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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.

  1. Mats I have been watching Sergie closely since his return and I could not agree more, he is showing his maturity with the puck and even the comentators agree he looks much better this year than last year. I am not sold on Souray nor his contract. Personally I hated to see Latendress be traded but actually Lapierre is playing better since he left.

  2. #2 Mats Naslund says:
    December 11, 2009 at 11:18 am

    The Habs have now been outshot in 6 consecutive games and if you take a wider look, they’ve been outshot for the most part in every game. So what you may be saying is: shots aren’t everything – The Maple Leafs proved that against the Islanders a week-or-so back. I would agree. Quality scoring chances are more important than firing at will if the goalie will just make an easy save. The problem is – for the Canadiens, that the lopsided shots stats are an indicator that they have serious problems hanging onto the puck in the opposition’s end. Last night we saw a perfect exaple of how you generate scoring in the NHL.

    The Penguins took LOTS of shots. Gino had 13 or so himself. And while our outstanding goaltending continued – the law of averages also kicked in. Carey let 3 in. No knock to him because he was stellar. The Penguins skate away with another victory however, because their offense was able to take the pressure off of their defenders who didn’t have the greatest of nights. They have a margin of error. Good teams get that. Carey’s margin for error is in the negative. Simply put, Carey can not afford to have a ‘normal’ night because out forwards do not apply continuous pressure to generate good chances. Thats why I cringe when I hear people talk about trading away a couple young players who have the most potential to give us the kind of cheap offensive control we need. The reality is that we can’t afford to go out and get another Cammalleri. While Pacioretti (to a degree), Moen, Metro, Lapierre etc have all of the heart in the world, they dont control the puck like elite offensive players which means they rarely get chances when the defense is in position. We saw how the Penguins forced penalties and took the puck to dangerous areas forcing spectacular saves all night long. The Canadiens need to learn how to accomplish that if they want to be playing hockey instead of golf this spring.

  3. #3 Mats Naslund says:
    December 11, 2009 at 3:05 pm

    Speaking of trades – aparently the Habs are ACTIVELY shopping Halak which you have to think make sense. From my perspective this is Montreal’s BEST opportunity to parlay young talent into a top 6 winger. Halak is what many teams are looking for: a potential starting goalie with low salary obligations. The reason for my optimisim at accomplishing this? The fantastic play of Bulldogs goalies Desjardins and Sanford who are the owners of sterling numbers in the AHL. Dejardins has a GAA of 1.57 and .940 save percentage while Sanford has a GAA of 2.14 and a save percentage of .921. That is fantastic news for everyone involved. The Habs have young netminders who are stepping up, Carey is going to get to be the man in Montreal and Jaro will use the Habs as a springboard to a new contract with another club.

    This doesn’t mean Jaro will be dealt, just that as RDS, Lapresse and H/IO have reported, the club is looking for a deal that will improve the team.

  4. #4 habknot says:
    December 12, 2009 at 2:46 pm

    what could we offer for Scott Hartnell (Halak, Laraque and???)
    He would look fantastic in bleu blanc rouge (top six with size, heart, skill and toughness). Would Phillie consider a blockbuster (I hear they are disatisfied with Mike Richards)? I think Gomez going the other way would make some sense. Briere is a possibility as well, but I wouldn’t make that deal. I know salary figures in the equation.

    Long-term I think we have the D to compete, so no to Sheldon. Markov back, Bergeron as winger/ppD, Pouliot as ????, and O’B, D’Ags and Laraque spot starters, injury protection.

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