Gainey has pawned off low intensity forward Mike Ribeiro to the to the Lone Star State for defenseman Janne Niinimaa. My spellcheck is confused beyond repair but I'm delighted.
This isn't the first time I return from out of town fun to discover the Habs have made some moves.
Last year, Poke Check and I were in Brampton for a tourney when Gainey axed the coach and slid behind the bench to breathe some life into the skidding Habs.I watched the press conference from a silent TV wondering WTF? I was on my honeymoon in August of 1992 when they aquired Vincent Damphousse, throwing a split second hiccup into a toast to my wife's beautiful eyes, lips, and curves. I was somewhere in the Laurentian mountains of beautiful Quebec in the early 1980's when Guy Lafleur dropped the bomb of his retirement. By time I was home, my Yamaha 250 XL had more dents in it than Tie Domi's face. I wasn't happy!
You'd think I'd be used to this. With deals like this one tonight, I could!
Hey, I liked Ribeiro, but I was well aware of his faults as well as his potential. With the right team, and I don't see it being the deep at center Dallas Stars, Ribeiro is a point a game guy. Hell, he had a 100 assist season in his final year of junior. The guy has undeniable talent burried beneath his chicken shit squirming corner play, his weasel like backstepping, and his cockiness before having achieved anything meaningful attitude.
He often looked like he was on the verge of better days, but how long can you wait.
Habs GM Bob Gainey stated that he felt he pulled the trigger on the deal from a position of strength (center) to fill a need where depth was a concern (defense). Obviously he was not wrong! Sophomore center Tomas Plekanec stepped into Ribeiro's slot as second line center between Sergei Samsonov and Alexei Kovalev and ignited the line to a 7 point night in a come from behind win over the Senators.
It's hard not to like that result. Especially when you have Pleks in your hockey pool as a longshot!
Niinimaa immediatly steps into the Habs D's top 4 in games played. When you figure in that the Habs already had 7 defenseman with primo NHl experience, it sure does look good on them.
My reference point would be last years Sabres squad who were thinned out on D nearing the last two games of their quarter final against Carolina. Gainey made a point to underline the fact that D men of any depth evaluation are harder to come by than centers of Ribeiro's like.
On another note, I was thrilled beyond a defribulator boost that 19 year old homegrown prospect Guillaume Latendresse has made the team. Few have cracked the Habs lineup at that young age. If my Molson drenched memory has the proper recoil, I can count only Petr Svoboda ( hated him! ), Mario Tremblay ( in 1974 ) and a ten game stint for Ribeiro, as the only underage Habs to accomplish such a feat. The 6' 2", 230 lb Gui can score and hit. All he needs to succeed is icetime. The good news is Habs rookie bench boss Guy Carbonneau has faith in him. I'm a Habby camper on that! ( Last time I use that worn out pun - gimme a break, the keyboard is blurry as hell! )
As for Poke Check's trip to Oshawa - it was a lot of good minus an unhappy ending.
Our Typhoons are coming together as a team sooner than anyone expected. The tourney was an 8 team affair with us never having faced any of these opponants. The 8 teams were split into 2 pools of 4 and we had 3 games in our round robin to qualify as a top 2 seed in our pool. After we lost our first game by a goal, we won the next one. It was a huge boost - our first win of the year. In our third game, we needed a win or a tie to move on to the semi finals. We were trailing by two after 2 periods but we rallied to get the tie - on a shorthanded goal no less, with two minutes to go in the game. The Durham Lightning, who we were fighting against, needed a win to move on, and yanked their goalie right after we scored. The Typhoons held them off and went on to the next round. A bigtime achievement so early in the year for us.
We earned the right to get maced by a Kingston powerhouse who really ought to be ranked as a "AA" team rather than the lower level "BB" in which we participate. These things happen - I could rant, but hey, what's the point?
Ours kids overachieved, gelled as a unit, and got better in so many aspects. They left the ice smilling nonetheless!
That's always the bottom line with kids!