Friday, March 19, 2010

Dominic Moore a Key to Montreal's Playoff Puzzle

This article was first published in the March 19th edition of Main Street Week - page 8, and is reprinted here with permission from the editors. Drop by to have a look at a great community newspaper or sign up and have Main Street Week delivered right to your inbox every Friday. Photo of Moore during his time in Pittsburgh by Pointnshoot on Flickr.

This week, let's look back at the National Hockey League's trade deadline, which came and went on March 3rd with very little fanfare. Sure, there was plenty of television and radio coverage and a fair number of trades but few big names changed addresses. In the hunt for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference but dealing with injuries to some key players, the Montreal Canadiens were one of the teams that made no major moves at all.

Coming off the Olympic roster freeze, many fans and media analysts expected a flurry of deals, as the league's General Managers had over two weeks to analyze their teams and speak with their fellow GM's about roster moves. With so few teams out of the playoff picture, the result was a limited number of sellers on deadline day. Perhaps it was paralysis from analysis; the General Managers had too much time to consider their moves.

When Bob Gainey stepped down as the top man in Montreal on February 8th and handed control of the team to long-time assistant, Pierre Gauthier, Montreal fans were left to speculate how their team’s new boss would change his roster. Although he did make a minor trade at the deadline, sending Matt D’Agostini to St. Louis in exchange for Aaron Palushaj, Gauthier made one key acquisition before the Vancouver Games that will go a long way in helping the Canadiens earn a spot in the playoffs.

On February 11th, Gauthier and Florida Panthers GM Randy Sexton announced that Dominic Moore was on his way to Montreal in exchange for a second round draft pick in 2011. Moore, a native of Thornhill Ontario, is a hard working center that is a tremendous asset on the penalty kill and he can be very effective in the face-off circle as well.

A third round pick (95th overall) of the New York Rangers in the 2000 draft, Montreal is the seventh NHL team for Moore after stops in New York, Pittsburgh, Minnesota, Toronto, Buffalo and Florida. In 362 NHL games, he has accumulated 45 goals and 124 points, with his best numbers coming during the 2007-08 season, split between Toronto and Buffalo. During that year, Moore played in 81 games and picked up 45 points. Before turning pro, he was a member of the Harvard University hockey team for four seasons in the NCAA. During the 1999-2000 season at Harvard, Moore took to the ice with his brothers Steve and Mark, the only time in their careers they had the opportunity to play together.

While Moore will never challenge players like Tomas Plekanec or Mike Cammalleri for the team lead in points, he is a valuable asset to acquire for a team like Montreal that has struggled defensively at times this season. As we have already witnessed this year, players like Moore and Glen Metropolit can score timely goals and they could be the difference makers in a hard-fought seven game playoff series. All the Canadiens have to do now is make it into the NHL’s second season, not an easy task in today’s league. Have a great sports day everyone.

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