The Upper Canadien
by The Upper Canadien on 11/06/11 at 10:31 PM ET
A reasonable weekend for the Habs, who topped Ottawa on Friday, only to lose to the Rangers (and the refs) on Saturday. I’m not one to gripe about refereeing very often, but this one was no contest, with penalty after penalty (10, as I recall) to the Habs, while the Rangers skated away with a couple of penalties that were also questionable (and of the “make up” variety). Not a banner weekend for the men in stripes.
However, there were a few things to come out of both games that will have an effect on the roster in the weeks to come. Firstly, Raphael Diaz looked more out of place than he has in any other game, and I suspect he will sit for Alex Emelin on Tuesday night, which is a welcome change given that Emelin could bolt for Russia at any time (he has a clause in his contract that kicks in if he isn’t playing). Yannick Weber, however, looked very good, and may well be playing himself into a regular role once Andrei Markov returns.
Lars Elle also continued to have an impact. The past fortnight has been, in some respects, The Rise of Eller.
Eller, as you’ll recall, was acquired in a trade for the most popular man in Quebec at the time, Jaroslav Halak. Since then he has been, to put it mildly, a disappointment. While his statistics are still thin, Eller has been using his size to create space for his line mates, has been throwing the odd body check, and apart from a few blatant giveaways, has played reasonably solid defence. The Habs may make a two-way #2 centre out of him yet.
Now, a few quick things I wanted to touch on.
1) PK Subban has not looked good. He has yet to score a goal, and his passes haven’t been as crisp as last year. However, he was firing the puck all night on Saturday and came close, and was also playing neat and responsible defence. He was awarded a ridiculous unsportmanlike penalty when a little snow hit Henrik Lundqvist’s helmet (the alternative was to bowl him over), but otherwise had a fine game. He will come around.
2) Scott Gomez should have to sit when he returns. Based on the past five games, there really is no place in this line up for the seven million dollar man. If he slots in, it’ll be third line, but I’m starting to believe that Gomez’s days are numbers.
3) Linus Omark: the Edmonton forward has been demoted to the AHL and is threatening to go back to Sweden. This guy oozes talent. Yes, he’s small, but he’s crafty, and he is an NHLer. This is Sergei Kostitsyn, Edmonton style. If he’s available for a late pick, Pierre Gauthier should snap him up immediately. Omark would look great on the second or third line, and provide some speedy scoring depth going forward. I still believe the Habs should be targeting another big forward for the third line, but Omark could be a steal - and he could stem the loss of a player like Andrei Kostitsyn in a future trade.
That’s all for tonight folks. Have a great start to the week. Habs-Oilers Tuesday, two fast teams playing pretty good hockey.
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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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