Now that the giddiness of the all-star break is behind us, it’s time for the Montreal Canadiens to get back down to business.
It starts with a 2 p.m. skate at Brossard on Monday, followed by the arrival of the Buffalo Sabres for a game at the Bell Centre Tuesday night.
The Canadiens go into the post all-star break in 11th place, eight points out of a playoff spot. If that isn’t scary enough, the Habs are only two points removed from the Eastern Conference cellar.
Now what? Will Carey Price, the all-star, play like an all-star down the stretch and drag this team, kicking and screaming into the playoffs?
Will Erik Cole, David Desharnais and Max Pacioretty continue to lead this team, up front, as they have for most of the season? More importantly, will the Canadiens get some consistant production from the likes of Andrei Kostitsyn, Lars Eller and Tomas Plekanec?
Will Scott Gomez play the way he did down the stretch during his first season as a Hab? Or does the Scott Gomez saga start and end with his salary?
Will PK Subban settle down and play the kind of hockey he played the second half of last season, when he stepped in and stepped up at a time when he was needed the most?
Will we see Andrei Markov in a Candiens’ uniform at all this season?
Will Canadiens’ management continue to apologize for their decision to hire Randy Cunneyworth as their “interim” head coach? Or will Cunneyworth shove the “interim” tag down their throats by proving that he has the goods to be a “full-time” head coach in the National Hockey League.
For the Montreal Canadiens, so many questions, so little time. Thirty-three games, in fact, until the final horn goes on the 2011-12 NHL regular season.