Montreal Canadiens Half Season Report – Habs get an A ! by Jamie Gilcig March 12, 2013

P._K._SubbanCFN – We have just passed the half way mark of the NHL season and lo and behold the Habs are at the top of the standings in the Eastern Conference.

The team should be quite proud from going where they were last year to where they are this year.  It’s time to look at them and appraise what’s there.

The Good

Max Pacioretty:  In spite of injuries and a slow goal scoring start Mighty Max has come through with 21 points in 22 games.   His presence on the ice is key to Montreal’s success.

Tomas Plekanec:  Is finally getting some support on the wings and is enjoying a healthy Gionta and Mike Ryder.  He is the work horse of Montreal and plays in all situations.  He’s even improved on face offs winning nearly 50%.

PK Subban:  In spite of the negativity of his hold out PK has built up 18 points in 20 games in spite of his ice time being a little less.   If he wants the big bucks he has to bring the big game and this work in progress seems to be progressing.

Andrei Markov:  Is healthy and logging sick minutes.

Alexei Emelin:  Is having a great year playing mostly along Markov.  10 points is a bonus.

Brandon Prust:  Has come as advertised and been a great spark for the team.   His injury should be a big test for the team.

GM:  So far so good for Mr. Bergevin.   The PK Subban situation resolved well with Montreal being able to maintain their asset.   The Cole for Ryder trade was about dollars and short term.  Ryder is playing for his next contract and is in a good situation playing with Plekanec.    The team will miss Cole in the play offs, which they’ll make this year, but ditch his stinky contract.   The next move on the forward corps can define this trade.

Coach:  Michel Therrien has done a great job with the squad so far and the team is responding.  Can you ever say anything bad about a coach that brings a team from dead to first?

The Bad

The Play Off picture.   This squad is still way too small and light for a true run at Lord Stanley’s Cup.   It’s hard to tinker with success, but there needs to be a top six adjustment and a top four D adjustment.    Not sure whether Carey Price is fighting off an injury or simply going through a slump; but he has to get his game back.   Peter Budaj has improved after a rocky start and maybe the club needs more of him at this phase of the season.

Some Numbers

84 goals for 66 against.  I like this ratio and I like the over all numbers.   To be successful Montreal needs to hit the net 30+ times per night.   They can’t win consistently shooting 24 shots per game.  Montreal to date is averaging just over 30 shots per game while giving up 26.  The team has to find a way to improve on both of those numbers; especially in play off hockey.

Montreal’s depth is strong and so far this season they have not suffered the injury bug that some teams like Ottawa have.   There are resources in Montreal to address needs; the trick is find a way to make this team more play off ready.

What do you think Hab Fans?  You can post your comments below and we’ll be covering all of the Canadian teams over the next week!

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