– Wow, Jacques, your team is doing pretty good… Your guys are doing a great defensive job, Price is doing fine, Kostitsyn finally looks like a good 1st round pick, Pleks deserves every dollar of his new contract, and Eller is starting to make it look like this Halak trade was not that bad at all. It seems like the Habs could have a great year…
– Uh wait Jacques, what’s that? Your new Captain and his linemate, the highest paid guy on the team combined for 5 points in 9 games? Uhhh…. Hum, wait a second… what? 30th PP in the league, with 6,2%?? Hmmm alriiight. Oh… *checks schedule* hum, so you played the Sens twice, the Isles, the Coyotes, the Leafs, the Sabres and the Devils… Well… hum, ok.
That 6-2-1 record sure looks a bit less impressive right now…
I don’t want to sound negative, there’s no reason to be, really, because the habs are playing well right now. But let’s just not get too carried away. The habs have yet to beat really good teams (they did win in Pittsburgh, but barely, and that was when the Pens still had to figure out the way to the ice from their dressing room in their new building).
So I’m still just a little cautious about the real value of this team. But obviously, there are a lot of positive signs and reasons for hope these days. The PP, probably the most disturbing and dysfunctional aspect of the habs play right now, should get better with the return of Markov. More importantly, it’s great to see that this team seems to have worked on some of its biggest flaws from last season.
Last season, that team was often giving up too many shots against (32,1 per game, 26th in the league), it was crappy at 5 on 5 (0,90 goals for/against ratio, 22nd in the league) and it was not great at providing offensive support for Carey Price, to say the least. This season, the team allows far less shots (26,8 per game, 5th in the league) and scoring chances, and it is doing much better at 5 on 5 so far (1,36 goals for/against ration, tied for 4th in the league). Also, it’s scoring a little more goals per game than last season.
Of course, it’s only 9 games, so it’s probably not very reliable or fair to compare these numbers with stats taken over an 82 games season, but still, those are positive signs.
It’s tough to know what the habs are really worth so far, but it’s enjoyable to see them playing well, having fun, and most importantly, rack up some points early. Given the way the habs clinched the playoffs the last 2 seasons, it’s probably the single most important thing right now: they’re not perfect by any means, but they’re getting points.