Kukla's Korner

The Upper Canadien

Habs are, er, were rolling

Fresh off a 4-0 win over the Carolina Hurricanes, the Canadiens took on the Islanders on Thursday evening and, as they often do in back to back games…blew it. They made it close, cutting a 3-0 lead to 3-2, and 4-2 to 4-3 with a few minutes to go, but they couldn’t get the goal they needed to send things into overtime.

Peter Budaj looked ordinary at best on Thursday, whereas Carey Price looked quite solid on Wednesday. Granted, Carolina didn’t present much of an attack, but Price was there when he was needed.

All in all, pretty impressive performances by a team with a defence sporting more rookies than you can shake a stick at. Things got a tad worse this week, with the announcement that Hal Gill has been hospitalized with a virus.

Andrei Kostitsyn has also been added to the IR with what’s believed to be a groin issue. So who are the real Habs?

Well, they’re quite similar to last year’s, and the year before that, albeit with a bit more size. Erik Cole and Max Pacioretty both scored Thursday, and have looked dominant at times. I found it odd Jacques Martin didn’t use them and their size more late in the game, but as all Habs fans know, Jacques knows best.

Scott Gomez looks better defensively than he has in a while, but he hasn’t scored since February. That’s almost $4 million in salary since his last goal. Absurd.

David Desharnais continues to impress with flashes of brilliance, while Lars Eller is also providing stronger depth down the middle - but he needs to stop taking stupid penalties.

Alex Emelin is another positive addition. He’s thrown many-a-bone-crunching hit in the few games he’s played. The Habs simply have too many defencemen, and when (if?) everyone is healthy, I have to believe a trade will be made to clear space for Le Gros E. Emelin seems to be solid defensively, has attitude, and is throwing hits a la Mike Komisarek five years ago. Players will start keeping their heads up as Emelin becomes known league wide. He’s an asset, as long as the Habs keep using him.

Otherwise, status quo heading into Saturday’s game. Price will be back in the net, and hopefully the night off will help the club.

The biggest question of the day, however, as he continues to doodle on the fourth line - and it was discussed to some extent on TSN Wednesday - what the heck are the Habs going to do with Gomez?

Does Scott Gomez represent the worst contract in the NHL today?

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Comments

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Gomez’ confidence is blown from hearing this question every day for 2 years.  It is a flat-out crime that the coaches continue to allow him to play with a child-size stick.  Part of re-inventing himself so that he can stay in the league, and he clearly has the legs, has got to be getting a longer stick; watch some video, work all summer.  He’s got the vision and the legs but that stick is a cartoon of a nightmare.

Posted by tuxedoTshirt on 11/18/11 at 06:33 AM ET

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Scott Gomez is a joke, plain and simple. This guy should hang his head in shame. I don’t want to hear about his great defensive skills. Here is a shocking fact, no one cares about his defensive game. I am sure when they were negotiating his contract, everyone went, Gomez is the reincarnation of Bob Gainey, we should pay him 7 some odd million dollars. No, that is not how the conversation went. People thought this guy should hit approximately 80 points a year for duration of his contract and make the snipers around him better. One of the premier playmakers in the league. What we got now, is the highest paid fourth line center in the history of the game. I dare you to find a fourth line center who has ever made this much money. Montreal needs to man up, admit they were complete fools for trading for this guy, do the right thing and banish this turd to the busses of the AHL. Buyouts are so punitive it would be the wrong course of action to pursue one on this contract. Eat the contract and be done with this guy.

Posted by BlackXinu on 11/18/11 at 08:40 PM ET

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I don’t like to knock players, but I haven’t seen Scott Gomez contribute very much in a game for a long time. Once upon a time, he was very good player. Now, not very productive. Good to see the Canadiens getting things going.

Posted by Drillsetc from Toronto on 11/19/11 at 09:19 AM ET

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brilliant website. Really enjoyed it

Posted by Buy Tabex from London on 11/20/11 at 01:55 PM ET

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The Upper Canadien is your one stop shop for all things Montreal Canadiens. Since the summer of 2010, I've been providing Habs related news, notes, and most importantly, opinions. As a blogger, I don't believe it's my job to report the news, it's my privilege to comment on it. You may disagree with what I suggest. In fact, you most likely will. But that's the great part about blogging: it spurs opinion, comment and engages all involved. I've really enjoyed all the debate and commentary from readers thus far and I encourage everyone to respond with ideas on lineups, trades, logos, sweaters, mascots, whatever. The Upper Canadien is a conversation for all hockey fanatics.

I've come to Kukla's Korner with four years of campus radio and three years of sportswriting from my time at Mount Allison University on Canada's East coast. Not only do I not have any professional journalistic training, after five years in the corporate world, I've spent much of the past two years completing an MBA. Business by day, hockey by night, I'm a Canadiens fan through and through. I hope you enjoy reading as much as I do writing.

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