I love when the Habs play Western Conference teams. Not because we win (we usually lose), but because it offers a chance to see players that we just don’t see enough of during the course of a season. The Olympics was such a fantastic opportunity to see a guy like Shea Weber, who Habs fans see at most a couple times over the course of a few seasons. How fun was it to watch Drew Doughty or Dan Boyle? I know the NHL sticks to its set up to cut down on player travel and costs, but I for one would LOVE to see a little less of the East and more of the West on a regular basis.
That said, I wont see it tonight other than probably the first period. A 10:30pm EST start time is out of my range these days. (Me 5 years ago would mock present day me for that). So lets hope for a good first 20 if for nothing other then entertainment.
Deadline: Gauthier stayed the course yesterday, choosing not to involve himself other then the two minor deals he had already made. Honestly, as much as you would love to hear some exciting deal where Gomez was dealt for Ovechkin, Doughty and Miller – I think that the best that PG could do was to stay out of the mess.
Consider for a moment that Boston traded a second round pick for Seidenburg, while letting Morris go for a fouth round pick? Huh? How about the Leafs, full of talk of a first rounder for Ponikarovsky, who let him go for (in essence) Caputi (a 4th round pick), and a 5th rounder.. Huh?
There are so many examples of GMs who made deals seemingly just to be involved in the mix yesterday. It is SO much easier to be ripped off than to win a trade in the NHL. Gauthier simply hasn’t had the opportunity to evaluate his team this season. We have a hard time too. What is Benoit Pouliot? How about one of the leading scorers of the Olympic tourney -Sergei Kostitsyn? If they get the opportunity – could they be the answer to our top 6 forward questions? We’d need to see them play to know. With so many injuries devastating our lineup through the season it is near impossible to judge what this team is. Despite the trials of this season we are in 7th in the East (for now). Might we be better if Markov, Gionta, Kostitsyn x2, Cammy had all been in the lineup? Without any evidence, it is far more likely that to land a good player Montreal would have to sacrifice too much in the way of prospects and picks. For a team whose fans are constantly aware of the trap of being a ‘tweener – this would be disaster.
Deadline deals almost NEVER improve a team in the long run. Montreal’s fate is tied directly to the development of talent already in the system. There is good news in that. PK Subban WILL be on this team next year. The kid is dynamite. He is the owner of a mind-boggling +36 +- ratio! Ryan O’Byrne is 200% better than last year, and will be cheap muscle again next year. We probably have 3 or 4 NHL level goalies in our system. That is money in the bank. In fact Guy Boucher’s Bulldogs are tearing up the AHL. There is talent being developed. Guys are getting the opportunity to play, and learn which will pay off in the end just as it did when the ‘Dogs won the Calder Cup a few years back. While the Habs remain in limbo, there are reasons to believe that staying the course might be the best possible strategy- if not for this season, then for the ones to come.