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The World According To Laura by Laura Kenney is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Habs - Where to go from here

In this world where everything old is new again, I have noticed that the past couple of signings on my favorite hockey team are European players.  I thought this route was tried previously and deemed failure - been there - done that.

I mean the Habs in recent years have had a decent European presence with the likes of Streit, S. Kostityn, Koivu, Kovalev, Grabovski, Halak, Huet, Lang, Spacek, Hamrlik, Markov, A. Kostityn, Eller, Weber.  It was decided in the new NHL - fast and skilled was the way to go.  It did translate to a team that made the playoffs BUT had a challenge in the playoffs.  So, out with some of the Euros and in with more North Americans - most certainly - it was believed - more north american players would translate to more success in the playoffs.

Last year, it took until game 82 and getting a loser point against Toronto to secure the place in those playoffs and a goalie who played out of his mind to produce the desired results.  After an injury plagued season - Mr. Gauthier is embarking on a re-vamp of the blue line and add a forward or two.

Although it is not yet free agency season - the Habs have begun adding a couple of defensemen from european leagues.  Both signings have good to great potential - if Mr. Diaz and Mr. Yemelin can adapt to the smaller ice surface they will be really affordable signings and Mr. Gauthier will look like a genius.  If Mr. Diaz can make that first pass and deliver some offense he is a fabulous signing. If the talented Mr. Yemelin is not seriously injured and does indeed sign and can adapt and clean out the front of the net while managing to stay out of the penalty box and stay clear of becoming Mr. Campbell's new poster boy it will be a success.

At the moment give the habs 3 signed d-men for next season - Subban, Spacek, and Diaz.  I expect Wisniewski not to be re-signed - the fare-thee-well video is on the website (what did you think about your time in Montreal).  The RFA's on defense are Weber, Picard and Gorges.  I expect Picard to leave or be on the dogs next year.  It  remains to be seen what happens with the rest.

The latest rumor says Jagr wants to make his return to the NHL and once again the habs are being touted as one of the teams that he is interested in playing for. It seems to me that Mr. Jagr has stated this desire before - only last time it was to play for the Oilers - so excuse my scepticism on  Personally, I would seriously look at that option at 2 million on a one year deal. But with Mr. Gauthier and the team who really knows what is in the cards.

It seems strange that this team who jettisoned the european players not that long ago seems to be wanting to re-load with others.  Maybe the difference this time is that the roles of leaders have had two years to establish themselves in the group-and there is less a sense of entitlement and the players actually push each other a little to get better, play better-not let each other down.

What will M. Gauthier ultimately do?  Actually we will have to wait and see-then discuss ad nauseum.  In the meantime we have to content ourselves with speculation-and be surprised when something unexpected arrives. Hopefully there is a pleasant surprise on the defense and top 6 or two to come - otherwise it will be a long - summer indeed.


Tyg said...

I'm not really concerned about the defense. Gauthier has enough pieces that he can pick and choose. What we need is someone besides Darche (who may not be back) and Gionta to park their fat asses in front of the net and help us score goals. That's gonna cost money. See Laich, Brooks and Leino, Ville.

Laura said...

Yeah - but he will have to set up the defense first so he knows what he has to spend on the forwards- and it probably will not be either Mr. Laich nor Mr. Leino - Someone unsung and unheralded. The fanbase will grumble and get totally disenchanted then when the games play out he will be a pleasant surprise. Isn't that the way it works?

Tyg said...

For the bottom lines yes. But we've got holes in the top 6 that Travis Moen and Mathieu Darche are not capable of plugging, despite what Jacques Martin has deluded himself into thinking.

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