It was probably somewhere around the end of the first period of the Habs-Leafs game when I became finally convinced that the Canadiens need to be blown up and started almost from scratch again. It was such a pathetic sight. They actually made the Leafs look like one of the greatest teams in the history of hockey. How bad is that?
So with that in mind, the following is the list of Montreal’s nine unrestricted free agents for 2009. What will Bob Gainey do with this bunch? Of course, if another team opens up the vault for any of these guys, let ‘em go, no problem. These thoughts are only about keeping someone if it makes fiscal sense. None of them deserve a raise anyway.
The big nine are Francis Bouillon, Mathieu Dandenault, Saku Koivu, Mike Komisarek, Tom Kostopoulos, Alex Kovalev, Robert Lang, Mathieu Schneider, and Alex Tanguay.
Francis Bouillon is a fairly steady rearguard, but nothing more than that. Often, you won’t hear his name mentioned, but he’s out there. Just a tad small, that’s all. I suppose I’d keep him, although I’m not overly excited about it.
I’ve always thought Mathieu Dandenault was a little underappreciated by the coaches. He sits out often, sometimes when healthy, sometimes when hurt, but he can play both defence and forward. But he’s slow, has seen better days, and the team needs to make room for young guys like PK Subban. I think Mathieu is gonzo.
Saku Koivu is having a lousy year, like most of his teammates. He’s also seen better days. But I think they should hold on to him. I’m not even sure why. Maybe because he’s captain, or something like that.
Mike Komisarek is in my bad books. If Gainey can keep him without giving him some kind of big fat raise, then fine. This is one guy who doesn’t deserve a raise. He deserves a cut in pay. He’s lucky he wasn’t delegated to the press box a bunch of times. If he goes, I’m not feeling bad.
Tom Kostopoulos works hard every night, and even shows admirable leadership qualities. He’s just a grinder, that’s all. But I like grinders, so I think he should stay. I just wish he had the tools to pick it up a notch the way Maxim Lapierre did this year.
Robert Lang was doing the job in fine fashion until he got hurt. In fact, the Habs began sinking like a stone shortly after he was hurt, which is no coincidence. Gotta try and keep this guy.
Mathieu Schneider could be really effective if he could hit the net. But he can’t, he’s old, and he should probably just go.
Alex Tanguay could’ve had a good season this year if he wasn’t on the shelf for half of it. But he’s got some good years left, he’s basically a good player, and Montreal needs him. I think he should stay.
And then there’s Alex Kovalev. ‘Pacca’ is Russian for ‘bye bye.’ So pacca, Alex. And before you close the door, could you give back some of the salary you stole please?