Monday, March 12, 2012

Staubitz a keeper (and other Monday morning musings)

One of the most important off-season signings for the Canadiens should also be one of the easiest. Brad Staubitz has made every other player on the team an inch taller and 10 pounds heavier since being claimed off waivers from Minnesota at the trade deadline. He gives the Canadiens their first legitimate enforcer since Georges Laraque, and say what you will about Laraque as an injury-plagued free agent bust - no one was taking liberties against the Habs on nights when Big Georges was healthy enough to suit up. The Canadiens can probably re-sign Staubitz for half of what they were paying Laraque, and it'll be money well-spent...Andrei Markov had good and bad moments in his first game in 16 months Saturday in Vancouver, but the boost his long-awaited return gave to the Canadiens' collective confidence was palpable. The potential downside to a Markov-led, late-season resurgence is that it's too late for the Habs to make a serious playoff run, but not too late to play themselves out of the draft lottery..Speaking of which, the Fail For Nail sweepstakes among NHL bottom feeders is on hold after number one prospect Nail Yakupov suffered a possible concussion over the weekend. Yakupov's uncertain status ahead of the draft raises a number of questions, not least of which is "what rhymes with Grigorenko?"...No one is realistically expecting the Impact to be a contender in their inaugural Major League Soccer season, but if they want to be lovable losers like the expansion 1969 Expos, they're going to need more guys named Boots, Coco and Mudcat.

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