First off, let me start my inaugural post by stating how pleased I am to be contributing to this blogging community. I truly look forward to sharing my passion for hockey, and the Canadiens, with the readers of this site. Also, I of course look forward to reading fellow blogger opinions and engaging in insightful discussion. Now, without further ado, there is some hockey to be discussed!
Inconsistent Canes head to La Belle Province
On Saturday night, the Habs welcome the Hurricanes to the Bell Centre in what is the first of four meetings between the two teams. The Carolina squad is easily one of the most wildly inconsistent outfits in the league this season, crushing Edmonton 7-1 earlier this week only to promptly get walloped by Philadelphia to the tune of 8-1 two days later. Last week, they pulled the same trick, downing the lowly Islanders 7-2 and losing to Panthers 7-4. If anything, these results should make the Canadiens weary, as it demonstrates that the Canes have explosive offensive ability. Rookie sensation Jeff SKinner and Eric Staal lead the way with 15 points apiece, but overall the Canes’ attack is a balanced one, with 12 different players pitching in at least 6 points. Unfortunately, for all this offensive skill, their defence has clearly suffered for it. The Canes are in the bottom five in goals against, shots against and penalty killing and Cam Ward has been positively bombarded this season, facing over 460 shots in only 14 games. Nonetheless, the former Conn Smythe recipient has posted decent numbers, going 8-6-0 with a .914 save percentage.
As for Montreal, they will be looking to wrap-up an excellent week that featured key wins versus Vancouver and Boston. While the Habs are nowhere near as inconsistent as the Hurricanes, over the years they have shown a propensity to lose focus when facing mid-level opposition. Case in point, last week Montreal sleepwalked through contests versus Florida and Columbus, mustering only 1 goal in the process. But, if Montreal is able to tighten up sufficiently and Carey Price is in his usual form, le Tricolore stand an above average chance of collecting two points. For both these teams, the question is which version will show up on Saturday night?
About the O’Byrne Trade and other potential transactions
In trading the 26 year old blueliner with a limited future in Montreal for an 18 year old prospect, the Canadiens made an excellent move in both the short and long term. In the short term, the Habs manage to obtain value for O’Byrne and allow themselves a bit more wiggle room in regards to the cap. In the long run, Michael Bournival joins the likes of Louis Leblanc, Phillipe Lefebvre, David Desharnais, Dany Masse, Olivier Fortier and Gabriel Dumont in forming what looks to be a promising group of young, Quebec born forwards. This, of course, should please many of the malcontents who clamour for more local flavour in the Habs lineup. As for Ryan O’Byrne, he gets a chance to contribute to a Colorado backend that has been decimated by injuries. With Kyle Cumiskey and Adam Foote out long-term, this is easily the best opportunity in his career
Regarding the extra cap space this move created, rumours quickly surfaced that Pierre Gauthier may be eyeing a forward. At first, many suggested Bill Guerin as a potential target, but given his agent’s comments, it does not look to be the case. Rather, according to a report by CKAC, a Montreal radio station, it appears that Miroslav Satan may be on the team’s radar. The Slovak forward last played for the Bruins, collecting 14 points in 38 contests. As we say in French, à suivre…
About the Author
Written by Louis Moustakas
Louis was born in Chicago but has lived in Quebec City most of his life and has a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration from Université Laval. An avid Canadiens fan, he has written for HabsWorld.net since 2009. Currently, Louis lives in Ottawa where he works for the Coaching Association of Canada.