Do you get the feeling that reacquiring Paul Mara from Anaheim for a fifth round draft pick wasn't the move Canadiens fans have been clamoring for to make the team tougher and grittier in time for the playoffs? Mara's a 31 defenceman who was more of a liability than he was an asset for the Canadiens last season, when he was minus-16 in 42 games before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury. He's been pretty much a non-entity in Anaheim, where Mara was a healthy scratch for 23 of the Ducks' last 25 games. His are not credentials that bespeak an imminent journey to the promised land.
However, you're not going to get something for nothing, and fifth round draft choices amount to nothing 95 percent of the time, so it's not as if the Canadiens have gone out on a limb here. What Mara gives them is additional veteran depth along an injury-depleted blue line at an almost negligible salary cap hit. Even if that's not much, it's still better than nothing. The toughness and grit blockbuster will have to wait for another day, if in fact general manager Pierre Gauthier decides to fiddle with the existing dynamic of a group that in spite of all its perceived shortcomings still has the 8th best record in a 30 team league. As the guy to has to make the actual decisions and accept responsbility for the consequences, that's not a circumstance that's likely to panic Gauthier as much as it seems to consternate his volunteer army of unpaid armchair assistants.