Archive for ‘Uncategorized’

September 7, 2014

The Montreal Canadiens Should Sign Martin Brodeur

by Jacob Saltiel
martin brodeur

Legend.

According to this TSN report, possible best goaltender of all time, Martin Brodeur, would sign a contract to play for the Montreal Canadiens. While many Habs fans and commentators will immediately dismiss this article as a report on the forlorn longings of a past-it athlete, the Canadiens would be shrewd to sign Martin Brodeur.

The counterarguments to signing Brodeur are numerous and persuasive. Three are as follows:

1) The Habs already have a back-up goaltender controversy logjam, with everyone’s favourite teammate, Peter Budaj, scrapping it out for the right to ride the pine against everyone’s favourite playoff wildcard, Dustin Tokarski.

2) Martin Brodeur sucks. The Devils might have made the playoffs last year if they hadn’t split goalie starts equally between Brodeur and Corey Schneider.

3) Martin Brodeur is fat.

The Canadiens, though, shouldn’t sign Brodeur to improve their team. No, the Canadiens should sign Brodeur for one simple reason; Revenge.

For his entire career, Brodeur has talked openly about loving to play against his boyhood team, and he sure played like he loved it. Never mind that for large parts of his career, the Canadiens were as terrible as he is fat now. Brodeur came home to raucous crowds and slowly strangled the home crowd’s enthusiasm from behind his black and red wall of trapping defenders. Did he ever apologize? Did he ever suggest remorse for a .930 save percentage and 1.87 GAA against the fans that nurtured him from infancy to fun-destroying hockey royalty?

And now the old goat goes mumbling these sorts of things through his agency*:

“If the Canadiens made me an offer, it goes without saying that I would listen to what they have to offer me,” the Montreal native told QMI.

“This is Carey Price‘s team. I would definitely still want to be the No. 1 goalie, but it wouldn’t bother me to play in only 20 to 25 games during the season if I know I’ll have fun playing within a winning team.”

Oh, what? Now that the only thing he can keep out of his net is a plate of chicken wings in any type of hot sauce you can name he wants in? Like hell he’s getting 20-25 games here, and he will certainly not be playing for a winning team if he’s starting 20-25 games.

Rather, Brodeur’s role should not be starting any games, and that’s exactly how Marc Bergevin can take revenge. It’s simple, really:

1) Sign Brodeur to Contract.

2) Never play him.

3) Cater the pressbox with a buffet consisting entirely of brussel sprouts.

4) Put a video camera on him at all times in the pressbox.

5) Sell the 6 hour video of Brodeur’s greatest eye rolls and gallant ventures towards the buffet table.

Look, sure it costs a roster spot, but the Habs can afford this. It is often said that revenge is a dish best served cold. In this case, revenge is best served steamed with a dash of salt, and nothing else.

Eat up, Martin.

 

*Quotation from the report quoted above. Link: http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=461028

Advertisements
October 26, 2012

The Future of Hockey

by Jacob Saltiel

In my day…

Years from now, a crusty old man will try to explain what the sport of hockey once was:
“Now, gather round grandchildren and let me tell you about this thing called ‘hockey’. This was way back in the winter of, I think it was ’12- yes, you heard right, ’12- before Harper’s Canada traded all of it’s French-speakers to China for favourable oil trade agreements and before Harper’s Canada became Harper’s Canadian-American State. So, this must have about, oh, say, heh, must be going on 80 years now. … Where was I? Yes, hockey, now there was a sport, not at all like this thuggish wishy-washy robot fighting that’s on that TelepatheticVision garbage these days. You probably can’t understand it because these days it’s only robots that play the violent sports, but back then, you could watch real people put on a thin plastic bucket for a helmet and fly around on a sheet of ice (your father’s fantastic generation got rid of that too) with blades on their feet, they were called skates- hey I’m talking here, I’m talking here aren’t I, I fed you didn’t I? You could have pulled the plug, what is it now, 28 years ago and you didn’t have what it took for that either so let me finish. God and damn it. And get me another beer. Yeah, so, hockey. It was the wild west in those days. Wait, you won’t understand what I mean, but, you know about Southeast Asia right? Like that but with better hats and maybe fewer infections. Totally lawless. They probably fought a little more than they should have and probably should have spent much more time on the dekes inspired by some alien geometry and moving at odd angles that seemed to defy physics and freeze your heart for a second before they put the puck in the net, but, ah, look at me rattle on. I could go on here. Here, you and you and take these and download them before you upload yourself to class for the day. It’s from this thing called the CBC, yes, gold star Jimmy, that is the Canadian Broadcasting Commission, which used to make Canadian content by Canadians for Canadians, and they used to make movies out of hockey footage and play the latest faddy pop music over it. (Winking) We’re all Americans now, right? Don’t tell your parent’s I have this. Have a good day, okay, bye bye now. Go kiss your ma- where’s my beer? Coors Light? Shoulda pulled the plug.”

July 12, 2011

Scott Gomez is Not a Topic of Discussion

by Jacob Saltiel

Scott Gomez isn’t a punching bag… and you aren’t George St-Pierre.

Everyone’s Favourite Tricolore: Scott Gomez
Uh, after this post, I mean.

Since it’s going to come up, consider this post a hard and fast rule about all discussions of Scott Gomez on this blog.

He is to discussions about the Canadiens what Andrei Kostitsyn is on the rush; offsides.

You may ask: “Fucking why?! I love bashing Scott Gomez! I hate him more than anyone, especially those faker Habs fans that don’t hate him and I have a dart board with his face on it and a sign I made saying ‘7.245 million reasons to try harder next year’* and… and… and… etc…”

Of course you do.

And that’s exactly why it’s boring to bring him up again and again as the guilty party for undoing the efforts of the every other player on the team these last two years, not to mention his role in political repression in the Middle East and North Africa, being directly responsible for the bacteria weakening antibiotics, punching children and dolphins and crying every time he sees Love Actually. Listen, I get it that he’s both the league’s first player of Mexican descent, but that’s no good reason to treat him like a pinata.

Talking about it won’t make it any better that we traded away McDonagh to get him, or that he kills Gauthier’s cap space, or that he forces younger players (Eller, Desharnais, are you two awake?) down the depth chart or that he makes Cammalleri sulk or that he was supposed to be the MexiAlaskan Adam Oates. Those things aren’t going to change, and everyone who kills Bob Gainey for the trade is absolutely right for pointing out how much of a shitnami the trade’s turned out to be for the Canadiens, but this ignores a key point about why he made that trade in the first place.

Let me take you on a magical journey back in time to the land of strife and turmoil that was the Montreal Canadiens’ dressing room in the spring of ’09…

How we got here

The team followed a season in which it finished 1st in the conference by getting eliminated by their biggest rivals, the Bruins, in a sweep after a regular season marred by allegations of drugs infiltrating the team, some legendary moodiness from its most skilled player, disturbing regression from the team’s young players (the brother’s ‘Titsyn, Plekanec, Price), an emasculating injury to the fan-favourite defenceman some thought could be a future captain of the franchise in a dismaying beatdown from Milan Lucic and, the punchline to all of this, the estrangement and expulsion of the goofy, vegan and pacifist goon, Georges Laraque who was supposed to protect the Canadiens players from the NHL’s habitual thuggery.

Friends, this was not the happiest of times, and Bob Gainey looked so concentrated in press conferences and behind the bench that spring it looked like he was trying squeeze diamonds out of his furrowed brow. Reports that he set Sergei Kostitsyn on fire by glaring at him were exaggerated, but I understand that he did make Guillaume Latendresse cry by banning Cheetos and grease stains from team flights.

We all know what happened next: Gainey went Old Testament Episode 3, Noah’s Ark, on the Canadiens, dumping most of the veterans including Saku Koivu, demanding that Tomas Plekanec sue for mercy by building a massive ark to his specific dimensions so that he could collect all of the young players with potential two-by-two to ride out the tidal flood of rage, and bringing in a whole new first line and defence corps through trades and signings.

As evidenced by the street celebrations throughout the first two victorious rounds of the playoffs that year, the fans loved it when Cammalleri caught fire in the playoffs with future captain Brian Gionta scoring big goals in front of Halak and a heart-stoppingly defensive team lead by big Harold Priestly Gill, heretofore referred to as Hal MacInnis.

It’s easy to forget that Cammalleri and Gionta would not be here if not for the trade that brought in Gomez.

The team’s best centre under contract was Tomas Plekanec, whose 20 goal, 17 assist season was not attractive to potential goal scoring wingers. No, as Cammalleri clearly stated upon arriving in Montreal, he looked forward to playing with pass-happy Scott Gomez, and given Gomez’s pre-existing bromance with Brian Gionta and their sweet music together in Jersey a couple of seasons before, Gionta was likely swayed to sign with Montreal too.

Fans often become frustrated with Montreal’s perceived inability to sign star players in free agency, attributing the teams alleged failures either to lackadaisical management or cheap ownership or the emotion-bruising fans at the Bell Centre (Hell Centre for Gomez these days).

The Bigger Problem

More practically, stars probably consider the following three things, with 1) and 2) interchangeable:

1)  # of $’s
2) Climate of Team’s City
3) Quality of players on prospective team.

Montreal has a natural handicap for 1) and 2) because of high taxes in Quebec and because this city gets cold as balls and wolf infested from December-March while other players hang out in Arizona and Florida with tans and old people.

Number 3) has also been kind of problem in recent years, as the team has not been able to win consistently from season to season since they took home the Stanley Cup in ’93. That recent 1st place finish was an aberration. How come? The Montreal Canadiens only elite player who can be considered top 5 at his position in the past decade has been Andrei Markov (when healthy). Can you really blame players such as Marian Hossa for choosing between playing with Lidstrom/Zetterberg/Datsyuk or Crosby/Malkin/Stall without considering coming to Montreal? I say no unless you’ve been passing the peace pipe to yourself while angrily complaining about how every player in the league should burn with desire to come get booed by 21,273 itchy-booing-trigger-finger fucks. Is there going to be a sweeter city to win in than Montreal? I can’t say, but it’ll certainly be a great memory for whichever lucky souls eventually bring home the cup, but that doesn’t address immediate practicalities.

When Gainey wanted to bring in Cammalleri and Gionta, he must have known that he needed to show the two of them that he had a plan to surround them with out good players, and that included bringing in a centre would could play the first line. Saku Koivu, god bless him, is rightly adored in these parts but was never better than a 2nd line centre, and you don’t have to look at his stats more than once to know this to be true.

That’s why the trade was necessary at the time, and that’s why the team is stuck with him until his contract runs out, and griping about it endlessly only takes away from the contributions of the rest of the players on the team, blaming one guy for the successes or failures of a team- and make no mistake, hockey is a team sport whose outcomes are as unlikely to be decided beneficially by one player’s efforts** as they are to dashed by another’s. It’s too simple to pick on one player or another, particularly one whose faults are pretty obvious to anyone with functioning eyeballs.

Now what?

Rather than offer absurd suggestions for how to make Gomez a better player***, let’s just accept what he’s always been; not an elite centre, but a good one if he’s got good linemates. This is not to say that Gomez is better than he looks or better than his stats indicate. This isn’t even to say that Gauthier shouldn’t do everything possible to East River his ass at the first opportunity, but until such time that this happens- don’t get your hopes up for that- let’s just enjoy the players who are producing and discuss more interesting topics, such as Subban’s potential or Gauthier’s manipulation of the salary cap or the possibility of Zdeno Chara getting injured by a Ryan White lowblow this coming season.

“Can we agree to this?

Deal?

Great. Deal.

I’m glad we came to this agreement, you look good.

Yes, yes I have lost weight in fact.

No, must be the new glasses.”

That’s it. That’s the only thing I care to say about Gomez until we have a good riddance party for him. I’m serious. This is the last time I’ll bring up how shitty he is. And on that note and regardless of what his mom/wife/kids tell him at night, I’d like to reiterate that he is a sack of shit on skates.

Will that do? It’d better.

Till next time…

*Nice one.

** Caveat: Patrick Roy

*** Clearly whoever wrote this plays more NHL 2010 than actual- get this- ice hockey in the real world, since you’d have to be completely oblivious to the decades of training that turned Gomez succesful and also how rare it is for players to completely reinvent themselves. In the few cases that players do seem to change their games, it’s usually to focus on defense rather than to suddenly turn into elite physical centres- unless of course you can go into player generator and just make up a new Scott Gomez and change the statistics so that he plays more like Ryan Getzlaf, but unfortunately this is the real world where, at best, Gomez can tweak his game slightly to adapt his alleged skills (passing, skating, defence) to the increasing limitations of his age or to his new linemates.

June 25, 2011

The Incredi-awesome, Extra-pandemonium-flavoured Madness NHL Entry Draft of 2011

by Jacob Saltiel

Which poor soul will be a top line centre?

What follows below will be a team-by-team breakdown of each NHL team’s first round draft pick, including my estimates for the number of scoring titles each of them will win and the league-terrorizing future line combinations they will form with last year’s race of super prospects…
Actually- wait a moment. If you’re reading this site you’ve probably already lost sleep fantasizing about such things and have decided that because Team X drafted Player Y who is now on the verge of having a hall of fame career comparable to NHL Legend Z. It might be more interesting to dissect the last decade of Canadiens drafts. I’m not even going to bother with regurgitating TSNisms as if I immediately know anything more about these complete strangers than Montreal’s scouts or Bob McKenzie. Given that pro scouting is often poorly understood by pro scouts and that no sane GM would say that their pick isn’t going to turn into the next “insert vaguely comparable hall of fame player here”, let’s just discuss some of the past drafts of Pierre Gauthier and Trevor Timmins– without the unnecessary hyperbolic evaluations of the formers talent as a scouting director.

Trevor Timmins’ Draft Record: A Case Study

Bad news first:
Despite the fact that no Canadiens forward prospect from the last 10 years worth of drafts has gone on to score 30 goals or 60 points as a forward suggests to me that his reputation as a guru, disseminated mainly by the Montreal sports media, mind you, is ridiculous considering the Canadiens’ relative draft positions and the recent surge of elite talent into the league from players born between 1985-1990.

Here’s a list of the top 5 goal scoring prospects drafted by Timmins:

1. Mikhail Grabovski with 29 in 2010-2011
2. Chris Higgins with 27 in 2007-2008
3. Andrei Kostitsyn with 26 in 2007-2008
4. Guillaume Latendresse with 25 in 2009-2010
and
5. Punk-bitch Sergei Kostitsyn with 23 this year.

Think about that; The forward with the most goals and points scored in that period is Mikhail Grabovski with 29 goals and 58 points. He doesn’t play here. Neither does  Chris Higgins, nor Guillaume Latendresse, who split his best scoring season between Montreal and Minnesota. Andrei Kostitsyn  is the only 20+ goalscorer Timmins has drafted who still plays here.
The other four players were traded for, combined: Benoit Pouliot, Scott Gomez, Tom Pyatt, Greg Pateryn, Dan Ellis, Dustin Boyd,  a 2nd round pick last summer (traded away) and future considerations. Throw in the trade of Matt D’Agostini (21 goals this season) to St. Louis for Aaron Palushaj, and you have a combination of poorly managed and overvalued assets. Considering that Higgins was drafted before Timmins’ arrival, and his track record for drafting forwards looks even worse.

For some perspective, 29 players scored at least 30 goals season, 20 of whom were drafted in the same period described above. Go back a year, and you add 6 more players from this draft period to the list of 30 goal scorers, who either slightly underachieved this year or would have definitely scored 30 if not for injury (Parise and Semin, for example). Go back another year, and 4 other drafts picks from this timeframe scored 30 who have either regressed (Setoguchi, hilariously traded the day after signing a contract extension) or whose careers have been derailed from concussions (David Booth). Of those thirty 30-goal scorers from the last three years, some of them were high-end draft picks that the Canadiens had no chance of getting, such as obvious cases such as Sidney Crosby or Alexander Ovechkin, and yet in that list there are plenty of players picked late in the first round or later rounds who have become dangerous scorers. There are probably other players too, as I’ve only gone back two years. Timmins is supposed to be a draft guru*, yet he hasn’t performed even above-average, let alone at the top of the league, in terms of drafting effective scorers.

The results of weak drafts of forwards meant that the Canadiens had to buy high through trade (Scott Gomez) or free agency (Gionta, Cammalleri) to put players in jerseys to play on the top two lines around Tomas Plekanec (drafted in 2001) and Andrei Kostitsyn. In fact, under Timmins’ amateur scouting, the Canadiens have been unable to put even grinders into the lineup from the draft, as the only 3rd or 4th liner to play forward through the end of the regular season and into the playoffs was Ryan White. Pacioretty should have been in the lineup too, but consider that out of 13+1 (considering injury) forwards on the Habs roster, exactly 3 of them have roles on the roster, and Timmins had better be a specialist in drafting goalies and defencemen if he’s to be a genius at anything draftworthy.

Not all of this is his fault because, as shown above, at least three of the decent scorers he did draft were traded away for comparatively minimal return. Consider also that he picked Ben Maxwell (traded to Atlanta, having given zero indication that he can score in the NHL thus far) one (1) spot ahead of Milan Lucic and he looks more like a drunk (closer to epically wasted, really) guy playing darts blindfolded than a Buddha with the answer to all of your fucking drafting questions. Habs fans should be terrified of him since, according to his bio, he has an MBA from Queen’s University, which means he’s probably much better at selling the idea of his draft picks to his bosses and the media through PowerPoint presentations and lots of talk of ‘value added’ and ‘+1’ despite the, uh, trifling tangible results indicating otherwise. I bet he ties a mind-blowing Windsor knot, though.

All is not lost, however…

The Almost Good News
When a generally reasonable writer such as Mike Boone uncritically repeats Pat Hickey’s flawed interpretation of Timmins’ work** for many Montreal hockey fans to view publicly, it’s because of the quantity of Habs draft picks playing in the NHL rather than the quality. Timmins has brought players into the league from late rounds in the draft and this is particularly impressive in the case of players such as Jaroslav Halak or the Younger Kostitsyn given their quality. Let’s not go crazy here and act as if Timmins has been drafting elite talent, such as Henrik Zetterberg or Pavel Datsyuk, though. This is still a good thing though, and it’s not Timmins fault that the general managers he’s worked for have made donations of such later round finds to other teams after blocking out roster spots for younger players by signing limited veterans. Players like this include Mark Streit (given away), Jaroslav Halak and perhaps Alexei Yemelin.

There are even a couple of excellent complementary players, such as Ryan White (grit) or Yannick Weber (powerplay- well, according to myth anyway), and include Timmins’ responsibility in signing Desharnais for free and his value seems obvious. Consider also the excellent picks of Carey Price (the players above and below him in that draft are both scrubs with French names not actually born in Quebec (Benoit Pouliot and Gilbert Brule)) and PK Subban and, likely, Pacioretty, and it seems like he’s set up the Canadiens at each position with at least one first-line/first-pairing/starting goalie for the foreseeable future. There may still be a few players in the system who might turn into good to excellent NHL players from recent drafts.
One such pick has even been traded for a seemingly quality player in Lars Eller from the Halak trade.

The Verdict
Well, the evidence from the team’s composition is clear: The Canadiens are a team built through free agency and trade, apparently by managers (Gainey- oh my god he’s glaring at me I’m terrified- and Gauthier –oh my god he’s eating vegetables I’m terrified) who are unable to get solid returns from Timmins’ picks. Subban, Price, White, Weber, Plekanec, Pacioretty and Kostitsyn represent Habs draft picks with meaningful minutes played this past season who will likely contribute next season too***.

While some of these names are attached to the Canadiens more productive players, such are the tangible results of Timmins’ work so far, which are few in number and probably makes him about average. Not terrible, despite complete misses with Kyle Chipchura and David Fischer, but not great either even if Halak made him look like a genius last year. If too-recent-to-judge picks such as Danny Kristo or Louis Leblanc turn into 1st line, 30 goal scoring players, which, given their junior production thus far, does not seem at all guaranteed, they will be the first to do so in a decade of drafting.

This is one of the frustrating things about cheering for the Canadiens. The team’s management does not seem to have a coherent strategy for building the team. The Canadiens have neither stockpiled picks nor slowly brought up those picks through the system, but have unpredictably traded away potentially talented players to make room for veteran free agents (Sorry Mathieu Carle, you’ve been playing in the minors for years without a call-up and you probably won’t be getting one this year either!) or for other teams struggling prospects. Not all of these trades have been bad, but the winners of the last 4 Stanley Cups all had at least 5 of their own recent draft picks in major roles (Boston: Bergeron, Marchand, Lucic, Krejci, Boychuk/ Chicago: Kane, Toews, Keith, Byfuglien, Seabrook/ Pittsburgh: Crosby, Malkin, Fleury, Staal, Orpik/ Detroit: Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Franzen, Kronwall, Filpulla) and that not all of those major players were top-5 or, in Boston’s case, even 1st round picks. None of Boston’s 5 players just named were drafted in the top 30 players, which to me indicates superiour drafting.

Hockey is a team game and no single star can make or break a season. Timmins must believe that since, barring a couple of whiffs on a specific high-fiving defenceman and goalie combo, he’s ensured that the Canadiens don’t develop any stars, just a collection of decent scorers and complementary parts.

*Maybe it’s been a spelling mistake this whole time and he’s actually a ‘draught’ guru and can tell anyone anything they need to know about the world’s 23,057 varieties of beer by type, country of origin or alcoholic %.

**Don’t even get me started about how ridiculous it is to consider using 50 games in a season or 150 games total (that’s slightly less than 2 full seasons) as an indicator of an NHL player. Keep in mind that Montreal’s own Benoit Pouliot or Florida’s Rostislav Olesz have played 183 and 349 NHL games respectively, while failing to produce more than 30 points in a season despite their having been drafted in the top 10 to do just that, and you see why Hickey might have to use a statistic that might reflect the quality of those games and whether either of those guys will have careers when their contracts run up.

***Except for Weber, who looks like a depth defenceman with the Markov and Gill signings. If Hamrlik comes back, Weber might even be traded or lost on waivers, which would be a waste of an unproven player.

June 24, 2011

Markov: The Big Tease

by Jacob Saltiel

Let’s hope Markov’s contract is more entertaining than the movie nearly pictured above, yeah?

Speculation and rumours abounded this week that Andrei Markov* would sign a 1 or 2 year extension with the Canadiens, including a ‘Count it!’ prediction from the Team 990’s Tony Marinaro before it was formally announced that he had signed for 3 years to patrol the blueline and the trainer’s office in red, white and blue and likely also black.

Before launching into all kinds of enlightening, detailed analysis backed up by advanced and powerful statistics explained lucidly, I’d first like to direct your attention to Markov’s rehabilitation workout mixtape. Nothing like some Nine Inch Nails to keep your spirits up while you’re learning to walk again in the wading pool-, am I right?

Mixtape for Make Better Borscht Knee by Andrei Markov
1. Damaged Goods – Gang of Four
2. Hurt by Johnny Cash (Cover, duh).
3. Don’t Feel Right by The Roots
4. Can I Kick It? by A Tribe Called Quest
5. Medication by Queens of the Stone Age
6. Feel Good Inc. by The Gorillaz
7. Shattered by The Rolling Stones
8. Protect Ya Neck by Wu-Tang Clan (per Pacioretty’s recommendation)
etc… etc… (It’s been a couple of seasons and offseasons, this list goes on. Trust me.)

You get the picture.

The reaction to this deal should be neither one of ‘Holy fuck yes!‘ nor ‘Good God, no- why?!’ Since evaluating how effective Markov will be after spending the better part of two seasons out of the lineup with major knee injuries is impossible. But you know all of that already, so rather than arguing what kind of Markov will or will not be in the lineup, it might be more interesting to evaluate the deal against the main consideration for any transaction post-lockout. That is, the salary cap.

The Canadiens now have what is quickly becoming a glut of dangerously paid veterans. Cammalleri, Gomez, Gionta and Markov total a shade under 24m, or about 38% of the cap when only 1 member of the team’s young core (Price, Subban, Pacioretty, and the amazing Tomas Plekanec‘s turtleneck) is signed to a deal beyond his restricted free agency years, hence the description of the veterans’ salaries as ‘dangerous’. If the Canadiens have to trade away useful complementary players or a member of the young core due to the cap ceiling, Markov’s deal will hurt the team, a team that’s been improving without him.

With Wisniewski, a potentially cheaper player who may provide about 70% of Markov’s production, now priced out, Markov’s deal comes at a significant, to put it in grade 10 economics terms, opportunity cost. Wisniewski is not as good as a healthy Markov even adjusting for the physical grit and above-average fighting skills he brings that Markov completely lacks because of the comparison between his defensive skills and the way that Markov controls the flow of the game. Even accounting for this, if the Canadiens could have signed Wisniewski for between 4 and 4.5m a season for several years, they would have gotten younger, healthier, and kept some skills on the backline that PK Subban can’t replace. When operating with a salary cap, particularly when the Canadiens have a handicap compared to most other teams in the league because of Quebec’s relatively high taxes, every penny counts, and if Markov gets hurt again it can be difficult to replace him mid-season without  costly stop-gap solutions as we saw this year when Gauthier traded away a 2nd, 4th, and 2 5th (one conditional) round picks and Ben Maxwell for 75 regular season games of Mara, Wisniewski, and Sopel, none of whom are likely to be on the team this coming season following a 1st round exit. Even if Maxwell doesn’t turn into an NHL’er, that’s a decent chunk of assets that just disappeared and the situation that produced that waste hasn’t been addressed. As our Green-Loving, Al Gore-watching friends might say: “Where’s the fucking sustainability, P-Gauts!?! Green Team!”

Maybe Markov and Subban will make the Canadiens powerplay a death sentence for undisciplined teams this year with their combination of left and right handed shooting, hard shots, passing skills and mobility. Or, maybe Martin will be talking the media into a coma about organizational depth and- I paraphrase here- ‘young players having to step up… so I can sit them the fuck down’. Regardless, this team’s success depends more on the improvement from young guys** such as Subban, Price, Pacioretty, Desharnais, Eller and Weber rather than the chunky soup that is Markov’s knee. Now, let’s see about signing that group when their agents come calling for some extra cheddar on their waffles in the coming years.

*Notice how the comedians at TSN picked the photo of Markov just as he realized his knee had turned into string cheese.

** I’d include The Interesting Case of Benoit Button here, but it appears that he’s a tribal council meeting away from getting voted off the island.