Don't Panick Hab Fans, But…

After watching the Montreal-Ottawa game I had a song in my head, “Reunited & it feels so good…”. Watching Heatley, Spezza and Alfredson thump the Canadiens showed what Montreal’s weaknesses are.

What can they do about it?

So I’m pretty sure all Hab fans are saying “please god, don’t let this be another repeat of last year!”, well its far from that but Montreal just got a wake up call and it was needed. A few reasons why they have lost a few:

Defense:

They have been playing very bad decisively since the Ranger game, Allowing to many shots, more turn overs than usual and much more scoring opportunities. Obviously the loss of Hamrlik shows. He is a big part of Montreal’s blue-line. Patrice Brisebois is pretty much useless but I guess Carbo doesn’t have a choice but to dress him. Luckily O’Bryne and Hamrlik are returning to the line-up for some much needed size to bolster the blue-line.

Offence:

So last year Kovalev wasn’t producing and Koivu was leading the way, This year its the complete opposite. What is going on with Montreal’s Captain? Higgins is so unlucky he couldn’t buy a goal and Ryder is just not the same. The younger players can’t be blamed. Latendresse is having an equal year or better, Sergei Kostitsyn is doing what he’s being asked. Smolinski’s line is useless when it comes to offence but they aren’t there for that but they eat up the clock and provide some energy when needed.

Main Weaknesses:

1. Too small up front, they get tossed around besides the bigger players(Kovalev, Ryder, Smolinski…)
2. No one to finish the play! I can’t remember the last time a Canadien put up 40+ goals….

What can they do?

Yes its easy to start making trades and cut loose the dead weight but I don’t think that is Bob Gainey’s plan for this very young team. The way the roster looks, the main goal is to reach the playoffs and give the younger players a taste of the post-season and see who shows up and performs. You can say they are a lock for the post-season but anything can happen and another free-fall(like last year) isn’t impossible.

I don’t think Bob Gainey will make any significant moves before the deadline for any top players in the league. Gainey isn’t the type to sell the future for the present, especially for a playoff rental. I believe some drastic moves might be made when the season is over and free-agency begins because Gainey will have an idea what the team needs/lacks and who should go.

Players who should go when the season is over:

-Smolinski
-Dandenault
-Begin
-Brisebois
-Ryder

Now some fans made want to add Koivu on that short list but that isn’t fair. I say give him a premier winger on his side who can finish the play and can net 40+ goals then judge him. His best winger has been Ryder but he isn’t scoring anymore and Koivu has had different wingers every game. If Koivu still struggles then it would be time for a change.

Habs need size, grit and fire power!

I know it sounds like a broken record to read these Montreal articles but the team is showing potential and they are just missing a few pieces of the puzzle to have a complete team(in a fans point of few).

Any trade suggestions?

By the way, Give credit to Ottawa, they came out flying and that 1rst line is very entertaining.


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