They don’t have a top tier superstar and aside from Saku Koivu and Alexei Kovalev, you might not know too many of their players, but the Montreal Canadiens are playing some outstanding hockey.
The only problem is, no one is taking as much notice as they should.
Coming into action against the Ottawa Senators on Saturday afternoon, the Habs sat in second place in the Northeast with nine wins and 21 points, five points behind their opponents from today. If you were to analyze the standings, you would notice that the Canadiens are actually sitting in a three-way tie for third spot in the NHL and yet no one is noticing.
Coached by Guy Carbonneau, the Habs have had success in quiet fashion because no one has really even cared. This year, the talk has been about the Detroit Red Wings – rightfully so considering they are the best team in the league and boast the top point-getter in the league as well – ,the Toronto Maple Leafs and all their struggles and how bad a team they actually are but just don’t want to admit it, and the struggles of Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Here’s the 411 on the Habs.
They play the game in all three zones of the rink the way hockey should be played. There is an under-rated skill set on this team with the likes of Chris Higgins, Michael Ryder and Tomas Plekanec, the guys that don’t get the recognition they deserve.
Their best offensive player is Koivu and he only has 14 points in 15 games, yet they are one of the best teams on the power play in the league. They have two good goalies and the future looks incredibly promising for the Habs when you consider the fact that Carey Price is the number two goalie, one who won the 2007 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship and then won the 2007 Calder Cup in the American Hockey League. The number one goalie in Montreal, Cristobal Huet is as good as any other number one goalie in the league and has proved his metal with the Habs for the past two seasons.
The Habs defence is solid and they don’t give up many goals and have only given up 39 in 16 games, just over two goals per game. That’s a stat that doesn’t get as much glory as offence, but it’s a stat that speaks volumes about what makes a good team great or average in terms of the standings.
The Canadiens play in a hockey mad market, but compared to Toronto, New York, Philadelphia and even Detroit, the Habs don’t get the attention they deserve.
But perhaps the lack of attention for this hockey team is a good thing. A lack of respect can be a motivational factor and the Canadiens sit amongst the top five teams in the NHL and most of that has gone under the radar.
Perhaps it is flying under the radar bringing the Canadiens success and maybe they want to keep it that way.
Filed under: Cam T, NHL | Tagged: 2007 World Junior Hockey Championships, AHL, Calder Cup, Canadiens, Crosby, Habs, Higgins, Hockey, Huet, IIHF, Koivu, Kovalev, Maple Leafs, Montreal, NHL, Ottawa, Plekanec, Price, Ryder, Senators, Sports, Toronto | 3 Comments »