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09-23-2003, 04:57 AM
  #1
krmason
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cbs's preview of canadiens

The Canadiens aren't really facing much in the way of expectations from their fans this year, although there is always pressure on this storied hockey team in Montreal. That's one of the reasons so many players are reluctant to play there.
Fortunately for the Canadiens, a fair number of their players this year will be too young to understand what all the fuss is about. Under new general manager Bob Gainey, Montreal's lineup should be decidely younger, with the nucleus of the future, forwards Jason Ward and Marcel Hossa and defenseman Ron Hainsey and Mike Komimsarek, set to get regular turns.
Those young talents saw some action last year and generally looked good, particularly after Claude Julien became coach. But that doesn't necessarily mean than Montreal will get back to the playoffs this year, even if the kids continue to improve.
The Canadiens, overall, do not have a bad lineup with players like Saku Koivu, Richard Zednik and Andrei Markov, but the team is small and struggles to score goals. Two years ago, the MVP and Vezina-winning goaltending Jose Theodore overcame those deficiencies, but when he struggled last year, so did Montreal.
Theodore had some personal scandalous issues involving his family to contend with this summer. How Theodore rebounds from that episode and last will dictate Montreal's campaign. If they do in fact sneak into the playoffs, it has to be because of Theodore.
http://www.sportsline.com/nhl/teams/page/MON