About last night …

Far be it from me to tell Bob Gainey how to do his job.

But I swear to God, if the Canadiens general manager lets Tomas Plekanec go the way of Sheldon Souray and Mark Streit, I’m becoming a curling blogger.

Has Pleks, with a succession of linemates, played a bad shift since the season began?

Not that I can remember.

Three assists last night – and 200 points in his career.

Excellent on the power play and shorthanded.

9-7 on faceoffs, when the team was 24-33.

I know: Team policy is no negotiating during the season.

That policy was fine when there was no free agency, Bob. There were no player agents (any Tweets about Carey Price tonight, Walsh?), and the Canadiens’ had Flying Frenchmen who flew for $25,000 a season.

Hockey has changed. Max Lapierre and Guillaume Latendresse are decidedly earthbound, and Pleks cannot be allowed to fly the coop.

 

Sign him, Bob.

Three to five years, for decent bread.

 

 

A lot to like last night:

• Special teams: The PP, thanks to Pleks and MAB, went 2-for-2. The PK, using 12 players (including Andrei Kostitsyn for two seconds!) was perfect on four Phoenix advantages.

• Carey Price had only 20 shots. He got to play with a lead, for a change, and you couldn’t blame him for either of the goals. 

• The D was absolutely heroic, especially after Jaroslav Spacek was lost after the second period. MAB had to take a regular shift and didn’t do anything egregiously awful. Paul Mara played a season high 25:48 (and didn’t really mean to high-stick his goaltender). Roman Hamrlik continues to shine, and Josh Gorges made the key play – beating three Coyotes on the boards – to spring the puck for the Canadiens first empty-netter of the season.

• Playing against his older brother for the first time in The Show, Tom Pyatt brought speed and grit to Pleks’s line. Maybe he’ll be the one to unlock the mystery/riddle/enigma that is Andrei Kostitsyn.

• Ryan White joined his linemates, the non-flying francos, on the bench for most of the third period. But the kid had three hits, blocked three shots and continues to drive nails into Kyle Chipchura’s coffin.

• After a flight of more than five hours yesterday, the Canadiens had plenty of jump against a well-rested Phoenix team that had been idle since the weekend.

• Glen Metropolit. Every time I ask myself what the heck that hard-working journeyman is doing on the power play, Metro pops one. What he’s doing on the PP, Jacques Martin said after the game, is providing a righthanded shot on an overwhelmingly LH team. Plus Metro fights for every loose puck, goes to the net and knows what to do when he gets there.

Negatives?

Max and Gui! continue to flounder.

Max Pacioretty should be in Hamilton.

Faceoffs need work.

There should be more patience and precision in the O-zone. Phoenix blocked 21 shots, including five by Scottie Upshall, who was getting his near or at the blueline against Canadiens’ D-men trying slappers.

But on balance, really nice win – on the road, in the west and against a decent opponent and hot goaltender.

You pump three past Ilya Bryzgalov, you’ve done a night’s work.

Let’s just hope Jaro Spacek – so steady all season – doesn’t become the fourth defenceman to go on the DL.

Next stop: Music City.

Maybe the fiddles and pedal steels, twanging dobros and heartbreaking ballads about losing good women will persuade Bob not to take any chances on losing a guy who no longer plays like a girl.

 


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