Habs Gooning It Up
After acquiring Aaron Downey off waivers, Gainey has called up Latvian thug Raitis Ivanans for tonight's game in Philadelphia. At first glance, this doesn't appear to be in accordance with the look of the New NHL.
Montreal's strength is team skating. As Tom Benjamin wrote many moons ago, the path to success is playing to your strengths:
"Adding one fast player to a slow team doesn't make the team fast. Adding one physical player to a team that can be pushed around physically does dick. It is better to add the fast player to the fast team and another physical player to the slow one. In the first case, I'm going to win with speed. In the second, I'm planning to win by pounding the speedsters into the ice.
When the team is unsuccessful, the focus is on the weakness. That's wrong in my view. If the plan to pound speedsters into the ice fails, I need more physical players who can do more pounding. Addressing the weakness won't make me fast enough to skate with a fast team and it makes it less likely I can pound them into submission."
From my point of view, hundreds of clicks away watching on TV, the Habs don't look like they're being outhit, outmuscled or physically intimidated anyway. Then again, Bob Gainey probably knows more about what's going on at ice level than I do. Maybe he's using the goons to scare his own players into skating harder.