Are the New Guys Finally Home in Montreal?

It’s taken a while but I think we can finally say that two of last summer’s signings are starting to find their groove in the Habs’ sweater. Don’t get me wrong, today was not, by any stretch of the imagination a great game to watch BUT I believe we can still extract some positives from it.

For starters, Daniel Brière scored a beauty of a goal, his 9th of the season. I know, 9 goals is not a lot but stop and think about his ice time for a minute… He currently averages 12:45 per game while our captain, Brian Gionta averages 18:02 and has how many goals? 9 as well. Bearing in mind that Gionta has been a fixture as a top six forward and therefore has seen quality minutes with Plekanec you’d think he would have better stats… Or maybe, just maybe, Brière is just making the most of the very little opportunities that are being given to him. While it did look like he had trouble settling in, in Montreal, now he just seems to accept the situation and give his all on every shift. He scored an important goal on a breakaway against the hated Bruins earlier this week and he did manage to get us a point out of today’s game even though the Sainte-Flanelle didn’t exactly look good on the ice. Strangely though, only two players had less ice time than Danny B today, George Parros with a staggering 1:43 and the freshly recalled Christian Thomas at 8:16 while Brière managed to leave the bench for just 8:41. Perhaps it’s time to end the purgatory in which he seems to have been stuck for quite some time now. It almost looks as if Michel Therrien does not trust Brière but the way I see it, with the contract he was given, it could be worth giving him a chance to show what he’s worth. Furthermore, playoff Brière is heck of a player so if the Habs are to make it to the spring dance, it would be much better to make it with a Danny B who’s firing on all cylinders…

Onto the second bright spot of the game for me, well of the last few games really: Douglas Murray. Yes, he is slow BUT his play on the penalty kill lately has been nothing short of stellar. He’s blocked shots, cut passes and cleared bodies from the front of the net. I will be the first to admit that earlier in the year I dreaded seeing him on the ice but he does seem to have found his rhythm out there and on a pairing with Nathan Beaulieu, it really works! Perhaps the rookie’s mobility helps remedy Murray’s lack of speed but that duo has looked very good out there this week. In fact, I struggle to see how Therrien could even fathom bringing Diaz back in the line-up right now while Beaulieu is so clearly ready for the big show. Rarely have we seen a young defenseman with so much poise and confidence. Furthermore, he does offer a valuable option for the second wave of the power play.

Tomorrow against the Jets, I’m hoping Therrien will give Brière more ice time and perhaps, let him play on the second line alongside Plekanec and Gionta as he did late in today’s game. It would be great if the players could be given time to develop chemistry before their line is picked apart…They do say that good things come to those who wait…

Photo by François Lacasse/NHLI via Getty Iamages

Photo by François Lacasse/NHLI via Getty Images



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One Response to Are the New Guys Finally Home in Montreal?

  1. I like this piece Karine for the most part. I agree with Briere, he is definitely not used properly and has shown chemistry with Plekanec and Gionta. Use him there to exploit offensive opportunities. I dont agree with using Gionta as a comparison due to him being important for the defensive side of the game where Briere is not very good in that regard.

    Anyways, the main part I disagree with is Murray. Even though he may seem he is doing better than he was, he is still hindering the team. Beaulieu deserves a better defensive pair, which would be Diaz or even Bouillon. Diaz has been one of the best Habs in the defensive zone this season. Sitting him is beyond ridiculous now. I get that people feel that Murray’s big body brings something to the table but his inability to basically skate is one thing that hurts the team. Additionally, blocked shots and hits means that we dont have the puck and he has shown that he screens our own goalie more so than pushing players outside of the crease. Example against detroit where cleary knocked HIM down rather than the other way around and the wings scored.

    Good piece though! I like your take on it and good topic.

    Michael Gomez February 1, 2014 at 10:59 pm Reply

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