Is I sat on my couch last night, scowling at the tv, I was reflecting on the events that had just taken place. My beloved Habs, getting shutout by the Columbus Blue Jackets, one of the worst teams in the league last year. It was terrible. Bad bounces foiling Captain Gionta once again and some of the worst defensive play I’ve seen from a Habs defender in many years coming from all the defensemen other than the superstar duo of Subban and Markov.
“It’s only one loss”, I was telling myself. “They’ll turn it around next game.” I took some solace in the fact that the hated “Maple Leaves” had also lost, but even they looked better than the Habs last night.
“Oh, woe is me.” were the Rocky Horror inspired lyrics floating about my head in my post Halloween misery.
Late in the game, with the Habs offence being stymied by Columbus’ trap, Martin decided to mix up the lines. It saw Kostitsyn move over to the Gionta/Gomez line, and Lars Eller move up to the Plekanec/Cammalleri line. All season long I’ve been wondering, “Why hasn’t Kostitsyn been given a chance with the G&G line?” A big winger with a great shot, who’s fallen by the wayside in recent years. Sounds like a perfect fit to me.
Kostitsyn responded instantly. Taking the puck with speed over the blue line and creating space for G&G to find their spots. Gionta in front of the net and Gomez behind. Although this didn’t materialize into any points, (I don’t think a penalty shot with the goalie pulled would have yielded any better results last night) it excited me. If Martin keeps this trio together, they will start to mesh and things will really start to happen. With two scoring threats out there, Gomez will have some space to work some of the magic we’ve ALL been waiting for. Imagine the options he’ll have with Subban and Markov waiting at the blue line!
What will happen to the Plekanec/Cammalleri/Eller line in all this? If we think back to last year, what happened? Pleks had a career year and Cammer was on pace for a huge season until his injury. All of this happened while Kostitsyn was having a nap in the corner. I was calling for AK46’s head last year just the same as anyone else, but his improved play this year has shown me a change of heart. The Plekanec/Kostitsyn love affair will continue and what better place in the lineup for Eller to come into his own, then beside the team’s two best offensive players?
The bottom six of this team is interchangeable. I am fine with Pouliot remaining on the third line. He doesn’t cost a lot of money, and he’s doing some good stuff down there. Maybe it’s where he’s supposed to be.
So please, Mr. Martin. I know you read this blog. Please keep Andrei with Gomez and Gionta. Pretty please?