Rabid Habs

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, Vol. 10

Written by: Karine Hains

It was another good week in Habs land, 4 games against the Wings, Pens, Blues and Bruins. Of course there was an ugly 4-0 defeat at the hands of Crosby and co. but overall, it was still a good week, that defeat served as a stern warning that the players heard loud and clear and it showed in the way they handled the Blues before blanking the former big bad Bruins.

The Good: Management

Ever heard the expression “he could sell a freezer to an eskimo”? That’s pretty much how I feel about Bergevin…let’s pause a minute and take time to consider that the man managed to trade Rene Bourque…yes the same Bourque who tallied a whooping 39 points in 141 regular season games with Montreal…That is quite a feat in itself but he actually managed to do it while solving or at least going a long way towards solving a couple of other problems: the defense has looked shaky so far this season and the Gallys will both need new contracts next season so space had to be made on the team’s payroll. Firstly, he moved Bourque for Bryan Allen an experimented D-man who will help solidify the defensive troops for this year and secondly, while Allen makes 3.5 millions this year, his contract will be up at the end of the year and his salary will therefore not count against the cap next season unlike Bourque’s 3.3 M. Couple that with the space made a couple of weeks ago with the Moen trade (1.85 M) and that’s a little over 5 M in space for next season. To be fair, I have no idea what will be Galchenyuk’s or Gallagher’s asking price or if Bergevin plans to go for bridge deals with the youngsters after Subban’s one ended up costing him heck of a lot of money but every little helps!

The Bad: The failure of the youth recipe on the blue line

While we had breathed a huge sight of relief seeing the back of Moen and Bourque in turn, I cannot help but notice that what we got in return, is two aging D-men. Remember training camp? The plan was to give the young guys on the blue line a chance and thus, Francis Bouillon was not retained. Fast forward twenty odd games and two things have become very clear: a) the Canadiens have got a very good team and the fans can legitimately have some serious expectations this year and b) in order to meet the said expectations, it may not be the time to have to live with the errors a couple of rookie d-men can make. It has become clear that Tinordi and Beaulieu are not quite ready and need a bit more seasoning in the AHL, Bergevin’s shrewd moves have given us Gonchar and Allen to get through this season but next year, they will both either be gone or have to be resigned if Tinordi and Beaulieu do not accomplish a lot of learning with the Bulldogs this year. I know, Beaulieu is still in the NHL right now but I don’t see him sticking around for very long. All that to say that come free agency day on July 1st, Bergevin will NEED to know if he can rely on the youngsters or not. Here’s to hoping that the temporary solution is enough and that come training camp both of those guys are NHL ready.

The Ugly: The situation in Toronto

A few days ago, the Maple Leafs got hammered 9-2 at home by the Nashville Predators. In the dying minutes of the game, yet another Leafs’ fan threw his jersey on the ice. Post game comments included gems from the likes of Phil Kessel saying that fans who threw their jersey are classless. Fast forward a couple of days and the Leafs beat the Lighting 5-2 in a convincing display. However, unlike normally when the win, the Leafs players did not go to centre-ice to salute the crowd after the win causing heck of a media storm. The players all said that it was not a dig at their fans but it certainly did look like one to me and to many others….And you know what Kessel? That is classless. Just about as classless as getting destroyed 9-2 on home-ice or regularly losing there with sub-par efforts. Let’s face it, Leafs fans have been patient, very patient…Their last cup dates to 1967 and the last glimmer of hope was when they had the Bruins in the ropes in the playoffs in a very important game 7 which they were leading 4-1 before a collapse of epic proportion which saw them lose in OT. Since then, the Leafs’ fans have had precious little to cheer about and I for one cannot blame them for their exasperation…