Rapid Fire: Habs Bullet Points

Andrighetto celebrating his goal against Carolina (Photo by Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images)

Andrighetto celebrating his goal against Carolina (Photo by Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images)

Some thoughts come and go on a game by game basis, others sustain over lengthy periods of time.  The following fit under both categories.


  • With emphasis on trades coming in a piece to be published at a later date, is there truly a need for a top six forward? Namely one with a scoring touch? Andrighetto’s numbers have been remarkable and replacing Brendan Gallagher just cannot be done via any transaction.  His numbers are incredibly high thus far this season and this injury loss truly hurts more than that of Carey Price’s two ventures to the sidelines.  Gallagher’s numbers can somewhat be compensated for by others stepping up but the fix that no trade, call up nor waiver claim is capable of is finding a new pulse, heartbeat, spark plug or any other applicable term for it may be.  Gallagher is the ignition of the offensive engine that put the Canadiens unit to the top after last year’s struggles.  Time is all that can fix this since nothing else will bring Brendan Gallagher back any sooner.


  • Before blaming too many goals on Mike Condon, look at the ones he gives up and how many of them are unusual, unfortunate bounces or breaks.  How many of them would Carey Price have had? A few of them for sure but not as many as some people may think.


  • Among ugly re-emerging trends this team showcases, playing up or down to their opponents level has been problematic.  Playing up to their level seems non-existent as this team is currently ranked in or around the top of the standings so the benefits here are all but nil and essentially counteracted by losing or to last place or general non-playoff/non-threat teams; consisting of struggles against the Oilers, Hurricanes, Coyotes, etc.  Ill preparation for these match ups would be attributed to coaching but among the players that tend to produce against them: Alex Galchenyuk, Christian Thomas, Sven Andrighetto, Daniel Carr and other youngsters.  Guys that were or are unproven or are for reasons unexplained still being forced to fight their way up the lineup past Therrien’s blatant favorites are the ones proving themselves to be hungry enough to get the job done.


  • David Desharnais is pointless in his last half a dozen games and continues to see optimal deployment, including a reunion with Max Pacioretty in spite of being better off with Tomas Fleischmann.  Alex Galchenyuk has yet to see true top six minutes this season because even when he finds himself on the second line, it can hardly be considered the second line when he sees less ice than the fourth line.  In spite of this, Galchenyuk has more points than Desharnais.


  • Alexei Emelin provided a small victory for this team with even just average play early this season.  Getting that much of an improvement out of him was like adding an entirely new player to the roster but his recent dips and mental lapses have been the second worst thing (behind only the dump and chase) that could have returned from last season.  Why the team has showcased no confidence in Jarred Tinordi is a mystery, especially when they seem to have implicit faith in a defenceman so bad he joins the recent years ranks of Douglas Murray, Jaroslav Spacek, Tomas Kaberle and Mike Komisarek among others.


  • Tom Gilbert is the kind of player that can win or lose his team the game.  On an expiring deal with a reasonable dollar amount, if the interest expressed in him by Columbus is true as Pierre LeBrun reported then it may be something worth pursuing.  He has been something of an analytics darling kind of player but he will not get the opportunities to be as such whilst saddled with Emelin and playing behind Subban and Petry.  Give him an opportunity to shine elsewhere as well as likely cost his team a handful of games.


  • Max Pacioretty’s point totals have surprisingly been none too shabby considering his quiet season thus far.  This is likely going under the radar because of terrible decision making, including blatantly costing the Habs the game against the Washington Capitals.  His legs seem to be starting to fire on all cylinders again so with any positive fortune, this is an indicator that he will be in more optimal form once again soon.  It’s a mystery why he and Tomas Plekanec were separated; they are currently tied in points with Plekanec bearing a superior plus/minus.


  • The most consistently pressing issue of the last X amount of years: Why in the world does Michel Therrien (or whomever is having their hand in running the power play) insist on playing P.K. Subban on the right side with the man advantage? In fact, why are there sides on the point at all? The 1-3-1 formation is what had the power play working in the first place which was suggested here previously a long time ago.  Anyone and everyone can see it with the exception of those ultimately making the decisions.  The reason Petry and Subban worked as a power play pairing is because it guaranteed that someone would be on their shooting side with their stick hand open to the play.  The second this information completes the lengthy journey to Michel Therrien’s brain and clipboard is the second these issues are once again solved.  There is a reason that Subban has 20 assists but only one goal so far this season.  This is it.


  • Therrien praised Lars Eller for his work and production, saying he was happy to see him getting results for what he has done.  A few more minutes of ice time and granting him power play deployment ahead of David Desharnais and Dale Weise would be nice, same goes for Galchenyuk and Andrighetto.


  • Speaking of which, Dale Weise on the power play worked approximately two or three times.  The time to give up on this notion has long since passed but it is worth noting that his shot looks to be remarkably improved in recent times.  His scoring touch should be finding its way back as soon as he is back on the third line and against competition that he is able to undoubtedly dominate.  Hopefully his and Desharnais’ time against top line opposition is merely akin to a weight sleeve on a baseball bat; just there to make their actual efforts (at the plate or in their case on the third line) seem easier by comparison.


  • Boy howdy have these IceCaps call ups been good.


With this in mind and certainly much more to come…


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