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Game 39: Habs/Canes

  • Just a quick set up for tonight’s game against the Hurricanes. Benoit Pouliot is believed to be making his first start with the big club and will skate with Sergei and Gomez in a “score or you’re out when Gionta comes back” with the younger Kostitsyn. I personally don’t care who it is, but someone on that line needs to kick it into second gear.

    The Hurricanes su@k. Lets see if Montreal can take advantage of that. The fear is that we also su@k. A win would go a long way to disproving that hypothesis.

  1. Another win could prove Martin’s rope a dope style is working???????
    Most guys on this blog probably are not old enough to remember the last good Montreal team that played that style with success.
    I am not sold yet but I guess we will see against a stronger opponent. But then again two weeks ago we said that too when we took 4 of 6 points against Washington and Detroit.

  2. Mats I agree that someone on that line has got to start to put the puck in the net, one #1 line has shifted to our #2 or 3 line with the movement of Cammy over to Plex’s line. It also seems to have ignited AK46. So now if we get Gionta back and get that other line going. Hey things might be looking up yet????????

  3. #3 Mats Naslund says:
    December 24, 2009 at 10:52 am

    Hey Senet1, its getting harder and harder to disagree with you about the rope-a-dope style. IN the end its about finding a way to win – not looking good while you’re doing it. While I still think the unreasonably unbalanced shot totals are a symptom of systemic and personnel deficiencies, our goaltending has been so far from average that we’ve been able to make due. I think last night may have been an anomaly caused by the 4 first period goals. There was no way we were going to keep the foot on the gas with a 3 goal lead. Many people talk about how lucky we are to win these types of games, but noone punishes the the New Jersey Devils for relying on Brodeur in years past – and our goaltenders have been our best defenders on most nights.

    Another issue that I’ve had my eyes on in the past 10 games is the fact that many teams below us in the standings have games in hand – which can be a standings killer if those teams split 3 point games with each other. With the win last night Montreal has vaulted themselves in the standings so that they are in 9th place through 39 games. No team below them can catch them through 39 games even if they were all to win their remaining games. That doesn’t mean much right now, but the Habs are in a much better position than they were in 3 games ago.

    As for a trade of Halak. A week ago Bob Gainey very casually mentioned in the media that he would accomodate Jaroslav Halak in dealing him to a team where he would have an opportunity to play. Jaro has considerably helped the Canadiens here since. I said early on in the season that I would like to see a 2-headed monster approach with Carey and Jaro so I am very comfortable with Gainey making no move – and then maybe dealing at the deadline. As Jaro continues his play, might Gainey consider maximizing his return by trading Carey instead? A few weeks ago teams balked at sending a top 6 forward in return. I personally think the Habs HAVE to get at LEAST a solid 50 point top 6 forward back (or prospect close enough to be of value) or a no-brainer top 4 defenseman. We have plenty of organizational depth at goalie – and if Gainey is willing to gamble, Price could potentially land us an even bigger name. The deadline is the time that I’m looking at for this to happen. One thing is for certain – we can’t afford to let either one of these goaltenders walk for nothing – a trade is necessary.

    Happy Holidays everyone – I hope that the days off are good for you and your families. Montreal – Toronto on Boxing Day should be fantastic, and of course the World Juniors will be a great chance to see some of the prospects that may be available in next year’s draft.

  4. Mat’s I am not sold on the rope a dope style either, my only point is that 40+ shots sometimes is not a bad thing as long as the quality of chances are from outside and our defence continues to clear the rebounds. I would like to see more pressure in the other teams zone especially from our top two lines. Looking forward to Gionta coming back to give the Gomez line some jump.

    I agree though that we will not be able to sign both goalies this summer so trading one is a must, you bring up an interesting thought about trading Price for a better player than Halak will bring. Personally, my though is this, I think both goalies are fairly equal right now, I would still give the edge to Price in the long run though because we have to ask ourselves this question, which one will be the better goalie as they mature. Which one may jump to the KHL 5 or 6 years from now. Which one puts the fans in the stands. My money is on Price to be the Habs goalie for the next 10 years. That is how I see it anyway.

  5. #5 Avatar37 says:
    December 29, 2009 at 8:17 pm

    Halak will not be back in Montreal next year. Gainey has gambled on Price as the future, and you will not see a trade involving Price, nor do I believe you should. As a Habs fan patiently waiting for a contending team, Price is a solid piece to that puzzle, or at least, so I believe. Yes, Halak is good now, however, Price is younger and has more potential, IMO. I think trading Price would be very short sighted. When we trade Halak, I also believe that we are not in need of more forwards, we need a top 4 D-man, and I’m sure there’s a team out there that might be willing to trade one, even if it means bundling Halak with one of our other d-men, like Gill, Mara, Hamrlk, Spacek, and/or trade picks. My preference would be Gill, if we can find another team willing to take him. If you watch game closely, watch when the other team scores, usually #75 is somewhere around. I like O’Byrne, he has come a really long way since last year, and is developing into a viable NHL d-man. From the little I saw of Belle, I like him too and think he’s ready and can step in and help this club.

  6. #6 Mats Naslund says:
    December 30, 2009 at 10:58 am

    Avatar37, I agree that O’Byrne and Belle are two defensemen that should be given more time with the big club. Belle didn’t really get too much of an audition early on, and I was really impressed with the physicality that he brought to the team. He’s a solid, big guy who isn’t shy about using his muscle to his advantage, but best of all he can skate like the wind (he’s the anti-gill!). He’s been fairly solid defensively in Hamilton this year (+ player), although his +2 isn’t as impressive as PK’s +17. For my money he is worth the tiny gamble as Montreal could surely use a young physical defenseman to compliment Markov, Gorges and Spacek next season (Hamrlik is a FA). If both O’B and Belle could step in we would have a fairly good mix of physical force and skill.

    As for trading Price or Halak it all comes down to a coin flip in my opinion. Technically Gainey could sign them both to offer sheets (as RFAs) and gamble that he won’t lose one. If he did, the Canadiens would be compensated with a draft pick(s, the quality of which would depend on the production of the goalies, which this year would be a lot. If you look at Phil Kessel as an example – it was a first, second and a third round pick. I’m not saying Jaro or Carey would get exactly the same haul, but they would both garner high draft picks. As for the coin flip – its hard to argue that Price is the hands down future of the organization with the way that Jaro has played recently. I guess we’ll see tonight how Carey responds to a long absence, but Montreal definitely has 2 #1’s going forward. My question is: can you imagine what numbers these two would put up if they had an adequate defense in front of them? Wow.

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