What’s the matter with Canadiens’ defenseman Ryan O’Byrne? One of last year’s most consistent and responsible – on ice, at least – players is looking more like Happy Gilmore (minus the slapshop) rather than an NHL-calibre blueliner.
After Roman Hamrlik took a hard shot to the leg and left the game against Carolina, I was hoping that his on-ice partner would pick up the slack on a short bench. Instead, the 24 year-old O’Byrne finished with a meager 8:27 of ice-time.
Remember, he’s a defensemen.
And Hamrlik was injured.
And the game went into overtime.
Andrei Markov skated around the Bell Centre for over 30 minutes. That’s a difference of almost 22 minutes – more ice-time than most guys get in an entire game.
From the way he was playing though, I don’t blame Carbo for benching him. I don’t know if he managed to play a shift against Carolina where he didn’t fall down.
Recently, its been looking like the Murse traded in his skates for a pair of snow shoes.
I don’t want to be too hard on the guy – I was a supporter of his last year – but I’m trying to understand why his play has diminished this October. He finished with a solid +7 (+/-) rating last season and did well down the stretch.
While many players (Price, Kovalev, Latendresse) shed some pounds this summer and are looking quick, agile, and ready – O’Byrne has been slow, awkward, and unsure of himself.
He’s a hulking 6’6" and 228 lbs. I want this guy on our team. He doesn’t need to know how to land a triple axle, but if he wants to keep his day job, he’s going to have to start working harder.
O’Byrne is a big boy and big boys should be making big hits. But he’s been fairly quiet in that department. Mainly, it seems, because he’s too slow to make the hit or because he’s out of position. Francis Bouillon, at a Bruce Banner-like 5’8", 198 lbs, is flying around the ice, doing his job defensively, and hitting everything that moves.
I know that they’re two different types of players, but I’d love to see O’Byrne have some of that energy, some of that passion, that Bouillon leaves out on the ice every single night.
O’Byrne is a decent player who has the potential to be very good. Teams should be scared of him. Top-line forwards should call in sick if they have to match up against him.
But that’s not happening.
And I can’t quite figure out why.
For those of you who read Pat Hickey‘s article in yesterday’s Gazette – I booed Sergei Samsonov while watching the game in a half-empty bar. And I booed him hard.