sure I like it. Not that I care about sending a message to a player – Frolov clearly got the message in LA. But I am a huge fan of coaches who can send a message while setting the player up in a good position to be successful. Andrei Kostistyn will NOT be successful on the 4th line. Simply put, he has never played ahockey game in his life where he could be confused as a 4th liner. Hopefully he can use this game to fire a bunch of shots against weaker defenders. If he scores it would be huge. While I would be much happier if he had gotten his game in order over the first 10 games, he has shown signs over the past couple games that he is capable of playing within Martin’s system. We’ll see how this all shakes down, but I’m not overly optimistic about this newest experiment.
Another thing I’m watching for tonight is the emerging goalie (non)controversy. We were discussing this in the other game blog I’m going to make a case for why I think there is reason to want both Jaro and Carey to get a good number of games in early in the season.
1. If we can get both goalies involved (as we have thus far) before the all star break we will be in good shape should one of the two suffer an injury for any period of time. A lot of times, a team’s confidence in a goaltender is as important to their success as the goalie’s actual play. Ask the 93 Canadiens how important it was to go into each overtime with Roy in net. Since the 09-10 Habs don’t have a legend in net (yet?), having two quality goalies is almost as good – especially if the injury bug hits later in the year.
2. Montreal fans have been trying to trade Jaro for a long time. Gainey has been patient knowing that Jaro can and will be very valuable to the franchise. In order to truly understand that value, Jaro has to get his games in early this season. For a trade to be of any value to the Canadiens whatsoever, Jaro has to get his chance to prove he is a goalie capable of being a starter.
3. While Montreal fans would be very pleased if Price played well enough to be the undisputed starter, it has been shown time and time again that teams tat can rely on their backups to handle regular duty are FAR more likely to advance in the playoffs than teams that cannot. The only goaltender who has played more than 70 regular season games to advance past the second round in the last ten years is Brodeur. If the Habs can get Jaro and Carey both competitive, the benefit to the Habs will be huge.