Montreal Canadiens: What's Up Bob Gainey's Sleeve?

Matt EichelSenior Writer IMarch 17, 2009

Is it me or do the Montreal Canadiens always go through the motions this time of year?

Or is that the deal with all NHL teams vying for a playoff spot?

This year around, the Canadiens are not enjoying as much room from the rest of the Eastern Conference rat race as they were last season.

But with Bob Gainey behind the helm, the Canadiens have been getting back to the basics.

This raises the question: What's up Bob Gainey's sleeve?

With the returns of Alex Tanguay and Guillaume Latendresse, what will be happening to Matt D'Agostini and Max Pacioretty?  Two players, who have worked hard to keep the Canadiens in the middle of the playoff picture, who will be very hard to send back down to the Hamilton Bulldogs.

And what of Sergei Kostitsyn?  He's got 11 points in 13 games in the AHL with the 'Dogs. Think the Canadiens could use a little late season spark?

And who's the man down the stretch for the Canadiens?  Is it still the flop between Jaroslav Halak and Carey Price?  Or will Price regain form as he did down the stretch last season?

With the New York Rangers surging alongside the Canadiens, Gainey's return to the basics may have come at the right time or altogether too late.

If anything, if the Canadiens miss the playoffs in their centennial season, it will be an utter disaster and with so many free agents on the horizon, there will be a good deal of shuffling.

For Canadiens fans, the best thing to do is to cheer and not criticize.

Mr. Gainey has helped the Canadiens in a jersey.  Let's hope he does it again behind the bench.