So much for the newly found compete level and momentum coming out of New York City. Gone faster than you can say “stinker”.

Marc Bergevin is a patient man. But surely even he can now see a second straight season out of the playoffs creeping in on him, almost as quickly as you can say “stinker”.

What a stinker.

Is there a team currently in the playoffs who are less enjoyable to watch than the Montreal Canadiens – especially at home?

THE GOOD

  • Artturi Lehkonen. At least we know there is a forward who can put the puck in the net after going to the net. I don’t blame him for batting it in with his arm. You gotta start somewhere. At least he put himself in position to do some damage. Clearly the Habs best forward, and the guy who appears most likely to score their next goal.
  • Carey Price. Three consecutive solid starts. No doubt there was some grumbling when Anthony Beauvillier beat him short side to open the scoring. But Price had to cheat a bit because off to his left all alone and ready to receive a pass was Ryan Strome. Another shutout loss (4 in their last 8 games) and the Habs ought to consider starting Al Montoya in goal and moving Price up front.
  • Shea Weber. Habs best (only?) scoring chances came off his stick. From inside the blue line. But Thomas Greisse saw every shot. It was kind of like practice for the Islanders goaltender.
  • Claude Julien. 1,000th game. As memorable as spitting up that last shot of Jameson during St. Patrick’s Day at The Black Rose.

THE BAD

  • Phillip Danault-Alexander Radulov-Max Pacioretty. Judging by many post game comments it was the Islanders 3 Galchenyuk 0. But these guys were far worse. Julien opted for a Danault-Taveras match up and it was a mismatch. The Habs #1 centre hasn’t scored a goal in 13 games and has just 1 in his last 19 games. In his last 10 games he has a total of 3 assists. And look who he’s playing with. But the issue is Galchenyuk as a centre? Has everybody gone blind? Pacioretty seemed distracted, constantly looking over his shoulder as if to be sizing up his defensive responsibility. And I don’t recall Radulov looking as inefficient as he was in this one.
  • Brendan Gallagher. I’ve never really been concerned about Gallagher’s lack of production this season. Until now. Nothing is happening. When he does get a chance to take a shot he’s a split second too late and he’s not getting anything on the puck. Even his passing game is ineffective. Is it his hand or his head? His shooting percentage is down to a measly 5%, or half of what it should be. His standard dump and chase play when he gets over the opposition blue line isn’t working because he’s getting rubbed out along the boards and knocked off his feet. He might want to consider moving the puck to the middle of the ice. Gallagher is too important a player to be this ineffective for such a prolonged period of time (1 goal, 1 assist last 15 games). It seems as he goes, so go the Habs.
  • Alexei Emelin. Enough already. His late 2nd period open ice hit on Taveras was too little, too late. Better suited for the (mostly) slower and heavier Western Conference.
  • Andrei Markov. Not surprisingly he looked old and slow after all those heavy minutes at MSG.
  • Nathan Beaulieu. Might just be the next Ron Hainsey.
  • Greg Pateryn. You’re telling me Mark Barberio couldn’t help get the puck out of his own zone?
  • Paul Byron. Invisible.
  • Torrey Mitchell. Seems to have entered the Manny Malhotra stage of his career. Hasn’t picked up a point in a month. No goals in 34 games.
  • Brian Flynn. What good is all that speed if it’s never put to use in the offensive zone?
  • Alex Galchenyuk. Zero shot attempts is unacceptable. Looks lost. It was Galchenyuk as playmaker during the Habs only power play as he kept feeding either Weber or teammates who fed Weber as the Habs did enjoy a lot of zone time but there was nothing happening down low where Galchneyuk should be the trigger man. Through all of his struggles since returning from 8 weeks off, Galchenyuk is still producing at a pace for a 25 goal season. And he still leads the Habs in point production based on ice time (2.80 P/60. Pacioretty is 2.68. Radulov 2.36.) They are trying to get him going by pairing him with Radulov on the power play. They need to get him going. Reminder – the Habs have two legit goal scorers. Has Bergevin’s considerable patience run out that we’ll again see the guy who scored in bunches en route to a 30 goal season a year ago (playing alongside Pacioretty) and who picked up to start the season where he left off? Is the Habs GM going to the deadline with Galchenyuk before deciding to move him? Or has he all but made up his mind that he’d rather try Matt Duchene in Galchenyuk’s spot? It’s the biggest drama surrounding the Habs prior to next Wednesday. That – and the possible return to #1 centre status of David Desharnais.

THE UGLY

  • Bell Centre. What has happened to the Habs once significant home ice advantage? Julien, whose former team in Boston also had issues on home ice, must feel like all those Republicans getting pelted at Town Hall meetings. Considering their record of late it actually might be helpful to play the next couple of games on the road, especially after a full practice prior to the games in Toronto and New Jersey. We spoke to Mark Recchi, who is a player development coach with the Stanley Cup champion Penguins, on the radio this week who said it took Mike Sullivan about three weeks to get Pittsburgh to play the kind of up tempo system he forced them into once Mike Johnston was fired as coach. So yeah, there is more teaching and listening and reacting to be done here by Julien and his new players. On the other hand, at the rate they’re going, in another two weeks the Habs could be sitting in 9th or 10th place in the Eastern Conference. Fans booing at the Bell Centre? What took them so long?

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3 Responses

  1. Joe

    Why is everybody freaking out? The coach and GM both speak french as do most of the assistants as does Sylvain ( I’ve never made the playoffs) Lefebvre and his assistants. Everything is beautiful. What a bunch of negative Nellies.

  2. IMS1965

    I “liked” this post, but I don’t really like it. Honestly, I’m almost at the “blow it all up” stage. Radulov will be a free agent after this season, and I don’t see the team giving him the term that wants. So, he’s gone. Carey Price will be a free agent after next season, and if you’re him, are you even going to contemplate re-signing with the team when it is apparent to all that this team has nowhere near the offensive punch or depth necessary to win a Cup? MaxPac’s contract runs out the season after that, and the same question applies to him. Shea Weber, as much of a warrior as he is, isn’t getting younger, nor is Andrei Markov.

    Bottom line to me: Time to rebuild from the ground up. The question is, is Foxhole Bergevin the one to do it? #askingforafriend

  3. Ralph

    Three games in and we expect a contender. You let Julien do his thing, which will take a month. Then you can revisit the teams problems. Doing anything other than that (excepting acquiring Duchene) is premature.