Nothing in this world at this time would please Hab fans more then to see Two things happen, 2nd line production and Tender find his game. With this line-up Carbo is trying to get both things.
I believe its the first real chance all the lines has to realy get going on ALL cylinders. It might still take 2-3 games to tuneup but without a trade THIS IS IT.
Meet the 2006-7 Habs.
Kostitsyn and Lapierre are the next up to replace any injured current Hab forward. Lapierre for any 4th liner and Kostitsyn for any 1,2,3rd liner.
Key differences are,
2nd line, Kovalev at center makes his passes shorter, no more LONG cross ice passes to SAmmy ( many did not work) it makes Kovalev the BOSS of the line and thats it. No more on ice debate. Kovalev will still look for Sammy first in the beginning but Prez will get much better chances overall and within 2-3 games Kovalev will look for both almost equaly.
Latendresse has still to learn, two mates that can back him up defenceivly and two mates that think and play a bit slower then TOP GUYS, a tad slower timing will benifit Latendresse. Its a line that will play much more a " basic hockey" style. In a way his mates will play down to Tenders current timing, but the line as a whole will work better.
Pleks to the 4th is a demotion for him but its not for the Habs. We know Pleks has breakaway speed, good at faceoffs, creates turnovers and is very defenceivly responsible. Less ice time but a better result. Pleks overall speed adds a bit more chance for the 4th to score a goal.
So, as I have believed since the start of this season, this is as good as it's going to get for the Habs 2006-7.
I was looking at the weekly league wide scoring stats in the paper this morning, and it seems most teams have little or no scoring from anyone beyond their top 9 forwards. Some teams are getting production from 5 or 6 guys only. Buffalo has no 4th line goals though Gaustad has 4 a's, making me wonder whose goals he's assisting on.
I like the idea, but RC's right. Plus, icetime limits the feel for offense a guy will get in 7-8 minutes a game. I think you have to look at what you can get from guys with short minutes. If Plekanec is having minutes cut, you know he and Begin can play a shift late while protecting a lead. The way RC describes Lapierre and Kostitsyn's roles if called up, describes how Plekanec and Begin are viewed, [assuming they are limited in icetime]. Begin can jump onto Bonk's line or fill in late in a game on any line. Pleks can jump in anywhere if an injury or poor play dictates it.
One thing I forgot to mention.
Last year the Habs were KILLED for a LONG stretch because of injuries at center, Ribs could NOT carry the load remember?
This year, Koivu, Kovalev,Bonk,Pleks, Begin, and even Johnson can play at Center. Much better depth at center, add a allmost ready for prime time Lapierre and Kostitsyn as call ups means much better depth as injury replacements. And lastly, Theo played ok ( not great just ok) for the first 25 games, BUT nobody can forget the last 10 games he played for the Habs, BAD is not a word that actualy depicts
just how bad he was. I had never seen a goalie lose it like that. It cost the Habs at least 8 points extra before the trade.