As reported by GM Pierre Gauthier earlier today, Habs captain Brian Gionta, will be out indefinitely following a successful surgical intervention onto his right bicep. He suffered the injury in the 3rd period of yesterday’s 3-0 loss to the St.Louis Blues. To date, Gionta has only played in 31 games, having missed time with a groin injury, and the game against the Blues was only his second game back.
Obviously, things are going from worse to disastrous. At this juncture, it’s hard to remain optimistic. The Canadiens play the “best team in hockey” [according to none other than McGill university alum Mike Babcock] next, and it’s looking more and more like an uphill battle. As the trade deadline looms larger in the distance, the Canadiens management has an important decision – become buyers in the hopes of making a desperate pitch for the 8th spot, or accept defeat and rebuild.
As much as the Habs fan in me wants them to battle and believes they can pull it off, the realist in me sees that they have let this season slip away. There are simply too many teams with games in hand for them to pull this off.
So what can we do here?
Here are some suggestions/proposals that I want to throw out there:
- Call Anaheim Gauthier! Apparently, everyone that is not named Saku Koivu or Teemu Selanne is available. If that is indeed the case, we should land the young, large center that all Leafs fan assume will be theirs: Ryan Getzlaf. Though I have some reservations about the likelihood of Getzlaf actually being traded, if this is case, the price will be exorbitant. I can’t think of a team in the NHL right now that would not pitch for Getzlaf. If I’m Gauthier, I offer Tomas Plekanec + Louis Leblanc or Plekanec and a 2nd round pick. The Ducks get Plekanec, who is a great 2nd line center on any other team, and they get either a fairly good draft pick or a strong prospect in Leblanc.
- Trade Michael Cammalleri. I did not enjoy reading his comments today to the media whatsoever. [See TSN story for more details]. For someone whose received 6m$ per year to SCORE GOALS, with a grand total of 9 on the season, he’s talking some pretty big game about a losing attitude. Watching his play is painful. He floats. He misses assignments and he genuinely seems intent on trying to same one timer high and wide over and over again. I was [and largely still am] a Cammy fan, but enough is enough. He has produced for us in the playoffs, but he hasn’t produced at all in the regular season, and right now he is sinking this team. There have been whispers about his attitude on previous teams, both the Flames and when he essentially held out as an RFA on the Kings hoping for a huge offer [then losing in arbitration and being traded to the Flames], and right now, his comments about the compete level are spot on if he’s referring to himself. I would trade him to playoff team for a prospect and a pick. Perhaps even back to L.A.? They are severely in need of scoring, and we could use a prospect like Voynov + a second rounder? Or potentially bump up the offer on the Habs part to include Jack Johnson?
- Finally I think the Habs need to get bigger. SHOCKING. But in reality, they need to buy out Scott Gomez to do this. No team will take Scott Gomez off of our hands. No one. Stick him in the AHL, buy him out, do whatever it takes to get him off the roster. Keep playing Eller and Desharnais, and live with the kids.
The rest? Trade them. For prospects, for draft picks, for young players. The Canadiens need to start over, get bigger and tougher, and go back to their winning ways.
The current edition is not going to lead them back to the promised land.
(Picture taken from the Dirty Dangle - http://www.dirtydangle.com/2011/04/wax-stain-wednesday_27.html)