If I were Bob Gainey, GM of the Montreal Canadiens…..
If I were Bob Gainey, GM of the Montreal Canadiens I would…….
1. Hire Guy Carbonneau to coach. This guy would seem like the perfect fit to coach the Habs as he was a former player and employee there and is a respected French Canadian. If anything he would bring some type of system for the player to play in and that alone would make this a better team. Just look at Minnesota. They certainly dont have the most talent but by playing a certain way as per orders from their coach Jacques Lemaire, has made them one of the leagues most difficult teams to play against. Montreal would be that with Carbo as coach and likely a tight checking system he would bring.
2. Trade Jose Theodore. He is too much of a distraction. His big contract that so far he has not lived up to and his legal problems with his father and the possibility of him being mixed up with that make him not the guy to lead this team to the promise land. There are really only 2 teams that could trade for him. The Colorado Avalanche or the New York Rangers. I say trade him with Yanic Perreault to New York for Anson Carter, Petr Nedved and a first round pick. And replace his spot in goal by signing Felix Potvin. The first round pick should be decent since the Rangers will find a way to miss the playoffs again. They will probably add to their forwards by trading Mike Dunham away so losing Carter and Nedved wont hurt them much. Carter and Nedved would fit in with the Habs. They definitely have what the Habs need. Scoring ability up front and much needed depth. The big contract of Theodore’s would be offset by the contracts coming in for Carter and Nedved so moneywise it’s a wash. Potvin is a solid veteran, who happens to be French Canadian and who would help bring along Mathieu Garon.
3. Move out Patrice Brisebois. I think Patrice’s time with the Habs is over. After his hiatus mid season due to stress and going to France in the middle of it, is just enough to finally cut ties with this guy. He is still a good player. He is a fine powerplay QB but just needs a new lease on life. Trade him and a 2nd Round pick to Anaheim for Vitali Vishnevski. Brisebois would be what they need. An offensive defenceman to go with their new firepower that they have just added in Sergei Fedorov and Vaclav Prospal. Vishnevski is a young player that could still develop into a top 4 defenceman. He has the skills to do it, I guess he just needs the chance to prove himself. He can do just a bit of everything and has a bit of a physical edge to his game which the Habs needs dearly. And the key for a team like Montreal, he is young and cheap.
4. Add more grit. The Habs are still not that gritty up front but maybe trading Joe Juneau to San Jose for Todd Harvey would help, as would signing Pascal Rheaume. Rheaume would be a solid checking centre that the Habs need to play against the other teams best lines. Harvey is a fearless, tough, gritty competitor who would quickly become a fan favorite with his heart and desire. Maybe not the fastest and most skilled but certainly a hard worker who would rub off on his teammates.
5. Remove dead weight. Mariusz Czerkawski, Randy McKay are already gone but why stop there? Karl Dykhuis, Patrick Traverse, Andy Dackell and Donald Audette could also be moved out as well. if any team would take one of them for a draft pick or something then that would be an added bonus, but that would be unlikely. But otherwise just get rid of them all together. They in a word are useless.
So with all these changes the Habs would look something like this:
For depth there would be: Forwards:Daigenais, Ryder, Perezhogin, Balej, Gratton, Dwyer, Higgins, Defence: Bouillon, Quintal, Dyment, Goalie: Damphousse
The top line would be just awesome. Lots of speed and size to play with Koivu. Bulis and Carter would be more than willing and able to go into the traffic areas and battle for the puck and allow Koivu to work his magic.
The second line would be no slouch either. Kind of a Czech/Slovak line that may find some good chemistry. A key is that they are all very skilled and all have decent size to fight for pucks as well. Zednik is fearless and having a guy like Nedved feeding the puck could make him more dangerous.
The third and fourth lines add a bit of checking with some grit, some youth and a bit of scoring. A decent mix. If given the chance some of these young player may be able to actually do something and contribute. Ribeiro might be a good player if given a certain role rather than thrown in to be one of the top centres on the team. Less pressure may make him a better player.
The defence is young but bigger, tougher and could grow together being one of the best for years. Hainsey and Markov could be top offensive defencemen for a while. Markov has shown it so far while Hainsey could soon become that type of Defenceman. Souray and Rivet add that veteran leadership and toughness. Those two are fearless and lead by example playing with injuries and through pain. Vishnevski and Komisarek have the potential to be an all round threat. they are young and still learning but may soon become top defenceman in this league. I think they just need a chance. Komisarek could be the real deal and eventually the star back there for a long time.
In goal they are solid with Potvin and Garon. They may make a good tandem somewhat like what Minnesota has with Dwayne Roloson and Manny Fernandez, and we have seen how well that works. And with a good checking system in place, there would be less pressure on the goalie to face 40 shots a night which is what Montreal goalies these days have to face daily.
It is almost 99% certain that none of this will happen due to economics among other things, but we can dream can’t we? It is only my opinion as to what I would do. And it would be great to see that happen as its is nice to have the Canadian teams be competitive and successful.
So tell me what you think??