Sunday, March 6, 2011

Habs are #WINNING!

In the week that saw the beginning of Charlie Sheen's meltdown, it was hard to focus on little else. In fact, it already seems like the most boring trade deadline in the history of the NHL was a million years ago, when in fact it was 6 days ago. I myself came home early from school to watch live coverage on TSN, where I was bored out of my tree. There was so little happening that I actually felt bad for these guys. They even resorted to drafting a fantasy 2014 Team Canada Olympic hockey team in lieu of trade coverage.
After hearing speculation for WEEKS that Dustin Penner may find himself in a Canadiens jersey at the trade deadline, I was watching anxiously to see what kind of moves Gauthier would make. As soon as the announcement came that the power forward was headed to the LA Kings, I knew that the Canadiens would not be making any big moves. Was I disappointed? Not at all. I knew that the price tag on Penner must have been too high, and Gauthier clearly didn't wanted to part with some integral part of the current roster (or future roster, for that matter). Personally, I'm content with the team we have right now. After the circus that was our last matchup against the Bruins, I'll admit, I joined in with the gripers to complain about a lack of size and grit on the team, but in retrospect, I was just being a big baby.

Who on the roster am I stoked about? Let's start with Patches (Max Pacioretty). He had a pair in last night's game against Tampa Bay, and has displayed skill and consistency since he left Hamilton to join the lineup. Despite having only played 36 games this season, he already has 14 goals and 10 assists, just 10 points shy of Scott Gomez, who's played in nearly twice as many games (64). Gomez is still getting loads of ice time, and I really don't understand why. It seems like any time anything bad happens on the ice, Gomez was there, doing absolutely nothing. In fact, the numbers back that up, as Gomez has the team worst in +/- with a -15 (which is actually an improvement on how bad it was a few weeks ago). But this isn't a Gomez rant, this is a "who impresses me" rant, and $8 million Gomez doesn't belong in this category, so let's go back to Patches. Remember when he had bruised ribs? Oh yeah, he kept playing. He must have some of Josh Gorges' tiger blood, and this makes me stamp him as #winning.
Next, is David Desharnais. Why isn't this miniature guy getting more ice time?! He's reported to have been working on his faceoff taking abilities with Jeff Halpern, and it's definitely paying off (with the exception of Thursday's 4-0 win in Sunrise, where he didn't fare so well with his faceoff winning percentage). But he impresses me elsewhere than the faceoff circle. He's a +1 with 16 points in 27 games, and I'm more than content with those stats.

Next, is AK46... Right now. He's in the midst of a point streak, with 7 points in his last 5, including the game winner against Carolina last Saturday. He sure picked a heck of a time to get hot, being that the vast majority of fans wanted him gone at the trade deadline. I'm hoping he'll keep it up well into the playoffs.

Next, is Wisniewski. After the devastating loss of Gorges and Markov to knee injuries, it seemed like he blue line was completely shot, but now I don't remember what it was like before the Wiz filled that void. While I think PK Subban is wonderful and exciting to watch, I feel so comfortable when the Wiz is on the ice. Ignore his -15 (bear in mind he came from the Eastern conference bottom-feeder Islanders). Since joining the Habs, he's a +3 with 21 points in 27 games. That's good enough for me.
Next is Hal Gill. The big tree has 2 goals in as many games for the first time since October 2002. Fans have already coined the term "Hal Gill Hat Trick", as we anxiously await to see if he'll turn this into a 3 game scoring streak. But all that aside, his leadership on and off the ice, as well as blocking a ridiculous amount of shots makes him awesome in my books.

Last, and most certainly not least, is Carey Price. There has been talk about him being a potential Hart trophy candidate this season but I wouldn't call him a candidate; I'd call him a #winner. While Boston's Tim Thomas may be out-stat-ing him in most categories, Boston would be doing just fine without Thomas between the pipes. Tuukka Rask isn't quite 500 on the season, but the team plays well in front of him. The Bruins may not be leading their division without Thomas, but they'd still be in a playoff spot. Riddle me this; where would the Habs be without Carey Price right now? My guess would be uncomfortably sitting 13th, making a desperate but futile playoff run in the final games of the season, à la Toronto. While Thomas may be the most likely contender for the Vézina, I think Price is without a doubt the most valuable player to his team, giving him my official Charlie Sheen #winning stamp as well.

After forcing the Southeast division to submit this week, and currently being in the midst of a 4 game winning streak, the Habs look to remind Boston on Tuesday that they won the first 3 matchups of the season between the clubs. It should be an interesting game...

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