When baking a cake, one needs the correct mix of ingredients: sugar, butter, eggs, flour, baking powder, milk… and all of that in the proper proportion. That’s why there are recipes out there. When running out of an ingredient, one cannot substitute it by simply adding more of another ingredient and still expect the same perfect result. Rest assured, I’m not going to give you a baking recipe, although I do make the best “Pouding Chômeur”.
PENTICTON, BC. — Building a hockey team is not much different from baking a cake, come to think of it. There is such thing as a recipe for success and the best teams have a mix of players filling certain roles and all ingredients must be at the right level in order to make it a successful combination. Goal scorers are great, but you need to have someone to give them the puck at the right place, at the right time. Tough players will ensure that your team won’t get intimidated when the going gets tough, but you better have some skills to generate some offense and keep the puck out of your net. Even trying to ice five defensemen on a line is no guarantee to prevent goals against.
Many fans and members of the media were criticizing previous management for the style of play and the mixture of players on the team. Marc Bergevin and Michel Therrien have reassured many of those critics when they both confirmed that this team needed to get bigger and tougher. It was astonishing to read and hear the player’s comments when Ryan White came back from injuries and Brad Staubitz was claimed off waivers from the Minnesota Wild. The unanimous feeling in the room was an overwhelming sense of relief, with players feeling bigger knowing that someone had their back.
While the 2012 unrestricted free agency market is slim picking when it comes to top end skills, it is a good year for teams looking to add some toughness in their line-up. Let’s have a quick look at who’s available through free agency at the time of writing those lines:
It was reported that the Canadiens have started negotiating with Travis Moen’s agent, Don Meehan, about the possibility of a new contract. Moen, who had to do all of the dirty work under Jacques Martin and Pierre Gauthier, was injured when Ryan White came back from injury himself, and when Brad Staubitz was claimed off waivers. It must have felt refreshing for him to see other guys put the shoulder to the grind in that aspect of the game. Let’s face it; Moen had his biggest success in Anaheim, where the wolf pack mentality was in order.
Looking at this list, there are a lot of interesting candidates and it would be preferable to look at guys who can play hockey, even in a limited role. Ideally, Travis Moen would re-sign. Then add a guy to look after the heavy weights, in a role similar to what Staubitz played at the end of the season. I would also add a tough defenseman and any of the three names on that list at that position could do the trick.
It goes without saying that there are many different kinds of cakes and all can be excellent. Some people prefer chocolate cake, others will only eat vanilla. But all of them will contain that balance in ingredients. The Habs simply had too much sugar under the last management. It’s time to add some baking powder to the mix in order to make the cake rise as it should, and so we can all share a piece, hopefully one shaped like the Stanley Cup.
En français: Le Canadien… c’est du gâteau