The Upper Canadien
Erik Cole on life in the fishbowl that is Montreal, mentoring Max Pacioretty, and his hopes for the 2011-2012 season.
As you’ve no doubt heard by now, the Canadiens nabbed Blair Betts off the waiver wire. And for the first time in a long time, I can say without any hesitation that this is a great move.
That’s right: the acquisition of a fourth line centre for the Habs was a great move. Why?
So what have we got? We’ve got the deepest top nine the Canadiens have seen since 2008, if not earlier.
We’ve got a defence that is in a holding pattern, waiting for the arrival of Andrei Markov.
And, thankfully, we’ve got Carey Price.
A quick thank you to all KK readers for their support in my quest to raise $2,000 for this year’s Run for the Cure. With your help, I have raised almost $2,300, and my team has surpassed $4,500. That’s all going to breast cancer research, a cause very close to my heart as multiple family members have courageously battled it over the past five years.
There is still time to donate if you are interested, at the link below:
Thank you again, from the bottom of my heart. It means a lot, and your contributions and comments have really made a difference.
Now, I haven’t taken statistics for years, but I remember learning about trends…and I’m starting to see one. It involves giving up early goals and losing games.
But in the words of good ol’ Alf Newman: what, me worry?
GM PG dips into his cap space to shore up the defence.
But is it a reaction to the status of Andrei Markov, or the underwhelming camp of Yanick Weber?
We’ll know soon enough.
A few thoughts regarding the pre-season on a sunny Sunday afternoon. And these are general thoughts, not Habs-centric.
1) Head shots and suspensions: I see that Brad Boyes has been suspended for pre-season games. Folks, this is the equivalent of me not having to go to work this week and getting paid ridiculous money to do so. Here’s an idea: any intent to injury or headshot suspensions during the pre-season that results in a suspension must result in a regular season suspension, not a pre-season or combination pre-season/regular season suspension. Wouldn’t that deter much more than being told you get a few days off?
A few quick hits after two pre-season games:
- Nathan Beaulieu is the real deal. This guy is fast, crafty, and he did not look out of place against a roster made up largely of NHL players. Don’t get me wrong, he’s still a long shot to stick, and it’s only one game, but I think the Habs got a diamond in the rough with their 2011 first round pick.
- Jeff Woywitka was a good signing. He provides steady depth with some offensive upside. Looked good in his first game as a Hab. Should be a solid number 7.
- Peter Budaj is better than Alex Auld. I like his positioning, his steadiness, and I think he’ll be a more solid bet in 15-20 games spelling Price over the year.
Sure, it’s pre-season, and sure, it means absolutely nothing.
But it’s still fun, isn’t it?
Canadiens training camp is underway and lots of questions - perhaps more than expected - greet Montreal as they gear up for the 2011-2012 season. Will Andrei Markov’s knee stand the grind of an 82 game season? Will it hold up to 10 games? Can Carey Price build on his best season to date? Will PK Subban continue to develop into one of the game’s premiere defencemen? Is Scott Gomez really a 40 point centreman, or will he return to his pre-Montreal scoring levels and post a 60 or 70 point campaign?
We’ll know the answers to these questions as the season progresses, but some may be answered sooner. Serious concern is building around Mr. Markov’s knee, after fluid was removed due to a workout-related setback, as discussed last week. Scott Gomez has done many an interview already, saying the right things after, apparently, doing the right things in the off-season. But words only tell part of the story - will he live up to his contract and deliver offensively the way Montreal fans have expected him to since his first game as a Hab?
About The Upper Canadien
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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