Here we are folks just days away from the start of the 2011-12 NHL season. A perfect time for my Habs Hot or Cold series to return. For this first post, I’ll talk about three of Montreal’s regular starters and our new backup goalie and how they performed during the preseason. Keep in mind that these are just my opinions and that I am well aware that preseason games don’t dictate how individuals or the team as a whole will perform once the regular season gets under way.
I’m giving Spacek a cold rating because in the four games he played in, he only recorded one measly assist and a plus/minus rating of -1. But it isn’t only his low point production that irks me. I found him to be really slow, at times I found him to be even slower than last season. People kept talking about the fact that he apparently lost weight; “Look closer Rob, you can see it in his face.” So what. He hasn’t improved, if anything he seems more timid than he did last year. Maybe he’s afraid to get hurt due to his “smaller” size. What ever the story is with Spacek, my opinion of him is the same as last year. He has to go.
So far, I can think of one word to quickly assess Cammalleri’s performance in the pre-season; WOW. It seems as if we were treated early to Playoff Cammalleri this year. He has proven thus far what I spoke about in my I Got A Feeling blog post concerning how he feels that it will be his best season. I hope that he can keep it up. If he continues to play the way he did during the preseason, it will be a career season for him. Cammy played in five games scoring four goals and one assist for a total of five points (4-1-5). He earned a plus/minus average of +2.
Scott Gomez has improved tremendously, although, after last season’s dismal performance he couldn’t get any worse. In four games he scored three goals and one assist for a total of four points (3-1-4). Despite having a -1 rating, Gomer averaged one point per game! If Gomez keeps playing like that he will more than make up for his sub-par quality of play last season. His passes are connecting more often, he is intense and in the game and he is shooting the puck providing more offense than he did last year.
With a salary of 1.1M$ for this season and taking into consideration that they let Auld go, I was expecting Budaj to be better than Alex Auld. That’s not what I saw thus far. He let far too many soft goals in. Goals that actually had to go through him in order to find their way to the back of the net. I felt he had a hard time controlling rebounds and found his side to side movements to be slow and quite laborious. I don’t feel confident having Budaj as a back up. Let’s just hope that he can improve, or that Carey Price will be ready to play more games than he did last season. Peter played in three preseason games earning a Goals Against Average of 4.80 and a Save Percentage of .862.