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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Habs Roundup: Is Montreal a seller, Randy Cunneyworth, NHL Trade deadline and more

The NHL trade deadline is fast approaching—approximately two weeks away—and the buying teams are starting to separate themselves from the sellers.

For the Montreal Canadiens, currently sitting in 12th overall in the East, the question is which category they will fall into.

Logic would dictate that this team should be selling, since squeaking into the playoffs hardly makes you a contending team. That being said, no one really seems to have a handle on what GM Pierre Gauthier plans on doing.

He's been seen scouting games across the league so it seems like a deal is in the works.

But is he looking to sell or add to his roster in an attempt to make the playoffs?

That is the real question.

Targets

If you listen to RDS' Norman Flynn, he thinks it's a joke that anyone would believe Montreal will make the playoffs. He goes on to say that this team didn't play .500 hockey over the first 50 games, yet everyone expects them to solve everything over that last 32.

Amen brother.

That said, his stance is that Gauthier should be selling and selling fast.

If the Canadiens do decide to sell, by most accounts the three most tradeable assets in their lineup are Travis Moen, Hal Gill and Andrei Kostitsyn.

Gill and Moen both have Stanley Cup rings and boatloads of experience. Kostitsyn, on the other hand, is a player who has scored 20 or more goals in three out of the last four seasons.

He could surely be a solid addition on a contending team looking for a little offense with size.

As for Gill, he is a slow skater but his leadership skills and ridiculous penalty killing prowess make him a desirable acquisition to any team with Cup aspirations.

Moen, on the other hand, is a player whose secondary scoring ability, toughness and ability to win in the playoffs make him a hot commodity. The problem is that he is currently injured with a mysterious upper body injury.

Word around the campfire is that it could actually be an injury to his head. Ummm, concussion anyone?

If that were to be the case there could not be a more disastrous scenario for the Habs. Because if Moen has anything seriously wrong with his head, including a concussion, he could become untradeable.

As a player who will be a free agent this off-season, and one who I don't believe the Habs should re-sign, Montreal could end up losing him for nothing.

But they are not there yet. Officially, he has an upper body injury, and was supposed to play against the Leafs last Saturday but suffered some kind of setback.

This will be a situation to keep an eye on.

Outside looking in

I've taken a lot of flak lately for seeming to come off on a very negative tilt, when talking about the Habs playoff chances.

I, generally speaking, am a pretty optimistic person. But in the case of the Habs, I think I'm just being realistic.

As much as their four-game winning streak got fans excited with dreams of first round playoff exits dancing in their heads, the reality is that Montreal didn't make up any ground in the standings.

None.

In fact, despite going 6-4-0 in their last ten games, the Habs are closer to the 15th overall spot than they are to eighth place. Carolina, last place in the East, is only two points behind Montreal while Toronto, currently in eighth, is seven points ahead.

As of this morning, the Habs chances of making the playoffs sit at 13.4 percent, according to Sports Stats Club.

Not exactly something you'd bet the bank on.

Dust-up

So it seems that the much maligned Scott Gomez is in headlines again this morning. This time, however, it is not because of his lack of scoring ability or his ridiculously high salary. No, this time it is because of a verbal yelling match he had with Assistant Coach, Randy Ladouceur, at practice yesterday.

Most media in attendance said they have never seen anything like that before, with the two yelling at each other in front of the other players. Eventually, they took the argument into a corner of the rink to continue in private.

But it lasted a long time.

And this on the heels of Gomez seeing a meager 7:49 of ice against the Canes.

Gomez brushed off the incident as something that happens all the time. A coach giving heck to a player for messing up a drill. And that may be the case, but the timing of it is definitely curious.

Love him or hate him—and I personally love what he's doing with the team—you've got to hand it to Randy Cunneyworth and co. They simply do not take crap from their players.

Moreover, and unlike under the veteran-loving Jacques Martin, Cunneyworth couldn't care less the name on the back of the sweater or the price tag that comes with it. He plays the players who he feels will give him the best chance of winning. Period.

And that, ladies and gentleman, is the way you should run a bench. Favoritism, coddling veterans, and constantly punishing young guns is a recipe for the unemployment line.

Just ask Jacques Martin.

Habs top-10s

My HabsAddict.com colleague, Fred Poulin, recently wrote an excellent piece on the top-10 worst players in recent Habs history. If you haven't read it, check it out. Man is that an ugly list.

I have two words for you: Juha Lind.

Ugh.

That list aside, I found this great video of the top-10 Canadiens hits for this season (so far). I thought you'd all get a kick out of it so take a look below and enjoy the calm before the Bruins storm tonight.

No.1 is awesome...I'll let you guess which hit it is...

Enjoy!



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Kamal is a freelance writer, Senior Writer/Editor-in-Chief of HabsAddict.com, Montreal Canadiens Blogger on Hockeybuzz.com and featured columnist on PowerScoutHockey.com. Kamal is also a weekly contributor to the Sunday Shinny segment of The Franchise weekend morning show, on TSN Radio 990 (AM 990) every Sunday from 9 - 10 AM. Listen live at http://www.tsn.ca/montreal/

Follow Kamal on Facebook and Twitter


(Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images North America)

3 comments:

Emelin is the best pure hitter we have seen since Chelios.. Love that Kid

Kama,l I just want to say thanks for your consistency in keeping habs nation informed. Love that Emelin!
I too like Cunny and actually think he would do fine if not great in Montreal but we all know that probably won't be the case. I have a funny feeling P.G will stick around however.
If I had one beef with Cunny was a particular decision he made on the Gomez-100th-anniversery game where he had a couple chances to put him out with the empty net and didn't? Not sure why outsidee of trying to get Plecky going; because he was giving er all night and there was a weird air in the bell center. Hard on players is fine but some heart is needed too. Maybe Gomez told him he didn't want it that way but I doubt it. O'well he got it over with soon after. BTW I am not a fan of Gomez the player and was dissapointed in the trade at the time and have not waivered. Just thought I would point that out! Later and keep up the good work Kamal.

@Anon: Hey thanks and thanks for reading! You know, you make a good point about Cunney not putting Gomez on the ice with the empty netter. However, I like the move.

Gomez has done nothing to deserve a "present" and, to be honest, given the Habs poor showing in the standings, RC doesn't have the luxury to be nice.

And I like it!

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