MONTREAL, QC. — The All Habs Mailbag is as popular as ever! This is the place to send in your questions about all things Montreal Canadiens.
Then check every Wednesday to read the answers to the most popular or poignant questions about the Habs. Keep in mind that we will discuss the entire Canadiens organization so questions about prospects and roster players are equally welcome!
Submissions can be mailed directly to firstname.lastname@example.org
Three Guidelines for Submissions:
- This is not for hate mail or complaints. If you have an issue with what you read on these pages, this is not the place to bring it up. The mailbag is for questions about the Canadiens.
- As long-time readers of All Habs know, we do not publish rumours. Therefore I will not engage in discussion of the validity of rumours — frankly I consider them a waste of time anyway. For every rumour that was close to accurate, there have been about a thousand duds.
- Nothing of essay-length please. There will be other people who will have questions and it is a bit unfair if I have to dedicate the Mailbag to answering one very large question or someone who’s asking five questions at once.
Senior writer, Robert Rice is on vacation this week, so I’ve intercepted the mailbag to respond to this week’s entries. For next week, please send your questions to email@example.com!
Let’s open the All Habs mailbag!
Who is the most interesting unrestricted free agent left on the market?
Well Michael, since you used the word “interesting,” my answer will be Andrei Kostitsyn. I’ll pause briefly while Habs fans roll their eyes. Upfront we remember the bonehead move by Kostitsyn and Alexander Radulov violating curfew before a Nashville playoff game this Spring. On the other hand, let’s acknowledge that under Jacques Martin, Kostitsyn was one of the most misused players by an incompetent head coach.
Kostitsyn is a pure sniper. He should be deployed on the top-six, belongs on the power play, and when in an offensive groove, needs consistent linemates. Forget the talk about him being disinterested — a player who registers 140 hits in a season (2010-’11) is engaged. Kostitsyn is capable of 25 goals / 50 points and if paired with a motivating coach, AK-46 could add offensive punch to a lineup, and could be an interesting late-season UFA addition.
When do you think the NHL season will start ?
Honestly, I don’t know, Ibrahim. But all signs are pointing to a late start to the season — there isn’t much optimism that the puck will drop on October 11. A recent CBC poll reported that 64 percent of fans believe that some of the season would be lost.
The NHL tabled a new proposal on Tuesday — a response expected Thursday by the NHLPA was postponed. The players didn’t think much of the NHL’s second offer which the league viewed as a significant improvement. With just over two weeks until the September 15 deadline, there doesn’t seem to be any urgency by either side, and they are still light years apart.
At this point, both sides seem to be trying to make the other side look bad in an effort to secure public support.
All of the focus has been on the way the revenue pie is divided and the size of the portions with little progress. In addition there are a number of other issues to be resolved.
Having said that, revenue sharing is the issue, and once there is agreement the rest of the negotiations should move right along. Bettman is also aware that several NHL franchises are hanging by a thread and a work stoppage would be devastating for them. Let’s also assume that with players set to hold their own training camps, that negotiations could go beyond the September 15 deadline without the commissioner declaring a lockout.
So, for the optimistic, there are still glimmers of hope. Realists, on the other hand, expect that part of the NHL season will be lost.
Do you think the Habs will invite as many players to training camp this year and do you think last year there were too many players?
It’s a common complaint Dave. The Montreal Canadiens invite far too many players to development camp who lack the talent to be part of the organization now or in the future. This is done to quiet irrational voices who whine about local product. Similarly training camp rosters are bloated.
Given the direction of the off-season hiring, this is unlikely to change.
But last season, something even more damaging to the team’s performance was Jacques Martin’s stubborn reluctance to pare down his roster as training camp progressed. Martin’s decision may have been partly influenced by the way the Canadiens and the league use Habs games as a cash-cow during the pre-season. It resulted in an inadequate amount of time for line combinations to come together and to prepare the power-play.
Let’s hope that Michel Therrien’s knife is a bit sharper.
If Toronto gets a second NHL team, should Montreal get a second team as well? #MontrealMaroons #LavalPoutine #VerdunVirgins
Have you got siblings Martin? Hey Mom, he/she got one, I want one too!
Here in Montreal, we are secure enough to acknowledge the economic reality: the best location for NHL expansion is the Golden Horseshoe. With a market of about 10 million people, the area should be able to support two additional teams: a second Toronto team and another in Hamilton, Kitchener-Waterloo or London. It’s been calculated that teams in those locations would have a better chance to be successful than places like Winnipeg or Quebec City.
There have been a number of studies to look at this issue including a recent report from the Conference Board of Canada. But the most comprehensive study was authored by Tony Keller for the Mowat Centre for Policy Innovation. Mowat made the case for 12 Canadian teams in the NHL including a second team in Montreal and one in Quebec City.
The study argued that a Canadian team would “take in roughly US$23 million a year in extra gate revenue, relative to an American market of the same size. This greater level of fan interest north of the border means that small Canadian cities are bigger hockey markets than most large American cities.”
Order up your Maroons jersey, Martin!
Category: Fan Focus