Home Sports Time Out: Season of horror comes to a close for Habs

Time Out: Season of horror comes to a close for Habs

by Archives March 14, 2001
Habs fans must face it: the Montreal Canadiens’ season is over.
As it stands now, they are 15 points behind Carolina for the eighth and final Eastern Conference playoff spot, with only 13 games remaining. It’s now time for Les Habitants to turn their attention to next season, concentrating on who stays and who goes?
Let’s start in goal. Although Jose Theodore may never be an all-star goalie, he’s the best thing the Habs have. Mathieu Garon has proven that he can only beat Atlanta and he belongs in the American Hockey League. As for Jeff Hackett, he’s better than Theodore but he’ll be gone in the off-season.
The Habs should deal Hackett to the Anaheim Mighty Ducks. In return, the Canadiens may be able to get 6-foot-1 center Matt Cullen, who can also play the wing. Habs general manager Andre Savard also may be able to pick up a promising young French goaltender by the name of Jean-Sebastien Giguere. Giguere may not be a starter, but he’s a great backup and would compliment Theodore. He’s a guy that can play 30 games a season, and win at least half of them. Cullen’s a Chad Kilger-type player with more skill to his game.
I say keep the defence the same, let Andrei Markov develop in Quebec of the AHL, and let Francis Bouilllon, Mathieu Descoteaux and Stephane Robidas fight it out on a nightly basis for the sixth spot. Give Patrick Traverse a chance. Savard should have probably waited a little longer in trading Eric Weinrich, but Traverse could be a valuable third or, more likely, fourth defenceman.
The big problem for the Habs is up front. The first thing the Habs should do is trade Martin Rucinsky to Pittsburgh for two of the following three players: Jan Hrdina, Alexei Morozov or Josef Beranek. Rucinsky is more suited to international play and has never found his niche in Montreal.
Montreal would also be wise in dumping Juha Lind for a middle-round draft pick.
Finally, the biggest move this summer may surprise many. Out with head coach Michel Therrien and in with, wait for it, Pat Burns. Burns, with his stern, no-nonsense coaching style will turn this bunch of injury-riddled underachievers into playoff hopefuls.
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