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30 games in... what do we have?
Slow turn about...
So, we're 30 games in and have a total of 30 points. Not exactly the year of the Habs is it? But... don't lose heart. We've seen worse and better and we can live with both. But living with the results of our famed and framed Habs isn't what we want. No as fans we want Victories and Vezina's, goals and championships.
We may have to wait. But, maybe not. As in 93 when we squeeked into the playoffs in the 8th spot, and took on 11 OT wins to the Grail, we may have just enough ingredients for something like this to shape up. No, we don't have the Quebec rivalry to fuel the belly, to set passion alite in the bottom of a bomber, we don't have LaFleur's flowing locks whipping in our faces, but we will have... a healthy team come January. And what else can we ask for?
Bob's made some changes, I was glad for. I mean Chipchura is great in the circle for a face off but he can't skate to save his life. He was a cog in the wheel, it was ok they drafted him high, unfortunate he didn't amount to much in the end. Latendresse, heaven forbid he becomes something. I never thought much of this guy (and yes I know he's still a ways from his prime) and a change is as good as a rest as they say, so maybe in Minnesota he can get defragmented from the thought that "Eh I'm french" and learn what its like to play a team game? Who knows at this point. Getting a draft pick and Mr.Pouliot in return may be better than we gave. Lots of talk about Mr. Pouliot and what many fans wanted to happen at the draft when Price was picked. Maybe he is where he should be. We all hope that his injury isn't something that lingers, and that his speed is useful in Martin's scheme... though the mixing and matching of lines isn't something the Habs have come to grips with, it seems Mr. Martin is going to continue his chess game until he gets what he wants. Does Mr. Gainey still have some moves before the holidays? After the Olympics? At deadline day? This all seems very plausible... we shall wait and see. I think D'Agostini, Pacharetti (sp), and O'Byrne need some talking to... maybe they might be in the mix? And as much as I hate the thought.... Halak ... I refuse to mention him in the likes of these guys. I will stop there.
In terms of injuries and non-commitment from key (ahem highly paid) players, I'll say this, Gomez hasn't impressed me, though he hasn't had set linemates all season. He has a little while before I talk about benching him. But Cammalleri, Plekanec, and Bergeron have come to be decent little players. I have spoken highly of Plekanec all season, and suggested other Habs fans to lighten up on him and his bad season last year. In his defense, he still scored 20 goals. In his defense, no one else but Markov showed up in 08. Very pleased with these guys, and the addition of Bergeron has been good on the PP and from an offensive stand point, especially when you consider injuries and who's been out. The other guy I'd like to mention is Carey Price. He stopped the Habs to back to back wins tonight. Boston, then Philly. Good opponents, could be offensive juggernauts, but out played by the Habs. I love it.
So, second half will have to be more of the same (not saying that 15 shots on net are good) but the end result of a W is. Here's to possibilities.
All I can say is WOW. We all knew that Gainey had his hands full with RFA and UFA players this offseason, but can anyone really say they saw this coming??
With only 2 of the 10 UFA's getting an offer, it is no surprise that Sir-Mix-it-up-a-lot (for SBNation Bloggers that's Sir Gainey)made changes. They came aplenty. I wish they hadn't been so... without my permission... but I don't own the Habs... I just enjoy watching them play. This year's version of the Habs is one that I was originally sceptical of. Yes I admit I did not know where Sir Bob was going with his visionquest. The obvious non-re-signing of Koivu was a little off putting in light of the tenure Koivu had as team captain.. second longest in team history. Koivu was, at a time, the heart and soul of les bleu, blanc et rouge. His commitment, consistency and leadership were unparalleled by any other Captain I have witnessed save Stevie Y and Joe Sakic. Koivu's disrupted seasons due to illness, and stupid non-called penalty (eye in playoffs) only brought out a tougher, more convicted side of Koivu. One that many did not believe he had. As much as the Brass has been calling for more toughness and more size down the middle, images of Koivu slamming into Chara in the playoffs do nothing but reinstate the character of this mighty mouse. I cannot remember a shift that Koivu simply glided through. For that he will always be considered the character I wish for every future captain! I have no proper send off for Saku, but, for what its worth, watching him made me realize that no matter how hard the chips are coming down, you need to perservere. He is a bright spot in the history of the Habs.
KOMISAREK you TRAITOR. All I have to say is that you gave up on the team that drafted you and would have had you as captain. I cannot for the life of me console myself with the fact you played well while you were here. That does nothing for me. You do nothing for us. We were giving you the benefit of the doubt with a bad year, and were going to give you a raise anyway. You looked down your nose at Bob and flew the coup for stinking TO. I have nothing to say other than you are a sell out and good on ya that you are on the Make Me Laughs, we hope you manage the same as the Leafs always do, and not make the playoffs.
I have no idea what happened with Kovalev, who by all accounts would have made the same in MTL as he now does in Ottawa. I have no issue with Kovy, he was a real show stopper. I enjoyed all the drama, good and bad that he brought, we had lots to talk about on monday's after watching him play on Hockey Night in Canada. Unfortunately for me, I did not get to see him play on RDS... home games rule.. not seeing them does not.
I'll write about the new guys soon... stay tuned. Δ
Brian Gionta enjoyed his best years with the New Jersey Devils. Well.. he spent his whole career with them, so I guess its safe to say his best years thus far. With a big season with Gomez, it is interesting to see Gainey pair these guys up again. The hope for sure would be that they recapture some of this magic and produce like bandits in 09. With Gionta being, like Gomez, a smaller guy, there are some that question whether or not they will have what it takes to bring a new game to La Belle Province. There had been a lot of comments about getting bigger up front, or down the middle, however, it seems as though Gainey decided on being bigger in the back... signing Mara,Gill and Spacek, then signing winger Travis Moen. So it looks like getting bigger is a truth, however, unforeseen by us dear fans.
Gionta is shifty and quick. And like his likely linemates, Gomez and Cammallarie, will be expected to produce big and quickly. Should this experiment go south, pundits claims of Gainey being axed will continue to grow. There is a lot of pressure in Montreal as it is, now it is 10 fold with Gainey not re-signing any of the 10 he needed to deal with prior to getting in this new crew. We are eagerly, impatiently awaiting this new season. Hoping what Mr. Gainey has done will produce improvements on last years Habs.