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.