January 10, 2013 They're back!
The billionaires and millionaires have come to an agreement: so hockey is a go. The season; now reduced to 48 games from 82 started back up on January 19th with a training camp of only 6 days.
In order for Montreal to even make the playoffs; so they can contend for the Stanley Cup, Carey Price needs to be the star on most nights.
So what happened in the off season: Marc Bergevin is in as GM replacing fired Pierre Gauthier. Bergevin then brought in his team. Michel Terrien as coach. Rick Dudley, Gerard Gallant, Jean-Jacques Daignealt and Clement Jodoin as assistant coaches. Scott Mellanby as director of player personnel. Martin Lapointe as director of player development. Patrice Brisebois as player development coach. Bergevin cut Gomez and his contract loose. Gone from the 11/12 team: Hal Gill, Andrei Kostitsyn, Chris Campoli, Mathieu Darche, and Brad Staubitz. Additions for the 12/13 team: Brandon Prust, Colby Armstrong and Francis Bouillon. Alex Galchenyuk (3rd overall) in the 2012 draft. Biggest change is a healthy Andrei Markov.
Subban is now signed and the emphasis is on a team concept. Montreal has it's share of stars but the teams that contend for the Stanley Cup; have the ability to control the flow of the game and are comfortable rolling four lines.
Brian Gionta is hoping for a comeback year after an injury filled 2011/12 campaign.
Bourque needs to be better: as last year he under-achieved in Montreal.
Only a few years ago; Montreal was one of the best when it came to specialty team play. That was not the case last year and that needs to improve.
Montreal needs to improve their five on five play.
By implementing a system that allows all lines the ability to play a team game; being creative offensively yet not jeopardizing your defensive end responsibiliites is the key.
The teams that have the ability to do this will be successful by getting off to a strong start. Because of the shortened season days off have been reduced giving struggling teams little time to work on improvements.
Any team that goes on an extended loosing streak may not be able to recover in this game shortened season.