Game Day: Paul Byron will return to Canadiens lineup vs. Capitals

1221 spt nhl Canadiens

STU COWAN

Paul Byron will return to the Canadiens lineup Monday night at the Bell Centre against the Washington Capitals (7:30 p.m., SNE, RDS, TSN Radio 690) after missing Saturday’s game in Toronto with an upper-body injury.

Byron will take Daniel Carr’s spot in the lineup.

Alex Galchenyuk (knee), Andrei Markov (groin) and Andrew Shaw (concussion) all took part in Monday’s morning skate in Brossard, but aren’t ready to return to the lineup yet. David Desharnais (knee), Brendan Gallagher (hand) and Greg Pateryn (ankle) remain on the long-term injury list.

“They’re getting close,” coach Michel Therrien said about the other injured players who skated Monday morning. “The only one that’s going to come back is Paul Byron tonight. After that I know (the rest) are going to meet our doctors tonight. But the rest they’re not going to play tonight.”

Byron was injured last Wednesday in Dallas on a solid bodycheck from the Stars’ Patrick Sharp.

“Just an upper-body,” Byron said about the injury. “Didn’t feel that great right after the hit. Took a couple of days off, let the body recuperate, get some treatment and everything feels a lot better now. I feel great. Had a real couple of good days here (skating) in Brossard. It sucks to miss the game Saturday, but I feel a lot better.”

Torrey Mitchell dropped the gloves and fought Sharp after the hit in Dallas, which meant a lot to Byron.

“He’s a good, character guy,” Byron said about Mitchell. “He always has my back, always has everyone’s back. Just shows what kind of guy he is on the team. He steps up for everybody. We’re a pretty tight group, so it didn’t surprise me at all.”

Byron has 12-11-23 totals in 39 games this season.

Habs hit midway point of season

The Canadiens will hit the midway point of their season Monday night when they play their 41st game.

The Canadiens come into the game in first place in the Atlantic Division with a 25-9-6 record, nine points ahead of the second-place Boston Bruins. The Canadiens rank fourth in the NHL in average goals scored per game (3.08) and fifth in average goals allowed per game (2.30) and have the fifth-best record in the overall NHL standings.

“Midway, you know what, there’s still a lot of work to be done,” Therrien said. “For sure, we have to be satisfied. But we all understand that the biggest challenge is coming.”

Despite all the injuries, the Canadiens went 4-1-2 on their seven-game road trip that wrapped up with Saturday’s 5-3 win over the Leafs in Toronto. Therrien said this is a much different club than the one that simply fell apart last season after goalie Carey Price went down with a knee injury in late November.

“Big difference,” Therrien said about this year’s team. “First of all, I’ll say the leadership group is doing a fantastic job. Kids are coming into a really different atmosphere. The team spirit has been great since Day 1 and the leadership group is doing a fantastic job.”

You can watch Therrien’s full Monday morning news conference on the HI/O Facebook page.

Ovechkin sets sights on Rocket Richard

The Capitals’ Alex Ovechkin comes into the game with 543 career goals and needs one more to tie former Canadien Maurice (Rocket) Richard for No. 29 on the NHL’s all-time list. Ovechkin is also four points away from reaching the 1,000 mark.

Ovechkin would become the 84th NHL player to reach 1,000 points and the fourth Russian after Sergei Fedorov (1,179), Alexander Mogilny (1,032) and Alex Kovalev (1,029).

“We hope it’s not going to happen here, but it’s going to happen eventually, that’s for sure,” Therrien said about Ovechkin catching up to Richard.

“We all know we have to pay attention to a shooter like that,” the Canadiens coach added. “Do we change everything? No. We got to believe in our structure. Obviously, we got to take his time and space away because he could hurt you in a matter of seconds, so we have to be aware when he’s on the ice.”

Ovechkin has won the Maurice Richard Trophy six times as the NHL’s leading goal-scorer, including the last four seasons, but has only 18 goals this season, tied for 10th in the NHL and eight goals behind league-leader Sidney Crosby.

“Ovi’s a guy that likes those big moments,” Capitals coach Barry Trotz said after his team practised Sunday in Brossard. “I know he loves playing in Montreal. He always gets excited. Since I’ve been here, he’s always played well in Montreal. I think it’s just a real great atmosphere, it’s got great tradition. For whatever reason, there’s certain arenas that players seem to play better or play to their capabilities and get excited about, and Montreal is one that I think he does. My experience in the two-plus years I’ve been here (in Washington), he’s played very well at the Bell Centre.”

Canadiens defenceman Shea Weber said it takes a team effort to shut down a player like Ovechkin.

“Obviously, limit a guy like that’s time and space,” Weber said after Monday’s morning skate. “He’s one of the best, if not the best shooter in the league. You give him time, he’s going to score. So you got to try and limit that and limit his opportunities.”

Ovechkin said after Sunday’s practice that he loves playing in Montreal.

“Montreal is one of my favourite cities to play,” he said. “The fans, the atmosphere, it’s crazy. I like being here. It’s always fun.” 

Habs work on power play

The Canadiens spent most of Monday’s morning skate working on the power play and had three different units. Here’s how they looked:

Pacioretty – McCarron – Radulov
Petry – Barberio

Scherbak – Danault – Byron
Weber – Beaulieu

Lehkonen – Plekanec – Andrighetto
Weber – Beaulieu

Therrien said he has been impressed by the play of Mike McCarron since he was called up from the AHL’s St. John’s IceCaps and the 6-foot-6, 231-pound centre has been doing a good job screening the goaltender on power plays.

“With Michael, the thing that’s good is he’s getting better every year since we drafted him,” Therrien said. “He’s more comfortable this year than he was last year. There’s still a lot of things he needs to improve. But I like the progress. He’s a presence, he’s got decent skills. He’s doing a good job in front of the net on the power play, obviously, the last two games. But more and more, he’s getting comfortable with that level (in the NHL).”

McCarron has 1-3-4 totals in 11 games with the Canadiens this season.

Habs have upper hand on Caps

This will mark the 161st meeting in NHL history between the Canadiens and Capitals and Montreal leads the series 76-59-17-8, including a 42-26-8-4 record at home.

The Canadiens beat the Capitals 2-1 the first time they met this season on Dec. 17 in Washington. However, the Capitals have earned a point in seven of their last nine games against the Canadiens (5-2-2) and in 20 of their last 24 (16-4-4). Washington has also earned at least one point in each of their last 12 games at the Bell Centre (10-0-2). Capitals goalie Braden Holtby has a career 8-1-2 record against the Canadiens with a 1.64 goals-against average and a .942 save percentage.

Tomas Plekanec is the Canadiens’ leading scorer in games against the Capitals with 14-15-29 totals in 41 games. Plekanec, in the first season of a two-year, US$12-million contract, has only 3-14-17 totals in 40 games this season.

Win No. 400 for Therrien

Therrien picked up his 400th career win when the Canadiens beat the Maple Leafs 5-3 Saturday night in Toronto with seven injured regulars missing from his lineup.

Therrien ranks 35th on the NHL’s all-time list for coaching victories and 265 of them have come with the Canadiens. He ranks fourth on the Canadiens’ all-time list for most coaching victories behind Toe Blake (500), Dick Irvin (431) and Scotty Bowman (419).

Plekanec is Canadiens’ iron man

Plekanec will play in his 211th consecutive game Monday night, the longest streak of any Canadiens player. Max Pacioretty ranks second with 122 consecutive games played, followed by Phillip Danault and Torrey Mitchell (91 each).

The Canadiens have already lost 119 man-games to injury this season with 16 players having been on the injured list. By comparison, the Capitals have lost a league-low nine man-games to injury all season with only three players going on the injured list.

Capitals call up Carey

The Capitals called up forward Paul Carey from the AHL’s Hershey Bears on Monday morning. Carey has 10-15-25 totals in 28 games with the Bears this season and is pointless in three games with the Capitals.

T.J. Oshie suffered an upper-body injury during the Capitals’ 1-0 win over the Ottawa Senators Saturday night on a check from Dion Phaneuf, while Tom Wilson suffered a lower-body injury after being hit with a shot. They have both been listed as day-to-day. The Capitals recalled forward Liam O’Brien from Hershey before leaving on their current road trip.

The Capitals are on a five-game winning streak. Nicklas Backstrom leads the Capitals in scoring with 9-23-32 totals, followed by Ovechkin (18-12-30) and Marcus Johansson (14-14-28).

This Date in Habs History

On Jan. 9, 1958, Bernie (Boom Boom) Geoffrion recorded his sixth career hat-trick and added two assists in an 11-3 win over the Chicago Blackhawks at the Forum.

On Jan. 9, 1971, goalie Rogie Vachon recorded his 12th career shutout and Yvan Cournoyer scored the only goal as the Canadiens beat the Los Angeles Kings 1-0 at the Forum.

What’s next?

The Canadiens will practise at 11 a.m. Tuesday in Brossard before hitting the road for games in Winnipeg Wednesday night (7:30 p.m., SN, RDS, TSN Radio 690) and Minnesota Thursday (8 p.m., SNE, RDS, TSN Radio 690). The New York Rangers will be at the Bell Centre on Saturday night (7 p.m., SN, TVA Sports, TSN Radio 690).

(Photo: John Mahoney/Montreal Gazette)

• Lars Eller excited about return to Montreal with Capitals, by Stu Cowan

• Capitals at Canadiens: Five things to know, by Pat Hickey

• Therrien has earned respect as Habs coach, by Jack Todd

167 Comments

  1. PONCH says:

    I’m a sensitive man who has feelings, as well as a Pollyana, so no screaming at me O.K.? Just wondering

    Is Andreghetto our new DD. Stop it now I’m asking a serious question. I’ve watched, as I’m sure you all have, since last year What does he bring to the table? I take Carr over him in a heartbeat. What am I missing? Is MB shopping him

    To be a Hockey Fan is to be a Habs Fan

  2. Cal says:

    Games like these against legitimate Cup threats are how we measure this Habs team. Sure, there are injuries, but these are the playoff bound teams the Habs have to show they can compete with.
    This is going to be an excellent game.

    • DDO_Habs_Fan says:

      Agree. The games that count the most are against potential Eastern Conference playoff opponents. The Western opponents are irrelevant because they can only meet them in the final and if that happens, the season is a success.

  3. MustardTiger1337 says:

    Anyone word on Markov or Shaw?

    Have tickets for the game on Wednesday and would love to see both

  4. habsrule_29 says:

    Looking forward to listening to the game on TSN690 due to the obtuse Rogers blackout in Toronto of Habs games on Sportsnet East…does not make any sense at all! Actually enjoy the radio broadcast over the TV most nights.

    A Habs fan trying to bring some sense to the people of Toronto!

  5. rhino514 says:

    I prefer having a veteran as a back-up, especially in a pressure-filled city like montreal which eats young players up. If the starter does get injured for a while, you are better off with a veteran in nets.
    Budaj was a great backup for Price, unfortunately his contract and a hot Tokarski was just enough to convince MB to not re-sign him.
    I Just checked his contract with the Kings and he is now making 600 000. The Kings must be laughing.
    Hard to say who is a better back-up, Montoya or Condon because the sample size is pretty limited. I do think however that Condon still has somewhat of a chance to be a starter some day, so in that respect I am happy for him getting a chance in Ottawa.
    The habs goalie prospects are at least 3 years away so they do not have to worry about making a mistake with a backup goalie in the forseeable future. Montoya seems ok in role.

  6. DipsyDoodler says:

    We’re forgetting about the real villain in the Lars Eller affair. It ain’t Therrien and it ain’t Lars himself.

    It’s Eric Gryba.

    —–

  7. Lafleurguy says:

    Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has a decent points total, but a horrible +/-, and fewer goals than Milan Lucic and Patrick Maroon.

    Rene Bourque trails only Matt Duchene and Nathan MacKinnon in goals scored on a horrible Avalanche team.

    (just browsing for trade prospects)

  8. ooder says:

    so kind of weird how we don’t hear much from the analytics darlings (before anyone jumps down my throat I actually think analytics are key to building a successful franchise)
    I just find it funny, how when Diaz, Sekac, Eller and countless other puds left the habs, we heard how the habs are old school and didn’t know what they were doing analytics wise.
    Only 1 guy from that list is still in the NHL and isn’t doing much

    • twilighthours says:

      Who, in your estimation, are the analytics darlings?

      • Lafleurguy says:

        Know you are an aficionado of advanced stats, twi.
        Ooder, you brought up two topics in your post, and they may or may not have a connection. Ex-Habs may have been liked independent of their Corsican finery.
        One analytics darling, and anti-trade, the deposed Matt Pfeffer.

        • twilighthours says:

          Not too sure about an aficionado. I try to provide some color when it’s asked for or seems warranted. But I’m more of a watch the game guy.

          Specific to ooders points, the analytics view had Diaz a good bottom pair guy (better than Murray). Eller had good analytics considering his deployment and did score well in limited pp time. Sekac wasn’t here long enough to get a read on (my view was… why woo him and bring him over and then bury him? Made no sense to me).

          • marvin20 says:

            Sekac had the most success in Montreal; He was given plenty of opportunity to make the NHL

        • ooder says:

          those are just examples. I even remember hearing how pouliot was a great possession player and all that jazz as well

      • marvin20 says:

        I think some of the guys over on the “eye on the prize” have lost some credibility this year.

      • ooder says:

        @twi nobody on this blog, people here are pretty reasonable (give or take)
        but on twitter and some folks on HEOTP get pretty stuck up about it.

  9. HabinBurlington says:

    @bwoar/UCe – Regarding MB’s stand pat approach last season.

    A good friend of mine who has spent his lifetime (and it’s a bunch of decades, like a big bunch) in the rinks playing/coaching/managing teams up to and including Major Junior and lower level pro floated a theory to me in the middle of last seasons craptacular crapstorm.

    That it was the perfect storm to expose to all what they had in the room Carey Price aside. That essentially they somewhat needed the season of craptonic plates shifting wildly in order to expose what they felt was a problem all along.

    No help brought in, sink or swim boys. Then we get the trade in the summer. I have not presented his theory as well as he did to me, but I hope the gist is caught.

    I am not sure there isn’t some truth in this concept.

    • bwoar says:

      Yeah I hear that. It’s part of why I don’t really grudge the GM, I do think he was scheming in that little foxhole of his. As we know, every good scheme requires a fancy beard. In hindsight it should have been obvious… 😀

      • HabinBurlington says:

        Fancy isn’t how I would have described it, but it certainly disguised a great deal. I also have to admit that perhaps Eller’s greatest weakness (aside from struggling with simple tasks like flushing a toilet) was his inability to buy in completely with the Coach.

        It doesn’t matter if the Coach is out to lunch or a genius. Any team sport requires players to buy in and play what the Coach is teaching/demanding. The minute players feel they can do their own thing and ignore systems etc…. everything starts to fail.

        In this regard I find it no surprise both Subban and Eller are no longer on the team.

        • Caesar says:

          It makes sense if you wanted to prove why the face of the franchise, or others, needed to be traded. Maybe MB now has a longer leash to do what he wants. It was speculated ad nauseum that Molson stepped in during the contract negotiation.

          Interesting spin on things.

    • Un Canadien errant says:

      I do think that Marc Bergevin was keeping an eye on the waiver wire, floating balloons to colleagues to see if he could get a goalie on the cheap, always with the assurance that Carey would be back in a month or so. Right to the end of the season, they kept pushing for Carey to play at least one game.

      But there did come a point when he pushed back from the table, managed to salvage some assets like Dale Weise and Tomas Fleischmann. He did let the storm happen when the season was lost. Like Pierre Gauthier in the 2012 lost season, he brought in an enforcer to ensure the beatings didn’t get out of hand, but noting beyond that.

      And he did state clearly that he told the players, in season, to look to each other for help, that they were the ones who would get the team out of its morass.

      So I don’t disbelieve your friend’s story, that Marc Bergevin may have been strategic when the time came, figuring that this was not a bad season to miss the playoffs, with Auston Matthews on the line.

    • New says:

      I think your friend is right. There can only be one leader. You can have all the leadership you like but they must all follow the plan of the leader. Otherwise it is not a team.

      This season isn’t over and Therrien’s usual hurdle is end season. The associate coach may have helped but the examples that Bergevin made last season are straight from effective management 101, the Art of War. He took responsibility and he took heads. Suddenly it falls into line.

      However the season is just reaching the midway point and Price is playing. Last season Price was not playing. Budaj lost his job when Price could not play. Tokarski lost his job when Price could not play. Condon lost his job when Price could not play. Now Montoya waits.

      Time will tell. However right now this is a good team that responds as a team rather than as individuals. And that is something.

      Many people mentioned that last off season would be the test of Bergevin. I think he did very well.

    • DDO_Habs_Fan says:

      That theory doesn’t make sense. That trade would have happened whether the team tanked or not. The issues between the player and management were going on for years. No GM wants to “expose” his dressing room and go through an embarrassing implosion like that. What simply happened was that the GM gambled twice on Price’s health and lost. Once in the off-season by deciding to go into the season with a back-up coming off a bad year and an AHL (no NHL experience) goalie. Many posters here wanted MB to get a good back-up. Then MB gambled on Price returning in enough time to salvage the season. MB screwed up and he owned up to it.

  10. Lafleurguy says:

    bwoar (must be what you get when you cross a horse with a boar) hit a bullseye in bringing up Jeff Petry’s fantastic play. Best skating defenseman on the team and has had numerous glorious scoring chances by going to the net, and this because he has the speed and veteran judgement to return to either the point or the defensive zone.

    • bwoar says:

      Pretty much, Flowerman. Yet another MB signing that’s earned unfair derision. Petry is the guy on the team who does stuff that makes me yell at the TV, curse him for an entire period, then score a nifty one, assist on another, and skate ten miles to save a play. Ideal second-pair defenseman.

      I should credit HiB and others, who have also pointed out Petry’s contribution, including how if one former player could learn Petry’s style, instead of skating past the bleating klaxons, he’d have a Norris or two already.

      • Duker says:

        He’s done great this season.Our 2nd best dman overall,and best for 10-15 games. As with other players,he gets judged on the $33m contract. Last year was a toss on that. Lets see how the rest of this year,especially playoffs pan out

        Where’s the beef MB ?

      • twilighthours says:

        No but seriously what is a bwoar?

      • HabinBurlington says:

        Thing to remember on Petry is how he tried valiantly to play through a sports hernia for a great deal of time last season.

        I do think the change in Team Doctor after last season is not coincidence.

  11. DipsyDoodler says:

    Bwoar’s Joe Juneau comment reminds me of the English phrase “flatters to deceive”, which is a cliché in British sports journalism but not used enough in hockey.

    It’s great because it means a player who initially appears very good but ends up not living to the original promise. Deceive here means disappoint.

    —–

  12. crane says:

    Without trades

    patches galch rads
    leihk danault shaw
    bryon pleck gally/sherback
    carr mccarron mitchell
    flynn

    d.d.,terry,agetto,farham,hudon- farm or trade

  13. Lafleurguy says:

    Nail Yakupov, a favored 5’11” player to some posters, is back playing after 18 missed games, and has 3 and 3 for 6 pts. in 22 games. The Oilers got Zach Pochiro and a 3rd(2nd if N.Y. pots 15 goals) for Yakupov. So two first overalls got the Oilers Adam Larssen, Zach Pochiro, and some picks.

  14. bwoar says:

    @ Dispy

    LMAO, I am probably the Joé Juneau of getting my kids to clean their rooms. Great at the outset but have never quite matched the early salad days. The game’s become real fast and I need to use my smarts to keep up.

  15. Cheech says:

    Ovie shmovie….WE HAVE RADU and he’s going to have a BIG GAME again!

  16. mfDx says:

    Pacioretty not practicing on Weber’s power play unit?
    Is it because of last week’s shot to the ankle?
    Last year he stopped playing on Subban’s power play unit after taking one in the back of the head.

    Sent Via Vulcan mind-meld

    • 25soonenough says:

      I don’t blame him. yikes

      –Larry Robinson was my neighbor once….

      • Chuck says:

        Nothing wrong with Weber being a little “wild” with his shot every now and then to keep the defenders honest. Just let your team know a shift ahead of time when he’s going t6o “lose control” so that they know to stay out of the way.

        • 25soonenough says:

          no, for sure not, my “yikes” was more musing and cringing over the thought of getting decapitated by a 100 mile an hour piece of vulcanized rubber. double yikes.

          –Larry Robinson was my neighbor once….

    • Rockhabsfan says:

      I would request a separate practice facility where Weber was not practicing, just for my own health and safety.

    • bwoar says:

      Just thinking out loud, but I wonder if they’re switching looks on Max’s unit, Jeff Petry has been wonderfully effective this year and I like what he does on the PP. That squad looks like a tic-tac-toe unit if there was one, though with a nice big screen to boot.

      The Weber-Beaulieu pair especially seems suited to the canon with forwards who can scramble back quickly should a big rebound leave the zone.

    • Duker says:

      Wouldn’t McCarron be the one to have to worry about Weber’s shot. Max’ role isn’t to screen the goalie

      Where’s the beef MB ?

      • 25soonenough says:

        well he got blasted last time so……
        from the video I saw it looked like Patch was just cutting in front of the slot when Weber’s shot caught him.

        –Larry Robinson was my neighbor once….

  17. Rockhabsfan says:

    So, taking my daughter (14) to the 2 super bowl weekend games. Most of my trips up have not required careful study of age-appropriate “establishments”. Suggestions for places to eat? I know Bar-B-Barn for ribs, the smoked meat joints, Maison Christian Faure (excellent pastries)…

    No goals for Ovi tonight. Pleks shuts him down, and gets a goal himself.

  18. Luke says:

    Oh, Goodie.
    Ovechkin needs a goal to tie The Rocket and another to pass him.

    The man has a Flair (woo!) for the dramatic. What’s more dramatic than doing exactly that in Montreal?

    So, The Habs need three minimum to win.

    Probably 5, because Ovie’s going to get 1000th point tonight as well.

    Predictorama?
    Habs 6.
    Ovechkin 4.

  19. cbhabsfan says:

    Here’s something I’ve been wondering since Byron unexpectedly took the bull by the horns and became a legitimate scoring threat for the Habs:

    Is his present production sustainable – meaning, is this the role we can expect to see him in going forward in his career – or is this just an anomaly, and he’ll eventually revert back to the steady, two-way lower line winger that Bergevin signed to a team-friendly three-year deal.

    The eye test says he should be able to keep rolling as is, but what do does the analytics crowd say? I don’t do analytics, but I’m willing to accept the findings of someone else’s hard work on the subject.

    • 25soonenough says:

      No analytics here but what I see not only with the Habs but living in Calgary Byron is sorely missed by the fan base here because of his speed, grit and hands. Those are qualities that can’t be taught. I would put him at a 20 goal pace for the next coupe years. Third liner and a very good one.

      –Larry Robinson was my neighbor once….

      • cbhabsfan says:

        I agree. A third line winger isn’t the same creature as he was 10 years ago,and that’s probably the ideal slot for Byron.

        A really good team gets some scoring from all four lines, and the championsip-calibre teams generally ice three lines that have to be defended against.

    • marvin20 says:

      The analytics crowd has been very quiet this year.

    • Phil C says:

      His current shooting percentage of 23% seems unsustainable to me, but even if it dropped to 15%, he could get 20 easily.

      I think he has the skills to do it. He has good hands, he knows where his teammates are on the ice, he goes to the net and has elite speed even compared to his peers which gives him a goal scoring advantage (ie once he gets passed you, he gone). The only question I would have is if he can handle physical playoff hockey at his size, especially for 4 rounds.

      • Un Canadien errant says:

        Came across a stat recently that showed Ti-Paul has something like Top 10 shot quality in the league right now, probably because he goes to the net and scores from in close. That must be helping his SH%.

      • rhino514 says:

        Only a handful of stars in the league get close to 15%.
        If Byron dropped down to a healthy 12-13%, given that he only has a little over 50 shots on the year, I believe, this would mean he will only get one more goal all year. Obviously, because he had such a hot start, I think he will pot a few more , maybe around 5 more for the rest of the year. Forget about him getting 20 goals a year but he is making a good case that he is a legitimate third line player.
        Danault´s shooting percentage, on the other hand, is quite sustainable. They both look like they can consistently hit the teens in goals and get close to 40 points a year, which is what decent third liners do these days. Pretty amazing for two guys who were picked up for peanuts

  20. Un Canadien errant says:

    Two things from the previous thread:

    1) The idea that Marc Bergevin did nothing to address the goaltending when Carey went down is parroted endlessly on HIO, but the important distinction that he didn’t know Carey was lost for the season at that time is glossed over. Marc Bergevin was told by team doctors that Carey would be gone 6-8 weeks, and decided to keep his powder dry, to white-knuckle it until Carey came back, so he could allocate resources (trade chips, cap space) elsewhere.

    Now, that decision can be criticized, but we have to have the right facts, the whole truth. It’s not like he fiddled while Rome burned. He tried to deal with it with Mike Condon and Dustin Tokarski, and then tried a cheap patch job when that didn’t seem to work, always with the mindset that Carey’s return was just around the corner.

    If he had known that Carey was gone for the season, if it had been a ‘classic’ injury like an ACL rupture, he might have acted more decisively, with concrete reliable intel to act on.

    2) It’s true that Mike Condon did well initially, when he only played in relief, and during Carey’s short-ish first absence, but let’s be honest, he caused the swoon. While the Canadiens were outshooting and out-Corsiing the opposition, Mike was letting in soft, crushing goals. After ten or a dozen games of this, I fully agree that the vets packed it in, I was very disappointed in Andrei, and felt the coach had lost the room, that he should be replaced.

    I did a series of posts last season during The Swoon, and there was not one game where the Canadiens goalies outplayed their opponent and lost the game. Conversely, there wasn’t one game where their SV% was worse than their opponents which they won.

    The curves matched up too well. When our goalies stunk, we lost.

    3) Mike had a strong SV% early in the season, as reflected in point 2, and did get his game back on track at the end of the season, had some good games although he’d also have clunkers, so he was inconsistent. So his overall save percentage for the season is not abysmal, but during The Swoon, it was awful, around .875 or thereabouts.

    http://relentlessineptitude.blogspot.ca/2015/12/fundaments-of-losing-streak.html

    http://relentlessineptitude.blogspot.ca/2015/12/fundaments-of-losing-streak-part-2.html

    http://relentlessineptitude.blogspot.ca/2016/01/fundaments-of-losing-streak-part-3.html

    ———————————————————————–
    ¡Viva Frontenac siempre y para siempre!

    • marvin20 says:

      I’m glad MB did not go out and over pay for a goaltender last year. They got a good draft pick. It is time to forget about last season and move on

    • cbhabsfan says:

      And if Carey Price hadn’t been injured, we’d probably be bragging right about now about what a reliable backup goaltender we have, and his name wouldn’t be Al Montoya.

      I think the situation he was placed in by a ham-fisted management team had a lot to do with the admitted regression in his game, UCE.

      • Un Canadien errant says:

        Agreed about Mike Condon, he was thrown into an impossible situation. Wish we could have retained him instead of losing him to waivers.

        • marvin20 says:

          I don’t think anybody expected him to get taken off waivers, But good for him, I’m happy for his success

        • cbhabsfan says:

          A tough situation all round, for sure. The regression in his play forced Bergevin to go out and sign a Montoya, which in turn led to losing Condon for nothing when we put him on waivers.

          Asset management doesn’t get more ham-fisted than that.

        • on2ndthought says:

          The reality is we lost him to waivers only because of an unfortunate injury to Murray, and then to one of the Ottawa goalies. Condon’s good luck, our bad.

          Give him credit for being able to shrug off last season as impressively as he has. It looks like both he and the Habs have moved on from the debacle.

          Free Front.

    • The Big E says:

      I think also Condon’s good play early on before Carey’s big injury helped MB think that the team *could* weather the storm for a bit, without upgrading the goaltending.

    • bwoar says:

      Will you ever tire of apologising for MB’s gaffes last season? Is there a way to wear you down? You’re like the Tom Kostopoulos of letting us know Bergevin did his very, very best about last year’s goaltending.

      I still think he stunk up the joint, your eloquence notwithstanding. Knowing his backup was not up to the task, he had a job to do. I look at Budaj’s stellar work in LA this year, keeping them still in the hunt, and wonder what might have been.

      • Luke says:

        “the Tom Kostopoulos of letting us know Bergevin did his very, very best…”

        CLASSIC line, Horsey. Absolute CLASSIC

      • Un Canadien errant says:

        Completely misses the mark. I am in no way like Tom the Bomb, since I haven’t lost a HIO fight yet.

        I’ll stop advocating for MB when you guys stop saying he was asleep at the switch. All the time, he thought Carey had the run-of-the-mill MCL sprain that was going to heal up quick, despite this small little setback…

        • bwoar says:

          You’re blaming the team doctors, essentially, for a GM letting a season slip away? My apologies, you are the Stu Grimson in NHL ’91 of MB supporters.

          I often hear my children proclaim loudly that they will clean their rooms up “soon”, but if I want things tidy this decade, I know I’ll have to force the issue soon after the first of many (ever more shill) promises are made.

          I don’t grudge MB his error in this this case – the team clearly needed to skate past some sound or other that was distracting them – but I don’t absolve the GM of all responsibility when dealing with the most important position. That said medics a) could continue to string him hopefully along and b) were not fired post-season still fills me with suspicion about our management’s best judgement.

          • DipsyDoodler says:

            Which hockey player of getting his kids to clean up their room would you say you are?

            —–

          • Duker says:

            MB had a crap season last year. Players coaches and executive all have them.There’s nothing wrong/trolling with saying that. He’s turned it around so far this season. A healthy Price sure has helped. And a great pick up in Rads

            Where’s the beef MB ?

          • Un Canadien errant says:

            The fact that the Canadiens DID let go their head doctor this summer fills me with satisfaction, as I am the Rocky Marciano of HIO arguments, still undefeated.

            http://www.tvasports.ca/2016/09/02/le-ch-remercie-son-medecin-en-chef

            Are you going to concede, or do I need to continue this needless battering? Bend the knee…

    • Phil C says:

      You need to consider that poor goaltending stats can be the result of poor team play.

      And it wasn’t Condon’s job to score goals. The Habs were giving up too many goals, but a big part of the problem was they also weren’t scoring enough. Condon played well enough to win on many nights when he didn’t get the goal support. And .500 hockey would have secured a playoff spot.

      • Un Canadien errant says:

        Phil, in the three linked posts I included, it’s pretty blatant that Mike Condon wasn’t playing well enough, based on his SV%. I agree that team systems can affect that stat, but as I explained, the Canadiens were still, at that point, immediately after Carey’s injury, trying. They were still playing hard.

        Bruce Arthur points out that the Canadiens PDO, the SV% + shooting percentage was abysmal. The Canadiens were getting off lots of shots, but not scoring much.

  21. veryhabby says:

    Well the Mitch/Flynn line was the most Meh in the last game. Hopefully Bryon can bring some energy to that line and create some scoring chances.

    Not crying over Carr. He has been the most used call up this season. If he hasn’t cemented his spot then why not give Mcc or Sherbak another game or two to see what they can do. I liked how the Lehk/Pleks/Ghetto line played.

    No idea what team sees in Farham or Terry but whatever, they are here short term so I won’t worry about either of them right now.

  22. fastfreddy says:

    Re Eller, I liked Eller, thought he was decent. Hoped he could have taken the #2 C spot but it did not work out for him. It always seemed his game lacked something, either a wrong pass somewhere, not enough moves or one too many moves. He always looked like he was missing something. Thought he was best suited as a defensive C.

    CH = Les Glorieux!!!

  23. on2ndthought says:

    Burly: I hope Therrien smashes Blake’s record of 500 wins by a Habs’ coach. At 66 wins per year (50 regular season, 16 playoffs) it should take him the better part of 4 years (math subject to review and revision). So New Year’s Eve 2020?

    Free Front.

  24. bwoar says:

    On another note, anyone in Rimouski able to give us some insight into Simon Bourque? I know he was just traded to the Sea Dogs, but he’s been having a nice year – top D man and 4th overall on the team in total points – given he’s barely just turned 19** I wonder what the upside for him might be?

    Habs are quite thin at LD and it would sure be nice to see a 6th rounder hit pay dirt at the pro level.

    EDIT: my mistake, he’s turning 20 in a few days.

    • Un Canadien errant says:

      For what it’s worth, at the 2015 NHL draft, there was a slew of LHJMQ defencemen who were touted before the draft.

      At the top were Jakub Zboril and Thomas Chabot, in that order, and were thought of as mid-first rounders.

      Jérémy Roy was a variable, some had him ranked high-ish in the first round, some much lower or as a second-rounder due to his lack of size.

      Then there was the grouping of Nicolas Meloche and Guillaume Brisebois who were thought of as second-rounders. Jérémy Lauzon of the Rouyn Noranda Huskies was seen as a late-riser, a guy you could probably get in the third round who was just as good as those guys listed ahead of him, but had a slower start to his season, and not as much hype prior to the season.

      Simon Bourque was usually referred to as a dark horse in the same breath as Jérémy Lauzon, that he could also muddle the picture.

      How it played out?

      1 13 Boston Jakub Zboril
      1 18 Ottawa Thomas Chabot
      2 31 San Jose Jeremy Roy
      2 40 Colorado Nicolas Meloche
      2 52 Boston Jeremy Lauzon
      3 66 Vancou. Guillaume Brisebois
      6 177 Montreal Simon Bourque

      When we picked him up, I was a little surprised that he was still available, I guess the scouts didn’t agree with the websites I go to for draft info.

      Nobody mentioned Philippe Myers much at all. Both he and Jérémy Lauzon played on the WJC team, ahead of those other guys. Jérémy Roy has been diminished by injuries, played only 45 games last year and only 10 this season.

      Simon is having a good junior career, lots of talk about his mobility, maturity and leadership. He just misses the crucial .6 P/G for a defenceman in his draft year, below which threshold success in the NHL is vanishingly unlikely. I see him as a Darren Dietz-level prospect.

  25. bwoar says:

    I’m not really sure why Carr is sitting. I think his two-way game has improved this year and his backchecking and D-zone play is improved, as you would expect from an older player. Both he and Andrighetto stood out to me as more complete, in comparison to young Scherbak. I’d put Carr at the head of that group, all things considered.

    Scherbak, who flashed some nice hands on an opportune PP goal, mostly stood around, entirely flat-footed, in his own zone and didn’t make a single move towards the wall or corner to retrieve a puck on his own side, while both older players were implicated several times without the puck.

    This isn’t to bash the kid, who we’re all hoping has a successful run with the club, scores goals and takes a step forward, but in terms of handing out ice vs. a surging team like the Caps I’m surprised that Carr would sit. I do expect that Scherbak is gonna play if he’s in Montreal or be sent back down, I just wonder if a Terry or Farnham or Andrighetto shouldn’t be sitting instead.

    • 25soonenough says:

      Sherbak will learn. Carr has had enough time to learn. That’s all I really have on this.

      –Larry Robinson was my neighbor once….

    • cbhabsfan says:

      That’s exactly what I thought I saw from Scherbak in his own end against the Leafs as well.

      But, like the experts tell us, you can’t teach offensive skill, while a good defensive game is more about hard work and experience than God-given ability.

      • bwoar says:

        I’m guessing that’s why he’s in, we’re seriously depleted at RW and the skill imbalance must be addressed. I am surprised that Therrien is allowing it; it makes sense that he’s in a 4th line role in this context.

        Given where we are in the season, it is imperative that he contribute 5-on-5 if he wants to stay in MTL past the recovery time of Andrew Shaw, who will get back on the PP upon his return.

        • cbhabsfan says:

          It helps quite a bit that he’s playing next to McCarron, someone who he has played quite a few shifts with over the past couple of years and who already has a decent defensive game.

    • Coach K says:

      When I watch Carr I see a small forward with below NHL average speed who often gets knocked off the puck with ease (less so than DD but too often to be effective). The only place he is remotely helpful is in front of the opposition net where he’s been known to cash in the odd rebound. Other than that I see a whole lot of battle-losing meh.

      -Adversity Does Not Build Character…it Reveals it-
      (James Lane Allen)

    • Duker says:

      Carr has 1 goal in 26 games,and is a total non factor on offense.His two way game hasnt improved.It’s one way defense instead of offense

      Where’s the beef MB ?

  26. adamkennelly says:

    if he is taking Carr’s spot does that mean that Farnham is playing?

  27. Timo says:

    I don’t know about this… sounds too soon to me. And no, I don’t know better than the Habs medical staff (only Dr Recchi does) but if this was a concussion, this is too soon.

  28. HabinBurlington says:

    I have long thought that one of the reasons Koivu was allowed to walk in Free Agency was that he would eventually break the record of Mr. Jean Beliveau as most years Captain of the Fabled Habs. That this record needed to stand, I’m not saying this is fact, just one of those things in the back of my mind that may have played a role in his departure from the CH.

    In seeing that MT is now within 1 season of surpassing Bowman and Irvin in the win column as Habs Coach, could these numbers play a role in how much longer he is Head Coach?

    This is not meant to bash or instigate an MT sucks chant. But these are storied and cherished men in the lore of this franchise that could soon be surpassed.

  29. Rockhabsfan says:

    Was hoping to see “Byron to Return” and in other news, Alex Galchenyuk also expected to play 🙂

    Good news to have Byron back – he’s become an important piece of the machinery – great move by MB to snag him for free.

    • 25soonenough says:

      Well, they did say on twitter that some of the other injured will be accompanying the team on the Winnipeg-Minnesota road trip and with Galchenyuk and Markov and Shaw all skating with the team that can’t be a bad thing.

      –Larry Robinson was my neighbor once….

      • Rockhabsfan says:

        What is this twitter of which you speak???

        That is good news though. Starting to get healthy, and, perhaps for Markov the rest could be a blessing in disguise.

        • 25soonenough says:

          Therrien:”Nos blessés rencontreront les médecins ce soir. Certains blessés feront le prochain voyage.”
          #ch #habs

          –Larry Robinson was my neighbor once….

  30. Waitingforcup says:

    RE: Therrien
    The argument is not whether he is a good or bad coach (good this year, bad last year) but the system he uses and the types of players he deploys. Therrien’s system is predicated on getting better goaltending then the opposition, playing sound defense and hoping for goals on the pp and turnovers. It worked for New Jersey but that was in the era of the trap. No doubt he can get a bunch of 3rd liners to outperform and play decent hockey as long as they get the goaltending. Last year, the veteran players were thinking a Cup run, then Price gets hurt. I think once they knew he was not returning (long before us), they just packed it in and it snowballed to the cluster%$ of a year. He should though take some blame for not righting the ship. The problem for some of us, we sincerely believe that his style of play and roster deployment may get us to the playoffs but it will never get us to the thing we really want, the Cup. Of course, if Price stands on his head and does blackflips, we may get it and I will be happy to be wrong.

  31. 25soonenough says:

    Glad PB is back. It looks like Galchenyuk and Markov may return for the road trip as well. Shaw maybe not.

    –Larry Robinson was my neighbor once….

  32. HabinBurlington says:

    Game Day,
    Go Habs Go!

    19 more wins for MT and he is better than Bowman!

    (Weird my font didn’t change as I hoped)


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