Kukla's Korner Hockey
by The Upper Canadien on 09/25/10 at 11:03 PM ET
The Canadiens had a good first and it went south from there during Saturday night’s game against Ottawa. However, any worries are likely unnecessary, given that the Senators dressed a fairly NHL heavy lineup, while the Canadiens were a bit lighter on the talent side. Regardless, one would have hoped for a better showing from Carey Price after his game against the Bruins on Wednesday. Against Ottawa, Price again proved off, surrendering six goals on 30 shots. While some of these goals were not his fault (Jaroslav Spacek gets a nod here), and there were clearly defensive errors, Price still needs to stop the puck - you can’t win giving up six goals. But it is the pre-season, and many a team have come up empty in September only to blaze out of the gates in October.
Who’s impressed so far, and who’s a step behind?
Two players who have surprised me so far are Aaron Palushaj and David Desharnais. Palushaj always seems to be involved in the play, moving his feet and using his body, while Desharnais is arguably one of the top four or five most talented forwards on the roster. Yes, his size leaves much to be lacking, and yes he is much more useful in power play situations, but Martin St. Louis has made a career with his speed, eyes and hands, and perhaps Desharnais, given the chance, could do the same. Also of mention is Lars Eller, who looked great on the wing on Friday night, and Tomas Plekanec has turned in two solid performances.
Who has not impressed? Given the lopsided scores in two of the games, I could name many – but I’ll keep it to two. Jaroslav Spacek certainly looked a step behind on Saturday, almost as if something is physically wrong. Probably just cobwebs, which will disappear quickly. People are pouring scorn on Price, and while he has let in ten goals through 100 minutes of hockey, he hasn’t had the best support in front of him. He will improve as the talent on the team takes shape.
Take a deep breath, Habs fans. The team may look rusty, but it’s not even October. Once the final cuts are made, this will be a well coached, defence first hockey team.
Let’s see how Carey Price handles the media over the next few days, and how the fans welcome Price back in his next start. I for one hope he is not greeted with the resounding boos I fear are inevitable.
One more week without a captain?
The Team 990’s Tony Marinaro noted on Twitter that the captain may be named October 1st, before the Canadiens depart to play in Quebec City. We’ll soon know if the Brian Gionta rumours were indeed true.
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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.
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