Reprint from HabsAddict.com
Over the 14 games played in this still young season, the Montreal Canadiens have had their ups and their downs.
The last week or so has seen more downs than ups, however, as two of the Habs key offensive components, Brian Gionta and Scott Gomez, continue to struggle.
Gionta has two goals and two assists while leading all shooters with 54 shots on goal, while Gomez has a meek one goal and two assists. Given that these are two key parts of the Habs' offense, it is imperative that Jacques Martin and Co. start getting production out of them.
With everyone in the media giving their opinions on what needs to be done in order to get these two producing, I thought it was a good time to ask you, the hockey fans, what you would do to fix their problems and the response was overwhelming!
Recommendations of showing them midget or panda porn aside, I got some incredibly insightful responses from a whole swath of people. In total, between Tweets, emails, Facebook messages, comments on HabsAddict.com, The Bleacher Report, and Hockeybuzz.com, I had over 100 responses.
If there was ever a question about the knowledge-level and intense passion for the Montreal Canadiens from their fan base, this highly non-scientific survey showed me that the there are a ton of incredibly sharp hockey minds out there.
There were nine different options with minor variations within each concept, that people put forward.
What I have done is indicate the concept the people chose as a header, with a brief summary of people's thoughts as well as a couple of examples of what people had to say.
Please note that 4.5 percent of responses could be categorized as "other" or "miscellaneous". These were cases where I received only one single message for that particular thought. Many of those responses were joke responses about getting a new equipment manager, letting them sleep in on Saturday's, and making them overdose on Red Bull.
Thank you to everyone who participated, even those who sent joke responses!
So, without further ado, here are the results in reversed order for dramatic effect:
9. Patience, change nothing. Gomez is a notoriously slow starter
With a meager 1.25 percent of the responses in this category, few fans feel that the Habs should maintain the status quo. The general feeling was the Canadiens needed to be proactive and actually do something to change their fate. While I personally feel that there are things that the Canadiens can do to help change their situation, there is something to be said about giving things a chance to play out on their own.
chadrock via HockeyBuzz.com
Wait until December. Gomez starts off slow every single season, it's nothing new.
8. Martin is not a good coach/should make better lineup changes
Only slightly more popular than keeping things the same were discussions about Jacques Martin making bad decisions, which checked in with 1.75 percent of the responses.
While many in the Habs fan base are not fans of what Martin brings to the table in his coaching style, most of the comments focused on what changes could be made and not what the coach had currently done.
kev1586 via Hockeybuzz.com
"I hate the changes Martin is making to the lineup. He has to make changes, but there are far more obvious ones to be made...Why not try what has worked in the past?"
Eller-Plekanec-Kostitsyn (looked good in TO to start the year)
Cammalleri-Gomez-Gionta (gold last year)
Pouliot-Halpern-Darche (our only producing line at this point)
Instead we get this:
Kostitsyn-Gomez-Gionta (Never worked last year)
Eller-Plekanec-Cammalleri (?? We'll find out I guess)
I get that Martin had to make changes, I just don't see the logic behind his decisions."
7. Send Gomez to the minors/bring up Desharnais/get rid of Gomez
"Getting rid of Gomez" is a pleasantly fictional view that 3.125 percent of the respondents espoused. While it is nice to imagine that Gomez could or would be moved, his veteran status and abusively inflated dollar value mean that he isn't going anywhere. That being said, I got the feeling that this view was based on pure emotion. People are not happy with Gomez and his contract sickens many, so they want him gone from the team.
I, for one, can understand that sentiment but I don't think it will happen.
eric ezaki via Bleacher Report
"...the Habs don't have to motivate them, they should motivate themselves. I can't stand Nomez. Thanks BG for that waste of money. If I'm the Habs I would send Nomez to the Dogs to free up cap space just like TO did with Jeff Finger. Then I would bring up Desharnais."
Razamanaz via Bleacher Report
"Why bother? Gomez has always sucked!! It's easy for him to say he is a playmaker, but when he only gets points from playing with star players that will score with him or without him why bother, GET RID OF HIM AS FAST AS WE CAN!!!...Paying someone 8 mil. a year who produces maybe 10-12 goals is just being a bad GM...If you check Gomez's stats, most of his assists are 2nd assists, which means he has no hand in any playmaking. The only reason Gomez says he's a playmaker, is because he scores about as many goals as a 4th line player, which is really all he is. If Gomez were to sit out a few games, I'm sure Gionta would score playing with anyone else, Gomez is the problem and has been all along!!!!"
6. Bring up Max Pacioretty of another player from Hamilton
Checking in with 4.25 percent support was the idea of bringing up Max Pacioretty or another player from Hamilton.
The feeling here is that the solution lies outside of the currently lineup, and in with the Habs' AHL ranks.
With Pacioretty's assertions on the Team 990 last week that if he wasn't going to play a top-six position in Montreal he'd rather stay in the AHL all season, I think it is unlikely that Habs' management will look in his direction. But with players like David Desharnais ripping it up in the AHL, maybe the idea is not completely off base.
darcysucker via Hockeybuzz.com
"How about bringing up Pacioretty? He's playing great in the AHL right now, 12 points in 10 games, he's big and the power forward we've been waiting for. It probably won't happen now, but come mid-season it's a definite possibility if he keeps up his production."
Leo st. pierre via Bleacher Report
"Bring up Ryan White -- the guy had FANTASTIC energy in the pre-season. Ditch Spacek, Gill & O'Byrne."
5. Put Andrei Kostitsyn on the second line with Gomez and Gionta
The idea of having AK46 flanking Gomez and Gionta was relatively popular with 6.25 percent of the responses indicating that this was their solution.
Since the poll went out, we have seen AK playing with those two and he didn't look entirely out of place. Unfortunately, however, they still did not produce any points.
Robbenator via Hockeybuzz.com
"I think that putting a player who is doing well with them might give them a good boost & it will be the perfect opportunity for Eller to show what he is made of! I just hope that Kostitsyn is not gonna start playing bad because he is with those 2 & that Eller is not gonna choke on this opportunity & turn our magical line into another Gomez/Gionta line."
ElieAintabi via Twitter
"Kostitsyn on the second line seemed to give them jump last game."
4. Trade for a big winger
Another group of responses indicated that their solution would be outside the team in the form of a veteran winger to play with Gomez and Gionta.
Checking in at 10.25 percent of the responses, people thought the Habs should make a move for a player like Owen Nolan, Mike Knuble or Bill Guerin.
Bo via Hockeybuzz.com
"By trading for a big winger to crash the net. A power forward such as Ryan Smyth or Mike Knuble."
Habssuperfan77 via Hockeybuzz.com
"What about Bill Guerin or Owen Nolan? Guerin scored 20 last year...all he has to do is get in front of the net...something that all the Habs roster, is afraid to do."
Charles L. Gare via Bleacher Report
"...I think I might think of a trade to bring another winger in, because everything that Martin has tried has failed miserably. I also think that the Habs are shooting from to far out maybe it is frustration I'm not sure, because they are getting lots of shots on the net but not in the net...I think Darche was the only one who went to the net (in Columbus) and that has been the only goal in the last two games..."
3. Put Benoit Pouliot back on the second line and let them play
I like this idea and never thought that Martin gave that trio enough time to try and get going before he broke them up. They had three games together at the beginning of the season after which Martin sent Pouliot packing into the bottom-six.
The good part is that Pouliot is now a key part of the Habs most consistent trio with Mathieu Darche and Jeff Halpern.
The message here was that fans feel Martin pulled Pouliot off of that line too quickly and that he should give them a good 5-10 games to see what they can do.
11.375 percent of responses wanted to see Pouliot back on the second line.
Scabeh via Hockeybuzz.com
"I would let them play with Pouliot for a couple of games. I'm sure they will benefit from the intensity the former 4th overall pick has been showing since the beginning of the season..."
blarneylad via Hockeybuzz.com
"...Martin has got to stop penalizing players like Pouliot. He has a lack of confidence. Don't put him on the fourth line and essentially cut his ice time in half. The kid has the talent and skills. He needs some work on his head...Gomez (hasn't been playing well) and yet he still ranks up there in ice time. What message is that sending?"
ERIC via HabsAddict.com
"...I do not think there is much more they can do, they may be firing blanks but they are firing, except for Gomez on a few occasions, they are not playing perimeter hickey, they are in the mix, they are getting dirty, especially Gionta. They need a player to give them space and time, the type of player that can attract 2 players toward them and then pass it to G&G to create odd man chance...Put Pouliot in there and let him stay there for longer than a game or two, let them talk on the bench, communicate, and let Gionta tell him what he needs and wants...but I think time can fix a lot, especially if they keep playing hard!"
2. Put Lars Eller on Gomez's wing
The second most popular choice from fans was to give Eller a shot at the open wing position on the second line.
A full 13.5 percent of responses indicated that this was the Habs best option to fix what ails them.
Gerry Salhani via email
"Let Eller play with G & G for an extended period of time, not a one or two game stint. You can see he's got up side, but playing 8-minutes a game is not enough...I'm afraid the way JM is utilizing Eller will adversely affect his confidence..."
MHHABS via Hockeybuzz.com
"Give Lars Eller a chance on the line."
Rishi Diwan via Bleacher Report
"Put LARS ELLER on their line and then watch the awesome snowball affect."
Dylan Smith via Bleacher Report
"...BRING UP ELLER!!! Please Martin, give the guy a shot. I think I remember trading a pretty decent goalie to get him...not sure..."
And now, the No.1 choice by an overwhelming 43.75 percent, was...
1. Split up Gionta and Gomez
This is actually my choice too, and I think it is time to see if they can get going separately. If they do, you can always put them back together, which seemed to be the feeling of the majority of people who responded.
There were many variations in this theme including: using Eller as the second line center, moving around Michael Cammalleri, Andrei Kostitsyn, Gionta, Desharnais, Moen, White and others.
Regardless of the different scenarios and permutations, the vast majority thought that the Habs' best bet was to split up the two long time linemates.
Peter Dunfield via email
"I would move Pleks to that line and move Gomez to the Cammi line...we need
to get Gionta scoring...Pleks will do that..."
Steve Walter via email
Firstly, I would (even though they are playing well), make a slight change to the first line. I don't think Mike Cammalleri's full potential is being used. Gomez won't shoot, so put somebody on his line that will...I would also like to see them bring up somebody from the AHL. Desharnais is playing solid down there, so give him a shot to produce. Here is what I propose:
A.Kostitsyn-Plekenec-Gionta - keeps the speed of cams and the chemistry of plekanec and AK47
Cams-Gomez -Desharnais - Adds some firepower on Gomez wing. Small, fast line with scoring power..."
jayradio via Twitter
"...it would have been interesting to see...the Kostitsyn experiment on the G&G line."
Crimsonium via Twitter
"Call me crazy but I would try AK46-Plek-Gionta, Pouliot-Eller-Camm, Moen-Gomez-Lap. Or flip Gionta and Camm, he loves Plek."
EliasToufexis via Twitter
"Remember how amazing Cammy, Gio and Gomez were last year? Now that AK is playing well...it should be Eller, Pleks AK..."
Gerard via email
It may be time to split them! Move Gomez to the third line with Moen & Lapierre..."
sEb_666 via Hockeybuzz.com
"Break the line for a few games. Maybe it will help them get out of their slump and after that, you can always put them back together. "
George Efpraxiadis via Facebook
"Send em a message. Drop Gomez to the third line and put Plekanec with Gionta."
Hirky via HabsAddict.com
"...SPLIT UP Gomez and Gionta...I say put Gio with Plek and Cam's, with Gomez playing with Lap's and AK46. Then have Eller with Halpern and Pouliot."
Well that's it folks. Thank you to everyone who participated! So what do you think of these options? Would you change your vote after reading these comments? Do you agree with the No.1 selection?