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Montreal’s pitiful attack

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Montreal’s pitiful attack
Credit: Capture d'écran / Screenshot

The Canadiens managed to win their first game without Sean Monahan yesterday in Washington. According to some, this is proof that the rebuild is working and over… and that the youngsters have stepped up their game.

But I’m not one of them. Sorry, folks.

The Habs beat a team that’s twice as likely to draft top 3 than make the playoffs right now…

A team with one of the worst differentials in the NHL…

A team that had just lost Evgeny Kuznetsov (NHL assistance program) a few hours before the game… and still found a way to dominate 39 – 26 in shots on goal. Ovechkin and Pacioretty aren’t the same players as in 2016, let’s say…

Alex Ovechkin is not the same as he was 20 years ago.

(Credit: Google)

Anyway, let’s not get too carried away with this Montreal victory in the American capital. This victory was the work of Samuel Montembeault, the veterans on the blue line… and the first trio up front. That’s it.

Nick Suzuki led the way in his return from Toronto, with two goals and an assist, Juraj Slafkovsky found the back of the net twice and Cole Caufield picked up an assist. The three young forwards accounted for four of the Habs’ five goals. Without them, there would have been no game – and no show – last night.

There’s an old saying that suggests you should never put all your eggs in one basket… that by doing so, you risk losing everything if you hit a roadblock.

Yesterday, the return of Slafkovsky alongside Caufield and Suzuki smiled on the team. Except that on nights when that trio doesn’t work – and it will – it’s going to be hard to be successful. Without the contribution of the first trio, there’s no salvation.

The Habs’ second, third and fourth trios looked like this yesterday:

Armia – Gignac – Anderson
Pearson – Evans – Ylonen
Pezzetta – Condotta – Harvey-Pinard

It looks like the Rocket of a few months ago, with a guy who still hadn’t scored a goal after 24 games this season, a guy we acquired because of his negative value and guys who wouldn’t be playing in the NHL if they belonged to twenty of the NHL’s 32 markets (and who are staying in town because the GM doesn’t want to lose them for nothing via the waivers).

I’m willing to believe that Alex Newhook is on the verge of a comeback, but he won’t change everything on his own. Especially not at center, where it’s thin at ta****** and where he doesn’t necessarily excel.

We look forward to Christian Dvorak Kirby Dach’s return next season!

This 2023-24 season must be used to identify the Habs’ HUGE flaw: their lack of raw talent and attacking depth. It’s not right that, with three (center) players on the injured list (Dach, Dvorak and Newhook), we should see an offense so bare and so lacking in danger. Let’s hope that Suzuki, Caufield or Slafkovsky don’t end the season on the injured list…

Unfortunately, the quality young players likely to join the club in the next few weeks are all defensemen: Lane Hutson, Logan Mailloux, David Reinbacher, Adam Engstrom. Except that the problem isn’t on the blue line right now.

And don’t tell me that Joshua Roy, Emil Heineman or Luke Tuch have what it takes to make a difference right now in the show.

The only good news in all this is that Montreal’s mediocre offense should, in theory, allow the Habs to tank and draft a good forward next June.

And who knows? Maybe Kent Hughes will decide to trade a defenseman or two to bolster his attack…

Because it’s not as if the forward prospect pool is overflowing with in-house gems. It’s going to have to be replenished and better balanced.

Breaking news

– The future of live sports broadcasting lies online. Proof #193837:

– I was lucky enough to host Raheem Edwards – a chic guy who we can only wish the best of luck to – for an interview on Monday evening, alongside Nilton Jorge, Hady Raphaël and Patrice Bernier. #KanFC

– Is Josef Martinez really a better top striker than Chinonso Offor in 2024? Nilton Jorge’s numbers are cause for concern.

– In closing, I invite you to check out the latest episode of the Couscous Piri Piri podcast. Thanks for the invitation, guys… even if we did take ourselves for a derivative of fire-110% soccer sauce at times. #LOL

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