Kukla's Korner

The Upper Canadien

Habs set for Sabres

The 1-2-1 Montreal Canadiens get set to face the Buffalo Sabres Tuesday, sans their defensive stalwart Andrei Markov for at least a few more weeks. Coach Jacques Martin noted earlier today that Markov will not play in October, and he is apparently rehabbing “on schedule” in Florida (I question the “on schedule” bit, as I recall a certain GM noting that if Markov missed any time he “wouldn’t mis a lot…” but I digress). The Canadiens were most recently shootout losers to the Avalanche on Saturday, going down 6-5 in front of a raucous Montreal crowd.

Pierre McGuire noted earlier this afternoon on TSN 990 that the Avalanche said Montreal was by far the fastest team they’ve faced this year. There’s no doubt the Habs are built with speed. However, the physical compliments, i.e. Erik Cole and Max Pacioretty, have yet to make themselves fully felt. Don’t get me wrong, I think Pacioretty has been one of the best Habs thus far, but he hasn’t had many crushing hits. Cole has been invisible for most of 4 games. And other supposed crushers, such as Alexei Emelin, have yet to make themselves felt the way many were hoping.

The key for Montreal versus Buffalo will be speed, as the Sabres always cause the Habs trouble, shutting them down with solid defence and some guy names Miller. Hats off to Lindy Ruff, he has maintained the same style with this team through thick and thin, and they continue to be a worthy adversary. They’re a dark horse to win the North East this year, and as the division shapes up I see no reason to doubt that they could make a run. They are vastly improved over last year, and they have added some necessary ingredients, such as the leadership of defenceman Robyn Regehr.

The Sabres have never been pushovers for Montreal - for as long as I can remember, they’ve given the Habs fits. I suspect this season will be no different. I’m curious to see is Jacques Martin augments an anemic power play further, and whether PK Subban gets his game going. Through four, he’s been a mistake machine.

Puck drop at 7:30, on TSN in Canada. Enjoy.

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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