A Stud Goaltender and an Offensive Defenceman Is All You Need Right?

Montreal Canadiens 2 – New Jersey Devils 1

The Habs Win – Someone Must Have Either Been Fired Or Traded

To judge any team and organization all you must do is look at one game.   A nondescript game, where nothing is at stake and nothing out of the normal is happening.  When it’s just one game out of the 82 a team plays, that is when you can evaluate a team.  How does a player play when nothing is on the line and when there is no pressure?  How does a player play when it’s a ho- hum game in the middle of December when nothing is on the line. 

A championship team, heck a good team, plays every game up to its ability.  A good player plays every shift as hard as any shift in his hockey career.  A true team can be measured in every single game they play.  A true team plays every game like it wants to win the game just because that team is good.  The team plays hard every game because it wants to win every game and because it wants to be the best. 

Well that isn’t the Montreal Canadiens.  The Canadiens only play hard when something is on the line.  And on the line means their jobs.  Earlier in the year out of the blue Perry Pearn was fired.  The team won.  This week, Jaro Spacek was traded and Tomas Kaberle was brought in.  The team won.  If Spacek can get traded to the hockey dead zone that is Carolina then anyone can get traded anywhere.  What goes through a player’s mind when they are lacing up their skates right after a major change has occurred? 

“I better play good tonight or else I’m gone."

Of course I am happy with the win.  Of course I am happy that the team climbs up in the standings.  Compared to most, I am really happy with the acquisition of Tomas Kaberle.  He never has had too many highs or too many lows.  He is consistent.  That is exactly what we need from everyone – consistency.  Now that we have Kaberle can we please stop hearing

“You can never have too many puck moving defencemen.”

What else is an offensive defenceman supposed to do?  Every team needs two things to be successful and ultimately win a championship.  They need a out of this world goaltender and they need an offensive defenceman.  Today for one afternoon in Newark, New Jersey we got that.

Kaberle had two assists.  Those two assists weren’t the regular pass the puck around the board type of helpers.  Kaberle actually was the cause of both goals.  The first came in the second period and was finished off by Max Pacioretty who scored his eleventh.  It was a power play goal, yes a power play goal.  That’s what Pierre Gauthier brought Kaberle for.  That’s what Andrei, I am still hurt, Markov was resigned for:  but I digress.  In the third period Kaberle created a chance for Mathieu Darche who forced the puck toward the goal line only to see Erik Cole steal a goal.  A two goal lead for the Habs, two points for Kaberle, and a GM of the year award to Gauthier.

But then the Habs of old came back - well just a little.  The Habs before today’s trade couldn’t hold a lead.  They lost to the Penguins and the Canucks after having leads in the third period.  Nick Palmieri, who was recently called back up, who played only less than five minutes this afternoon, scored to make it a one goal game.  At this moment in every game capitulation usually occurs.  The Habs sink back into Jacques Martin mid-90s style of hockey and the tying goal lights up the lamp.  Well this time it wasn’t Ray Emery in nets.  It’s Carey Price who saved the day. 

With a little over two minutes left in the game, Raphael Diaz was given two minutes or less for hooking.  The same Swiss Diaz who will now be fighting for ice time when Chris Campoli comes back.  Yes Campoli that guy we signed as cover for our injuries who got injured and then we had to rush Diaz and Emelin and then we had to trade Spacek for Kaberle….yes a run on sentence but the D core for the Habs has been on long run on sentence.  Anyways Diaz in the box, scramble occurs and Josh Gorges covers up the puck with his glove in the crease.  Penalty shot Zach Parise with 47 seconds left.  Price to the rescue as he stops Parise and the game is won.  Habs win Habs win Habs win.  See all you need is offensive defenceman and a stud goaltender.

Three Stars

Carey Price:  Stopping 28 of 29 shots and winning his tenth game of the season.
Tomas Kaberle:  A puck moving defenceman with two points in his first Hab game.

Martin Brodeur:  Always plays just good enough against the Habs – now can you please retire?


The Montreal Canadiens are in ninth place in the Eastern conference.  Christmas has come early.  Thank you, Pierre Gauthier, as you have saved yours and Martin’s job for about a month.

P.S., With the addition of Kaberle here is what the next few years looks for the Habs. 

Scott Gomez - 31 years old...7.3 million per year until 2013-14.
Brian Gionta - 32 years old...5.0 million per year until 2013-14.
Erik Cole - 33 years old...4.5 million per year until 2014-15.
Andrei Markov - 32 years old...5.75 million per year until 2013-14.

Tomas Kaberle - 33 years old...4.25 million per year until 2013-14.

Is there any team out there that would take any of these contracts off our hands?  That is what general manger Jim Rutherford of the Hurricanes was saying yesterday.  Is there someone out there that can take Tomas Kaberle off our hands?  Do I need to say anything else?

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George Prax's picture

They were lucky to win this afternoon, no matter how many goals Kaberle created. I don't think scoring is this team's problem, outside of the powerplay. The problem is holding on to leads, and Kaberle will do nothing to help improve that, since he can't actually play much defense. In fact he was already getting beaten tonight pretty handily. Even if he put up five points, it doesn't really matter. The dude has a ridiculous contract. If they were so desperate for an offensive defenseman they would have signed Wiz in the off-season. This is a saving-face move meant to delay the inevitable for certain people in management, just like how every move is crafted with this team.