Cornwall ON – Well it’s not a slow news day, but there’s nothing jumping out at me. I know a few of you will email me screaming about a few issues around that world that I should be scribbling
about like Libya, chem trails, spooks behind lamp posts or reading our facebook entries, but today, this afternoon I’ve decided to talk about Hockey; and the Montreal Canadiens in particular.
It’s a slow time now. Teams are getting ready for camp. Miner league roster fills are getting buzz, but I’m going to talk about Scott Gomez.
Eklund on Hockey buzz is talking about Gomez being in play, but I don’t see him moving. When Bob Gainey pulled the trigger and landed Gomez he knew what he was getting. Landing Gomez helped land Gionta, Cammallieri and changed the “culture” of playing in Montreal. Sure enough the first year les boys had a great play off run.
I’ve written before that I think the whole Carey Price thing vs Jaro Halak was handled wrong, but then I don’t have as many Stanley Cup rings as Bob Gainey who became fed up with Montreal media grief and bumped himself upstairs and let Pierre Gauthier steer…for awhile.
Mr. Gauthier doesn’t have that great a pedigree. I’m a bit appalled by this years moves. Letting Hamrlik go for $3.5 per for two years is something Montreal fans will be wringing their hands about by mid-season if no sooner.
You just can’t quantify the intangibles that Roman brought to the D, but what you can do is look at his impact on the teams he’s played with and his D partners to see there’s something there.
Signing Cole I can understand in this market. Yes, the contract is fat, but with the floor rising there were going to be some fat contracts. Bottom line is that when Pacioretty was playing with Gomez and Gionta it worked. For Gomez to max his game he needs two wingers; not one and a Moen or Darche. You just can’t get away with that against NHL coaching and Defenses.
This year with either Patch or Cole as the meat between the double G sandwich I have a hunch to expect a 50 – 70 point season from Mr. Gomez and a solid number two line for the Habs.
Trade Gomez? For what? Is Montreal a poor team? Is there some other big salary to grab? Vinny? His contract is way worse than Gomez’
Right now Montreal is sitting on some cap space and Andrei Kostitsyn is not apparently a happy camper which potentially adds another $3+M
If you like me expect Markov to go down that adds another $5M at some point. But who are you going to add? What big salaries are out there that people are desperate to dump at this stage of the cap game? And would you want those players on your squad if you’re serious about winning Lord Stanley’s Cup?
Mr. Gauthier, like Mr. Gainey was never a big time trading GM and that’s what Montreal needs right now. They have some assets. They have an aged line up in many ways and need to make some magic happen this year.
And they have to decide what to do with Carey Price who I still feel is not going to be the long term Goalie solution in Montreal. Carey is in the final year of his two year contract. Peter Budaj is not a threat or a viable replacement if Carey went down. I’m still baffled by the signing….
In cap leagues or Rotissierie type sports leagues you have always look at things in three year overlapping modules. Montreal is in better shape than most teams, but worse than others.
Plekanec, Cammilieri, Cole
Line One B
Gomez, Gionta, Pacioretty
Desharnais, Kostitsyn, ??
Darche, Moen, White
Lars Eller injured but a factor this year although I still don’t see much magic in his game. Definitely in need to make at least two moves to start the season. JP Dumont? I don’t see a big upside there. I was really surprised the Habs didn’t snatch up Jagr? Cory Stillman? Fading, but more pop than Dumont. I know this is crazy, but if you don’t move Kostitsyn I’d take a gamble on Kyle Wellwood. I can see those two giving some offensive support from the 3rd line especially with a good energy guy filling the line.
As you can tell there’s not much left loose. Can Gauthier pull of a strong trade during camp? Michael Nylander is out there too, but will be with the Flyers for a try out.
Who the heck knows? More intangibles than talent in many ways.
Markov. At best he’s going to be Markov; ie, great point production during the season and poof in the play offs. At worst he’ll be injured, again.
PK Subban is ready for prime time, but he needs a stable line mate not named Hal Gill to truly be effective and able to continue his professional growth.
That’s it for top 4 defenders. The rest of Montreal’s squad would be better fitted to 5-6 duty or specialty roles. Yannick Weber should be offensive,but so far hasn’t excelled. Defense will never be his A game which is why the Habs have used him, like they did with Mark Streit on Offense on occasion.
Spacek is more fodder for a buy out than someone you want playing 18+ minutes per night. Again a 5-6 at best. Hal Gill. I love this guy. He can be on my team anytime, but again, as a 5-6 and PK which take us to Josh Gorges who’s coming back from his knee injury. I think Josh peaked two years ago. With the injury is he a 3-4 D man? Sadly I think not.
Yemelin? Eek! No, if I’m Carey Price I’m not terribly happy with the squad right now on D. I still don’t get letting Hamrlik go for such little coin and I have a hunch Montreal fans won’t either by game 20.
I think Jacques Martin will be done by the end of this season. Montreal fans have certain expectations, but ownership has too, and Pierre Gauthier will probably have to do something unless this team finds some magic and has a great season; which is possible, but the big dollar guys will have to truly earn their salaries this year and even then the squad will have to get some breaks.
With Ottawa and Toronto a mess; Pittsburgh dealing with Crosby not ready to go, Boston full of question marks there’s some opportunity to win some games in the Eastern Conference.
Montreal won’t be the worst, but for the 2011/2011 season to be one that puts a smile on Habs fans some major move has to take place to solidify the Defense and amp up the Bottom Six.
What do you think hockey fans? You can post your comments below.