Thursday, November 20, 2008

Sundin again? Really?

Don't you sometimes wish there were still ties?

That would have been the fairest outcome for Thursday's Habs shootout win in Ottawa, because it was very difficult to tell if the game was being played between two good yet desperate clubs, or two clubs who simply aren't very good right now.

A win of any kind is an encouraging sign for the Habs, but that win should not put anyone's concerns to rest about what's been going wrong with them of late because if there's one team that's been worse than the Canadiens this month, it's the Senators.

Both teams have been dogging it for weeks, they go all out in a first period that was great fun to watch, sit back in a second period that was like watching water boil, and ultimately end regulation tied. I'm not sure how anyone, not Guy Carbonneau, not Craig Hartsburg, not anyone, can draw much of anything from that.

One thing I did like was the way Sergei Kostitsyn responded to the little talking to Carbonneau gave him at the game day skate and his demotion to the fourth line, though that didn't last that long as he was right back with his brother and Robert Lang when Montreal needed a goal in the third. And what do you know? Sergei's digging in the corner led to Andrei Markov's equalizer late in regulation.

Another bright spot was Steve Begin, who played his role to perfection finishing hits, and even landing a knockout punch on Cody Bass when they dropped the gloves. That's god news for Steve, not so good for Maxim Lapierre.

Carey Price, once again, was also Montreal's best player, despite the softie he gave up to Nick Foligno for the go-ahead goal.

But what really has my attention is the news, reported by not only RDS, but also Sportsnet and ESPN, that Bob Gainey was in Los Angeles on Wednesday to meet with Mats Sundin. Call me crazy, but I don't think Gainey jumps on a plane and flies all the way to California while his team is in crisis-management mode simply to engage in small talk.

If this development comes to fruition, who gets shipped out to clear the cap space Sundin would need? Right now, there's any number of underachieving forwards to choose from, but few of them provide enough cap relief on their own. The only ones making $4 million bucks a year are Saku Koivu, Alex Kovalev, Alex Tanguay and Robert Lang, and of those four the one that Sundin would replace would obviously be Lang, who was originally a replacement for Sundin.

I don't know how Gainey could convince anyone to take on Lang's salary right now, unless he decided to package Jaroslav Halak with him in exchange for prospects or draft picks or both.

Just so you know, I asked Gainey's assistant and Hamilton Bulldogs GM Julien Brisebois the other night what the waiver status is on Marc Denis, and it appears he would not have to go through re-call waivers to be brought back to Montreal because he makes less than $100,000 playing in the AHL. And Denis continues to rip up down there.

Again, just so you know.


Arjun said...

Gainey's intrigued. He's not happy with his team. And he's sending a message. All this plus a little LA sunshine.

Anonymous said...

Oh-burn disgusts me! What in the hell can we do? PJ Stock was right in saying that there is no room for Dandenault on this team at the forward position. However, at this point i'm thinking he might be a better option than the penalty taking, mistake prone, purse snatching Oh-burn. Particularly if he's not going to use his size and lay some people out. I know, I know, we've got to give him time to develop into something better... but at what expense?
Props to Begin. Coeur de Lion.

Anonymous said...

What's the latest with Shanahan? I read a story a few weeks back that he'd play for as little as 1 million. Seems farfetched... but where's he going to end up and could we fit him in?

Andy J Smith illustration said...

I like O'Byrne... as a longterm prospect/project. I think he should never had made the team and they should have looked into bringing in a Kyle Quincey type waiver pickup. O'Byrne should be playing lots of minutes developing in the AHL where he belongs. I like my ECAC guys and he's big and has a good FORWARD skating stride. But he is pretty awkward to watch. Are his legs so long that he can't bend them for a check? 6'6 or 7" should destroy people. Instead he falls down every time he checks (or misses altogether). With Komisarek out another month, they need another quality D man.

As for Sundin... who knows. If Sundin DID sign, who goes? Easy solution is to send down S Kostitsyn and O'Byrne. Trade Dandenault for a 4th round pick (can't expect much more than that especially given his salary). Maybe Latendresse?

Anonymous said...

play dandy on d already! he can't be worse than obyrne at this point... can he? its AT LEAST worth a shot.

Sliver24 said...

Shanahan's out because he used the Habs to get more from the Rangers a few years back. An honourable guy like Gainey won't forget only that.

As for Sundin, the answer is obvious. They will get rid of Tanguay not to clear cap space but to free up the 13 that Sundin will insist on wearing.

Yves said...

I think Dandy on D is worth a shot in the short term.