1. Can Carey Price play like he did last year?
Steven: All of Montreal hopes so. He had an outstanding year this year, tying Roberto Luongo for the league lead in wins (38). But after 2 good years in Montreal to start off his career, he had an ugly one in 2009-2010. Luckily he was able to rebound, but their is still the possibility he goes down that horrid path again of bad play. Montreal can’t trust Peter Budaj with the starting duties.
Jackson: I believe he can. He has been a little bit inconsistent in his time in Montreal, but since Gauthier chose him over Halak, he seems to have gained confidence, which resulted in his stellar performance last year.
2. Will Scott Gomez return to His 84 Point form?
S: 84 points? No.50-60 points? Yes, His career is not over yet, and with the right people, he could get revived (Cole, Gionta anyone?) He hasn’t played well under Jaques Martin, so he better perform before he loses his job.
J: I don`t. I think he`s on the decline. I don`t see him getting much more then 45 anymore.
3. Where Does Yannick Weber fit in the Montreal depth chart?
S: Personally, I Think he should be top 4. But with Montreal’s defensive depth, he will likely be bottom 2 with Jaroslav Spacek, while Markov/Subban and Gorges/Gill fill the top 4. Weber has a big point shot, and can run a power play very well. A big reason why hes not getting bigger minutes is because of his small size (5″11). He will get his turn.
J: I believe he should be the one in the 6th spot. He has more NHL experience then any AHL defenceman currently with the club. Plus, like Steven, I really like him.
4. How will Gorges perform this season?
S: Despite Playing only 36 games with an injury, his play should not be affected. He only had 7 points last year, and never got more then 23, so no matter what he wont get many points. Since it was a knee injury, his skating may be affected. He did have major reconstructive surgery, so his play will be different then it was before the injury. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? We will have to see.
J: If he hopes to stay with the team, he needs to perform well in order to get a long term contract.
5. What’s Montreal’s biggest need?
J: They can use another good forward. They need more out of their forward because we lost 3 good defenceman, but it was fixed easily.
6. Is this team better then last year?
S: Defensively, they are the same. They lost Mara, Hamrilik and Wisnewski. Good thing is, Montreal’s defense is already amazing. In terms of goaltending, Budaj is in a very similar situation as Auld was last year, with the plan that he will play around 10 games. So they did not improve in goal, but did not get worse. Offense wise, Montreal’s top 6 got better by adding Cole. I’m undecided whether or not Montreal is a better team now, but they have their strengths and weaknesses.
J: If Markov and Gorges stay healthy, they will be a huge threat come playoff time. I say yes.
7. Does Alexei Yemelin make the team?
S: If that is the case, Weber would have to not make the team. Yemelin is a physical, stay at home defenceman who has a good shot. He has lots of potential, and can easily make a lot of teams. This is a good young defensive prospect you don’t want to let go, but in doing so you may be hurting a talented blue liner in the process. I hope Weber makes the team, but it will all come down to camp.
J: I think we will see both Yemelin and Weber during the season, but to me Weber makes the team.
8. What Happens If Markov Gets Injured again?
Subban should be ready to take the reins as a top defenceman in the NHL. While I don’t see a Norris trophy anytime soon, he should be able to get a considerable amount of points, something Montreal misses when Markov is out. You don’t want to trade arguably your best player. It just doesn’t make sense. But as I have said many times so far in this blog post alone, Montreal has a good defense corp and should be able to have a replacement ready if Markov goes down again (Yemelin, Weber, Nash Or Diaz).
J: If he gets injured…. WE ARE F—-D. But really, it’s his career that’s screwed.
Final Thoughts On the Season: Montreal is going to make the playoffs. It won’t be a high posiston, but it means we have a chance. Realistically, a 6th, 7th or 8th place finish is what they should be looking at. The Bruins are still the favorites to win the Cup, so if they finish high enough, they may face the Habs again in the first 2 rounds. But, as we found out this year, Montreal is always competitive against our hated rivals, and will put up a fight. With all the drama that happened last season, they should put up a big fight. If Montreal can beat the Bruins, they can beat almost anybody.
Will they win their 25th Stanley Cup?
No, but after their run in 2009-2010, we know its possible.
And we have one more thing to say.
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