Thursday, July 2, 2009

Your New Montreal Canadiens

So what have we got? What does this team look like now? Are we better? Worse? Or just different?

Massively different. But a contender, we are not. Yet. How can we be? None of these payers have played together before.

Gainey needed to reshape the Montreal Canadiens. But they weren't completely busted -- the core was Ok, and a few shrewd moves could have gotten fans really excited. Instead, much like he did with the bench, he turned it upside down and shook everyone out.

Our top line went from Kovalev, Koivu, Tanguay to Camelari, Gomez, Gionta. These new guys can score. They are on a line with guys who can score. Will they have the power to drive through the walls Toronto has put up? The will to crack Pascal LeClaire in Ottawa? The leadership and maturity to muscle through a disasterous road trip out West? Or did we just get 3 new Jason Blakes?

Gainey did go out and get Stanley Cup winners. That's important for a club that wants to play in the Stanley Cup playoffs. He went and got "better" players, in a paper sense of the word (except Gomez, who seems to be up there in the over-rated-asphere.) Gainey needed to show the other players in the league he was willing to cut dead weight, and sign legitimate players. Consider this: Gionta, Cammalleri, and even Gomez show up on fantasy hockey pool rosters. Koivu, Higgins, and even Tanguay do not (in recent years). So Gainey "got real." These are the kind of names that people will recognise, and take seriously, outside Montreal. And that's actually a good thing!

But what's got Habs fans upset (what has me upset) is I was getting to know and like the team we had. It blew chunks last April, but I liked the team. The young maturing core -- the familiar Habs faces, watching the team live together, die together, and pull together to have a better season next year... only to get shredded.

The Habs have always had this mystique about them where its "our team against the world." Which was why winning was so great. In the late 90s we lost that feel of "our team" with lack-luster players and a lack of heart and commitment from all players. But in 2007/2008, it was back! Our youngsters were having a great year, our star goalie took us to the top of the standings, and our super-star Kovalev was lighting it up.

But now I dunno who my team is. I have to start from scratch. Is Gomez really a bum? Is Gionta over the hill? Is Gill really just the last surviving Ent from Middle Earth?

Its not as bad as fans are making it out. I dunno if we have a contender, because half the team has never even played together before. I'll miss Higgins and Komisarek. I'll miss Koivu (who'd be a great 3rd line C and captain for this new look team.) If Tanguay goes, I'll miss him too (I always like Tanguay).

But on paper I liked last year's team a lot, and it failed. Maybe with the lowered expectations this year, we'll see something special.

My problem is I have to get over it. Its done. Bonjour la visite; favorite players off the team, new batch rolling in. No going back. Sadly.

No comments:

Post a Comment