Montreal Canadiens: So Far, So Good?
Home games do not mean the same thing for everyone.
For some, it means relief; for others, it means bad news!
Indeed, the Montreal Canadiens are still looking for a way to win on a regular basis at the very famous Bell Center. Anxiety? Pressure? Whatever the cause might be, they have to find it and fix it.
And worse—they have to do it fast.
Expecting that the Crosby-less Penguins would look like cats among tigers now looks like expecting the spring to come tomorrow! The "happy feet" crew certainly got a little happier with a nice and charming 2-0 over the Habs—perhaps the most surprising team thus far in the season.
Who can the Pens thank for this win? Georges Laraque, Evgeni Malkin, and the defensemen who nearly closed the doors to the numerous but weak attempts of the Habs.
However, the first star goes to him who deserves it—and we say Dany Sabourin. This may be the most interesting coincidence between those two teams: the only shutouts Sabourin has put up this season are the two games he played against the Habs, at the Bell Center.
It must be fun for this Quebec native to come up big against the only French franchise in the league.
Should Canadiens fans start to panic or should everyone take a deep breath and keep their heads up? As was said earlier, the Habs are not doing so bad, apart the poor performance they offered yesterday—which, by the way, got them a few boos from some angry fans.
Montreal is 24-15-8, good enough for the third spot in points in the eastern conference. For a team that was peppered with predictions of another miserable season, there is not too much to complain about.
Their second starting line-up is outstanding, and plays better than expected. The arrival of Roman Hamrlik last summer was the best move GM Bob Gainey could have made for the defense line. And finally, goalie Cristobal Huet has shown why he deserves the starting spot over young star Carey "Priceless/The Price is Right" Price.
A vote on RDS.ca showed that compared to this stage last season, fans are more confident about the team's performance. Nevertheless, something is still missing from the Canadiens, who need one move for this squad to live up to their full potential.
Rumors are that a trade Ryder-Tanguay may shake things up. However, as when the same kind of gossip flew around the locker room a few weeks ago, the answers from players such as Mike Komisarek show how those guys stick together.
For him and other Habs, the solution is already inside the organization, and not to be sought elsewhere.
Big decisions lay ahead for Gainey—who surely does not even have the time to think about the retirement ceremony for his own jersey anymore! Huet will become a free agent in July. There is also Ryder, who has not performed at the level he is capable of, despite a few improvements now and then.
Gainey must also deal with Carey Price and Jaroslav Halak, both looking with shiny eyes at the net of the Bell Center...and many other issues as well.
No matter what these next decisive weeks will bring, the fans can be proud of the accomplishments of their wonderful Montreal Canadiens.
They may be struggling at times—but who's not struggling anyway?
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