The Habs are 10 games in and are currently sporting an outstanding 8-1-1 record. Though the season is still young, I think enough time has passed to discuss how the new players are adapting to the team. So without further adieu, let's take a look at Alex Tanguay, Robert Lang, and Georges Laraque.
Wow, so does anybody doubt that Mike Keenan's style stifled Tanguay's production? Since Tanguay joined the team in midsummer, Canadiens fans have been frothing at the mouth to see the slick passing of the Quebec Native, and he certainly hasn't disappointed.
Tanguay's addition to the Saku Koivu and Guillaume Latendresse line has given Guy Carbonneau two legitimate first lines. Watching some of the plays unfold on that line is like watching artists at work. Tanguay has also had little difficulty finding the back of the net.
As of now, it is Tanguay, not Alex Kovalev or Andrei Kostitsyn or Tomas Plekanec, that leads the team in goals (six). All in all, Tanguay's play has been terrific, and is adding to the difficult choices Bob Gainey faces in the upcoming offseason.
I'll admit I wasn't exactly sold on Lang when he was acquired. I was worried that he wasn't going to match the speed or intensity of the Canadiens. Lang's play, however, has delivered a quick smack to the side of my head for doubting him.
Never mind not looking out of place this season, few Canadiens have looked more in place. Lang has three goals, three assists, and a very encouraging plus-4 rating. Aside from his favorable stats, Lang has also excelled in nearly every area of the game, earning him time on the penalty kill and power play.
Lang has yet to really settle in with a consistent line thus far (due to injuries), but once he gets a few games with Chris Higgins and Sergei Kostitsyn returns to form, there's no reason to believe Lang can't keep up with his tremendous start.
So far, Big Georges seems like the only questionable pickup. Having only played four games, it may be unfair to criticize Laraque's play this early in the season. But he is the only player (other than Kyle Chipchura, who only dressed for one game) who has yet to register a point and is a team worst minus-2.
Considering he's only averaging 7:25 of ice time, a minus-2 on the team with the best goal differential in the Eastern Conference may not be reason for concern, but it certainly isn't reason for praise. On top of that, he doesn't seem to be able to shake his nagging groin injury.
I understand Laraque was brought in to be an enforcer who can chip in a few points here and there, but if he plays as poorly as he has, it's difficult to give him the ice time to do that job.
Here's looking forward to the rest of the season.