I’ll keep the comments about this game short and sweet because there is another issue I want to talk about… First things first:
Tuesday night the Thrashers roll into town. The Habs NEED to win this game. Not only do they need to win, but they NEED to score more than 2 goals to get the critics off of their backs. We can talk all we want about Gill or Price or whomever – but the reality is that you rarely win a game in which you score only one goal – especially since the Habs rarely conceed less than two. We’ll see if MA Bergeron can help the Canadiens who need all hands to contribute at this juncture.
A Case for Sergei:
There can be little doubt that when Sergei Kostitsyn was demoted to the Hamilton Bulldogs at the end of training camp that both the player and the organization dropped the ball in how the situation was handled. I blame the organization for not fully explaining the situation to a player who was with the club for sustained periods for the last two seasons. I’m not saying they need to hold a player’s hand – but at least let him know where he stands in terms of getting back to the NHL. If they had said to him, “Look Sergei, your surgery still needs some time. Go to Hamilton, and when there is a spot on the roster we’ll take another look” – I doubt we would have gone through the drama that we did.
On the other side, you have a young player who hasn’t really proved a thing in the NHL (aside from a great run after he was called up in his rookie season). In an Olympics season where he and his brother looked to be locks for top line duties with the Belarussian National team, he was possibly not going to get the chance to prove his worth. He also clearly did not like the possibility of making less than $70,000 in Hamilton this season. His agent liked it less. Those factors lead to a ridiculous and childish over-reaction – especially given Montreal’s current position in the standings.
Thats where we are right now. A team who cant score, with a rotating gong-show of a lineup that features Matt D’Agostini, Max Pacioretti, Kyle Chipchura and Gregory Stewart who share a combined 19 games played, o goals, 1 assist (Pacioretti), and are – 10. The Canadiens have tried almost every possible combination in an attempt to get the most from what they have, and are left with one option that I believe that should try.
I can already hear the groans. Nobody wants to reward the kind of selfish behavior that started this mess. But the Habs have now played 7 games and have proved beyong any doubt that the duo of Pacioretti and D’Agostini are not ready for the NHL – let alone the top 6. The final option left to the Habs is to call up Sergei in hopes that playing alongside a rejuvinated Thomas Plekanec, he along with his brother can find the chemistry that can support the smurf line.
I believe this is Montreal’s best option, and should happen for a three reasons:
-Sergei is playing well in Hamilton. In three games he leads the team’s forwards with 4 points (2G, 2A), and is + 1. By calling him up you catch him at a time when things are going well, and by reuniting him with his bro, you set up the best chance for his success.
-Right now, Bob Gainey’s trade resources are very low. With the team struggling out of the gates, he will want to give them the opportunity to become better without making another major move. If he makes a trade right now, he will undoubtedly have to give up FAR too much to bring in the kind of top 6 forward we need to be competitive. The Kessel deal is a prime example of this. If Sergei isn’t going to work out for the Habs, it would be far better for us to trade him as an NHL roster player than a minor leaguer. The old saying is “buy low, sell high”. Those who do not follow the rule end up with bare cupboards. The worst case scenario is that Sergei ends up struggling and we trade him for the same return value as he has today.
-Protect the prospects for ONCE! We’ve seen this story before. We rush to bring in a youngster who isn’t ready, and they play out their short career underacheiving in the harsh Montreal spotlight. There is no reason for Max Pacioretti, PK Subban or any of our young players to share in the destruction that losing in Montreal causes. As I suggested at the beginning of the year – it would be far more beneficial for Max to light up the AHL then to learn the Latendresse model for a struggling Habs team. Unless he makes a contender BETTER, then what is the point? Instead of rotating young guys and having no better idea about what we have by the end of the season – let Sergei play at the NHL level. If it doesn’t work out after this season, move on – but don’t lose him to another team for nothing only to watch him become a productive NHLer. The future looked so bright a couple years ago when the Bulldogs won the Calder Cup, as the Canadiens used the opportunity to let their young players develop. They HAVE to re-commit to this process if they want to develop a young player into a quality NHLer. The current strategy is not working.