Habs season preview: Scott Gomez REALLY wants the C, line-up predictions, pre-season opener, and more!

Note: Props to Ron Guillet who polished off his first blog today... I'm bumping him down so I'm making sure to remind you all to scroll down and read his masterpiece after you read mine!

Scotty Gomez is lobbying HARD to get the C. His man crush with this team and this city has begun. Thanks for this, Mike Boone:

In his post-practice scrum today, Scott Gomez compared Carey Price to Martin Brodeur.

He said he was blown away by Andrei Kostitsyn's skill level.

He likes playing with Mike Cammalleri.

And he's surprised the Bell Centre will be sold out tomorrow night for the exhibition opener against Florida.

Gomez delivers these observations with a ready smile and the affability that is characteristic of Americans.

He'll be a joy to cover this season.

So, basically, his linemates are all-star future hall of famers, Montreal fans are awesome and the French language is amazing.

Naturally, I'm blowing things a little out of proportion, but so is our friend Scotty. We get it, buddy, you're happy about changing teams, moving to a new city, having the opportunity to learn about a new language and a new culture, make new fans and new friends and new teammates... but don't push it. He obviously wants to help his chances when it comes to acquiring the captaincy, and that's fine, but it sounds like he's pandering to just about everyone. We'll see how you feel when they start harrasing you like the did the former captain (and his Russian co-captain).

But in all honestly, I wouldn't mind seeing him with the C on his sweater. Looking all the list of candidates - if they don't go with my rotating captaincy idea, that is - he seems to be the best suited. He's here for a long time, he's the guy everyone will have their eye on, he's the number 1 center and he needs to be one of our best players. Go ahead and give him a shot with it.

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Next up, my line-up predictions for the season opener on October 1st in Toronto... We're going to see a few experiments at the preseason games, but I think what you'll see in the next couple of nights will be mostly what you'll get:

Cammalleri - Gomez - Andrei Kostitsyn
Pacioretty - Plekanec - Gionta
Latendresse - Lapierre - Moen
- Stewart - Metropolit - Laraque-

Bolded are the names I believe could either start the season in Hamilton, or in the pressbox, depending on how they do at their preseason games.

Which players do I think have the greatest shot at cracking the line-up in their place? In order:

1. Matt D'Agostini - for a player who basically crawled his way to the NHL, he impressed me a lot last year despite being somewhat streaky and soft defensively. Still, the guy has character, and he has the determination to make the team. The only reason he doesn't make the starting line-up is because I think the team needs to be tougher going up against the Leafs in the ACC. He could very well be interchangeable with Stewart or Laraque, or even Pacioretty, if he falls out of managements favor, in future games.

2. Sergei Kostitsyn - I haven't seen him at camp, but I honestly think Sergei is on the outside looking in right now. After the embarrasments he seemingly suffered last year, both on and off the ice, Sergei has something to prove, and he might have to prove it in Hamilton. But he's still high up on the list, naturally because of his skill and ability to play top 6 minutes.

3. Brock Trotter - I hear he's been somewhat impressive at camp, and we get to see him in action tonight. Good free agent signing by Gainey a year or two ago, and a very versatile player. Definately going to get called up sometime this season.

4. Ben Maxwell - People have somewhat forgotten about him, and, true, he didn't really impress when he was with the pro team last season, but he's still a top prospect with a good shot at making the team as relief on that 4th line or if there's an injury at the center position.

5. Mike Glumac - This one's a long shot, but the guy is resilient and a big scorer for the Bulldogs in the AHL. More likely to come up if there's an injury at center, I think he deserves a chance in an NHL game at some point this season.

6. Yannick Weber - Ok, I know what you're going to say, and I know Carbo will be too busy holding his anger towards Bob Cole in this season to coach the habs, but I've always been a fan of defensemen dressing as forwards... it's insurance, just in case someone on D gets injured (and a defenseman is much harder to replace during the course of a game than a 4th liner), and he's insurance for the powerplay, and a guy who can be assured will work hard. He should definitely be in the back of the coaching staff's head for such a role.

Did I miss someone who you think deserves a shot to crack the forward line-up? Please post comments!

Not going to bother with the defense, since it's pretty much set. It would be nice to see Subban get a shot, but there's simply no room this here. Seems like Mara's spot will be going to him next year though. Goaltending is also set, unless they finally decide to trade Halak.

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Not much to say about tonight's preseason opener against the Panthers, just hope the young kids and new guys look good. It's not on TV so I'll be catching highlights and boxscores between NHL 2010 games and the season premiere of the Office!

Enjoy the hockey, and the comedy premieres, and NHL 2010 if you get it, I'll be back tomorrow with another blogsterpiece (just made that up, is that too tacky?).

Have a nice day everyone, enjoy the sunshine before Fall takes over!

Prax