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12-27-2003, 07:09 PM
  #90
Mike8
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Some notes....

- I thought Brisebois had a great game. He played with a lot of poise, was proactive with his stick, and actually used his reach for the first time in a long time. He didn't make great outlet passes, but that was as much Montreal forwards' fault as it was his. Overall he played the best among any Hab defensemen.

- Souray struggled a bit. Some turnovers on the blueline and he wasn't the rock that Montreal needs him to be on the PP in order for the four forwards deal to work. Koivu should never be the last man back.

- There are several disturbing trends that started against Washington. The main trend being the non-physical play right now. There's seemingly no team unity, players aren't in sync, passes aren't being completed, there's no line that can go out there and get under the opposition's skin.

- Ridding the team of Audette is a start, but I think it's becoming increasingly evident that the third line needs the physical presence that Begin brought. Sundstrom--as I've said from the get-go--needs to play with a specific role that's useful to the team in order to produce. Right now he's redundant and being used as a filler. He can't produce offensively unless there's players that he can feed off of. I thought he had an excellent game on the PK, but was a non factor offensively.

Same deal for Dackell. The team needs a physical player to play between them. Unfortunately, there isn't a center on the roster that can add this dimension.

- I know it's only been four games for Gratton, but I'm still left with the impression that the guy's not cut out for the NHL. He doesn't have the speed or strength to be a fourth line plugger. He's outmuscled and pushed off the puck with way too much ease. And as hard as he tries defensively, he just doesn't have the strength or the smarts to contain NHL calibre players down low. I'm not going to call for him to be sent down to the minors as I think he deserves a chance to play with Ward on the fourth line first but, I'm doubtful he'll ever be more than an AHLer.

- One thing's for sure: Perreault doesn't belong on the fourth line. He looked hungry and played well tonight, but that fourth line is abysmal. There just isn't the energy, the strength, the speed that a fourth line should have. Watching all three forwards battle for the puck along the boards (with no player in any position to take a shot), and yet still lose the battle on a consistent basis was a sad display.


- Ribeiro had a tough game. Singlehandedly lost possession on Montreal's first powerplay several times, caused numerous turnovers on dipsy-doodle type of plays, and struggled hugely defensively. Hopefully he can rebound.

Of course, when Ribeiro's not all there, neither is Dagenais.


Tough night overall. I sincerely believe this team needs some character players among the bottom six forwards in order for the top six to succeed more consistently.

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