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Habs Defense Takes a Major Hit
Posted By Corey Krakower On Apr 6 2009 @ 11:08 pm In Montreal Canadiens | No Comments
Saturday's big win in Toronto came at a costly price. The news broke this afternoon that Andrei Markov and Mathieu Schneider will be out for extended periods of time, due to injuries sustained during the game.
Markov, out for 3 weeks, has 64 points in 78 games this year. He has been the key to the Habs transition game and a mainstay on a powerplay that has been heating up recently. Markov eats up 25 minutes per night, plays against opposing teams top lines and plays a significant role in specialty situations, meaning he will be impossible to replace.
Schneider, who came over from Atlanta about a week before the deadline in exchange for a draft pick, will be out for the rest of the year. According to RDS.ca, Schneider will undergo an operation that will keep him sidelined for a long time. The veteran defenseman, along with Markov, has helped stabilize Montreal's powerplay since his arrival. He has played 21 games for the Canadiens and has put up 16 points, 13 of which have come with the man advantage.
With the injuries, the top 6 D will look much different. Tonight, the pairings will be Komisarek – Gorges, Hamrlik – Brisebois and O'Byrne – Janik (recent call-up from Hamilton). Mathieu Dandenault will play up front, as he provides good insurance in the event that someone gets hurt and has to miss some time during the game. Francis Bouillon is still recovering from his groin injury suffered in February, so he is not an immediate option. The concern for me right now is the powerplay more than anything, which leads me to hope that the Canadiens' Organization gives Yannick Weber another shot. It couldn't hurt having him play 7-9 minutes per game at even strength and getting additional time on the PP.
Clearly, this will hurt the Canadiens' chances to advance in the playoffs, but let's not collectively jump ship right away. Let's see how they finish the year with these final 4 games. People in New Jersey were equally pessimistic when they found out that Marty Brodeur would miss the majority of the year, and that team turned out ok. The Habs play the Sens tonight in Montreal, where a win would almost secure a playoff spot for the bleu-blanc-et-rouge.
GO HABS GO!
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