Friday, December 7, 2007

Young blood

So Bob has finally listened to the masses and brought back Max. Not sure what took him so long, although some have suggested that Lapierre was only sent down to learn how to play right wing.

In any case, Max is back. Hardly the cure to all that ails the Habs these days, but certainly a step in the right direction. Grabovski was also sent down to make room, so maybe Bob does realize that the Habs need help on D, not O.

But in a surprise move, Bob also brought up Ryan O'Byrne. Many were upset that Bob signed Patrice Brisebois instead of keeping O'Byrne on the roster. Although I was a bit surpised (shocked?) myself, I thought it made a certain amount of sense. Both Brisebois and O'Byrne could play the right side, but Brisebois is the sort of puck-moving dman the Habs need, esp on the PP. Streit would be the #1 PP QB, but a #2 is always good.

If Brisebois could keep his defensive gaffes to a minimum, then it'd be a pretty good pickup, for a very minimal cap hit. And he certainly played that way early on. But then, as the team started it's recent slide, Brisebois reverted to his prior self. Not continuously, on every shift. But, man, were there some bad plays on his part.

But I assume that O'Byrne's promotion was not just about Brisebois' failures. Blueliners take time to mature, and another stint in the AHL could only help, one would think. As one of the leading dmen on the Bulldogs, O'Byrne has showed that he was ready. And with Hamrlik's expertise at bringing along youngsters, O'Byrne could be a perfect fit just when the Habs needed him.

Again, neither Lapierre nor O'Byrne will be the savior Habs fans have been looking for. But it certainly is a step in the right direction. The next step? For Carbo to realize that defense wins games, and that he needs to put together two decent checking lines. Sure, Bob has hamstrung him by not signing decent replacements for Bonk and Johnson (much less re-signing Bonk and Johnson themselves). But Carbo's got to play the cards he's been dealt, and stop blaming Ryder for all the team's ailments.

I'm thinking maybe two checking lines, looking something like this:

Offense ain't the problem. It's D. Good defense -- including a good transition game -- is going to win games.

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