Well, lookit you, Mr. Badass.
Before going further I must underline and applaud the play of Travis Moen tonight. First star honours were very well deserved in this Méchant Lundi special event (otherwise known as "what, we play tonight? Really?") as well as Hammer for continuing his reign on the offensive masters of the Habs' blueline (outscoring Sheldon Souray by 3 goals. Concussion or not, betcha didn't think THAT was ever going to happen). I've also been a little rough on Jaroslav Spacek lately, and that goal made me eat my words.
So, Pleks. This may well be my area of expertise, granted, he has been my favourite player for awhile (and in my sights since his first-ever training camp in 2001). There have been ups. There have been downs. There have been turtleneck jokes and little girl references (and of course, the accompanying creative uses of Photoshop). There is, currently, a one-year contract, $2.75M.
So far, the man we "overpaid" this summer is looking like the bargain he has been since 2001.
This and he hasn't kept the same wingers for more than two games all season. The silent but wily craftsman is back to being one of the highest on the Habs' leaderboard. Eight of his points are assists, but none of those were cheaply made. Roll back footage of Cammy's second goal on Saturday. He is back and he is strong, he is making use of whatever chances he gets despite the instability on either side of him. He has the odd average game, but the Plekanec definition of "average" still means busting his butt every shift. It's been said before, but doesn't always reach into the thick skulls of some Habs' fans (who tend to favour former wearers of jersey #27, coincidence?) who are off in Trade Rumour La-La Land, pointing at his "rising value" and "the need to capitalize on it" as soon as possible rather than acknowledging and even celebrating the fact that this team we couldn't recognize October 1st actually has a familiar face pulling a lot of its strings. He's even added to the formula a little--this season he's slowly adding the extra spice to his game by attempting the human bulldozer on pretty much every opponent, 5'9'' or 6'7''. Doesn't always win, sometimes ends up flat on his butt, but oh, those fearful little Euro forwards, afraid to get in the corners...not so much.
And tonight. End-to-end setup for Hammer's goal. Those playmaking abilities at their very best, that keen vision of the ice, the confidence he so dearly missed last season, it was all there. One thing hasn't changed with his mindset, though. He passed the puck. I'll always remember being present at the Penguins-Canadiens' game a few years ago, again in overtime, where he could have recorded his first NHL hat trick but saw another #44, Souray, in what he felt was a much better position so he passed the puck to him. Souray scored, the entire Bell Centre and beyond went into a fit of deliriousness, ole'ing deep into the metro (I had to hum along, I had no voice left). Pleks? He stuck by his decision like he probably will again tonight. And then there'll be the next game.
But will there be next year? That's not up to me. But you know what would happen if it was.