It sounds very likely that Mathieu Schneider will in fact be in the lineup tonight, which can only be seen as good news not only because of what he could possibly bring to the power play, but also what his presence would mean psychologically to the whole team.
He's still a game time decision, but if Bob Gainey says there's a "good possibility" he'll play that's about as definitive as you're going to get.
Having both Schneider AND Andrei Markov out of the lineup was a huge mental drain on the defencemen they left behind, and knowing Schenider is in uniform should take some pressure off the shoulders of Josh Gorges, Roman Hamrlik and especially Mike Komisarek, who really looked like he couldn;t handle the extra workload in that loss to the Senators.
But I'm wondering what Schnedier can bring to the table with what the Team 990 is reporting as a partially torn left rotator cuff. Won't it hurt when he shoots? Will that take some velocity off his shot? What about taking contact in the corners? Won't he be inclined not to put his shoulder in dangerous situations?
I'm not saying Schneider shouldn't play tonight, because if he feels he can go then there's no reason to sit him out. But I would be a little cautious in the way he's used. As much as possible, he should be shifted on the fly so that Claude Julien can't send his big guns out there against him, and his minutes need to be limited to no more than 16 or so, unless of course the Habs spend 20 minutes on the power play.
The usage of the entire defence corps is going to be interesting to watch tonight, as Mathieu Dandenault will be playing back for one of the few times this season as well. I would expect that all of the pairings are going to be mix and match affairs that will change from shift to shift.
It sounds like Ryan O'Byrne will miss the cut, and Carey Price is going to have to deliver a masterful performance tonight to get the Habs to at least overtime and remove all doubt of a playoff appearance.
No word on whether or not Georges Laraque and/or Gregory Stewart will play, but if I were in Gainey's shoes Laraque would be in the lineup. He played pretty well the past little while and if he uses his unique talents properly, Laraque can have a positive impact on this game.