Canadiens coach Michel Therrien tinkered with his lines again at practice on Monday morning in Brossard after Saturday’s embarrassing 6-0 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Desharnais-Pacioretty-Cole line that led the Canadiens in offence last season has been re-jigged. Forward Brandon Prust played with David Desharnais and Erik Cole at practice, while Max Pacioretty was paired up with rookies Alex Galchenyuk and Brendan Gallagher.
“Obviously with Desharnais’s line we don’t have the result that we’re looking for,” Therrien said after practice.
“We gave those guys a lot of chances. We spoke to those guys and they know where we’re (coming from),” Therrien said, adding he hadn’t seen much chemistry on that line during the last game.
It’s one of the reasons why they tried to make some changes and will hopefully get better results, he said.
Galchenyuk and Gallagher have a lot of speed, Therrien said. “And having a guy like Pacioretty will be tough to contain with their speed. He’s got size.”
Prust did a great job with the two rookies, Therrien said. “He’s a tough guy to play against and maybe this is what Desharnais and Cole need – you know, a true leader on the ice.”
After the loss to the Leafs, Cole sent a text message to his teammates on a group chat that he set up during the National Hockey League lockout. He wrote that all teams will face a difficult time. The Canadiens are in the midst of one right now and it’s up to them to get themselves out of it.
Cole said he also told his teammates that he plans on being a lot better and to help be part of the solution.
Pacioretty said he wasn’t looking at the line change as a demotion but rather as a change of scenery.
“It’s not working,” Paciorettey said. “The team needs something different. I’ve been under-achieving. My linemates have been under-achieving. The chemistry didn’t seem like it’s there right now. We haven’t helped the team win.
“I can just speak for myself personally: I’ve got to be better,” Pacioretty added.
After practice, the Canadiens headed to Florida, where they’ll play the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday (7:30 p.m., TSN, RDS, TSN 690 Radio) and the Panthers on Thursday.
At this juncture of the season, Therrien wishes the Canadiens had a slightly better record because of how they’ve played.
“I thought we played a solid game against the Bruins. I thought we played a decent game against Buffalo. We were in a great position to win that hockey game,” he said, referring to last week’s games. “And obviously (Saturday’s match)…was a tough one.”
The team is still in a good position, Therrien said. “It’s going to be tight until the end of the year and…we all understand that.”
“We’ve got to get back to the winning streak tomorrow,” he added. “That’s the way we see it.”
The NHL announced on Monday afternoon that the Maple Leafs’ Mikhail Grabovski would not face supplemental discipline for allegedly biting Pacioretty on the arm during Saturday’s fight-filled game. Here’s the official statement:
“Following a telephone hearing conducted this morning, the National Hockey League’s Department of Player Safety has decided not to assess Supplemental Discipline to Toronto Maple Leafs forward Mikhail Gravovski for an incident that occurred during NHL Game No. 160 Saturday night in Montreal.
“After interviewing both players involved in the incident and reviewing all of the available video and medical reports, the League could not determine conclusively that Grabovski bit Montreal forward Max Pacioretty.
“The Department of Player Safety has concluded that there was not sufficient evidence to support imposing Supplemental Discipline.”
For a photo gallery of Biting in Sports, click here.