In my shallow analysis: We haven't been outplayed (except for the two Leafs losses) so far yet. This is a good sign. We've kept the forecheck up and kept our opponents honest, we split the D often and that's a sign of good, established schemes. I'm very impressed. We're tougher and faster and better than last year because we're playing to our strengths and not to a rigid system. This, of course, comes at a price: when we execute poorly, it tends to look glaringly bad. Like Emelin's miscues over the little losing streak we had, or over-relying on Markov. The special teams have been bad but I trust our penalty kill, we have good instincts on the PK. The PP relies on an overlord position and Gionta is not the man to do it. He's not skilled enough, big enough (to actually see the lanes) or strong enough to slam into the crease. Our PP is bad because it's static and I'm worried about it. David Desharnais, his mini-pointstreak aside, has been ****. He's slow, he can't win a faceoff and he's downright awful defensively. He can ONLY play the "exploit/PP" role but honestly, we need him to do more. The next third of the season will shape our fortunes with regards this to guy - he's a very talented player but he's not an NHL centre in the usual sense, he lacks all the fundamentals a centre should have. He succeeded last year for a variety of reasons, chiefly the system we played didn't believe in forechecking whatsoever therefore he would exploit the trap and set off and make a pass to his two hulking wingers. He can't do it this year and he's been exposed. Erik Cole has been getting far too much heat. He's been drawing penalties and moving his feet as good as anyone. He's never been a sniper and he doesn't have the hands for it, he just needs to play with someone like Pleks or Gally (you know, real centres) and he's going to produce. Also, on the PP he screens the goalie as well as any. I'm really not worried about him, he's big and fast and can crash the net and DOES crash the net. Unlike... Brian Gionta is first on my pooplist with a big, smudgy brown bullet. He's a charlatan and he wouldn't even be on the 1st line of an AHL team with his deplorable hockey sense. EVERY. SINGLE. PLAY. dies on his stick. He backchecks very well but then gifts the breakout pass right to the opposition because he's too damn stupid with the puck - exhausting both himself and his increasingly frustrated linemates. His stick is so short (I wonder why...) he whiffs on the easiest tap-ins and one-timers and he always has to resort to his patented crappy snap-shot. He's 0.5ppg so far and I really don't expect him to suddenly wake up - he can't start crashing the net, he can't start winning the puck on the dump-and-chase and he can't even score on an open net. If this is the Gionta we're stuck with and if it continues, he's buy-out fodder. **** this guy, he's been crap. On a brighter note Plekanec is our offensive MVP. What a guy, he's just a great hockey player and he might be chippy between the whistles but he's a competitor. He's really grown up with and within our organization and I'm proud to have him as our #1 centre. I have no idea how good Galchenyuk is going to be, I can't project him as the next Jumbo Joe or Staal or anything. I just like what I see and hope he starts threading passes and sniping in some wristers like we know he can. He's still a bit timid out there but until he really bites more than he could chew, It's good to rely on him a fair bit and give him a trial by fire. Bouillon has proved me wrong. He's been good, except on the PP but whatever. Blah blah about Prust, Markov, Bourque, Patches, Gorges, Diaz, Emelin. Yeah they're good. We know. Armstrong is playing like he's afraid of getting injured. I hope he opens up a bit and starts crashing and banging with a little more tenacity. Price is our MVP. That's it, enough said. But seriously, demote Gionta, promote Eller and get a lineup that looks like this if you want to get DD and Cole going. This also keeps the three main "duos" of the team intact (Pleks-Bourque, DD-Patches, Gally-Gally). Bourque - Pleks - Cole Pacioretty - Eller -DD Gallagher - Galchenyuk - Gionta Moen - White - Prust ex. Armdog We could get into the specific tactical nuances of the new Therrien system but a winning streak kinda glosses over a lot of the details. We need to struggle a little bit, play on the road more, in order to get an idea of a) how the team plays in general and b) how the team reacts to adversity. How would the Habs look against Chicago? Pretty fine I'd say. How would the Habs look against St-Louis? Probably terrible, but I hope not.