News for Sunday, February 24th

More Trade Stuff

The Fourth Period says that Don Waddell, having given up on resigning Marian Hossa, is ready to deal, and that Montreal is still highly interested. The story is unsourced, so take it as thou wilt, but they say that Atlanta is interested in Chris Higgins, Kyle Chipchura, and Mikhail Grabovski. I'm assuming that's not as a package, or it's just insane. The same site claims that Alex Tanguay would accept a trade to Montreal, directly contradicting Spector's Hockey, which has consistently reported that Tanguay would refuse to play in Montreal. Finally, they report that Brad Richards did not include Montreal on the list of teams he would deign to play for should it please His Grace to waive his no trade clause, so we'll have to continue to live without his 70 points a year. Geez, that really sucks, because I can't think of a better way to spend 7.8 million bucks, can you?


Trade Deadline Blues
Rumours, rumours, rumours. Marian Hossa continues to live with the angst of not knowing where he'll be living next week. He's been most frequently tied to talks between Atlanta and Montreal, and there have even been sightings of him buying air tickets to Montreal, or of his gloves being delivered to the Bell Centre. Other rumours have Montreal involved in discussions for Mats Sundin, Olli Jokinen, and Brad Richards.

Most of these rumours are based on journalistic hypotheses about what Montreal "needs" or "wants", and have been bolstered by a selective quoting of Bob Gainey at the GM meetings, when he said that he was interested in adding an "impact player". He also said that nothing was really percolating and that the Habs weren't going to deviate from their long-term goals, but those unsexy parts of the discussion have been excised from the record.

Montreal fans seem ambivalent on the idea of trades, probably because their team is so inconsistent. When the Habs storm back from 5-0 to defeat the Rangers 6-5, the entire squad is understandably untouchable; but when the same bunch of guys soil themselves in a 3-0 stinker against the less than mighty Blue Jackets, we're all ready to chip in for the air fare.

Or maybe it's the trade options that are failing to excite fans. Hossa is a good player, but Montreal fans are smart enough to know that he's not quite the right fit for the Habs, who need size and pure goalscoring at centre, not another slick winger. Then there's Richards, certainly over-priced and possibly over-rated, having collected most of his points playing on one of the best lines in the NHL.

Basically, Canadiens fans aren't interested in anything but a serious blockbuster. They'll get excited if Gainey can land Lecavalier, and otherwise, it's all pretty much "meh". As for me, I'm perfectly content to stick with the status quo this year, and see what another summer's seasoning can do for guys like Higgins, the Kostitsyns, Komisarek, and Price. It's about one year too early for a "win now" type of trade, IMO.


Columbus 3 - Habs 0
What a boring, boring game. The Columbus Blue Jackets applied the patented Hitchcock sleeper-hold to the Habs offense last night, and - thanks in large part to a third straight brutal showing by a Canadiens netminder - came away with a 3-0 victory.

There were so very, very few interesting or entertaining things in this one: there was the lone Columbus fan celebrating each of the Jackets' goals, that was sort of amusing, and I did get something out of scrutinizing Ken Hitchcock's eerie, unblinking gaze, though it wasn't pleasant. At the end of the game, I was filled with the desire to ask for my money back, even though I watched the game from my home and didn't actually pay for it. It was just that sort of experience, I guess.

Searching earnestly for anything resembling an "angle" on this lifeless, listless "game", the Gazette's Dave Stubbs settles on the disappointment everyone feels that the Canadiens couldn't "win it for Bob", as Carbonneau puts it. While it is somewhat ironic that the Habs were outworked on Bob Gainey Night, it's actually hard to fault them too harshly. You want some irony, just be glad it wasn't Ken Dryden Night!

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