Sunday, 11 December 2011

Who plays, who sits on the Canadiens blueline?

So the question is posed: who plays, who sits on the Canadiens defence corps when everyone's healthy and rehabbed and we're living in Happy-Land, in a gumdrop house on Lollipop Lane.

In order of my depth chart:

1) Andrei Markov comes back in time to play 35-40 games, mid to late-January, but takes five games off as Sidney Crosbyesque 'maintenance games', ideally during the second of back-to-back games. He is limited to 15 minutes a game for the first two weeks, and if his knee is 110% after that we increase him to a 20 minute maximum for the rest of the season. We outfit Mr. Martin with a shock collar that buzzes him when he exceeds these strict guidelines, since he does love his veterans, and who could blame him for being tempted?

2) Pernell Karl Subban is a young buck, takes a licking and keeps on ticking, and plays every game and eats up minutes. Only hiccup is if he needs a Jacques Martin Pressbox Timeout™, which he will probably richly deserve if it happens. Randy Ladouceur is on his left shoulder like the Great Gazoo on Fred Flinstone, and directs his attention to Andrei whenever he's on the ice, or at Nick Lidstrom or Brian Boyle or Duncan Keith when they're the opposition.

3) Josh Gorges gets lots of minutes and is on the first wave of the penalty kill, and whenever we're protecting a lead at the end of the game.

4) Alexei Emelin plays a tonne of minutes, and we give him time on the special teams. To borrow from Whitney, I believe that Alexei is our future, coach him well and let him lead the way.

5) Tomas Kaberle is on the powerplay, and cross your fingers. Forgive him his sins, for (unbelievably) he (still, at this point in his career!) knows not what he does.

6) Hall Gill gets a regular shift and PK minutes. He gets regular days off for a breather and to get ready for a playoff run.

7) Yannick Weber sits some games, plays some games at forward/powerplay specialist on the blueline, and spells Andrei Markov and Hal Gill when they take their maintenance days. He gets constant encouragement and assurance that the team believes in him and he has a future here, that he's still young and will become a regular. He's coached up something fierce, gets lots of extra attention before and after practice.

8) Chris Campoli is kept as insurance. Unfortunately, the insurance policy had a loophole and didn't pay off when we needed it. He may get sent down to Hamilton, and may get claimed on waivers, and we wouldn't mind too much if he did.

9) Raphaël Diaz gets sent down to Hamilton since he is not subject to waivers. Unfair, since he's playing well, but he isn't Top 6 with everyone healthy. We only have room for 23 skaters, and he shouldn't be in the pressbox constantly, so he goes to Hamilton and plays and plays and plays. He's the first callup if we need injury help. Some will argue that he is outplaying Yannick Weber and should get to stay, but they're essentially equal in production and what they provide to the team, and Yannick's seniority means he's subject to waivers, so Yannick's not getting sent down to Hamilton.

10) Frédéric St-Denis is the feelgood story in Hamilton.

As far as pairings go, nothing too fancy:




When Weber is in the pressbox, PK goes up to the first wave, and Alexei Emelin gets on the second wave.

Penalty Kill


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