Habs Out Shoot and Beat Florida 5-4 – Goalie Controversy is on! Sens Win – Canucks & Flames Too – NHL ROUND UP – January 1, 2009

Templates in hockey are funny things.   Let me explain.   When I created the video tracking system I used for the Habs waaaay back in 1995-96 my theory was that hockey was essentially a laying over of templates.

Team A vs Team B based on the personnel and style employed by said personnel on the ice.

Some players excel vs certain types of templates or level of competition.  For example Tomas Plekanec on line 2 and the PP vs the average NHL team will perform better Minute for Minute than if he’s facing your average line 1 opponent.

I know that’s a simplification, but I’m just trying to explain how a team can play so differently when the elements are all in place.   Right now teams have to spread the focus with Scott Gomez playing better in his number 1 slot.    This creates opportunities for Plekanec which then opens opportunities for the rest of the team.

Or I’m just impressed that he whacked out 8 shots on goal vs Florida last night in the Habs impressive 5-4 win.    Jaroslav Halak picked up the win.   The team seems to want to win more when he’s in the net, and yes, the Canadiens have a lovely goal tending dilemma.

In today’s NHL sometimes it’s not who has the most talent, but who gives the most value for the dollar.   For instance Scott Gomez is a great player.   Scott Gomez at his current salary isn’t a great value for his production.   Bob Gainey is facing an interesting play right now.   How much will either Carey Price or Jaroslav Halak cost after this season?

How much could either player bring in return?  If you look at Brian Burke he gave up a silly amount of value for Phil Kessell.   Crazy trade, and then signing him at the salary he did devalued the deal further.  Not that Phil isn’t worth his salary, but is his type of player “at that salary” worth two first round picks?

Again, this is today’s NHL.   Right now I think the Habs could get more value in a trade for Carey Price, but if I were Bob Gainey I sure as heck wouldn’t pull that trigger unless I felt that Halak was my guy and that I had him locked up for at least three years at a good value.   The flip being that if Carey’s people hinted that he really wanted to stay and could be signed for a good “price” then Bob would have to cross that bridge.

Either way it’s nice to see Halak get more respect as he’s definitely earned it.   It reminds me a bit of Grant Fuhr who rarely had the best save percentage, but knew how to win.  As talented as those Oilers teams were they gave up an awful lot of scoring chances some years.

Heading to the play offs I think the Montreal really needs to find a big body top six forward, and maybe tweak the defense if they really think they can make a cup run this year.

In other NHL news and scores Ottawa nipped 3-2 in the shoot out, and Vancouver edged St. Louis 4-3 in OT.


2010 Bridgestone Winter Classic takes place at Boston’s Fenway Park at 1PM EST.   Catch the Bruins hosting the Flyers in what should be a hum dinger of a game.  Click the LINK to see some photos of the rink!

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