Thinking about the team 3 games in

So we’re 3 games into the 2009/2010 NHL season. In these first 3 games there’s been many ups and downs already.

The Canadiens have had 2 big injuries and 1 minor injury in their first 2 games and thankfully last night everyone made it out ok!

Here’s a few thoughts on some ups and some downs so far (in no real particular order).

Ups : Carey Price

All through the summer with all the speculation and chatter about the upcoming season and the questions around all the new players there was another subject kind of floating around.

How would Carey Price play this year?

Now granted, we’re 3 games into the season. There are 79 games left to be played but in his first 2 games Price looked very sharp. He faced a ton of shots in both his games and at the start of the first game, I remember hearing a commentator saying he looked nervous… soon after the rubber was bouncing off of him and he looked composed.

At times his rebound control looked very good.

Downs : Injuries!

So in 2 games the best player on the Team Andrei Markov gets hurt and is out for months… followed by Ryan O’Byrne’s injury.

In a previous article I wrote about Markov I mentioned his offensive production last season… ranking 1st in the league in assists among defensemen and 2nd in overall points among defensive.

Markov is the team’s quarter back and he simply can’t be replaced.

I feel bad for O’Byrne, not that I don’t also feel bad for Markov having been hurt with a major injury, but O’Byrne really seemed to be playing with confidence. Ryan was looking good. Big guy at 6’6 who can skate well for someone his size, long reach and playing physical.

I thought Ryan was poised to have a strong year.

Ups: Georges Laraque, Travis Moen

Many people were calling for Laraque’s head over the summer and going back months into last season.

I thought that if Georges could be healthy he could definitely help the team not just with dropping the gloves every now and then either.

Back when Laraque played in Edmonton I remember watching Oilers games and there were a few things that stuck in my mind about Georges. Yes, one of those things were that if he dropped the gloves he was quite able. But another thing that stuck in my mind was that he could be strong along the boards.

So far, Jacques Martin has played Laraque a fair bit and used him in a couple of different combinations and his play along the boards has been strong. In all 3 games he was able to control the puck along the boards and open up the ice a bit.

Travis Moen is probably one of my favorite players in the lineup. I thought he had a very quiet training camp but since the first game he’s picked it up.

Moen will drop the gloves, he checks well, seems to be well positioned, he will go to the net, block the shots and when he’s banging around the net he seems to have pretty good hands. I remember Tom K could have had about 35 “garbage goals” last year but could rarely capitalize on the chances (Tom…. I love you man)… I suspect Moen will get more of these opportunities then Tom did.

Ups: Brian Gionta, Scott Gomez, Mike Cammalleri

I’ve been very impressed with the way Gionta has been playing. He seems to find a way to get into openings where he can put a shot on goal. And of course, sorry to use this term again… but he plays big!

Generally, I’ve really liked what I’ve seen from all 3 of these guys. The only thing that I’ve found lacking is that their play hasn’t been consistent. But, to be honest, we’re 3 games in. In last night’s game they were very good in my opinion.

They’ve displayed nice skating, passing and the ability to get shots off.

Downs: The team’s tighter defensive system

Heard lot’s about Martin’s system and how protecting the goaltender was going to be a priority.

The team looked disorganized at times… but see, we’re still just 3 games in. And of course, take away Markov and O’Byrne… you get the picture.

We’re just a few games into the season and really these are just some of my observations in these 3 games. In 10 games the team’s defense and offense could be quite different. There could be greater chemistry and a flow in both the offensive and defensive game… or more of the same.

Who knows??

The only way to find out how it will turn out is to keep watchin’…. and if you’re anything like me you certainly will be watching!

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