Kukla's Korner

The Upper Canadien

After two…

TUC has been traveling for the past five days, and internet has been intermittent. However, I was lucky enough to catch both Habs games in full. Without further ado, a few thoughts, as the Habs sit at 1-1.

- Carey Price is the key to the Canadiens season, plain and simple. Thus far, he looks cool as a cucumber, and he’s picking up right where he left off in April.

- Yannick Weber is the real deal. This guy has a solid shot, and the Canadiens see him as part of the future - hence their dressing him as a seventh defenceman and playing him on the fourth line, just to make sure he gets ice. With injuries to Spacek and Campoli (and Markov), this is Weber’s time to shine. He’s got a heck of a shot and he can run a pretty good power play.

- Speaking of Mr. Markov, reports via various sources on Twitter this evening (originating from the Big T on the Habs blog) that Markov was seen at the airport Sunday, en route to Florida, knee elevated. I’ll have to check to be sure, but I’m fairly certain I’ve read in the past that the famed Dr. James Andrews, who has treated Markov, has a clinic in Florida. I’d dismiss this, except the Canadiens haven’t said anything about it, which suggests they are trying to keep it quiet. That could mean bad news coming. Perhaps a telltale sign in the photo? Markov has his knee very obviously elevated.

- Which brings me to potential additions. It’s game three and the Canadiens are short Markov, Spacek, Campoli and Cammalleri for extended periods of time. Two names come to mind: 1) Bryan McCabe, great shot, solid experience, good body checker, and 2) Eric Nystrom. You may be saying, Eric Nystrom? Yes, Eric Nystrom. Blair Betts was a solid addition, for all the reasons I stated earlier. He’s gone now. Nystrom would fill a similar need, has more speed, and plays the body. I’d add Nystrom off re-entry waivers in a heartbeat - but I’m not Pierre Gauthier, so who knows what’s going to happen. Two other veteran names that may surface: Chris Clark and Owen Nolan. Clark is the more likely candidate, as he played very well in the pre-season. But Nolan is looking for work as well. Both have filled a penalty killing role at times in the past.

- Be patient with Erik Cole. Folks seems unimpressed. I thought he was working hard to try and create offence. He’ll come around shortly. Oh, and on the power play issue, Cole has had very little success in the past on the PP. I’m sure the Habs coaching staff know this. Cole is an even strength scorer, which the Canadiens have lacked in recent years. Give him time.

- Andreas Enqvist has looked ok. I was actually somewhat impressed. Give him credit for stepping in at the last minute after lots of criticism over a lacklustre camp. The Canadiens penalty kill has looked good thus far. Enqvist has been a large part of this.

And that’s it. Now to unpack, get to laundry, and find some food. A good matchup coming on Thursday against the Calgary Flames. Home openers are always special. Should be good.

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Is there a more useless player in the NHL than Scott Gomez? Picking him up has to go down as one of stupidest decisions by a GM in the history of the NHL. I think it’s time for Montreal to step up to the plate with their wallet and banish this loser to the busses of the AHL. Only then will this team be able to dedicate all of their payroll to players who can help this team win.

Posted by BlackXinu on 10/12/11 at 10:33 AM ET


I’m curious to see how the Habs manage Weber this season (and beyond), since as you say, he clearly seems to have some potential.  I always think back to how they handled Mark Streit (the obvious parallel in terms of skill-set and usage), and worry about the shuffling between forward and defensive responsibilities doing more harm than good again here.  Granted, the team seems to be in a bit more of a bind on the back end at the moment such that it won’t likely be an immediate issue, but when (if?) they get Markov, Spacek and Campoli back on a regular basis, I’ll be interested to see how they go about handling his ice time and role.

Posted by The Doc on 10/12/11 at 02:39 PM ET


BlackXinu: Not sure I agree on Gomez. He’s good for a laugh on the bench, and he takes attention of the other players. He’s kind of like the owl decoys my family puts on the dock. They keep the seagulls at bay, and everyone is happy. Gomez serves his purpose. And, quite seriously, I think he’ll come around.

Doc: Great name. What kind of doctor are you? The Roy Halladay kind, or the Dennis Quaid/Tombstone kind? Anyhow, I suspect they’ll continue to ease Weber into more ice time. I think he’s going to be a solid player. Presumably, there will be some deals once guys get healthy. But that’s a good problem to have. Remember: last year, the Canadiens used almost a dozen d due to injuries. The extra bodies are a very, very nice thing to have.

Posted by The Upper Canadien from Toronto on 10/13/11 at 08:27 PM ET

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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.

Questions or comments? theuppercanadien@kuklaskorner.com