So we’re 10 games into the hockey season, and what have we learned about the Montreal Canadiens?
A lot more than I thought we would have, actually.
When this team struggled out of the gate (going 2-5, but not really deserving their two wins), I was *this close* to writing about how Bob Gainey has got to go.
Now the last few games have made me change my mind a little. I still believe Gainey has to go, but I do have a little more patience.
To start, I looked at the team’s record this season. Sure, a 5-5 record doesn’t sound great, but you need to look at the games. In three of those losses (Edmonton, Colorado and Ottawa), they outplayed the other team, but didn’t get any points.
And although they’ve struggled, they’re in ninth place in the conference, only one point behind Boston for eighth.
While the goal is to always get points, you can count this as a moral victory. The Habs knew they were outplaying their opponents. It was just a matter of time before that hard work added up to wins.
When you look at this team now, what do you see? A team that works hard for three full periods a game.
From Four Habs Fans: “How many times last year did the Habs take at least a period off? I’ll tell you – 82.”
* Note, this may be copyright (they have a bunch of © at their site, but I didn’t see one for this sentence), but I’m hoping they won’t notice, will let it slide or decide I’m not worth the effort of a lawyer’s letter once they see me in the banner at the top of the page (I believe they like half-naked people, especially when they’re topless.).
Anyways, the Habs can take solace in knowing that they have outplayed their opponents in the last six games, and they seem to be getting better every game. They’re fun to watch.
A few notes on some of the players:
Andrei Markov: Got injured in the first game. Will come back sometime in January, right before the Olympics and ready for the playoff push. If the Habs can stay around 8th or 9th until then, they can make a push for fourth and surprise a lot of people (like Gonchar and the Penguins last year).
Michael Cammalleri: He’s on pace for 41 goals. I’d like to see him become only the second Habs since 1980 to score 50 goals in a season (Stephane Richer of Battle of the Blades fame is the other).
Scott Gomez: Works hard all the time, both on offence and defence. May not be worth $8 million a year, but he is definitely worth Chris Higgins, Doug Janik, Ryan McDonagh and Pavel Valentenko.
Matt D’Agostini: I knew people love him and he scored a goal against the Rangers the other night, but he misses the net an awful lot.
Georges Laraque: In eight games, he has been in one fight. Just saying.
Carey Price: He will bounce back. He needs to. I have him in my keeper pool. But Halak has won a bunch of games, and has looked most impressive against non-playoff teams such as Atlanta and the Islanders. Later on in the season, Price will be the man as we start facing teams such as the Penguins, Flyers and Bruins.