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Alex Newhook on the 1st trio: stop kidding!

Damn, we have a knack for forgetting the past and constantly repeating the same mistakes as human beings. That’s the way we’re built.

In 1995-96, the Habs had a trio nicknamed the Smurf Line: Saku Koivu, Valeri Bure and Oleg Petrov. The three forwards measured between 5’9 and 5’11 (officially), but more importantly, each weighed less than 180 wet pounds.

It worked a little in the regular season, but fell apart in the playoffs. Elimination in the first round…

14 years later, panic-stricken by the need to change the face of the team while not abandoning the ultimate goal of winning in the short term, Bob Gainey picked up Scott Gomez (5’11), Brian Gionta (5’7) and Mike Cammalleri (5’9) in the space of a few hours. No, we weren’t big that year…

The three guys got together and formed what we all called the Smurfs Line. This allowed the CH to make the playoffs through the back door… and make it to the Final Four, thanks to the brilliance of Jarsolav Halak.

But none of the three guys named above scored 60 points or more during the season. Their trio was quickly dismantled in order to balance out the physical combinations.

Where am I going with this?

I don’t understand the experts (and fans) who are calling for Alex Newhook to be given the second winger spot on the first trio. I really don’t! And there are a lot of them!

First, Newhook still has a lot to prove before being awarded the title of the team’s first left (or right) winger. It’s never a good sign when your former fans aren’t mourning your departure

Second, Nick Suzuki is 5’11 (stretched) and Cole Caufield, 5’7. How on earth can you think that pairing them up with a 5’10 guy could be the #1 solution… the first solution?

The average height of an NHL forward is about 6’1. And we’d like to go to war with a first trio whose three guys average 5’9 (and a third)? And with two guys weighing less than 190 pounds on the first trio, when the average is close to 200 for forwards on the Bettman circuit?

Last time I checked, field hockey is still a contact sport where physicality is the name of the game… where an athlete’s size is a distinct advantage.

Yes, small players still have their place in the NHL, but they have to be in the minority and surrounded by bigger players. Not the norm on a first trio!

That’s why I see Juraj Slafkovsky, Josh Anderson, Sean Monahan or RafaĂ«l Harvey-Pinard Kirby Dach complementing Caufield and Suzuki. Especially with the likes of Lucic, Reaves, Bertuzzi, MacEwen, Imama and company making their home in the Habs’ division!

Even if Newhook had scored 60 points instead of 30 last season, I’d be arguing for a better balance, by the way. So imagine right now!

Just because Cole Caufield has said publicly that Alex Newhook, his new teammate, flies on the ice, doesn’t mean we should conclude that he’s the reincarnation of Teemu Selanne’s Christ and the perfect complement to Suzuki and Caufield.

Newhook’s place is currently on the team’s second or third trio. Not on the first!

In brief

– Keith Kinkaid returns to New Jersey.

– Casey DeSmith is not in the top-10.

– Gossip of the day.

– This will stabilize the organization.

– What will he do at camp?

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