Gainey's Mid-Season Evaluation

Bob Gainey had a meeting with the media today to discuss the teams season so far. There are positives and negatives like usual but he spoke very frank and sent a message to the players.

Bob Gainey says:

“If the players here can’t solve it, I’ll look at adding or replacing a player here with one who can win….”

Center Position:

In that quote Gainey was talking about Montreal’s poor performance when it comes to face-offs. That is obviously one area Montreal has been very weak in. Saku Koivu is the only legitimate face-off center Montreal has, Plekanec was a winger who was molded into a center man and Chipchura isn’t good enough yet to compete with a #1 or #2 center man. Smolinski was brought in for that job….but he hasn’t been their savior either, especially after being injured for over a month.

Balanced Scoring:

Yup, Montreal is actually scoring 5 on 5 & the Power play is still on top so the offence is there. Lets hope they keep it up because it is something that killed them last season and probably why they didn’t make the Playoffs.

PK:

I think the PK has been Montreal’s Achilles’ heal. They are 25th in the league. Winning face-offs is the first step at a good penalty kill. They were doing pretty good last season but this season it has been the opposite. People can’t say it is because Begin is out and he is a good killer but they were still doing just as bad before the injuries. Smolinski will add something to the PK when he returns.

Goaltending:

Currently 12th best in the league Montreal is still getting good goaltending from Huet and Price. After Price’s worst game of the season against Washington it looks as if his confidence sunk big time. The boo-birds came after him and I don’t know why, He’s only 20 years old and a rookie. I’d say he is doing above average so people should lay off the kid. Gainey mentioned that Halak has been playing very well and they could make a switch since they both have 2-way contracts and Carey Price can get about 10-15 games under his belt as well as a confidence booster.

Young Talent:

Steve Begin, Brian Smolinski and Patrice Brisebois have been out with injury so there have been a few call ups from Hamilton. Gainey said he is to have a meeting with Carboneau to see who should stay and who shouldn’t. Hopefully they will let the younger guys stay and Montreal could cut the dead weight. Carbo stated very frankly whoever plays hard and plays good will keep their spot with the team then mentioned it put him and management in a fun position.

Alex Kovalev:

Gainey said he is carrying the team on his shoulders and showing people the player he can be. He is leading the team in points.

Well there you have it. Montreal is looking good and if Gainey can improve the club though trades and bring in a scoring center man I think Montreal is on the right track especially with the youth movement.


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