Montreal Canadiens Search for 25th Cup

Matt EichelSenior Writer IAugust 12, 2008

Alex Tanguay would prefer that last season had never happened.

Whether it was because of the rumours about leaving Calgary, a new head coach, or maybe even his linemates, Tanguay struggled to his lowest scoring output since the 2001-02 season.

For Alex Tanguay, perhaps a new start would be best.

A known 20-goal scorer, Tanguay has a nose for the net like few do and he is rewarded for his playing.  Despite only 18 goals under new head coach Mike Keenan in Calgary in 2007-08, Tanguay has the ability to play big in the big situations.

Already a proven NHL scorer, Tanguay also has a Stanley Cup ring to his credit.  And for a franchise looking to capture its 25th Stanley Cup in its 100th season, Tanguay might be one of the missing pieces to the Stanley Cup puzzle.

Look at Tanguay's stats from when he was a member of the Colorado Avalanche. What you will find can be summed up in one word—consistency.  In four of his six seasons in the Mile High City, Tanguay netted over 20 goals including a career-high 29 in 2005-06 before coming to Calgary in 2006-07 and posting a career year with 81 points.

Tanguay's playoff stats are a reminder of just what kind of player he is as well.  His 58 points in 96 career playoff games show again how Tanguay is a proven performer in the big spotlight.

Anyone remember Game Seven of the 2001 Stanley Cup Finals?  A youngster named Alex Tanguay scored a big goal in that game.  And along with that big goal, Tanguay netted five others and contributed 21 points to the Avalanche's 23-game run to the Stanley Cup in 2001.

Many seem to doubt that Tanguay is the missing piece, but as far as his numbers are concerned, he is just another piece of the puzzle.  A very important piece mind you.

Another piece could be the intimidation factor that enforcer and Montreal native Georges Laraque brings to the Canadiens.  Known for his ability to get the crowd roaring with a big hit or a fight, Laraque is another Quebecer back in his home province looking to make an impact with the hometown bleu, blanc, et rouge.

Already having amassed 1037 PIMs in 634 career games with Edmonton, Pittsburgh, and Phoenix, the Canadiens added Laraque to be yet another pest in an already pest-filled lineup.

Laraque joins the likes of Steve Begin, Maxim Lapierre, and Tom Kostopolous—all players who are known for getting under their opponents' skin and doing it well.

Kostopolous was brought in last offseason from the Los Angeles Kings to fill the role that was lacking with the inconsistent play of both ex-Habs Garth Murray and Aaron Downey. Kostopolous delivered, and now it's Laraque's turn to help out.

Never since the days of all-time Canadiens penalty leader Chris Nilan (2248 PIMs in 523 career games as a Canadien) have the Habs had a player who could intimidate and punish the other team physically and mentally.

And they will definitely need it.  If the quick and painful second-round exit in last year's playoffs via the big, bad Philadelphia Flyers is any indication, Laraque's presence will help big time.

If Tanguay and Laraque can deliver what they are known for, the Canadiens will be in good standings for a run at putting a 25th Stanley Cup banner in the Bell Centre rafters come opening night in 2009-10.