Leblanc, St-Pierre sent down to Hamilton; Desharnais back in Habs’ lineup

Coming off a 3-2 shootout loss to the St. Louis Blues Tuesday night at the Bell Centre, the Canadiens were back on the ice Wednesday morning for practice in Brossard.

The early news was that Louis Leblanc (photo above) and Martin St-Pierre have both been sent back to the AHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs. Leblanc was held pointless in five games with the Habs and was plus-2. St-Pierre was held pointless in his one game with the Habs Tuesday night.

“Louis Leblanc is leaving for Hamilton with great confidence,” coach Michel Therrien told reporters after practice. “We’re happy with what we saw from him.”

David Desharnais, who was a healthy scratch for Tuesday’s game, was skating on a line with Max Pacioretty and Rene Bourque at the start of practice, while Lars Eller was back with Brendan Gallagher and Alex Galchenyuk. Later in practice, Desharnais skated on a line with Michael Bournival and Bourque, while Pacioretty was with Tomas Plekanec and Brian Gionta.

“We wanted (Desharnais) to take a step back and we didn’t want to wait too long to bring him back in the lineup,” Therrien said. “That was our goal. I believe when a player is facing a situation like he’s facing right now, you don’t want to start to think in the stands too long. We want to give him a chance. We want to show him support. … He’s an important player for us and we have to show our support (toward) him.”

Said Desharnais about being a healthy scratch: “It’s not a good feeling. You want to be out there helping your teammates. But at the same time (I’ve) just got to be ready when I play my next game. (Therrien) expects more from me and I expect more from myself. And I know that. So just got to bring it next game.”

Therrien confirmed after practice that Desharnais will be back in the lineup Thursday when the Canadiens visit the Ottawa Senators (7 p.m., CBC, RDS, TSN Radio 690) and that Carey Price will start in goal. Alexei Emelin, recovering from reconstructive knee surgery, and Travis Moen, who is recovering from a fractured orbital bone, both practised Wednesday with full-contact jerseys. Moen will return to the lineup in Ottawa while wearing a visor.

Daniel Brière, who has been sidelined with a concussion, will make the trip and skate with his teammates for the first time since being injured Thursday morning in Ottawa.

Eller was happy about being reunited with Gallagher and Galchenyuk. 

“I like playing with Chucky and Gally, of course,” he said. “I think we’ve played some great hockey together, in the beginning. So we know what we can do. And I think coach sees that, too. So he’s counting on us to go out there and produce something.”

Here’s how the lines and defence pairings looked at the end of practice Wednesday:

Pacioretty-Plekanec-Gionta
Galchenyuk-Eller-Gallagher
Bournival-Desharnais-Bourque
Moen-White-Parros
    
Markov-Subban
Diaz-Gorges
Murray-Bouillon
Emelin-Pateryn

(Photo by Allen McInnis/The Gazette)

A read-and-react practice, Canadiens.com

Words from the room (video), Canadiens.com

Halak bests Price in shootout, by Brenda Branswell

“Our team worked,” Therrien says, by Brenda Branswell

Desharnais takes benching in stride, by Dave Stubbs

The rise and fall of Desharnais, Stu on Sports blog

Blues escape with a win, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Pietrangelo, Subban battle for Team Canada spot, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

How will the Habs’ Subban saga end? TSN.ca

The story of Chris Chelios, ESPN.com

Senators Extra, Ottawa Citizen

364 Comments

  1. Bill says:

    @Boing: probably because you can’t just sign players unless they are free agents. Are you aware that Perron is under contract and was traded? So I guess to keep it extremely simple, the reason MB didn’t “sign” Perron instead of Briere is that he could not.

  2. boing007 says:

    Why didn’t MB sign David Perron instead of Briere?

    Richard R

  3. Bill says:

    About the poll question, I wonder why so many think the Habs aren’t a playoff team this year? Do 51% of respondents not look at the standings?

    News flash: all the other teams lose games too.

    The Habs have had a brutal schedule with all these Western conference teams, lead the league in man games lost to injury, and yet are still tied for fifth in the East.

    That’s pretty ok with me. We all know the Habs aren’t one of the elite squads, but they’re right there in the mix and have looked competitive in every game I have watched.

    Man, and I thought I didn’t like Therrien … some of you guys want to hang him from the nearest tree! He’s doing a competent job, which is a lot more than I expected. I viewed his hiring as a fill-in until a better candidate emerged, and I still do. One will. But Therrien hasn’t exactly crapped the bed here: he’s exceeded my expectations.

    Oh, and while I’m ranting: this site is full of people who are bitterly complaining that Therrien was hired for being “French”, while simultaneously complaining that the Habs should have hired Roy … who by your criteria would also have to be considered “French”.

    The Habs play in Montreal and the Québécois thing matters. We’ve never had a winning team that wasn’t connected to its roots. Look at the record. We do need a coach and a GM who can talk to the fans in both languages. Canada is a bilingual country: deal with it. If you don’t appreciate how important the Quebec connection is to the Montreal Canadiens, then you don’t understand their history, and are surely cheering for the wrong team.

    I want more Bournivals: more homeboys who play their guts out for the team they grew up idolizing. When we get that, we will win another Cup, and not before. Don’t believe me? Look at the roster of the last Cup winning Habs team. That’s not a coincidence. If you think it is, you can look at the rosters of ANY Cup-winning Habs team.

    Look. The Habs are hanging in there and playing extremely hard. They’re in a playoff position and will be all year. I dislike Thwrrien as a person, and I don’t like a lot of his decisions, but I am not delusional enough to think I know more about running a bench than him, and I can’t argue with the results he’s gotten from this roster.

    He’s playing the kids, using them well, has the veterans producing. The Habs block shots like they’re defending their homes from the zombie apocalypse: if you don’t think they are completely bought-in with Therrien’s plan, you are not appreciating how hard they are playing. That matters. A lot.

    There is no Subban-Gate. He’s a superstar and is played like one. Therrien doesn’t want him on the penalty kill? Fine. The penalty kill is not hurting, and he needs to rest sometime.

    Wow, I’m on a roll today. Sorry about that. Cheers to everybody, and let’s hope for another strong effort against the Senators, even though they always seem to have our number.

  4. aHabGrowsInBrooklyn says:

    Has anyone else noticed that the Playoff Poll result looks almost exactly like a Separation Referendum result?

  5. TheMostCupsPeriod says:

    ?

  6. gmoan says:

    We’ll put lizard

  7. Eddie says:

    Reading below about how we might still need Desharnais at center, and I’d like to remind the faithful that young Mike Bournival is a natural centerman and he could end up playing there one day, especially if we get an injury.

    By the way, giving Galchenyuk 1 game at center is so laughable I wouldn’t believe it could be possible.

    10 games minimum before he can get perfectly comfortable.

    But I wouldn’t expect that kind of patience from a brilliant coach like Therrien.

    • SUMO says:

      Thanks Eddie, I like your comment. It sounds like you’ve been closely watching Bournival and I agree he’s an intriguing player. He could eventually develop into a Pleks-type down the middle. A complete, 2-way, 200ft player. There’s a lot to like about his game.

      When it comes to the younger forwards, Therrien does deserve credit for his willingness to play them….unlike Jacques Martin. Gallagher and Galchenyuk were 3rd liners last season but now they have developed into top-6 forwards. Galchenyuk’s time at Centre will come, he’s still only 19 with less than 70 games of total NHL experience. He needs to get stronger and fill out but I agree it would have been nice to see him get a longer look down the middle.

      Therrien’s willingness to also use Bournival with Pleks & Gio shouldn’t unnoticed. Hes on the same development trajectory as Gally and Chucky. With Galchenyuk (19yrs), Gallagher (21yrs), Bournival (21yrs) in the top 6 and add Pacioretty & Eller (young vets at 24) its not a bad mix of speed and size.

      His use of the young guys upfront has been pretty good, however, don’t get me started on MT’s lack of patience with our young D prospects…….

  8. SteverenO says:

    Breaking down the D-men: (Even strength only)

    Player: TOI ES TEAM GoalScored (per min) – ES Team GA- (per min)
    Markov – 297 TOI- 16 GF (19 min per gf) 10 GA (30 min per ga)
    Subban- 307 TOI- 15 GF ( 20 min per gf) 13 GA (24 min per ga)
    Gorges- 282 TOI- 11 GF (26 min per gf) 8 GA (35 min per ga)
    Diaz – 262 TOI- 9 GF (29 min per gf) 6 GA (44 min per ga)
    Bouillon – 240 TOI 3 GF (80 min per gf) 8 GA (30 min per ga)
    Murray – 59 TOI- 0 GF (XX min per gf) 3 GA (20 min per ga)
    Tinordi – 61 TOI- 2 GF (30 min per gf) 2 GA (30 min per ga)
    Beaulieu- 47 TOI- 2 GF ( 23 min per gf) 0 GA (min per ga)

    I would have liked to see more of the “kids”. (including Patteryn)
    Will be interesting to see who Emelin replaces.

    regards,

    Steve O.

  9. The Jackal says:

    Francois Gagnon visits this site to get stories?
    That reminds of the time someone here accused me of being a writer for Hockey Buzz just because I asked Loonie to give us more details about his Kane for whoever it was trade. The dude was convinced I was that guy…. don’t remember who it was but it was funny.
    I wonder who will be accused of being Francois Gagnon :D
    Plot twist – it’s nuna!

    ______________________
    Hockey sine stercore tauri.

  10. youngwun says:

    We’re a playoff team. We just need Emelin in the lineup instead of Murray. Big difference Emelin makes on the ice.

  11. Bun E. Laroque says:

    The team just seemed to feel better without Desharnais around.

  12. galchenyuk27 says:

    do that many people really think the habs are not a playoff team

    • gumper says:

      In their current division, you’d have to think it’s at least questionable.

      The rule is perfect: in all matters of opinion our adversaries are insane.
      Mark Twain

    • bwoar says:

      I don’t think they’re a playoff team at all.

      “thoroughbred”

      • The Jackal says:

        Keep the faith bwoar.
        Are we a bad team? No.
        Are we a playoff team? Yes.
        Are we contenders? No.

        But we’re still entertaining to watch.
        We need our scorers to score more.
        With Emelin in the lineup our D will not be as terrible in its own end.
        We’re still building towards being contenders, but the core is there and it is playing well. Well enough to be in the top 8.

        On another note… St. Louis is a good team but are they contenders? I don’t think so. So much possession and O zone dominance but no ability to put the game away. They could have run away with it but they allowed a weaker team to storm back and take the momentum until the last 10 minutes, and even so could not put it away in OT, where the Habs barely even touched the puck!

        ______________________
        Hockey sine stercore tauri.

        • Eddie says:

          We haven’t played an entertaining game to watch in about 2 weeks, unless you consider watching Backes run us out of our own rink entertaining?

          I think David Backes might be moving into the top 10 forwards in the NHL this season. He plays like a young Ryan Getzlaf on steroids.

    • jackbutt says:

      I’m from southwestern ontario and here, all leafs fan are saying the Habs have to go thru a rebuild period and will not make the playoffs for a minimum of 5 years. They Also think they’re winning the cup so tells you what they know.

  13. johnnylarue says:

    I’m going to harp on this.

    I love George Parros. He’s a funny guy, great personality, great guy to have on the team… until he steps onto a sheet of ice.

    My question is, of all the call-ups and spares we’ve seen suit up in this still-young season, who is Parros better than?

    Is Parros a better hockey player than, say, M. Blunden?

    Is he better than the chronically-rebounding Louis Leblanc? Better than the career-AHLer St-Pierre?

    (He’s better than ME, I’ll grant him that…)

    Apart from the sideshow spectacle of his gentlemanly fights against other teams’ Parroses, does Big George II actually have a role to play on this hockey team? Because it seems to me he’s a liability out there. (I haven’t looked at his stats, but I’m guessing he’s hovering somewhere around minus-50 after the five or so games he’s played thus far.)

    • gumper says:

      I’d say he’s better than Blundin, mainly by virtue of his greater NHL experience. He’s more likely to make a smart play in the O zone than Blundin. Could I live without him? Sure. Will he be here past his current contract? I doubt it. But I’m not sure we have a better fourth liner in the system right now.

      The rule is perfect: in all matters of opinion our adversaries are insane.
      Mark Twain

    • bwoar says:

      Of course he’s a liability most of the time, but we haven’t played must against the teams where he’s an asset.

      “thoroughbred”

    • Caesar says:

      Let’s wait and see what he brings against the Brooins before throwing him out the door. I think Lucic turns into Lucy when faced with ready and willing partners in Parros and Murray. He will go after Whitey and Prust to not look so bad. It’s the shift immediately after this happens that Parros / Murray should show their worth. If the pull a Big George I then by all means escort them to the dressing room.

  14. JF says:

    I am among the few, as I gather, who still think that David Desharnais can be a useful player. I don’t see a spot on the team for him long-term, but we need him for the present if he can find his game. Last night was hardly convincing for Galchenyuk at centre, although it was a tough game for him to start in that role. But the game showed that it’s likely going to be a little while before he can be really effective at centre, which means there is still a spot for Desharnais.

    In his good season, Desharnais showed great vision and creativity. He has a good shot, his skating is adequate, and he was able to protect the puck reasonably well. He hasn’t suddenly lost those skills. In the good games he’s played this season, and there have been a few, he was very involved and seemed to be everywhere on the ice. He needs to find that level of intensity and bring it every night. I’m hoping his seat in the press box last night will galvanize him.

    As for the PK frenzy, I have deliberately avoided wading into it, but my feeling is the media and a lot of fans are over-reacting to what is not an abnormal situation for a professional athlete. PK has not been playing all that well in the last half-dozen or so games, and he cost us a chance to get at least a point against Colorado. He didn’t play the last four minutes last night, but he did play over twenty and would have played more if we’d had more powerplays. He’s not playing on the penalty kill, but the guys who are are getting the job done.

    Who knows what PK’s relationship with Therrien is? They were able to work together successfully last year, and I see no reason they can’t do the same this year. One thing is certain: Therrien knows that he has to get along with PK. Not doing so would almost certainly cost him his job because PK isn’t going anywhere.

    • gumper says:

      One thing we know for sure about Desharnais is that he has always been able to overcome the label of being too small to play the game. This would indicate a level of self-confidence that seems to have dissipated recently. However, since he has always been able to overcome the self-doubt and the naysayers, I believe he eventually will snap out of this slump and become a useful player again. It’s incumbent upon all of us to send out this vibe, as it’s plain that no one is going to pick up this kid at his current salary and give back good value.

      Regarding the PK Therrien thing, I hope you’re right. It just seems that Therrien is becoming more and more entrenched in a position that makes me uncomfortable. (Roy/Tremblay/Houle) In particular I don’t like his public criticism of PK, mostly because he’s really the only one who gets this treatment when there are often several who deserve it. Anyway, I hope you’re right in saying Therrien will go before PK. I’d love to know what’s going on in the mind of Mr. Bergevin.

      The rule is perfect: in all matters of opinion our adversaries are insane.
      Mark Twain

    • Old Bald Bird says:

      When a good portion of the fan base is fretting over PK, the management has to know. Does their puzzling silence speak volumes? To me, it’s always been a perceived lack of support from the brass that is the issue. It’s not just the minutes and PK not being on the pk. It’s the sum total of things that make me go, “Hmm.” If we’re overreacting, it would be really easy for management to put an end to the speculation. But they don’t.

  15. Ian Cobb says:

    Attention all Ottawa Senators and Mayor Ford!
    Here is a message to you from Ian!!

    When I took the entrance exam for medical
    school, I was perplexed by this question:
    “Rearrange the letters
    P-N-E-S-I to spell out the part of the human body that is most useful when
    erect.”
    Those who spelled SPINE became doctors. The rest
    are in Government.

  16. Dr.Rex says:

    Everyone say hello to our friend Francois Gagnon who clearly visits this site on a regular basis.

    The question is who here is Francois Gagnon?

  17. Steeltown Hab says:

    This has 99% to do with Desharnais and 1% to do with Galchneyuk.

    No coach can reasonably expect 1-game to determine any conclusions about Galchenyuk at center especially against St. Louis. The unlimitted leash for Desharnais continues.

    Edit: Meant as a reply to a comment below.

    ———————————

    Lars, PK, Galchenyuk, Gallagher, Emelin – @J_Perez22

    • Dr.Rex says:

      I saw a stanley cup contending team last night at the Bell Centre and it was not the team in red.

    • NCRhabsfan says:

      I don’t understand why DD is still with the team. The Habs have too many surfs and he is by far the least productive of them. Every shift he takes is a waste of ice time that could better be given to someone else. He will look great in a Bulldogs jersey and only be a bus rise away if all of the Canadiens centres in both Montreal and Hamilton are all injured on the same evening.

  18. Danno says:

    An incredible tale about a vintage Habs blazer has a happy ending

    ________________________________________

    “Hey Richard, two minutes for looking so good!”
    Updates, highlights & great discussions on all things Habs

  19. Timo says:

    I stepped out for some extended lunch. Is Therrien still the coach?


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