Kukla's Korner Hockey
by The Upper Canadien on 02/05/11 at 05:12 PM ET
Montreal has looked good thus far against the Rangers. New York is only a point behind Montreal, who sit sixth, so this game is one of those “four pointers” we often hear about. David Desharnais and Benoit Pouliot have looked sharp today, while the Habs patchwork defence valiantly tries to hold off Gaborik and co without James Wisniewski, out with the flu.
We’re three weeks from the trade deadline, and one thing has been abundantly clear in this Habs game: they’re too small.
Sean Avery wanted to beat someone up, after a scrum involving Carey Price. Who came to the all-star’s aid? Alex Picard, a lightweight if I ever say one. Good for Picard, not good for management.
The Habs may have that “team toughness” that is spoken of, a mantra of coach Jacques Martin, but they don’t have the size to stand up to teams like New York and, more pressingly, Philadelphia. Surely Pierre Gauthier could make an acquisition or two to beef up the forward ranks?
Much has been made of a potential swap between Montreal and Florida. How about Chris Higgins? He’s a tough, gritty forward who goes into the corners and stands up for his teammates. Jason Arnott from New Jersey? Another big boy who can provide some sandpaper and scoring up front. Jarko Ruutu from Ottawa? He may be a pain in the butt, but he’d be our pain in the butt if the Habs snagged him for a draft pick.
People keep complaining about retaliatory penalties from Scott Gomez - it’s because he has no one sticking up for him. So if Im Gauthier, I definitely make a move to bring some size in before the deadline. Perhaps the Habs can get that elusive shot-blocking defenceman, a scorer and some size up front in the same deal. Perhaps the scoring and the sandpaper could come in the form of the same player?
I like this team. I like how they’ve battled through injuries. But they need some help. Now’s the time to bring someone in.
Eller, Pacioretty, Pouliot
One of these things is not like the other…ever played that game? Evidently, Pierre Gauthier has not. Because Lars Eller doesn’t belong in the NHL. I’ve tried to deliver this message softly, and candied it up in the past, but that’s the barebones truth. Eller isn’t ready. Maybe he never will be. But I’m starting to believe he’s taking away from the rest of the team. And it’s not good for his development. He needs regular minutes if his skill is ever going to develop.
Max Pacioretty and Benoit Pouliot are becoming solid NHLers. Perhaps they aren’t stars, but they’re effective. Eller is not. Ship him down now.
The Craig Rivet Legacy
I loved Craig Rivet when he wore an ‘A’ and played defence for Montreal. But I love him a lot more now.
Bob Gainey turned him into Josh Gorges and Max Pacioretty, who is fast becoming a fan favourite. That’s a top four defenceman and a potential top six forward with size. Did Gainey make a better trade in his time as GM?
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About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
Email Paul anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org