Claude will be starting to feel like he’s auditioning for the Cirque du Soleil… because he will have to juggle his lineup once again this coming week. Saku Koivu and Steve Bégin are hoping to return for Tuesday’s home opener vs. Washington… and if not, they’ll surely be ready for Thurday’s game vs. Pittburgh.
As these two injured return, some players will have to be sent down to Hamilton. The most likely candidates are Michigan alumni Chris Higgins and Mike Komisarek.
Higgins knew he was still in Montreal thanks to the number of injured centers and that it was just a matter of time. As for Komisarek, the truth is he had an underwhelming training camp… and combine that with being behind 3 veterans on right defence and he finds himself on the outside looking in.
Claude Julien will explain the demotion by saying Komisarek needs to play lots of minutes in order to improve and regain his confidence. The fact is Julien himself admitted a few days ago that both Hainsey and Komisarek could very well be sent down at some point, and that it was easier to send them down because they didn’t have to clear waivers.
Darren Langdon is aiming a return for next Saturday, and most likely Gordie Dwyer will be the one sent down to make room for him. Although Gainey signed him to a 2 year deal this summer and Dwyer already played for Julien in juniors… he simply hasn’t even come close to winning a fight in his time here and forced Gainey to grab an upgrade in Langdon & Bégin at the waiver draft.
No word on Kilger’s return for now.
And that’s just the first step, once the roster has been cut back down to 23… who will play, and what will the lineup look like?
Who will move to make room for Koivu, Yannick Perreault or the young Mike Ribeiro who scored in both games so far? Now that Ryder has done well on the 2nd line, what happens when Sundstrom is ready to return from his minor shoulder injury?
So although the Canadiens are feeling good right now after going .500 on their Ontario road trip… Claude Julien and Bob Gainey have some tough decisions to make as we reach Week 2 of the regular season.