Thursday, July 28, 2011

10 Summer Thoughts

by Louis Moustakas

Although I am preparing to jaunt off for a short vacation to British Columbia, a part of the country I have yet to visit, my mind still finds way to veer towards the Canadiens and the NHL as a whole.

1) People in Montreal are ridiculously harsh on Andrei Kostitsyn. He is a scorer and he is streaky. Get used to it. He also produces 20 goals a year, is big and led his team in hits last season. Forwards like that do not grow on trees. He certainly has untapped potential, but it is nonetheless a mistake for us to take him for granted.

2) Speaking of Andrei, I must admit his performance in this spring's World Championships was a tad worrisome. His 7 points in 5 games may have led his squad, but he was pointless in key games against Switzerland and France, two teams the Belarussian needed to beat in order to avoid the relegation round.

3) Montreal added the Swiss-born Raphael Diaz and Alain Berger in the off-season. Yannick Weber is already on the squad while both David Aebischer and Mark Streit have spent time with the Habs as well. Clearly, the organization is trying to build its presence in the rising hockey nation of Switzerland. And why not? The Swiss men's team is now ranked 7th in the world, ahead of both Germany and Slovakia. Perhaps Montreal can become to Swiss players what Detroit is to Swedes.

4) I have read some rumours that Montreal is considering adding Alexei Yashin. While I feel he does quite not merit the level of disdain he has, he does not truly address any pressing need on the squad either.

5) Speaking of Russians, Alexei Kovalev is still a free-agent. I am midly surprised we have not heard that many Kovalev to Montreal rumours thus far.

6) Florida signed a ridiculous number of players to ridiculous contracts this summer. Mind you, many were good additions and they will probably be a better team. At the same time, it seems like Tallon is throwing spaghetti at a wall and hoping it sticks.

7) Chicago made low-key, savvy moves this summer. Andrew Brunette and Rostislav Olesz give them legitimate top-6 threats and fit that role much better than the departed Tomas Kopecky.

8) Lou Lamoriello is past his prime. Coming out of the work stoppage, he gave a first-round pick to the Sharks in order to rid himself of Vladimir Malakhov's onerous contract. He was stiffly penalized by the league for the Kovalchuk deal. In truth, it seems like he has spent each summer since the lockout trying to dump salary and get under the cap.

9) The Caps need to win this year. With character players like Joel Ward, Troy Brouwer, Jeff Halpern and Roman Hamrlik now on the squad, there are no excuses for the team not to pull the pieces together. Anything short of a finals appearance means that both Boudreau and McPhee should be worried about their job security.

10) Chris Osgood, who is tenth all-time in wins with 401, is a hall-of-famer in my books. Stu Hackel, of Sports Illustrated, pointed out that he never had a regular season save percentage above .917. So what? When it counted, he was able to shut the door more often than not. In his last two playoff runs with the Red Wings, he posted phenomenal save percentages of .930 and .926. Oh, and he has three Stanley Cup rings.

Louis is an editor at and has been writing about Canadiens and NHL hockey since 2009. Louis was born in Chicago but grew up in Quebec City where he earned Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration from Université Laval. He currently lives in Ottawa and works for the Coaching Association of Canada. He can be reached at


Nice post during the dead zone.

As far as AK46 goes, my thinking has changed. At this point it's the fans fault for getting angry at this guy on a game to game basis. He's been consistent with his numbers and he is what he is. For us to keep insisting that he's something else is our own folly and the embodiment of Einstein's definition of insanity.

I totally disagree on your opinion on AK46.
"Streaky" is just another word for "inconsistent" which can also be a product of "lazyness".

He led the Habs in hits, okay wonderful that he finishes his checks, but how many of those "hits" lead to turn overs or a scoring opportunity? Not many. How may offensive play end with Andre not being able to accept a pass or having the abilty to compete 1 on 1 against an apponent? Many.

One thing that you wrote about AK46 that was accurate, you can't tell if he's playing in an exhibiton game or a game 7 of a playoff because he has no other gear or sense of urgency. Tell me the last time he stepped up in a critical game in the playoffs?

Give me a player with less talent (20 goals) but more consistency and I'll take that player every time.

He's not that hard to replace..

Thank you both for your comments.

@nyhabsfan Certainly, at times I wonder about AK's compete level. In fact, I experessed part of that concern by mentionning his uneven performance at the WC. He certainly could stand to use a bit more net drive.

But, let's be frank, what 20 to 30 goal scorer is not streaky and inconsistent? Heck, even Stamkos cooled down signifcantly at the end of the season. Besides, how can a 20 goal scorer be consistent in the first place? If they were consistent, would they not pot 35 to 50 tallies a year instead?

I will grant you this, his playoff performances could use some work. Beyond his hat trick versus the Capitals, he does not have too many shining moments.

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