Read it and weep:

  • Andrei Markov – 0 goals in 30 games
  • Nathan Beaulieu – 0 goals in 25 games
  • David Desharnais – 1 goal in 25 games
  • Torrey Mitchell – 1 goal in 25 games
  • Tomas Fleischmann – 1 goal in 23 games
  • Jeff Petry – 1 goal in 23 games
  • Brian Flynn – 1 goal in 20 games
  • Lars Eller – 1 goal in 19 games
  • Tomas Plekanec – 2 goals in 33 games
  • Dale Weise – 2 goals in 23 games
  • Alex Galchenyuk – 3 goals in 22 games
  • Mike Condon Save Percentage since Dec 3 (14 starts)  – .896

THE GOOD

  • Mark Barberio. First goal as a member of the Habs was a blast – as if to wake up the coaching staff to the fact that perhaps an offensive defenseman might be able to help a bad power play.
  • P.K. Subban. Perfect set up to Barberio. Also set up several other teammates who couldn’t do anything with the puck. Played over 31:00. Nine points (2-7) in his last 10 games. That’s a 72 point season pace. But I keep hearing he’s not playing well. He’s up to 30 assists this season. Only five players in the league have more. And he’s doing this while his regular defense partner is generating next to nothing.
  • Michel Therrien. Passionate defense of his oldest player and of his team. His finest post-game moment of the season. But does he still have the ear of his boss?

THE BAD

  • Tomas Plekanec – Brendan Gallagher – Max Pacioretty. Forget the shot totals (23). Here’s an example of what’s wrong – Late in the third period, down by two,  Subban hits Plekanec with a perfect long stretch pass in the neutral zone. Plekanec skates in, winds up and badly misses the net. Where does the puck end up? Deep in Montreal territory after the Bruins pick up the carom off the boards. The trio was a combined -9. Plekanec should have been -4. It was his lazy give away in the neutral zone as he headed to the bench for a change that led directly to the Bruins third goal by David Pasternak. By the time the puck crossed the goal line Plekanec was sitting on the bench. It’s a rare Montreal-Boston match up which features Plekanec as quiet as he was in this one. Maybe he misses David Krecji. Pacioretty was never a real threat with the puck while Gallagher lost a rare puck battle along the boards in Boston territory to his nemesis Brad Marchand which led to the opening goal by Max Talbot.
  • Dale Weise. Is he back yet?
  • David Desharnais-Alex Galchenyuk. This is chemistry? How about Galchenyuk-Gallagher-Pacioretty? It can’t get worse.
  • Torrey Mitchell-Devante Smith-Pelly-Brian Flynn. Habs 4th line was badly outplayed by Boston’s 4th line of Tabot-Pasternak and Zac Rinaldo. Fourteen minutes into the second period with the score tied at one Mitchell was sent in alone by Subban (see a pattern?) but the veteran Montreal centre was stymied by Tuukka Rask (Mitchell telegraphed his shot to Rask’s glove). Two minutes later Patrice Bergeron scored on a wraparound to effectively end the game.
  • Mike Condon. Caught out of position on all three goals. Yes, even the first one when he never got set. It’s Ben Scrivens time.
  • Injuries to Nathan Beaulieu and Paul Byron. Beaulieu wasn’t playing very well but the Habs just lost a good chunk of their speed and mobility. In Byron’s case they also lose their second leading goal scorer since December 3. Yep. Byron has five goals since then (21 games). Pacioretty has six.
  • Michel Therrien. “It happens to everybody” was part of Therrien’s explanation to how an aging defenseman could look so bad. Maybe he shouldn’t have played him into the ice as often as he did.

THE UGLY

  • Andrei Markov. The panicked giveaway up the middle of the ice after Condon surprisingly stopped Talbot on a breakaway (that’s a big five-hole shooters see) was a shocker. But the fact is the Habs came back to tie the game. Beyond that it was Markov’s dumb elbowing penalty five minutes into the second that put the league’s top power play to work. It was his constant mishandling of the puck. It was the way he glared at a teammate (Galchenyuk?) after icing the puck. It was his poor play on the power play three minutes after Barberio tied the game when Bergeron was sent off for hooking Desharnais. This was the moment. Game tied. Habs with momentum. The NHL’s best penalty killer sitting in the box. Instead of going back to the keyed up hometown kid Barberio to play the point, Therrien again turned to Markov who predictably handled the puck like a live grenade. Power play over. Wasted opportunty. Three minutes later it’s Bergeron who scores the game winner. The booing? Sad to see and hear. Markov doesn’t deserve it. I booed an athlete once in my life. It was the summer of 1974 at Jarry Park. Willie Davis was one of the great centrefielders in Major League Baseball. He arrived in Montreal from Los Angeles for relief ace Mike Marshall. Willie D played only one season for the Expos. He was their player of the year. But he had off field issues. Many of them. He also had to cover a lot of ground at Jarry which featured the deepest centrefield (420 feet) in the National League. And he had no help out there, flanked by Ron Fairly in left and Ken Singleton in right. I don’t remember the opposition but I do remember Davis, who played a very shallow CF, misplaying a fly ball. It rolled all the way to the fence. Davis jogged after it while the batter circled the basis. In my squeakiest 15 year old voice I let him have it. The fans who were booing Markov know what happened is not through lack of effort. He just took the brunt of anger and frustration from a fan base that’s wondering where all the joy went.
  • 10th place.  The last time the Canadiens were this low in the standings they fired coaches. Three of them.

 

 

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4 Responses

  1. Kevin

    I’m baffled by how Therrien gets in your ‘good’. Okay, so he defended his players, great. However, he’s responsible for them and their play, which has not been up to par in a long time. You noted 3 lines in your ‘bad’, but those are Therrien’s choices. He could mix them up, he could do as you suggested, he could be using Carr/Andrighetto instead of Flynn/DSP. He could have been reducing Markov’s minutes for a couple years now, giving him a night off from time to time. He could have changed the system, much as Bruce Boudreau has done – if you’re not scoring, maybe shut down defensively and stop giving up scoring chances.

    Is firing Therrien going to fix everything? No, of course not. But he isn’t exactly helping. And frankly, how the heck does a coach get away with having the worst 20 game Habs stretch in 75 years? I’m sorry, I think he’s a good guy and he defends his players well, but he should be done.

    • Mitch Melnick

      No help from his GM. Unless you think Alex Semin, Tomas Fleischmann and Zack Kassian were difference makers, following Torrey Mitchell and Brian Flynn. When Gallagher went down for a month their #1 RW was Dale Weise. C’mon, man. (Did you stop reading at Therrien? He’s also in ‘The Bad’.)

      • Kevin

        I know this is delayed a bit, but sorry Mitch, you’re clearly right. I thought I’d read all of the bad, but must have skimmed it.

  2. pat

    Mitch:

    -as a long time detractor of Therrien (he continues to give me a lot of grist for the mill) I believe the decision to continue the season with Therrien was the right decision to be made at this time.

    WHY ?
    1) the possible replacements in mid season are few and far between. there will always be a deeper and wider talent pool at the end of the season

    2) more important is the fact that the players back this coach. to change him out now would in fact have had a far greater negative effect

    -the issue for me is Bergevin. yes, in a cap world it’s diffficult to make a trade but the best GMs seem to overcome that obstacle and make the deals they need

    -Bergevin hired this coach and then extended him for 4 more years. why, was RDS going to swoop him up at the end of his first contract ?

    -Bergevin is the guy that totally miscalculated what he and his coaching staff could get out of Semin and Kassian

    -Bergevin and his management team has assembled the players Therrien has to coach. at best the team has only 4 top 6 players-perhaps only 3

    -yes Bergevin was given a dog’s breakfast by the previous regime but going on 4 years in it’s time to make the difficult decisions or move aside to his Playstation 24-7 and let someone with the requisite vision and courage build a winner

    -on the other hand I applaud his courage to not trade the future for a short term fix as I’d sooner miss the playoffs and let Carey properly heal than destroy what he has built to date

    -bottom line what I’m saying is; as Bergevin said yesterday, it’s all on him. who’s the coach, who are the players, what propects are kept. he needs to perform. from now until this summer he needs to prove that he has the vision and courage to build a winner. no one is willing to listen directly or indirectly to ‘I need more time’

    -as for his extension by Mr Molson ? well in this business if mistakes are made in hiring team management it’s only a question of how much buyout cash is involved. then onto the next saviour.