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Examining the Montreal Canadiens

Tuesday, 09.18.2007 / 10:00 AM / Season Preview

By Shawn P. Roarke - NHL.com Senior Managing Editor

Complete Canadiens Analysis:
Intro | Goalies | Defense | Forwards
Feature | Numbers | Sked | Roster

Canadiens hope new look is the right look

Missing the Stanley Cup Playoffs by two points last season was a bitter pill for the proud Montreal Canadiens to have to swallow.

The franchise, led by stalwarts from the glory days -- Guy Carbonneau as coach and Bob Gainey as GM -- do not want to see the playoffs pass their team by again. So, the franchise made some difficult decisions and will ice a different looking team this year.

Sheldon Souray and his booming point shot left via free agency. Reliable veteran forward Radek Bonk and goalie David Aebischer also signed elsewhere. But those moves were acceptable for a franchise looking to find a new way of making things work.

In fact, the front office imported three proven veterans into what should be an intriguing mix of promising youth and experienced maturity that inhabits Les Habitants’ dressing room this season.

Defenseman Roman Hamrlik, so successful with Calgary, will be asked to replace Souray. Familiar face Patrice Brisebois will provide some depth on the blue line. Versatile veteran Bryan Smolinski, a natural center who can also play the wing, should shore up the forward lines.

Is it enough to get Montreal over the hump after last season’s disappointing finish? Only time will tell; but it is certainly a solid beginning to the process.

2006-07 Record:
42-34-6, 4th Northeast

Who's In:
D Patrice Brisebois, D Tom Kostopoulus, F Bryan Smolinski, D Roman Hamrlik

Who's Out:
G David Aebischer, D Sheldon Souray, F Radek Bonk

2006-07 Leading Scorers:
Saku Koivu (22-53-75), Sheldon Souray (26-38-64), Michael Ryder (30-28-58), Andrei Markov (6-43-49), Thomas Plekanec (20-27-47), Alex Kovalev (18-29-47)

2006-07 Goaltending Leaders:
Cristobal Huet 19-16-3, 2.81 GAA, 42 appearances, .916 save percentage, 2 shutouts; David Aebischer 13-12-3, 3.17 GAA, 32 appearances, .900 save percentage, 0 shutouts

NHL.com's 2007-08 Canadiens Season Preview Package:
Intro | Goalies | Defense | Forwards | Feature | Numbers | Sked | Roster
Quote of the Day

There was a lot of talk off the ice. From a player's standpoint, that's not the talk in the room. GMs make decisions, coaches make decisions, but as a team you have to come together and be ready to go, and we are.

— San Jose Sharks forward Tommy Wingels on his team's approach entering training camp