When the Montreal Canadiens lost to the Ottawa Senators in round 1 of last seasons Stanley Cup playoff matchup, a couple of the teams short comings become unavoidable. While those holes were evident even before then, they seemed to just get bigger. Those two areas were the teams overall toughness and size, but also the teams leadership. It seemed the Habs lacked that type of player, the Alfredsson like veteran, who could rally his troops to play hard and tough, but also to make sure they play to win and not only out muscle the opposition. A leader in the room, but most importantly, on the ice. It seemed like the Habs, in the playoffs and at times in the regular season, were either trying to win the hockey game or trying to win the physical battle, but they never seemed to be able to do both at once.
Cue the summer free agent season and MG brings in Parros and Murray in an effort to add some grit and pugnacity to a line up desperate for some. Both also bring experience and a veterans approach to the game. The other big move made was the signing of Briere who is far from the big body they need up front, but he brings some skill and depth which the Habs offense could use a boost in. Briere is far from a leader, but he is a needed veteran who has been there and done that and when healthy will play all out every shift. That said, can he stay healthy? Did the Habs really need a talented player with injury questions and lack of physical play? That remains to be seen.
What I did notice was that MG tried to fill his teams holes and needs without giving up anything but money and cap space. Which is good. Try to win now and try to win later too, right? Problem is, going the cheap route to aquire things you need doesnt always work. Its more of a patch work solution where hoping for the best is all you can rely on, but you know that eventually you need a more permanent solution. MG is banking on the team competing, especially after a surprising season last year, while the youth in the organization develop and mature.
This could all work out great for the Habs and they can continue to build on last seasons success, or the patch work solutions could just make the hole thing fall apart where a permanent solution is the only answer.
If leadership and captaincy mean anything at all, are you comfortable with Gionta and Markov as the head figures this season, with Subban waiting in the wings? With hockey just around the corner, we wont be waiting too long to see how this all plays out.