Kukla's Korner

The Upper Canadien

Habs shake it up, Budaj awaits Panthers

In the greatest trade for Habs Scrabble fans since the signing of Marius Czerkawski, Montreal dealt once touted prospect Brock Trotter and a 7th round draft pick to Phoenix on Sunday for Petteri Nokelainen and Garret Stafford. Nokelainen, a former first round pick of the Islanders, is a scrappy forward who can win face offs, while Stafford, as I recall, is the fellow former Hab Alexander Perezhigin hit in the head with a baseball bat swing of his stick - though I haven’t checked that, and will when time allows.

Regardless, Pierre Gauthier has chosen to act after an abysmal start by the Habs, and act he has: the Canadiens will ice a completely different fourth line tonight against Florida.

Pierre: that’s not going to do it.

Nokelainen and call up Michael Blunded will bring size, grit, and maybe the odd faceoff win to the fourth line. However the Canadiens need a lot more than grit. The Habs are missing their number one defenceman and centre - that would crumple just about any team. The reaction from management thus far has been, suffice to say, lacklustre.

What’s to be done? Some are calling for the head of Jacques Martin. I understand why - what professional team takes two too many men penalties in one game, let alone one while on a 5 on 3 power play? However, Martin has been dealt underwhelming cards here. Markov was supposed to be back for the start of the season. Gomez is Gomez. The Blair Betts addition was reversed. This team had more holes than Swiss cheese starting the year, and it still does now.

And tonight, Peter Budaj makes his first start as a Hab, which could prove costly as this may be the Habs most winnable game of the week. Philadelphia and Boston aren’t exactly pushovers. A couple of more losses and things in the management box could get very, very ugly.

My prediction? The Habs pull out a win tonight. But that won’t fix everything. Pierre Gauthier needs to make a major move, and I suspect he has one in the works.

Get on the Metro

An idea I mentioned ages ago was the re-acquisition of Glen Metropolit. There is a great article in today’s Gazette on Metro, and his desire to come back to the NHL, specifically Montreal. He was all heart, scored power play goals, and won faceoffs. It isn’t the major move everyone wants, but if Metropolit can get out of his contract, I’d love to see the Habs reach out. His addition would immediately improve this team.

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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