Is the 7 and 3 start a soft one?
The Canadians have been winning by one goal margins, getting big time plays when they need them and frustrating opponents. Look no farther than last nights game against Ottawa for proof of that. Theodore really sacrificed the body last night to make that outrageous save against Neil in the third period. That sure got me off my seat, and got Neil talking too. The Habs are hard to play against.
The Habs are much better than most writers expected. It looks like Perezhogin and Plekanec are going to contribute on offense regularly. Eventually Chris Higgins will become a dangerous tandem with Jan Bulis. Pierre Dagenais should get really comfortable in the pressbox…
Which leads me to an important question: How many forwards are too many?
We have just gotten Richard Zednik back and thank goodness. I’m concerned about the demotion of Plekanec but I have faith that this will change soon. A team this small can’t go on without injuries. Dandenault gives Claude Julien the flexibility to dress 7 defensemen and 12 forwards at the same time. That’s alright with me. Flexibility has never been a bad thing.
The trade for Radek Bonk may have no bearing on the Habs current fortunes. He is not the offensive threat Koivu or Ribeiro represent. If one of those two key players should go down it will be up to Bonk to pick up the pace. Right now he is relying on positional play but lacks energy. Clearly he is an “extra” guy who is playing a role not suited to Koivu or Ribs.
Still, one has to wonder if Marcel Hossa would have been a better choice for the third line than Bonk. Do we really need a shutdown line on this team? Hossa currently has seven points and is third in goal scoring on the suddenly terrifying New York Rangers.
Hossa was shipped in favour of Dagenais and Bonk – guys whom Bob Gainey has traded for in the past. Are both of them duds now? Hockey has always been a case of what have you done for me lately and they haven’t done much.
In fairness, Bonk is playing against the top line center whenever Coach Julien can manage it. And it can’t be easy to stay with a zero in the plus minus category when your linemates are Sundstrom and Bulis. I can live with it, I just don’t like it so much.
The Hossa move still mystifies me. I couldn’t see before the season started how Dagenais was going to impact positively on the Habs future. I still don’t. He can’t get open because he is too slow and players know that he scores from the high slot. Hossa, based on what I saw, was a more complete player than Dagenais at training camp.
Yet Hossa is currently making the best of it (He was a scratch against Long Island recently) where he is now. Gainey didn’t get a thing for him, but at least he is gone from a team that clearly wasn’t interested. This was one of those good-luck trades. A pity.
The only trade rumours that I have heard thus far involving the Canadiens have been from posters on forums. I rarely read them. The Habs expendible commodities currently are, I think:
1) Sheldon Souray
2) Pierre Dagenais
3) Niklas Sundstrom.
It also looks like Mark Streit has fallen out of favor. Hopefully we will see Ron Hainsey soon.