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Saturday, January 28, 2012

Changeup: The Montreal Canadiens are Showing Signs of Life

Hello Habs Nation!

My name is Sean Lloyd and this is my first post as a member of the Habs Addict team. Starting in February I will be providing you with bi-weekly reviews of the Habs performances, as well as random pieces here and there.

Seeing as this is my first post, I'll take a somewhat positive angle on what has been a dismal season thus far.

So enjoy!

Over the past three contests, the Habs have collected five out of a possible six points. The point they failed to collect was in last Fridays shootout loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins, a game in which they gave up a two-goal lead.

The blown lead was easy to forget less than a week later when Montreal trounced the league leading Detroit Red Wings 7-2.

With one game left to play in January the Habs have a chance to complete the calendar month above .500 for the first time this season. Montreal is 5-3-2 so far and look to continue their winning ways next Tuesday when they host the struggling Buffalo Sabres.

While it is still an incredibly large hill to climb in order to make the post season, the Canadiens are giving their fans something to cheer about which has been rare so far in what has been a painful season for the Habs faithful.

An offensive spark

The Canadiens may be making life hard on the optimists this season, but their top line has been providing a spark as of late to a team that is in desperate need of a boost.

David Desharnais has put up 14 points in his last 12 games (4-10), Erik Cole has collected 16 points in his last 13 games (6-7) and Max Pacioretty seems to have regained his stride earning nine points in his last nine games. Patches has found the back of the net six times and has added three helpers in that span.

Defenseman Alexei Emelin also notched his first career NHL goal in the win over the Red Wings, and Rafael Diaz will be participating in this weekend’s all star festivities as a rookie.

Nos Glorieux will need to fly out of the gates into the second half of the season much like what the New Jersey Devils of last year did in order to play past the first week of April.

The Devils took the second half of last season by storm with an impressive 21-9-2 record, earning 44 out of a possible 64 points.

Montreal currently sits in 11th place in the Eastern Conference with 47 points. Last season, the eighth seeded New York Rangers qualified for the post season with 93 points.

The Habs would need 46 points in order to finish the 2012 campaign with that total.

The Canadiens have played with new life over the past week, but their miserable play leading up to this point has many fans wondering; is this recent surge too little, too late?

What do you think? Is there still time?

---
Sean is a freelance writer currently contributing to HabsAddict.com. He is also a regular blogger and frequent panelist on the Habs post game show at MontrealHockeyTalk.com

You can follow Sean on Twitter.

(Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images North America)

7 comments:

Good stuff Sean!

There is no question the Canadiens are playing much better of late. My concern is for the long term success of this team. And, to me, if they play well enough to squeak into the playoffs I think they'll be doing their future a disservice!

That being said, as you pointed out, there are a lot of reasons to feel good about the future of this team right now. Cole is looking like the UFA pick up of the season!

All they need is a little retooling and they should be able to head in the right direction!

Interesting piece, Sean!

I think the Habs have their fate in their own hands in the next month.

Fist off, they play 14 games in 28 days in February. It will be fast and furious, but things can change fast when you play so may games. Eight games at home, seven on the road.

BUT: 14 of 15 games are against Eastern division teams, AND 7 of 15 games are against Eastern teams BELOW the Habs in the standings. They also play Winnipeg and Toronto on the 5th and 11th of February. These are the 2 teams that Montreal are trying to catch up to in 9th and 10th place.

They also play the Devils twice! They are the team that they need to pass, currently in 8th place.

Even though I already said that they are statistically eliminated (NOT mathematically, of course), and I still believe it, this week is THE week in which they can tight it up.

Go Habs Go.

@Kamal I defanitely agree that a playoff push would hurt the team. Too many times we've just missed the playoffs or been eliminated early thus missing out on a good draft posistion. We should take advantage of our dreadful position this year by drafting high.

@Frank This is a week where we can make a stand, however it seems like every week is one where we can turn it around and have still yet to.

The Habs season is done! Ok do that's out of the way! Do what do they need,a major shake up, first and fore most get rid of that incredibly stupid contact and horrible player Gomez! I mean its the joke of the league, now I understand that we can't trade him for anything so that leaves sensing him to the minors and getting that silly contract off the books!

The issue I see is not a question as to whether the Habs make the playoffs or not because as you mentioned they have the their fate in the palm of their hands.

The problem is that we have an owner who says he does not get involved with hockey decisions therefore leaving everything with Pierre Gauthier.

This scares the hell out of me if he tries to pull off a desperate move. I.e. parting ways with Eller, Pacioretty, Subban or one of our top prospects.

If I am Molson then I am telling Gauthier to part ways with our pending UFA's and to see what we can get but under no circumstances is he to pull a major move.

@Bryan - that's a worry we share. I would feel more comfortable knowing that anything Gauthier does would need Molson's approval. Any move made out of desperation is sure to have negative effects and Gauthier has got to be feeling desperate at this point.

I'm not a pessimist when it comes to the Canadiens but rather an optimist through and through. All my friends laugh at my love for the Habs, but I'm old enough to remember the days of Jean Beleuvieu, Henrie Richard,(11 Stanley Cups) Frank Mahovolich, and his brother Peter, Yvonne Cournyie. All these names spelled wrong I'm sure, these where just some of the mighty Habs winning Stanley Cups. Of course those days and players are in the past where in a situation now where there are Thirty teams in the league and no team seems to be a constant winner year after year. With free agents and Salary caps how do you keep a winner together? Players change teams so much it is impossible to see players stay with one team through-out their hockey career. Back in the sixties, seventies even the eighties they signed and stayed and what we see now is who will pay me the most with a shot at the cup. So because of this new NHL under Gary Bettman we see that teams especially Canadian teams seem to be thrown under the bus by Gary and his cronies. As far as the Canadiens this year being the optimist that I am I will say that they will make the play-offs they may not last long but they will make it. Then changes will come players will be moved management will change some will players will be gone by the dead line. But lets stick with them and say Go Habs Go!!!

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