Thursday, October 23, 2008

Higgins emerges

So Chris Higgins practiced wth his teammates in Verdun today and, because of that, had to face the media and answer question about the trade rumours swirling about him.

A lot of players don't let rumours get to them, but I really don't think Higgins is among that group. Just look at how he reacted last year when the trade deadline came and went without a change of address, he looked like the weight of the world had been lifted off his shoulders. The guy takes his job very seriously, and he is the ultimate team player. The thought of leaving the Habs, for a kid who grew up idolizing them, gives Higgins something to think about at night.

For a lot of players, I would say that might not necessarily be a bad thing. It might provide that extra boost of motivation to show his team how valuable he can be. But in Higgins' case, I'm not sure these rumours would have that effect.

He's admitted that he takes far too much to heart, especially when it comes to his own play. It can be a vicious circle with him, because when he hits a slump he tries that much harder to produce, but often times his slump is caused because he's trying too hard to begin with.

I'm afraid of what the rumours might do to him between the ears when (if?) he gets back to the lineup. As he said today, he'd show us all how badly he wants to stay with the Habs if he were playing, but will that necessarily make him the most effective player he can be? I doubt it.

Higgins, much like Maxim Lapierre, needs to play within himself to be at his best, and if he's going to hit the Bell Centre ice and try to show the entire province just how badly he loves being a Hab on his first shift then he won't be at his best at all.

If I'm Bob Gainey and there's little to no chance Higgins will be traded in the near future, I would take him aside and ease his mind. Let him know how important he is to the team, how much confidence he has in him, and how he needs to relax and simply play his game.

Then again, if there's no way to say that with any honesty, then Gainey needs to pull the trigger as soon as possible because Higgins will only be hurting his trade value by playing with an agenda.

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