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Thursday, November 4, 2010

How Would You Get Scott Gomez and Brian Gionta Going?

by Kamal Panesar

After rolling out to a blistering 7-2-1 record over the first ten games of the season, the Montreal Canadiens have sagged a bit in their past two contests.

The Habs have left their fanbase with an uneasy feeling after 3-1 and 3-0 losses to Florida and Columbus respectively. During those loses the shortcomings that persisted over the first ten games were amplified and are now the talk of the town.

The Canadiens are a dismal 3-for-42 on the power play and have not had any improvements in that department since the return of Andrei Markov last Saturday.

The problems with the power play were masked over the first ten games of the season because the Habs were finding ways to score 5-on-5. Well, since Markov's return, that area of play has all but dried up for the Habs as they have just one goal for, over the last two games.

To make matters worse, the second line that is anchored by Scott Gomez and Brian Gionta has been firing blanks all season. Over the first 12 games of the season, each player is stalled at three points (one goal and two assists each), and are behind the likes of Benoit Pouliot, Mathieu Darche, Travis Moen, and Jeff Halpern in scoring.

Their production has no doubt been affected by the endless carousel of players that have auditioned on their line; Tom Pyatt, Travis Moen, Benoit Pouliot, and Mathieu Darche. But just like with the power play, when the Habs were winning, the Gomez-Gionta lack of production seemed to be a little more palatable. Now, however, without any secondary scoring to speak of, all of the offense responsibility lies on the shoulder of the Tomas Plekanec trio.

Plekanec, with his linemates Michael Cammalleri and Andrei Kostitsyn were ripping it up over the first ten games but have since gone cold. As such, the Habs are just not able to score goals and seem an awful lot like the .500-ish team from last season.

With all of this in mind, and all of the discussions about Gomez and Gionta on the Montreal airwaves, I thought it would be a good time to ask you what you would do to fix the problems on the team right now.

More specifically, if you were the coach, what would you try up front to get Gionta and Gomez going?

Would you keep them together and put a specific winger on their line? Would you try to make a trade for a winger? Would you split them up and shuffle the forward lines? Would you recall someone from Hamilton?

Whatever your plan is, let me know. I want to know what your line combinations would be, who you would play with whom, and why.

I'm going to collect all of this information from Hockeybuzz.com, The Bleacher Report, and HabsAddict.com, and will compile and post the results over the weekend. So please post your answers in the comments section, send them to me on Twitter, or email them to me directly.

I look forward to reading your ideas!

(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America)

4 comments:

Hey Kamal,

Good job as per usual,
I do not think there is much more they can do, they may be firing blanks but they are firing, excpet for Gomez on a few occasions, they are not playing perimeter hickey, they are in the mix, they are getting dirty, especially Gionta.
They need a player to give them space and time, the type of player that can attract 2 players toward them and then pass it to G&G to create odd man chance, I think TIME can alos help, Put pouliot in there and let him stay there for longer than a game or two, let them talk on th ebench, communicate, and let Gionta tell hiom what he needs and wants..but I think time can fix a lot, especially if they keep playing hard!

Eric (following you as @havokgoalie)

OK, I originally thought that my following statements was a stupid one but now after seeing a couple more games I now think it is genius. Here goes....SPLIT UP Gomez and Gionta. Tonight they used AK46 with those 2 and still didn't get too much going. I say put Gio with Plek and Cam's with Gomez playing with Lap's and AK46. Then have Eller with Halpern and Pouliot.

Hey all and thanks for your comments!

I've complied them and will be posting the results today.

Thanks for participating and giving you input!

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