Brad Staubitz Adding Toughness to Montreal Canadiens, but Not an Enforcer

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Brad Staubitz Adding Toughness to Montreal Canadiens, but Not an Enforcer
Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images

One man can make a difference, but Brad Staubitz is not going to change everything for the Montreal Canadiens.

Montreal has recorded 14 fighting majors in their past 13 games after totaling just 13 through the season's first 63 games, according to HockeyFights.com.

Guess how many games Staubitz has played in a Canadiens uniform.

(Thirteen.)

The 6'1", 215-pound forward was claimed off re-entry waivers from the Minnesota Wild on Feb. 27, and played his first game the next night.

He wasted no time in making his presence felt, going after, and fighting Tampa Bay's Pierre-Cedric Labrie after Labrie finished a hard hit on Chris Campoli.

Staubitz sent the message: If you get rough with our guys, then you'll have to deal with me.

He is already tied for the team lead (with Ryan White) with six fights for Montreal this season.

The acquisition of Staubitz marks an acknowledgement from the Canadiens front office that their team needed to add toughness to the lineup.

Still, Staubitz alone is not going to prevent other teams from having their way with the weak lineup; Montreal should look to keep him while adding an additional rugged player.

Legitimate and capable enforcers George Parros, Darcy Hordichuk, Matt Carkner, Brian McGrattan, Cam Janssen and John Scott are upcoming free agents (according to CapGeek.com), and any of those players would be an improvement over Staubitz in terms of fighting ability.

Montreal does not have enough to stop teams from bullying them.

Additional gritty players like Brandon Prust, Arron Asham, Ryan Carter and Tanner Glass, though not heavyweight enforcers, are also upcoming free agents and could further help Staubitz and Montreal through depth in toughness.

If the Philadelphia Flyers want to send out a line including Tom Sestito and Zac Rinaldo to run all over Montreal, the Canadiens do not have enough to stop them.

The logic is rather simple.

If you get rough with our guys, then you'll have to deal with me from Brad Staubitz alone is not going to stop the likes of Cam Janssen, and will not intimidate players like Kyle Clifford or Chris Neil.

Staubitz cannot handle John Scott, and stands no chance against an elite fighter like Steve MacIntyre.

While Scott (scratched for past six games with New York Rangers) and MacIntyre (stuck in the AHL) are nothing to be too concerned about, Montreal does not have what it takes against the league's tougher teams.

This was abundantly clear last season, as a number of teams, most notably the Boston Bruins, had their way with Montreal.

This season, the Canadiens' soft makeup has not been as evident, but they are far from being a strong hockey squad. What Montreal is doing this season has not worked in any way; that's why they've gone from a playoff team in 2011 to a lottery team in 2012.

Are the Montreal Canadiens tough enough?

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At the top of the NHL standings are the Rangers, a team that also happens to have the NHL's most fighting majors.

Second and third in majors are the Flyers and Boston Bruins—both playoff-bound teams. Of the teams in the Eastern Conference with the most fighting majors, eight of the top 10 are currently in a playoff spot.

Last season, the Bruins proved toughness does not need to be sacrificed for success. This season a number of teams show the same concept.

Montreal, however, is not sacrificing toughness for success.

They're sacrificing both, for nothing.

 

B/R Featured Columnist Jason Sapunka covers the NHL and Philadelphia Flyers.

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