Week: 10/01/16 - 16/01/16
Opponent: Blackhawks (1-2), Blues (3-4OT), Blackhawks (2-5)
Locations: Montreal, St. Louis, Chicago
Habs Goalies: Condon 0-1-1, Scrivens 0-1
Opposition Goalies: Crawford, Elliot, Crawford
Habs goalscorers: Byron, Eller, Pacioretty (2), Plekanec, Subban
Habs playmakers: Beaulieu, Desharnais, Emelin, Gallagher (2), Markov, Pacioretty, Petry, Plekanec, Subban (2)
Tomas PlekanecTomas went a respectable 63% in the faceoff circle, was only a minus one (which is impressive considering the weeks the Habs had) and had a goal and an assist. Tomas could have had more than that too and with 15 shots on net over three games it wasn't from lack of trying. The fact that he still can manage the effort he gives night in and night out despite such an abysmal stretch is a testament to how good this guy actually is.
Brendan GallagherThis guy returns and the first line wakes up again combining for 7 points over the last three games. The space he creates through his tenacity give his linemates that extra little bit of space, and often times it makes all the difference. He chipped in this week with a couple of assists and 11 shots on goal.
Max PaciorettyAnother couple of goals this week for Max is all you can really expect from the captain. He's trying to lead by example and fired 15 shots on goal in an attempt to do so. I especially liked him sticking up for his linemate (Gallagher) against Troy Brouwer.
PK SubbanHow Subban managed to finish a +1 this week is beyond me and makes up for his 6/1 give away/take away ratio. Combine that with his three points (a goal and 2 assists) and 11 shots on net and you've got one hell of a week from our workhorse.
Alexei EmelinYet again Alexei hits into the weekly dome. He was only a minus one (second among our blueliners) chipped in with an assist but most importantly threw 13 hits (a couple were highlight reel worthy). We had too few players showing up to play this week. Alexei was one of the few.
Mike CondonMike was in goal for our single point this week so we'll give the dome nod to him but a 0.890 save percentage is nothing to brag about nor is 6 goals against in 2 games.
CommentsI have a lot of questions this week and very few answers. My first of many are about young Jarred Tinordi. I'm happy for the young man to get a fresh start and a new chance at fulfilling his dream of following in his father's footsteps in becoming an NHL defenseman. I have no doubt of his ability and only for the fact that he is no longer playing for my beloved Canadiens I'd be rooting for him to do so. I wonder why he was not played this year at all. What does Therrien see in Pateryn, Beaulieu, Barberio, and even Gilbert for that matter that he did not see at least in Tinordi's potential? To me this is poor potential player identification by Therrian. If Tinordi has zero potential to play in the NHL, as his playing time would lead us to believe, then why was he left up until a point was reached where he would no longer clear waivers? This inability to clear waivers is what we're being led to believe forced Bergevin's hand in trading him. Had Bergevin dropped him down sooner this would not have happened. Was it that Bergevin left him with the club hoping Therrien would play him and it was Therrien's decision not to play him? To me, this is the only scenario that really makes sense. Otherwise, Bergevin backed himself into a corner and that's not an intelligent move from a former understudy of Scotty Bowman.
For the last month Galchenyuk was arguably the best centre we had. A trade rumor and an ill-advised night out later and Alex looks to be in the dog house. Alex had a couple of drinks Saturday night after a game. Not the end of the world as his next game wasn't until Thursday. Some people said after a loss that it was inappropriate to do so. Maybe. I'm surprised that after the 6 weeks they've had that more of them haven't turned to the bottle to be honest. Not really, but if it wasn't for the altercation with his girlfriend no one knows. As it turns out he was assaulted by his girlfriend and instead of reacting he, did the responsible thing to and let the police handle it. This could have been so much worse than it was. We haven't seen Smith-Pelly since. I hope this demotion to the wing is not punishment for this indiscretion, as insignificant as I believe it to be. It would show a severe lack of judgement on Therrien's part, not that I believe his judgement to be great (see Tinordi potential) but this would be a new low. On second though, this is actually better than the alternative, that being the experiment with Alex Galchenyuk at centre is over. If Therrien has assessed Galchenyuk as being a lesser option than Desharnais and Eller then I'm not confident he has what it takes to be an NHL coach. With Galchenyuk no longer at centre his worth to the club's future plummets. He now becomes trade fodder for Drouin and I sincerely doubt it'll be just Galchenyuk headed down south. With the dire state the team is in now, and the fact that Drouin is a Quebecois I'm worried Bergevin will get fleased in this deal. With Galchenyuk moved out to the wing and the possible ramifications of that, we're a step closer to my worst fears coming true.
I wasn't a huge fan of Therrien and his coaching the first time around. In three years he finished 77-77-13 which is nothing to write home about. Granted it was his first chance behind the bench of an NHL team but his time with the Pittsburgh Penguins and the best player in the world, (at the time) Sidney Crosby was disappointing enough to see him sacked after parts of 4 seasons. Now he's made the playoffs the last three years but how much of that success has been due to the best player in the world currently? The year Pittsburgh sacked Therrien they won the Stanley Cup. Hey, I'm game if you are. Bergevin signed Therrien on to another 3 years with a 4th year option. Marc isn't going to look very good firing the guy a half a season into a 3 year deal. Still, this is the worst hockey the Canadiens have played in 70 years and if the Canadiens are truly no better than this without Price in the lineup, Bergevin has gte more to worry about than just finding a new coach. For those Habs fans who still think Therrien is the coach for Montreal, write him your well wishes now. He won't finish the week behind our bench.
I still wonder about the trade that brought John Scott to the St. John's IceCaps. The more I think about this the more I question Bergevin on it. To say Scott was forced on him is rubbish. Arazona was more interested in Tinordi than surely we were in Bartley. As soon as they attempted to encumber us with John Scott, Bergevin should have pulled the plug. Does anyone really believe that Arizona would have risked botching up a heist where they steel Tinordi for Bartley? It just doesn't add up to me. Regardless, it happened and the right thing to do would be to call up Scott to secure his spot in the all-star game. Maybe this act of class and kindness, something I'd expect from our organization anyway, would appease the hockey gods who have turned on us so.
Even if Therrien is handed his pink slip this week, and I suspect he will be, Marc has to find a replacement coach who can handle coaching in Montreal. He has to speak French, be able to handle the media, and find a way to fix a team that has forgotten how to win. Not an easy task. He still has to find another top 6 forward. If he can somehow land Drouin and keep Galchenyuk I think he'll manage to keep the faith of the fans (and management). Would it be too much to ask for Stamkos in the off season? If his new coach doesn't manage to keep the Habs in the playoffs Bergevin may be following Therrien out the door.
Oh Price, where art thou? Carey Price has been out for almost two months now. I know he doesn't score goals but that's only half of our problem. He's good enough to make the blaring mistakes in our own zone invisible. He's a good enough puck mover that he has become an important part of our quick counter attack. Carey is more than just an excellent puck stopper. He makes this team look better defensively than it is (there's a chance these mistakes might be lessened with a new coach, maybe even substantially so). He kick starts our offence the way few goalies can. So Carey might not actually put the puck in the net but he makes it easier for others to do so. Above and beyond his actual skill set is the confidence just the appearance of that man in a set of goalie pads instills within his teammates. You take the same players before December 2 and they were flying, scoring at will. Fast forward to today and I have a great euphemism for the difficulty they now have in scoring that I'll keep to myself. What I'm trying to say is, despite what the "experts" might think, the return of Carey Price can and will have a positive influence in not just a more consistent net minder but an increase in offence as well.
Therrien will be gone soon. This current streak can't be ignored for much longer. Carey will be back sooner rather than later. Combine a coach that the team will listen to again with the return of this team's unquestioned leader and the Canadiens will return to playing respectable hockey. I believe they'll manage to get into the playoffs, even if it's a squeeker. Without Therrien we'll see Galchenyuk back to centre and with any luck he'll have a new linemate in Jonathan Drouin. If there's a team that we can count on to help us out of this mess it's the Boston Bruins. Fingers crossed that if the Habs put up another effort like the one they put up against the Blues, they are rewarded accordingly.