Habs and ther fans
Since I began submitting my thoughts on the Habs on this site, i have come to realize just how ignorant Canadiens fans are. We demand too much from our best and when they don’t perform, we demand they get traded. Everyone’s drooling at the prospect of having Marleau or Briere but i guarantee that if one of them does become a Hab, once they go through a slight slump, every single person on this site will demand they get traded and demand Gainey’s head.
Now, Bob Gainey hasn’t exactly been the world’s greatest GM but, who would you rather have? Pat Quinn? Don MacLean? Who? I thought so. You can’t think of anyone because their isn’t anyone. I have stopped worrying about the Habs and you want to know why? Because the Habs will win the cup to close out the decade. Montreal has won the cup in every decade since the NHL started and the streak isn’t about to end. I believe that 2008-09 is the year they do it for 2 reasons. One, the Habs aren’t quite ready to win the Cup this year but hey, you never know. And two, the Habs are hosting the All-Star game in 08-09 and i dare you to name me the last time Montreal hosted the all-star game and didn’t win the cup that same year. Now onto some down to earth thoughts concerning Montreal.
Montreal’s current roster looks like this:
Centres– Steve Begin, Saku Koivu, Maxim Lapierre, Garth Murray
Right Wingers– Andrei Kostitsyn, Alexei Kovalev, Guillaume Latendresse, Michael Ryder
Left Wingers– Chris Higgins, Janne Lahti, Tomas Plekanec,
Defencemen– Francis Bouillon, Mathieu Dandeneault, Josh Gorges, Andrei Markov, Mark Streit
Goalies– Jaroslav Halak, Cristobal Huet, Carey Price
Prospects– Andrew Archer-D, Mathieu Aubin-D, Mathieu Carle-D, Kyle Chipchura-C, Matt D’Agostini-RW, Mikael Grabovski-C, Sergei Kostitsyn-RW, Corey Locke-C, Duncan Milroy-RW, Ryan O’Byrne-D
UFA’s– David Aebischer-G, Radek Bonk-C, Mike Johnson-RW, Janne Niinimaa-D, Sheldon Souray-D, Jean-Phillipe Cote-D, Dan Jancevski-D, Jassen Culliomore-D, Aaron Downey-RW, Ajay Baines-C, Yann Danis-G
Ok, here’s what I propose. Drop Begin and demote Murray to Hamilton. That opens 2 C spots on the 2nd and 3rd lines respectively. I say promote Grabovski to the 2nd line because when he was called up, I was damn impressed by is work ethic and his speed and the fact that he and and Kovalev gelled. For the 3rd line, I’m a little hesitant to put Chipchura their because, well, I’m not 100% sold on him but then again, he did make Team Canada so he has to be good. Now, I say push hard to get Briere and if the Habs do, put Grabovski on the 3rd line. that settles the Centre position. Koivu, Briere, Grabovski, Lapierre. Not too bad. And in the event Briere doesn’t sign, Plekanec will play Centre once again.
At the right side, The Habs are fairly solid. Andrei Kosititsyn, Kovalev, Latendresse and Ryder. Now, take it, Latendresse will be playing the left side this season, so that opens a Right Wing spot. I believe that this spot will be taken by either Sergei Kostitsyn or Duncan Milroy, the latter probably winning the spot. So A. Kostitsyn, Kovalev, Milroy, Ryder. Not the greatest but not too shabby.
At left wing, again the Habs are fairly solid. Higgins, Plekanec, Latendresse and Janne Lahti. The Habs don’t have a solid LW prospect so if a FA move is to be made, it’ll be to nab a solid 4 th line checker, likely to be Pascal Dupuis, Ramzi Abid or Jani Rita because all three will be paid cheaply (anywhere from 450K-850K). And I believe the likely candidate will be Dupuis, (and NOT because he is French), because he is the most experienced of the 3. In any case, Lahti will be hard pressed to make the Habs this year. So we’re looking at Higgins, Plekanec, Latendresse, Lahti/FA signee. Fairly solid.
On Defence, I believe their are a lot of questions. The way it looks at this moment, the Habs have: Bouillon, Dandeneault, Gorges, Markov, and Streit with Archer, Aubin, Carle and O’Byrne fighting it out for the 6th spot and possible 7th spot. And with Souray walking in all likelihood, their now stands even more questions. I’m going to be ripped to shreds for this but, drop Bouillon and Dandeneault. That opens 2 more spots and also cap space. The reason for dropping these 2 is, I don’t see them having a long-term future in Montreal. Now, as for FA, i would seriously look at David Tanabe, Ric Jackman, Ossi Vaananen, Matheiu Schneider, Vitaly Vishnevsky, Tom Preissing, Scott Hannen, Joe DiPenta, Mike Mottau and Micki DuPont. All are between 27-29, say for Schneider, and are still in their prime. All can be effective in any given role and all have loads of experience, whether it be European or NHL. I see Schneider, Tom Preissing or Scott Hannen signing with Montreal. Preferably, I’d want Schenider because of his point shot and Preissing because, though he has no real point bomb, he is accurate. I would also like to see Vaananen because Montreal will need to replace Rivet and he’s a perfect, Finnish clone of Rivet. I see the D being Markov-Schneider, Gorges-Preissing and Vaananen-Streit, with O’Byrne being the 7th D-man. Not the greatest but definitely not the worst.
At goal, i would split the duties 50/50 or 41/41 in the NHL’s case because not one of the 3 goalies vying for the #1 are proven. Halak’s played roughly 15-20 games, Huet has never won more then 19 games in a year and Price is a rookie. I see Montreal running a sort of 3 goalie system, with each goalie getting 10-20 games each, with Huet most likely getting 20-40 games. Montreal possibly has the best goalie system their is in the NHL. No proven weakness but at the same time, no proven strength. Now if they don’t run a 3 goalie system, in all likelihood, Price is gonna win another Calder Cup in Hamilton. So, Halak and Huet between the pipes. Not terrible but rather borderline good-great, all depending on if Halak can translate his 0’s in the AHL to NHL 0’s. (I’m talking about his shut out number’s if you are confused by the “0’s)
The Habs line up, if it works out like i have proposed, looks like this, with last years goals-assists-points in brackets:
Plekanec(20-27-47)-Grabovski(17-37-54 AHL)-A. Kostitsyn(1-10-11)
Lahti(20-14-34 Finland)-Lapierre(6-6-12)-Milroy(25-33-58 AHL)
I know for a fact that every person who responds to this will rip me for putting Plekanec on the 3rd line but I have a reason. Look closely at that 3rd line. What do you notice? SPEED. If Carbo were to run a 4 line team, Plekanec will get over 12 minutes of ice time a game and hey he could beat out Higgins for the 2nd line. And with him being teammed with Grabovski and Kostitsyn, we’re looking at quite possibly the fastest line in the North East, maybe even the East. (i know, that’s pushing it a little bit).
Thier is loads of porential with this line up and it all can be had for roughly 9.5 million dollars. This line up looks familiar to Anaheims line up, lots of hard-working players, a bunch of role-filling players, but, not as many Canadians as I would like but, a bunch of players that play like Canadians. Even if the Habs don’t get Briere or anty other of my mentioned FA’s, they’ll still make some news and everything will be quite fine. Montreal’s fate rests in Halak and Huets hands. The way I see things, the Habs will make the play offs as the 6-8th seed. But if everything runs on all cylinders, we could even make a run at the division title. But thats a long shot. What’s your views on things? Just remember, this is just a proposal of what could be done. Just, don’t bank on Marleau unless the Sharks have Drury. We don’t have the Leafs depth in goaltending, we don’t have Buffalo’s s
peed and we don’t have Ottawa’s experience but what we DO have, is a little bit of everything, something those 3 teams don’t have. We have 4 potential solid lines, quite possibly a really good offence, an above-average defence and 2 solid goalies between the pipes. And, now for the wolves to tear my article apart.