CANADIENS: Minus-15 After 9 Holes

Dominic PampalonAnalyst IOctober 31, 2008

Montreal – Before the 2007-2008 season, all hockey experts predicted that the Montreal Canadiens would be struggling and miss the post season celebrations. Once again, those experts should have taken a few more hours, days and probably weeks to analyze further more.

The Habs surprised everyone – probably themselves as well – and end the last campaign atop the eastern conference with 104 points. Something team’s fan didn’t in years. Since the start of the current season, there is no sign of slowing down. After 9 games, the team is 7-1-1 and is the only team with one loss in regular time.

What is happening? Tanguay and Koivu is what’s happening. Tanguay is 6-5-11 since the beginning of the season. Signing Tanguay was probably Gainey’s best trick since he took team’s GM duties. Then Koivu. What happened to Koivu? Tanguay! Koivu needed a winger like Alex. When you have a good recipe, you try to improve it by adding 1 or 2 ingredients. Tanguay was the missing spice on Koivu’s line and we can all appreciate the new improved taste.

The greatest thing for the Habs this year is depth. When you coach a team with  four lines that have scoring potential, you can only be grateful to be behind the bench. Carbonneau is the luckiest coach in the NHL. Every game, he needs to scratch his head to figure out who will play. The first two lines are untouchable but coming down to lines three and four; he can put names in a hat and still come up with two solid checking lines. And the beauty is there are many good young guns in Hamilton ready if injuries should afflict the team.

Moving forward, Montreal is in the driver’s seat. They have their destiny in their own hands and they know it. I like what I see. Kovalev is at the same point he was at the same date last year and the engine is not even started yet. When his line get started, this team will be very hard to beat. They can count on two excellent net minders. Price is sublime and Halak is a second first goalie.

There’s not missing much for this team to go all the way and lift the silver cup. Will Gainey make a move? Will he keep it as is so to not mess up the team’s chemistry? Time will tell.