With no exhibition games remaining for the Habs, I would have to believe Jacques Martin will be using the three days in Caledon, Ont., to settle on some line combinations, which is why I put a lot of credence in the combinations seen at practice today, as reported by Pat Hickey of Habs Inside/Out:
Pacioretty - Gomez - Gionta
Cammalleri - Plekanec - Kostitsyn (so glad I don't need to write the "A." anymore)
Latendresse -Lapierre - D'Agostini
Moen - Metropolit - Laraque
Markov - Spacek
Gill - Mara
Gorges - O'Byrne
Hamrlik - Weber
Just for comparison's sake, here's what I pegged the lines as being on July 10, when Travis Moen and Paul Mara signed with the Habs. Pretty pleased I managed to get the top-6 right, and I think adding a guy with more offence like Matt D'Agostini to Guillaume Latendresse and Maxim Lapierre could work out to make a pretty effective third line. Moen should see additional minutes on the penalty kill, I would imagine, as will Metropolit, while Laraque's spot on that line is extremely conditional on his health.
As far as the defensive pairings go, I'm not sure what's going on there. Despite what I wrote in July, I really didn't see Markov and Spacek playing together. These pairings like look like they may be subject to change, because Gorges and O'Byrne definitely won't be playing together since one of them will not be dressed on a given night.
I think this also confirms that Latendresse's bid for a top-6 role has failed, and he has no one to blame for that other than himself. He was given opportunities to grab that spot by showing a willingness to pay the price in front of the net, particularly on the power play, and he didn't do it. He might still get some power play time on the second unit, but his dream of a top-6 role appears to be on hold for now, lost to a 20-year-old American.
How many of you want to wager this will be a major scandal in the French papers tomorrow?