Thursday, 28 June 2012

Do the Canadiens need to re-sign Travis Moen?

It's not certain that Travis Moen will re-sign with the Canadiens, and some question whether he's all that effective anyway, and whether he should be brought back.  There is some question as to whether he's as physical or as effective in that role as his reputation lets on.
I think these kinds of guys are more effective if they’re not the only physical presence on the team. If Travis Moen had some support, with another defenceman in the Kevin Bieksa-Lyle Odelein-Donald Dufresne level of toughness, and a couple more wingers in the Dave Maley-Taylor Pyatt mold, he’s one of a few guys who can inspire respect. Together they all make each other better, the sum is greater than the individual components. I think that’s what Marc Bergevin has in mind when he talks about the team concept.
Just last season, I saw Wayne Simmonds run amok one game, slashing and rabbit-punching and cross-checking with impunity, unhindered by the Yannick Webers and the Tomas Kaberles.  He was giving out facewashes like candy on Halloween, acting like a big tough bully.  The next Flyers game, after a whistle in front of Carey Price, with a bunch of players from either team close in, I fully expected some more mindless intimidation.  Except that was when Mike Blunden was in the roster, and Alex Emelin finally was given a regular shift on D, and they were on the ice, and he was confronted by Travis Moen, face to face.  I observed him look around for a likely target, but surrounded by 200 pounders, he meekly skated back to the bench.  We didn't need a Georges Laraque or a Chris Nilan, just having a few players who stood up for each other completely change Mr. Simmonds' attitude from the previous game, for the better.
I hate it but that’s the way hockey is being refereed now. Brad Marchand is allowed to punch Daniel Sedin in the head, Brad Boyle can facewash Erik Karlsson, and the refs won’t blow the whistle and call a penalty, they’ll only make a move if the recipient crosschecks back, and then the penalties will offset anyway. In this Empire of Idiocy, we need a Travis Moen, but also another two or three guys like that. It’s an arms race, and we need to have as many weapons as the opponents.
It’s ridiculous, but that’s Gary Bettman’s and Brian Burke’s NHL. At the end of the season, after the Jets and Leafs were eliminated, both teams stated at their recap press conferences that they needed to get bigger. Not that they needed better defence, more scoring, a setup centreman, more depth, better goaltending, just more size. No qualifiers as to skill. Just bigger. And that’s how Charles Hudon falls to the 5th round, and that’s how David Desharnais and Martin St-Louis go undrafted.

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