Saturday, December 12, 2009
Hamrlik doing what he does best: Keeping talented players from scoring goals. (Photo taken from habsinsideout.com)
posted by habsbloggergirl
Every year we think we have it bad injury-wise. Players drop like flies on a daily basis. Last year was out of the ordinary in that department for the Habs, but it almost seems like this year is going to top it.
We have not been having an easy time, starting from day one when Markov went down. We lost (in my opinion) the most important player on the team, and although we did have other capable defenseman, losing Markov was heartbreaking. We not only lost a great player, but a leader, and someone who is greatly respected among his teammates and the fans.
However, our remaining defensemen have played incredibly hard to make up for Markov’s absence. In fact, I doubt anyone would disagree with me when I say that Roman Hamrlik is the Canadiens’ unsung hero thus far. He logs an unbelievable amount of minutes for a 35-year-old, and he plays as though he’s 10 years younger than he is, but with the added bonus of wisdom and the fact that he makes very few mistakes, if any. He almost seems to know what’s going to happen before it does, and he’s arguably the best 1-on-1 defenseman we have. He has a calm demeanour on the ice that most others do not, and you can tell he thinks things through very carefully before he does them, but never hesitates either. Without him, I honestly believe we would be lost; another season down the drain.
It’s strange to me that when Jacques Martin initially picked his alternate captains, he didn’t include Hamrlik among them. But I suppose there are a lot of leaders on the team, and it was a tough decision. It’s strange to think that of the three he chose (Markov, Gionta and Gill), all three are, or were in the case of Gill, injured. Now that Cammalleri wears an “A”, I often worry that he may eventually suffer the same fate (though obviously I seriously hope nothing will ever happen!!). If Hamrlik is the defensive hero, then Cammalleri and Plekanec are the offensive ones, having really dragged this team to their current position in the standings. In fact, it irks me that Gomez’ lack of production is being rewarded by an inexplicably high salary, when Plekanec, who is making about 1/3 of what Gomez is, has more than double the amount of points. And I doubt we’d be able to get rid of Gomez at this point, because honestly what team in their right mind (other than us apparently) would take on a 70-point-per-year player for $8 million a season?
Anyway, another positive this season is goaltending. Now I know that there are A LOT of Halak haters and Price haters out there, and this bothers me to no end. They are BOTH good goaltenders. They BOTH have the confidence of their coaches and teammates. They clearly get along and work well together, motivating each other along the way. So we need to deal with the fact that they BOTH play for Montreal. I don’t understand why everyone seems to think it needs to be one or the other and that there are no other options. People keep talking about what’s best for Carey or what’s best for Jaro... Personally I think what’s best for them is that everybody stop fighting over which one is better than the other... AND I don’t understand why everyone thinks that we SHOULD be thinking about what’s best for either of them in the first place! Instead we should be thinking about what’s best for the TEAM (which they are currently BOTH a part of). They have each done a lot for the team this season, and without them we would not be where we are.
My favourite thing about the 2009-2010 Canadiens is that they rarely go down without a fight. Yes, there has been the occasional blow out game, but most of the time each player plays their little heart out every night or at least gives some effort – something we haven’t always seen in the past. I miss a lot of the 2008-2009 Habs: Koivu, Kovalev, Higgins, Lang, TK. They were good guys, and I especially missed Saku at the centennial celebrations the other night. But, I think we have finally started to move on, and that this group of mismatched misfits is finally starting to forge an identity, something they may have been missing for most of this season. Good things happen in cohesive groups, and hopefully when Markov returns (which I’ve recently heard may be sooner than we thought) we’ll be fighting for our playoff spot (or division title, who knows! Buffalo is only 6 points ahead of us), and showing the rest of the NHL that Gainey’s so-called “chemistry experiment” worked.