Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Injury Hex Continues

It seems the Montreal Canadiens just can't seem to get away from this cloud that has cast a dark shadow on their aspirations of becoming an elite team.  Injuries are a real part of hockey that affect all teams and are impossible to predict.  Your best defense against them is to make sure your team depth is solid but even the deepest of teams are adversely affected when the injury bug hits.

The Habs, starting the season, had decent depth on the blue-line with the regulars being supported by the new acquisitions of Raphael Diaz, Alexei Emelin, Jeff Woywitka and Yannick Weber.  But even with that, Pierre Gauthier did not rest on his laurels, we've discussed how Pierre Gauthier was proactive in signing Chris Campoli when Markov had a setback and the new guys didn't impress.  After losing Jeff Woywitka to the same waiver system in which he added Blair Betts, Gauthier almost immediately signed defenseman Joe Callahan in order to maintain that depth.  Now, with news that Campoli will be out months rather than weeks as had initially been hoped for, you wonder what options Gauthier has left.  The next steps taken by the Habs General Manager will be very telling.

If we look at this situation in a logical manner, one can assume that the Habs are still OK.  Yannick Weber has proved in the past that he is capable of playing the role of powerplay quarterback although he must step up and demonstrate that he can do so immediately and consistently.  Raphael Diaz must also continue the steady play that he has shown through most of preseason and the season-opener in Toronto.  Alexei Emelin will now have an opportunity to show whether or not he can adapt and adjust to the North American game and considering he likely wouldn't accept a demotion to the AHL, we may as well find out what his potential is right away.

The issue that should be clarified for everyone is just how long the doctors think it will be before Andrei Markov can resume play.  The Habs have been a vault when it comes to any type of information regarding his health and while the Campoli signing could have been reasoned off as just a depth play, another defensive signing will more than likely be a desperation signing and a sure sign that Markov's near-term outlook is bleak.  So let's hope that Diaz, Emelin, and Weber all step up to the plate and deliver because if Gauthier ends up signing Bryan McCabe then you'll know that Andrei Markov is gone long-term.

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