My evaluation is still…

Canadiens Plekanec takes shot at Capitals goal in Washington

As I mentioned yesterday in the post titled “Has the season self-destructed??” I think it’s been pretty hard to clearly evaluate just how good this team is.

There has been some raunchy performances on the one hand. On the other hand there have been some great performances where they’ve been in the game or have won.

Last night against the Washington Capitals were one such game were I wasn’t filled with optimism before hand but afterwards I certainly was.

So in reference to how good the team is so far? I believe they’re right on pace where they should be, in fact maybe they are even a little better then what I would have predicted being 11-11-0 in the first 22 games of the year with all the changes and without their best player (Andrei Markov)…. and other key injuries.

Listening to Montreal’s talk radio, The Team 990 (which I am a regular listener) I’ve really enjoyed what Randy Tieman has been saying… he’s said something to the effect that it’s just to hard to say how good this team is or can be with all the significant injuries.

I still take the position that this team’s core is better then where we finished last season. So many people last year had voiced the opinion that the team needed a major change in direction. Well, the team’s direction was changed brining in a younger core and so far I don’t think they’ve been pushed around quite as much as they used to despite some of these guys being smaller. Moving forward there is something to build on.

I do believe that it would have been much better to get picks or prospects for some of the players who were let go… but it didn’t happen that way and Gainey opted to try and make a playoff run. Much debate could be made over it being the right or wrong decision. Personally I don’t think it would have gone well to trade everyone and give up on the playoff race at the deadline while they were still positioned to be a playoff team.

There are some real positives coming together for the Canadiens.

Montreal Canadiens v Boston Bruins

Carey Price has been playing with that fire. He’s looking as confident as we all hoped that he would be.

There has been some “Price haters” voicing there opinions that he should be traded… that in my opinion is all rubbish. To be honest at his age there are not many goaltenders who boast the numbers that he does. He’s comparable to a young Roy, Brodeur and Luongo. If anyone out there is expecting him to play like a seasoned St-Patrick 2 or three years in… then either you must not know that Patrick himself didn’t play perfectly in goal and had some real stinkers. But as he aged, he became a real game changer.

Price has all of that potential. He can be our game changer and has already started to look like a game changer in the short time we’ve had him in the CH.

Tomas Plekanec is also a guy who last year was named in virtually every trade rumour.. this summer was more of the same. He took alot of heat. I questioned openly what his future with the team was.

Well, Tomas has answered the phone…. he’s been the best player in a Habs uniform night in and night out. He’s playing with more bite.. he’s skating hard, making some great passes and creating many scoring chances. He’s even looked really good on the PK.

Andrei Kostitsyn seems to be improving his play and Max Pacioretty seems to be getting it together also. 2 guys who will certainly be asked to step it up with the recent injury to Brian Gionta. They started slow and maybe that’s just what it is… an adjustment to the new coaching staff and system.

It’s always disappointing to see the team you’re passionate about not win and play some bad games… but this is part of the growing pains of having a vastly new lineup… and the normal regular season pain of having multiple key players out with injury.

I look at this as an opportunity for some guys to be put in the position to step up and see what they’re made of. It’s really not all doom and gloom guys. We’ve got some real nice positives in the mix.

It’s a long season, last year Pittsburgh was out of a playoff position after 50+ games played. If your team can hang around, be healthy and peek at the right time.. it can make for a great finish.

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