Pierre Dagenais is not a dirty player, in fact, he probably wouldn’t even squash a fly on his rearview mirror, but he’s paying the price for a mistake today.
According to TSN, Dagenais has been handed down a two-game suspension from the NHL, this comes a day before the Habs take on the Sabres. Dagenais clipped Leafs’ defenceman Bryan Marchment, the king of all that is cheap and dirty in the NHL, in the face with his stick during Saturday night’s contest. ‘Dags’ was not assessed a penalty on the play, even though it was an obviously intentional play on his behalf.
With Dagenais out of the lineup, Coach Claude now has the oppurtunity to fiddle with his forward lines. While we all know Yanic Perreault is lying cozily in bed dreaming of another chance to play on the team’s top two lines, forget about it Yanic, it ain’t happening.
Josef Balej, who will now all but assuredly dress for his third straight game, is the most likely candidate to play in Dagenais’ spot, even though Balej is a right-winger. Richard Zednik, however, is versatile enough to play on both sides of the rink, making the uniting of these speedy Slovaks seem very plausible.
On the other hand, Michael Ryder is also capable of playing both the left and right wings, meaning we could potentially see Balej pencilled in alongside Captain Koivu and Ryder on the top line, with Bulis sliding to the second line to flank Ribeiro and Zednik.
Dagenais’ suspension would end in time to see him return in time to face the Bruins on Saturday, assuming he would be dressed to play by coach Julien. He will miss the only other two games played this week, against the aformentioned Sabres and the pesky Minnesota Wild.
With Dagenais out, one of Jason Ward or Andreas Dackell will need to be ready to play tomorrow, otherwise a call will need to be made to Hamilton to bring up a player. If Ward (shoulder) and Dackell (knee) are both unable to go, than the Habs would be short a forward. Now, the Bulldogs play a game tomorrow in St. John’s, meaning the Habs’ management would need to act quickly in order to snatch a player from the ‘Dogs roster. After all, if need be, the trip from Hamilton to Buffalo is not far at all.
Andreas Dackell did not make the trip to Buffalo with his mates, meaning Jason Ward, who is listed as day-to-day, will need to be ready to play. If Wardo is not in game shape, than a call-up will be in order, or coach Claude will dress a seventh defenceman.