Brian Gionta out indefinitely with broken foot
The Montreal Canadiens didn't have much time to celebrate their squeaker of a victory against the Carolina Hurricanes. News out of the organization today is that highly paid right winger, Brian Gionta, and one of Bob Gainey's major acquisitions this past offseason, is out indefinitely with a broken foot.
There is no word yet on how long Gionta will be sidelined for, but one has to expect 4 to 6 weeks to be an appropriate timeline, but it all depends on which bone in his foot was broken. Ilya Kovalchuk's broken bone was in a non-weight bearing bone, and he was able to come back fairly quickly. On the other hand, Daniel Sedin has already missed close to six weeks, and while he is probably set to return this week, he has been teasing the Vancouver Canucks with said return for the better part of two weeks.
The Canadiens and their fans can only hope the injury isn't too serious, as the habs were already having trouble scoring with Gionta in the line-up. And while Gionta had cooled off after the first few games of the seaosn, he had 4 goals in his 5 November games, including a two point performance his last game, last Thursday against the Phoenix Coyotes.
This latest injury forced Bob Gainey to make some minor moves, as Mathieu Carle has been sent back to Hamilton to make room for the returning Ryan O'Byrne. While nothing is confirmed, O'Byrne has been practicing with Carle for a good week now and should be good to go in either Friday's game in Washington or Saturday's game at home against Detroit.
While Carle wasn't bad in his few games with the Habs, he wasn't the defensive presence the Canadiens needed, proceeding to sit the last three games before he was sent down, after the Canadiens acquired Jay Leach off waivers. Leach is likely to ride the pressbox when O'Byrne is back.
Finally, Georges Laraque was activated off the injured reserve today, and practiced with Maxime Lapierre and Guillaume Latendresse today, all according to Habs Inside/Out. No word on whether he will dress on Friday, but it is likely.
While Ryan O'Byrne will certainly help to stabilize the defensive corps, and Georges Laraque won't hurt the team, it's clear that something needs to be done about this group of players.
It was certainly clear before the Habs only scraped by the dismal Carolina Hurricanes in a 3-2 shootout (one where they trailed most of the game 2-1, and needed six shooters to score on Manny Legace, who had only played less than half of the game after Michael Leighton was injured...). This team can't control opposing teams' offense. Moreover, this team can't score consistently!
If Mike Cammalleri is having an off night, and Plekanec's wingers-o'-the-night aren't in measure to bury Plek's passes, then there will be a lot more losses than wins this season, because there is no one else with scoring touch on this team. Andrei Kostitsyn got one last night, but he's generally lost it. Max Lapierre had a nice shootout winner last night, but he's not going to do that every game. And Guillaume? ha...
So what's a general manager to do? Gainey was already on the brink when he signed all these players. Now the team is 10-11, unable to score, unable to play defensive hockey under a defensive coach, unable to beat even the worst of teams in regulation. He has to make a trade.
Question is, for who, and what does he have to give up? I'm not one to speculate, so I'll leave that up to the more creative minds.
But something needs to happen, and it needs to happen before this thing gets out of control.