Andre Kostitsyn is quickly getting back in our good books and Jaroslav Halak has shown, even with four goals scored against him tonight, that he can be a solid goaltender on most clubs and if someone is willing to give up a top-six forward to get him, I’ll be sorry to see him go. But I’m happy to see Andrei arrive.
The Mike Cammalleri line is on fire, with Tomas Plekanec and Andre Kostitsyn getting it done when Scott Gomez isn’t and Brian Gionta is on the shelf. In fact, Kostitsyn notched two goals and an assist in the Habs lousy 4-3 loss to the Buffalo Sabres, a team which continues to be a thorn in the side of the Canadiens, and Kostitsyn has recently become one of the Habs’ most dangerous forwards, which not only pleasantly surprises many of us, but maybe himself too.
It seemed like only yesterday that the Kostitsyn brothers were ready to be dealt for a pail of pucks, if another team was willing to give up that much. And although Sergei still seems to be finding himself, Andrei has become a regular contributor, and without him and his two linemates, where exactly would this team be?
We all know how anxious we are to see Andrei Markov back. But we should also be biting at the bit to see Brian Gionta back too. Every team needs more than one line clicking, and Montreal is no different. Gionta is a goal scorer and playmaker, he’s missed by us, by his team, and especially by Scott Gomez, who has become not much more than a good 7 million dollar penalty killer without his old friend.
Two lines on fire. How sweet would that be? When’s that little bugger coming back?
Back to Halak. This is a goaltender who has mostly answered the bell this year, particularly when young Carey Price was having major confidence problems. He’s helped the team and now he’s being shopped around. This is a serious warning to Bob Gainey. You’d better get someone very good if you’re going to trade Halak. Many fans are already extremely upset about Guillaume Latendresse being shipped out for Benoit Pouliot who had only four points when the Habs made the switch with Minnesota.
Get someone who will help in a big way, Bob. Habs universe demands it.
And one last little thing. Montreal’s undisciplined penalties are unacceptable. Penalties are penalties, a natural part of hockey, like spitting, scoring, and not liking Sean Avery. But the kind of penalty Glen Metropolit took the other night against Atlanta, an intentional stick-waving in the face, and Scott Gomez’s brain-dead stick retaliation slightly similar to Metro’s, are game killers. Using your head – this is what separates great teams from ordinary teams.
Ryan O’Byrne was also silly in the penalty department, taking roughing and slashing minors, and Metropolit continued his puzzling display of non-thinking with three trips to the sin bin, for holding, roughing and slashing.
This won’t be a true winning club until discipline rears its’ all-important head.
Wednesday, the Canadiens are in New Jersey. Work on the penalties, boys.
And shoot more.