Saku Koivu: Our courageous and diminutive leader since 1999.
Alex Kovalev: Our enigmatic and athletically bi-polar superstar.
Mike Komisarek: Our bruising all star blue liner who was publicly emasculated by Milan Lucic.
Gone as well are Alex Tanguay, Mathieu Schneider, Robert Lang, Steve Begin, Francis Bouillion, Mathieu Dandenault and Head Coach Guy Carbonneau.
In their place are:
Brian Gionta: Diminutive former 48 goal scorer.
Scott Gomez: Two time Stanley Cup champion and Calder Cup Winner.
Mike Cammalleri: Explosive 40 goal scorer and former line mate of Jarome Iginla.
Other additions include top notch grinder Travis Moen, PP specalist Jaroslav Spacek, hulking Defenseman Hal Gill, Puck Mover Paul Mara and Head Coach Jacques Martin.
Many people are torn whether there has been any improvement in this team. The Hockey News recently said that the Canadiens will yet again finish 8th in the Eastern Conference this year. Personally, I personally do see an improvement. As much as I will always admire Koivu and Kovalev, I am pleased that we were able to replace one inconsistent player and another injury prone one with younger guys who have world class talent and have been proven as durable and able to play an entire 82 game schedule. I also see an improvement at Defense, as we only lost one big Defenseman in Mike Komisarek (6'4) and gained two in Hal Gill (6'7) and Paul Mara (6'4). The Canadiens also acquired Jaroslav Spacek, who picked up and impressive 45 points as a blue line last year. Add Travis Moen, whose shutdown line with Rob Niedermayer and Samy Pahlsson in the 2007 Playoff was a major factor in the Anaheim Ducks cup win, and you have a faster, more improved team with a different attitude, without any club house cancers.
It will be a very good year, IF Tomas Plekanec and Andrei Kostitsyn can stop playing like little girls and return to their productive ways. And if Carey Price can raise his Save Percentage and lower his Smirnoff intake.
Preseason is only a month away.
I'm ready. Are you?