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10-04-2003, 07:21 AM
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Gainey Has MuchTo Decide

Current Depth Chart and (player ready to make the grade)

Jan Bulis---------Saku Koivu-------Richard Zednik
Marcel Hossa-----Mike Ribeiro-------Jason Ward
Michael Ryder-----Chad Kilger-----Niklas Sundstrom
Gordie Dwyer----Yanic Perrault-----Donald Audette
Darren Langdon---Joe Juneau-----Andreas Dackell
-----------------Steve Begin--------------------
-----------------Chris Higgins--------------------
---------------Tomas Plekanec-------------------

did I miss anyone?

No one has to look to the above list of players to realize that many decisions must be made in regards to who stays and who go's before the season starts, as the log jam is very apparent.

It is just a matter of time before centres will be sent down or traded and the most likely candidates are Perrault, Juneau and yes even Kilger if the Habs are able to find someone of Kilgers size with more touch around the net. Kilger could still turn out to be that man since he is still very young and like most young players they get rushed into action at the NHL level. Ribeiro has also played well but his size at centre along with Koivu could lead to a change for the right offer.

Even if Kilger does not return from his injury in time for the start of the seasons I would be very surprised to see Higgins starting the season with the Habs. Many of you will be disappointed but this is the best thing that could happen to Higgins.

Most of us will agree that he did not look out of place in preseason but he still has much to learn and Higgins will need a lot of playing time to properly develop, the Bulldogs is the answer.

Also 2 more wingers will go most likely Dackell and Audette as the only thing still keeping them with the Habs is the fact that as of yet no other team has been willing to take them.

Players like Ryder and Ward will start with the Habs since they will have to clear waivers if they are sent down. Till now they both have shown that they deserve a chance with the big club.

Hossa and Plekanec have played good enough to start with the Habs but things being what they are, Plekanec most likely will find himself starting with the Dogs and Hossa could follow. Hossa and Plekanec are still very young and some more games in the AHL won’t hurt either of their progress.

We may not agree with the decisions that will be made but sometimes your hands are tied and only time will correct the mistakes of the past.

Eventually the forward lines will have more scoring, grit, toughness and determination and could possible look something like this.

Ryder - Koivu - Zednik
Hossa - Ribeiro - Ward
Bulis - Kilger - Sunstrum
Dackell or Dwyer - Begin - Langdon

At every position the Habs have a log jam and Gainey must come up with the answers to clear them.

I still expect to see more veterans being put on waiver so that the Habs will be able to start the season with the maximum 23 required players 25 if Koivu and Kilger are still injured. 2 goalies, 12 forwards and 6 defenseman with and extra forward or defenseman in the line-up depending what the coach feels he needs for that game.

my 2 cents.

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