Stand and deliver
One year removed from seeing his club march their way to the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference to close out last season, Gainey is anything but jealous of his peers who burned up the phone lines on trade deadline day.
“I have no regrets when I look at the list of players who were dealt today,” began Gainey minutes after the 3:00 p.m. deadline had come and gone. “It was a quiet day for us. We had a few discussions with clubs on Sunday, but we didn’t begin our day today with the intention of making any changes. We were open to any calls we could receive where something could have come out of nowhere, but didn’t really contact other teams and there wasn’t much on the table that interested us today.”
After dealing for Mathieu Schneider on February 16, plucking Glen Metropolit from the waiver wire and with the eventual additions of a healthy Alex Tanguay and Guillaume Latendresse to the mix, Gainey made the changes he felt were necessary well before Wednesday’s trading frenzy.
“We made some moves a few weeks ago, when we felt it was better to address the difficulties we were having sooner than later,” explained Gainey. “After addressing our goaltending situation a year ago, we now have nine defensemen on our roster that can do the job and forwards that can score the goals we will need.”
Simply put, the Habs’ general manager is confident that he has equipped his coaching staff with the necessary tools to lead the Canadiens on the road to playoff success. A road that continues tonight in Buffalo when the Habs will look to notch their fifth win in a row. Gainey’s battle cry to his group of players couldn’t be any more clear.
“We are happy with the team we have in place,” concluded Gainey. “The ball is in the court of our players, who must now prove they are ready to play up to the potential we’ve expected from them since this summer and throughout this season.”
Manny Almela is a writer for canadiens.com