18 February 2007

6 in a Row

The Canadiens have lost six in a row and now find themselves sitting two points back of 8th place Toronto in the playoff race. It is almost unbelievable that two months ago, we were only 5 points behind Buffalo for 1st in the Eastern Conference. The news is bad both on the ice and off of it: the team can't score, and the players are getting hurt. Koivu isn't performing like a leader, taking bad penalties, missing opportunities, and failing to rally the team to push their hardest at this time of the season. Kovalev is out 3 weeks, Rivet's been out with the flu, and Huet is now lost for the season because of surgery to repair a torn hamstring.

It's been a sad sight watching this team night in, night out for the past two months. They've become one-dimensional on the power-play, the penalty-killing unit has disappeared, and even the goaltending has been only average. It's great that Souray scored his 20th of the season last night, he's been the strongest leader on and off the ice, unafraid to call guys out who aren't playing up to par. In my view, he should be re-signed and given the captain's C because he's proven himself to be the Habs' top player this season. I know that Koivu is the face of the franchise, but he's not getting it done lately, not having scored in 11 games and doing as much harm as good.

What are the options? With the trade deadline looming, rumours are naturally flying everywhere. Will the team add players? Will they shuttle away impending free agents for prospects and draft picks? Will they look for a goaltender after today if Jaroslav Halak has a poor debut? All are important considerations, and no doubt Bob Gainey is going to be on the phones a lot in the next 9 days looking for the best course to chart for his team.

Were it up to me, and mercifully it is not, I'd be looking to be a buyer at the deadline. They're only two back of Toronto, who they'll play three more times before the end of the season. They play Boston--who are jettisoning this season already--4 times, and have only a handful of games left against teams that are legitimately Stanley Cup contenders. In other words, there are a lot of matches left that are decidedly winnable...on paper, anyways. They should be able to beat the Bruins, the Rangers, the Capitals, and the Blues of the NHL. Should. And that's why Gainey has to have an eye towards strengthening the team for a playoff run this year. Move one or two of the impending UFA's and maybe even a couple roster players that aren't performing in order to make this team better for the playoffs. This season is by no means lost, and there needs to be an emphasis on winning the Stanley Cup now.

9 comments:

Carrie said...

It has been pretty damn disappointing with them the last little while. I saw what happened to Huet when I was at Martini's a couple of nights ago. That had to be a major blow for the Habs cuz he's their best goalie right?
Unfortunately, we don't have cable so I only get the postgame reports in my email.
Reallly reallly disappointing right now...

RGM said...

Yeah Huet's their #1, so losing him is a pretty devastating blow. They called up a 21-year old named Halak, and he played really well last night as the Habs finally won a game. He may be starting again on Tuesday. It's awfully early, but the hope is that he'll be the second coming of Ken Dryden or Patrick Roy and will save the season and lead them all the way. Ahhh to dream!!

Carrie said...

So in other words this he's like a hockey prodigy? lol

I really hope they can get the cup for the 25th time. That way I can laugh at all these Canuck fans...
Har har...

RGM said...

I wouldn't exactly call him a "prodigy" in the same vein as a Sidney Crosby or Alex Ovechkin, but he's had himself a great season for the farm team. He's given the team a bit of a shot in the arm, hopefully it'll carry over to tonight's game. GO HABS GO!

Carrie said...

Ovechkin plays on the Penguins too, doesn't he?
I haven't seen a lot or heard a lot about Sidney Crosby so maybe his time in the spotlight has died a little bit?

Hopefully the Habs can start getting it together pretty quick. I'm glad they won their game last night.
So Huet won't be able to be back for the rest of the season.. That will really hurt.

RGM said...

Ovechkin's with the Washington Capitals, you may have been thinking of Evgeni Malkin, who is with Pittsburgh and does all right himself for a rookie.

As for Crosby, he'll be owning the spotlight for the next 15 years probably. He'll have the odd quiet night, and then there will be nights like yesterday where he'll get 4 assists. I don't like his attitude, but he's really something else to watch on the ice.

And the Habs won again tonight! We're back into 7th place! Not quite 4th, but we're in...and Toronto's OUT!!!

Carrie... AGAIN! said...

Toronto is full of losers HA HA HA...
GO HABS GO!!!

Ohh that's who I was thinking of then. Malkin... Ok. I'll remember that :P
Crosby must be a really cocky arrogant guy on the ice then? I haven't actually seen him play...
He could be the new Gretzky then, eh?

RGM said...

He does have his moments of cockiness, and can be a bit immature when it comes to some of the penalties that he draws and takes, but on the whole he's a pretty decent kid. He's got the spotlight of the entire NHL on him, which is no easy burden to bear, but he does a good job of keeping his head on his shoulders and staying grounded.

Carrie said...

The spotlight of the entire NHL? Hooooly smokes. That must definitely be tough on him.