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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Habs at the Crossroads

Some updates while the Habs continue to lick their wounds on another off day for the team.

The reinforcements are on their way to Montreal

We knew this was going to happen.

Forwards Andreas Engqvist and Ryan White have been called up from Hamilton. Engqvist is big and Swedish. White is gritty and Canadian. You may recall White from previous call-ups but this is Engqvist's first call-up to the big show. White probably had the best camp of all the Habs' prospects -- in my opinion -- and possesses the ability to finish plays and score potentially big goals. He could be the Maxim Lapierre we always wanted -- except he's English and his name is Ryan White and he fights.

Engqvist wasn't exactly wearing out the red light in Hamilton, but he's solid defensively, which will make him useful in a 3rd or 4th line role. Let's see how these two pan out.

Update on the injuries

Some good news, Max Pacioretty DOES NOT, I repeat, DOES NOT have a cracked rib as was rumoured yesterday. All tests came back negative. He skated today and is listed as day-to-day. The All-Star break will do him good.

Unfortunately, the news is not as good for Cammalleri. Separated shoulder. Placed on IR today. At least 2 weeks but we can guess, probably more. He needs to take his time with this one, due to his size and the way he plays. Better to take more time and be good for the playoffs, then rush it and play so-so. The fact that the All-Star break intervenes here is also good.

If you recall, last season around this time he hurt his knee. Then he was shut down during the stretch run, only to catch on fire in the playoffs.

I would take a replay for this season if I had the choice.

No updates on Jeff Halpern and no confirmation whether he has a shoulder or head issue. Hopefully we'll know soon and it's nothing major. He skated today which is a good sign, so he's also day-to-day. I think it was his head personally. He looked a bit out of it on the bench in Buffalo.

Benoit Pouliot who was out with the flu should be back in tomorrow night.

This is their big chance

Here we go for the Habs' prospects. This is their big chance to shine and show they belong.

Engqvist and White could stay up if they play well; when MaxPac comes back, he needs to continue doing what he was doing and not shy away from the danger zones (how he was injured in the first place).

David Desharnais continues to show why he belongs by using his speed and deft puckhandling abilities. He can be another Marty St. Louis.

And Lars Eller needs to continue to learn and start generating real offensive chances, especially if he plays on one of the top lines. Some are saying he should be the guy to be in front of the net, considering the beating he took from Tyler Myers the other night in Buffalo, yet still walked away with the puck. He is a large boy, after all.

Not that he's a prospect, but this stretch could ultimately clear up Andrei Kostitsyn's future with the club. If he performs, he may be re-signed. If he goes on another nothing for 12 streak, he may be moved at the deadline. Which would be too bad, but understandable. I mean, imagine if Guy Lafleur, with all his talent, scored a measly 20 goals back in 1977 instead of the 50 +.

Kostitsyn's got the talent and the skill. His problem is his oscillating drive and desire. He seems to have a bit of the Kovalev in him, that Andrei.

We'll see how it all unfolds tomorrow night in Ottawa.

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