Yup...it's been awhile, to say the least-and as much as I'd love to delve into the many reasons why Magg's Habs Musings has been sitting on the backburner for the past 8 months, there is no time. There is no time because my back hurts and this chair is uncomfortable. There is no time because I am tired and might pack it in early tonight-but, most importantly, there is no time because training camp is right around the corner, and it is now time to look ahead to the beginning of the long, nerve-wracking, anxiety filled hockey season that comes with being a fan of the Montreal Canadiens.
It is time to break out the jerseys, the hats, the tuques and scarves. It is time to sit with fellow fanatics and debate, discuss, argue, and agree to disagree on various issues that would leave many wondering "Why do they even waste their time talking about this stuff?" But alas, only a true fan of the Bleu, Blanc, et Rouge can truly appreciate a full-fledged conversation over whether or not Jeff Woywitka was the right defenseman to sign in the role of a depth defenseman.
If I wanted to waste your time, I would figuratively wind back the clock to Draft Day and analyze everything that has happened since then, in an attempt to formulate my opinions on the matter and with hope to persuade you into believing that I am credible, knowledgable person on the topic of hockey (which I plan on achieving, by the way). But its already August and anything I say will simply be repetition at this point, so unfortunately, in keeping with the theme of this blog post-time, and the lack thereof-I will keep it short and sweet:
- I was rooting for Tyler Biggs, not Nathan Beaulieu. But Beaulieu has made me a believer (I watched the tape) and Biggs ended up with the Leafs...go figure.
- I was pleasantly surprised by the acquisition of Erik Cole. I'm hoping his history of success in Montreal as an opponent will translate to even better prodcution as a member of the home team (and on the road too of course).
- I was puzzled by the addition of Peter Budaj over Alex Auld, but you won't get any complaints from me. Besides, Price is going to play 82 games this year, isn't he?
- I am ever so thankful that Andrei Markov has re-signed, and for three years. And I can't wait for him to shove it in all his critics faces.
- I am quite skeptical about the Josh Gorges situation. I was among the many hoping Pierre Gauthier would lock him up long-term to a cap-friendly salary, but apparently the Canadiens believed taking the wait-and-see approach with the Habs Ironman. Gorges is a fighter, an unselfish, fiery competitor who has brought it every single night he ever wore a Canadiens uniform. He worked his up from pressbox afterthought to one of the leaders and potential future captain of this team. Now that future seems in doubt, because if Gorges has a good season, he may price himself out of the Habs' range-especially with Price and Subban in line for major raises next summer.
- It only took 7 years to get Alexei Yemelin to Montreal, but he has finally arrived-and we finally know how to actually spell his last name. There is indeed a "Y" in there...
- Watch out for Raphael Diaz-he has the potential to be the second coming of Mark Streit. Streit was a complete unknown when he broke in with the Habs, and with little to no expectations for him people wrote him off quickly. Diaz comes to Montreal in a similar situation, and judging by the rave reviews about his play in Switzerland, don't be shocked if Diaz finds a home in Montreal in the near future.
- Andrei Kostitsyn's comments to the Belarussian media were not surprising-not in the sense that we expect this kind of behavior from the elder Kostitsyn, but because it wasn't hard to figure out that he wasn't happy bouncing around from line to line all season long. His play was extremely streaky and the effort that he brought to the table came in bursts and spurts. His long-standing reputation as an inconsistent talent will probably result in this being his last season as a Canadien, barring not only a huge statistical season, but a major mental breakthrough.
If I missed anything, its because it isn't worth talking about. Or I'm too tired to remember. Or I'm rusty and need to get back to posting regularly before the thoughts flow properly again. All in all, my main offseason thoughts are highlighted. Next time, we'll focus more on the beginning of training camp and the always intriguing storylines that come with it.