“We like Paulie on that line because…he’s a good checker.” – Michel Therrien on Paul Byron playing right wing on the Habs top line.

  • At least there is no doubt which Montreal trio is #1
  • How’s the “chemistry” coming along between Alex Galchenyuk & Max Pacioretty?
  • This was Galchenyuk at his playmaking best. It was a beauty of a pass he made to Alexei Emelin whose rebound was swatted home by Byron to give Montreal a 2-0 lead. Galchenyuk also started the play that led to the winning goal when he again passed it to Emelin but it was his slick, no look pass to Pacioretty that resulted in the goal. And to think there were observers suggesting Galchenyuk can’t play centre because “he’s not an effective playmaker”.
  • Give Pacioretty credit. With the spotlight on after the overblown kerfuffle (“He didn’t know they had been mathematically eliminated!!! Tsk! Tsk!) he had his first two goal game since February 27th.
  • Byron is my choice for the Jacques Beauchamp trophy (unsung hero). Forget Mike Condon. He’s winning the Molson Cup and is the Habs rightful nominee for the Masterton trophy.
  • It’s been awhile since a couple of Montreal players (Galchenyuk, Pacioretty) finished a game +3.
  • The hit by Emelin on Dylan Larkin was not close to major penalty status. Zebras again overreact to a star player going down. This was not exactly a Raffi Torres head hunting moment. Thankfully (especially for the Flyers and Bruins) the integrity of the game remained intact as the Habs didn’t fold after Detroit scored two power play goals to tie it up. If the four on ice officials are going to huddle to discuss a play they’re not certain about shouldn’t they get it right – instead of guessing?
  • What set Mike Brown off to take a well earned double minor on Niklas Kronwall which led to Detroit’s third straight power play goal and the lead? Sean Campbell nailed it on the TSN 690 broadcast – Brown wanted Kronwall to fight, just as Justin Abdelkader forced Emelin to do (kind of) following the hit on Larkin. Who’s the hard hitting defenseman on Detroit who doesn’t fight?
  • Pierre McGuire insisted before the game that Detroit would/should start Jimmy Howard in goal because Peter Mrazek’s game has fallen apart.
  • Greg Pateryn made up for his two lousy nights at home in Detroit.
  • Nathan Beaulieu looked like an NHL defenseman again.
  • Now I know who Joel Hanley is. What I’d like to know is who was the last Habs player – or any player for that matter – to begin his NHL career with five points in his first five games.
  • Condon played one of his best games of the season.
  • After Sven Andrighetto scored a rare Montreal power play goal in the third period to tie the game at three, fans in the Bell Centre were treated to the opening of “In The Ghetto” by Elvis (written by Mac Davis). Good one.
  • It was great to see – and hear – Andre Oullette belt out the anthems for the first time in 10 years. I’ll assume he’s back drinking Molson products, or not drinking at all.
  • Galchenyuk was schooled in the face off circle (1 for 12!). But so were his more experienced teammates Torrey Mitchell (27%) and Tomas Plekanec (37%). Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg have done this before.
  • I’m going to miss those guys. Especially Datsyuk.
  • Plekanec’s effort on Anthony Mantha’s game tying goal in the second when the Detroit rookie beat three goaltenders – Condon, Beaulieu and Philip Daneault – was strikingly soft.
  • The post game quote on Byron is Michel Therrien in a nutshell. He believes two elite offensive players need to be protected by a checker. He’s not alone in that theory and it’s not like he’s got Guy Lafleur on the bench to round out the top line. But there you have it.
  • Where’s P.K. Subban and what is he doing?

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5 Responses

  1. Kostas

    Hi Mitch

    Thanks again for your Takes…
    Always a pleasure to read

  2. Christoph

    Subban is back out on social media. I kinda feel they should all take a break and keep their heads down in that regard after this ridiculous season, but who am I to say.

    • Mitch Melnick

      Subban on social media is nothing but playful. I see no harm.

  3. Michael Nixon

    Ok, Mitch…what do you think should happen with the Canadiens in the off-season? This year has been such a disaster…I can’t remember, even when the ghost was here…that the Habs have looked so bad as an organization…top to bottom. When you talk leadership, one has to wonder where it is, anywhere in this organization. I’m a fan of stability but I’m also a fan of an organization coming clean and being honest with its fans. The Habs have failed miserably in that regard this year and there are many who feel the John Scott callup as well as playing Lindgren are all a distraction to the fact this season has been in the toilet for quite some time.

    For what it’s worth, here is my take…first, Michel Therrien: I will give MT a small pass because he does not have much to work with and his GM failed him by not being aggressive and getting a half decent NHL goaltender when Price went down. Then again, the whole organization screwed the Price situation up instead of being honest and forthcoming. First, it was six weeks, then just a few more, now it is pointless to play him and risk another injury. In that sense, I don’t even understand why he is practicing. But, back to Therrien, I give him a pass on that but not a pass on playing guys who were unproductive and sitting others who were producing.; We all know the numbers on that so no point detailing it but, as you mentioned, this is Therrien. If he had his druthers, he would play 20 grinders every night. He has to go…if I’m a season ticket holder, no way I’m coming back if he is still coach.

    Marc Bergevin – I don’t remember if I have ever seen a GM whose reputation went from so highly regarded to terrible in such a short period of time. All I can say is those who thought he was a great GM before this season never really looked at the facts. Had they done so, it would have easily been acknowledged that MB has done next to nothing in his four years as Habs’ GM. He has traded for 4th line guys, has not helped the top six in any meaningful fashion and failed to protect his number one asset by getting him some quality backup. This season has demonstrated just how weak and bad a GM MB is. Pickups like Ben Scrivens, Paul Byron and others do not help make your team better. They are, at best, depth players. In Scrivens’ case, if you can’t play for Edmonton, why the hell would you think he can play in Montreal. Because he got a contract extension it would be expensive to get rid of him but it has to be made clear to MB that the status quo is no longer acceptable and giving ridiculous contracts to guys who do not deserve it has to stop. MB’s biggest mistakes have been contract extensions to Eller, Plekanec, Emelin and Markov. Which brings up another point…Markov is going to be 38 next season…he is not getting any better or faster. How can you justify him at his salary any longer?

    Geoff Molson – I like the fact our owner has not gone public during the season and said something based on emotion or pulled a Eugene Melnyk. Being a fan of the New York Football Giants, I firmly believe you evaluate these things in the off season and make your statements then which is something the Giants have always done. That being said, Molson has to address the fan base next week in some kind of wrap up press conference, sans MB and MT. Molson has to be straight with the fans and answer the question his invisible GM won’t answer. From top to bottom, he has to address this organization and that includes the deplorable team in the AHL which will miss the playoffs there for the fifth or sixth straight year. He has to address the poor drafting and lack of development of young players and the overall lack of talent in our system.

    One thing this season has done is revealed a lot of holes in the Canadiens’ organization from top to bottom. It has shown the coaching staff to be weak and unable to adjust. It has shown the dearth of talent in the minors and the inability of the GM to make any kind of significant trade…probably, mostly, because he has very few assets from which to give up in a trade. But it has also revealed an attitude on the part of the GM which is not positive. His lack of movement…his admission that you can’t make deals in the salary cap era. Well, if you can’t make trades then you’d better draft a lot better than you have been and that is on Bergevin.