Well, this was a doozy. And not a good doozy, a terrible doozy. The game was outright putrid, and I question whether any of the players on the ice today really felt like playing. The Canadiens lost 3-0, on goals scored by Dennis Wideman and Matt Hendricks and Alexander Semin. The Wideman goal was a bit of a fluke, a bouncing puck off a faceoff that Budaj never saw. The second was Hendricks potting a Brooks Laich rebound into a wide open net while Kaberle calmly watched.The Canadiens outshot the Capitals. Ah, Semin‘s goal. There were also 2 penalty shots, one called on Budaj for throwing his stick at Troy Brouwer on a breakaway. The second, a direct result of Kaberle’s whimsical backpass at the opposite blue line, resulted in Semin being awarded a penalty shot. Semin made no mistake and launched a slapper into the net behind Budaj. The end result was the third straight shutout for the Caps against the Habs, all in the seemingly friendly confines of the Bell Centre.
Another day, another loss, another step closer to the lottery. Not even yesterday’s visit of a sports psychologist could help the Habs today. Tonight, even the Pacioretty-Cole-Desharnais line couldn’t make a difference, and the other lines were completely invisible. Defensively, Kaberle played a horrible game. No excuses here, he needs to be better. The rest of the players had relatively uneventful nights, but Subban did a very good job tracking Ovechkin‘s line most of the night. He didn’t create much offensively, but he and Gorges did a masterful job containing that line. Too bad the other defensive pairings couldn’t contain the rest of the Caps squad.
The play of Subban and Budaj aside, there’s not many other positives to draw out of this game. I think it’s time to play the kids and see where they take the team. The season is clearly over, so no harm in shipping out some vets for picks and moving forward with the rebuild. I think in the next month or so, barring Molson genuinely believing that injuries are the reason, the Canadiens GM will be shipping out Moen, Kostitsyn, Gill, Gomez [wishful thinking, I know], Budaj, and Campoli. Here’s what I think can be had for these players:
– Moen should be able to generate a late 1st or a 2nd rounder. Good fit on a contending team. Teams like Vancouver, Philly, and maybe Toronto would have use for a player like Moen. He won a Cup before, works hard, is big and has relatively good hands. UFA July 1st.
– Kostitsyn is a great player but I think a change of scenery would do both sides some good. In all of the laments about his consistency, he actually has been consistent in results, if not effort. He has scored 20 goals at least 3 times in his past five seasons. He is on pace for 21 this season, and he’s a big body that can hit. He should be able to get a 1st rounder + a prospect on a team like Nashville who needs scoring. He’s only 27 and a UFA on July 1st.
– Finally, Gomez will not be in a Habs uniform next year. Whether it’s down in Hamilton, a buyout [particularly with rumours of an amnesty penalty free buyout period included in the next CBA] or another team [!!!], I don’t believe we will be seeing Gomez in bleu-blanc-rouge anytime soon.