Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A Road Trip in Bullet Points

  • As I said before the season even started, Max Pacioretty is not ready to play big minutes in the NHL, and is definitely not a dependable top six scorer.
  • Georges Laraque looks like a much better player this season.
  • Off the ice Georges Laraque is still every bit as pretentious and annoying as last season.
  • Hal Gill is getting an unfair shake by the fans, he's slow, but look at Robert Lefebvre's breakdown of the Canadien's on the ice during the penalty kill.
  • The penalty kill is atrocious, but getting better.
  • Brian Gionta is better than Alex Kovalev.
  • Carey Price is going to have a bounce back year, although the next week will likely be touch and go after the team abandoned him in his home coming.
  • Aside from Vancouver, Montreal has been in every game, and we probably should be 4-1 right now instead of 2-3, eventually we're going to get the bounces and calls to go our way if the effort is maintained.
  • When Mike Cammalleri finally does light the lamp, it will be followed by an explosion of offense. He's just too good to struggle much longer.
  • Scott Gomez isn't going to be a point per game player, but he's good enough defensively to make up for it, and sometimes he creates plays and doesn't end up with credit on the scoreboard. Is he worth his salary? No, but I'm satisfied with his current play.
  • Jacques Martin doesn't like young players very much. You can tell by many of his questionable coaching decisions in Edmonton that he would rather have a veteran like Laraque on the ice than someone who can score but is more of a risk in D'agostini.
  • Paul Mara is surprisingly solid, and could be one of the steals of the summer.
  • Fans need to remember that Spacek was expected to work the powerplay with Markov, not by himself, so expecting a 50-60 point season out of him is ridiculous.
  • This team has more character throughout than last year's team.
  • A 2-3-0 record with the Habs being in it 4/5 games on a five game road trip with an entirely new team, coaching staff and system, with Markov gone, is 100 times better than anyone expected this team to do.
  • The two people who left in the off season that both fans and the media complained most about Gainey letting go, Kovalev and Komisarek, are having terrible starts with their new teams. Kovalev is disinterested and floating with untalented linemates, and Komisarek is a focal point in everything that's wrong with the 0-5-1 Leafs
  • Bob Gainey is a better General Manager than Brian Burke, and he was completely right when he said that the Leafs were building a team that wasn't in line with the way the NHL is evolving, and it makes me grin an annoyingly arrogant grin.
  • Andrei Kostitsyn is improving as the season gets older, and he'll still have a breakout year.
  • Tomas Plekanec will be largely responsible for Andrei's breakout. His hard work all over the ice and renewed offensive confidence are excellent to see. The backhander in the dying seconds of the middle period against Calgary is something we never saw from Plekanec last year, he was trying too hard instead of following his instincts, which are that of an excellent player.
  • We've currently alienated the top 6 forward missing from our lineup, and he's lingering in Hamilton awaiting a trade that likely won't happen. On the bright side, Washington had to SUE Alexander Semin to get him to play there, and look how that turned out.
  • This may be a bit harsh, but Gregory Stewart is not an NHL player, and he never will be.
  • Kyle Chipchura isn't as bad as his stats make him look, and his skating is better than most fans believe.
  • Travis Moen is a third or fourth line player at best, and Martin needs to remember that and stop looking like Carbo. Moen played his best two games of the season on the fourth line, he's not suited to a scoring line.
  • Scott Gomez thus far sucks at faceoffs, but he's averaged over 52% since the lockout, so this has to be an aberration, or he gets better as the season goes on.
  • Paul Mara's beard is a better defenseman than Mike Komisarek
  • Matt D'agostini is a scorer, not a grinder, he needs to be on a scoring line in order to be effective. Eight minutes a game with Kyle Chipchura doesn't help him look good.
  • Latendresse should probably get a look on one of the top two lines, he's been good on the powerplay thus far and his puck control along the boards is improved.
  • Latendresse needs to stop that stupid wraparound move he does every time he goes behind the net. Every goalie expects a wraparound. You've only scored on it once Gui, and that was against Kari Ramo, not exactly an elite goalie.
  • As much as I get frustrated when the Canadiens lose a winnable game, I find it humourous that the same people who are lauding Gainey as a genius after two overtime wins call him an utter failure after one bad game in Vancouver.
  • As of right now, the Montreal Canadiens are playing better than the Boston Bruins, despite a tougher schedule and more obstacles to overcome. Suck it Boston.
  • Mike Cammalleri has had seasons of 53, 54, 54, and 60% in the faceoff dot, and is at 61.5% this year so far. Why isn't he taking more faceoffs?
  • Speaking of faceoffs, as much as fans and those in the media such as Mike Boone of the Montreal Gazette and (the best site on the internet btw) have been trashing Kyle Chipchura for his defensive play thus far, he's 11 and 5 on the faceoff dot in three games. That's good for 68.8% and best on the Canadiens. It's also a whopping 30% better than Glen Metropolit in that category. With linemates not named Georges Laraque and Greg Stewart, it's very likely that Kyle Chipchura could be a very good 4th line center.
  • The defense are going to take a longer time to adjust to the new system than the forwards, especially with Markov and O'Byrne gone.
  • Tom Pyatt deserves a shot on the 4th line with the big club, and Greg Stewart should be sent down even before Pacioretty. Patches can at least play on the third and fourth line and not be a liability, Stewart.... not so much.
  • Jaroslav Halak is better than he was against Calgary, and deserves another start soon, but not before Price plays a couple more games to get his groove back.
  • Spacek is better defensively than I remember him being when I watching him during Edmonton's playoff run.
  • We're the only team to have beaten a strong looking Buffalo team, that just shellacked the Detroit Red Wings.
  • The NHL's scheduling this year SUCKS. Somedays we have 15 games, and others we have none. How can it be that unbalanced when it's supposed to be compressed? If the NHL complains about the olympic break, then makes scheduling blunders like this, who'd really to blame?
  • Brian Gionta is still going to be the next captain of the Canadiens.
  • The Montreal Canadiens will make the playoffs.


  1. We won't make the playoffs. If we do as you say, expect a quick first round exit.
    Keep smiling! Love your blog Andrew!

  2. Mikey, why so negative? I like the character of the team, I think they have the ability to fight through Markov's injury and make the playoffs.

    Do I think we're cup contenders this year? Probably not, but if you go into the playoffs with a fresh Markov and on a roll who knows what can happen. I'm not willing to write off this team yet.

    Thanks for the compliment! I'm glad you enjoy it!

  3. Not negative Andrew, I could be wrong but when you live in Hamilton and watch some of these young kids play better in the AHL than in Montreal, I am very worried. We are nothing better than an average team at best. I have said all along that Plekanec, Kostitsyn, Price, D'Agostini, O'Byrne, Halak, Lapierre, Chipchura to name a few have really got to step it up this year or else Bob Gainey and staff have to find employment elsewhere.
    I don't like the makeup of the team Andrew. But we have grit and character hopefully.
    I wish we could have traded for a big offensively skilled forward in Kovalchuk, or signed Gaborik in the off season, we are just too small up front and Bob is taking a gamble.
    Chat with you soon and always, GO HABS GO!

  4. I understand your sentiment, in fact I worry a bit too, but I think with the character in the locker room things are going to get better as the season goes forward, instead of the other way around.

    With another one goal loss tonight it's clear that we haven't yet found the offensive chemistry in order to be a playoff bound team, and Markov being gone really damages us as well, but I think the fact that we're in every game, even without Cammalleri scoring, and without Markov, shows that this team can be very good.

    The team from the last couple years had to be blown up, when push came to shove they just couldn't get the job done, they couldn't score against Philadelphia in 2008, and they couldn't do anything without Markov in 2009.

    I wish we could get Kovalchuk too, and you never know, we might pull a rabbit out of our asses there, you never can tell, but I wouldn't touch Gaborik with a 10 foot pole, especially for the salary he got. When all is said and done with Gaborik I think he was only ever interested in New York.

    As for the size issue, it's sure to be talked about all season, but as far as I'm concerned you look for skill first in your top line guys, no matter the size, and have size as a more important component of your checking lines.

    Either way, as you said GO HABS GO!

  5. The time to judge this team will be in March 2010.