The team historically hasn’t been afraid to go with legendary goalies with Glenn Hall and Jacques Plante suiting up for them in the twilight of their careers.
This squad is what Brodeur needs. They are a strong team, capable of winning games, with sound defense. With the injury to Brian Elliot and Jake Allen not fully proven enter Marty.
There’s some potential for some magic here.
Quarter Season Grades.
The Habs. I’ve never been a Michel Therrien fan, and frankly still am not, but a NHL coach’s job is to win games and if they win enough of them Lord Stanley’s Cup. The team has been winning them, but as seen with back to back losses to Buffalo the Hockey Gods will not smile upon you if you anger them. Sloppy play leads to losing. Not addressing weaknesses in this day of instant video means those weaknesses can be focused on; like knowing to go top shelf on certain goalies…
Tomas Plekanec. With less pressure thanks to Manny Malhotra Plecky is having a better offensive year. It also doesn’t hurt to have Alex Galchenyuk on his wing. While on pace for a 60 point season he’s shooting more. His face off % is higher too. A
Max Pacioretty. It’s tough being Max. He gets keyed on being the Habs biggest threat and he’s carrying David Desharnais. PA Parenteau may not be the best fit for their line, but he’s not the worst. He’s on pace for 35 goals, 300 shots, and 150 hits. If he accomplishes that it will be a huge season. A-
Alex Galchenyuk. Starting in bloom which is good as the team needs him to at this point of his development. It’s also contract time! He needs to find the net more, but is adding some solid physical play and tude to his game. He’s still only 20 years old! B+
Jiri Sekac. His numbers are a bit deceiving as he was delayed until the team dumped Rene Bourque. It’s amazing to watch Sekac with the puck at times. He’s still finding his spot on the team, but I expect a great first season with Montreal if coach Therrien uses him better. B
Mike Weaver. It’s odd hearing some comments about Weaver, but he’s doing much of what Josh Gorges did for the team at less than half the cap it. That’s not bad thing. He’s played almost every game, and is on pace for 13 points, 100 hits and 175 blocked shots. B
Fair to Middlin’
PK Subban. Is PK pouting because he didn’t get the C? Is he trying to show that he’s a selfless team mate and supporting his team by not being flashy? ? Is he pacing himself? PK signed a monster contract, but is not putting up monster numbers. With the team’s record a lot of players get a free pass. The thing is that this season PK isn’t shooting as much and the big question is why as he’s still getting minutes averaging 24 per night. He’s on a 45 point pace with less than 100 hits and less than 150 shots. He has to up the ante and soon. C
Andrei Markov has been a rock. But a rock that’s not producing a lot of points. As the Power Play Quarterback he has to take some responsibility for the units failure so far this season. He now has less pressure with Sergei Gonchar joining the squad. C+
Sergei Gonchar seems revitalized in Montreal. He doesn’t look like he’s done. He looks like he’s playing for a contract for next season which if he doesn’t run out of gas this season he should earn. Has stabilized the back end and taken pressure off Markov and Subban. His point total can be deceiving, but his ability to get the puck out of the Habs zone is critical, and he’s still a bit mean and not shy to throw a hit in. The Sens have still not recovered his leaving the team. C
Lars Eller is playing much better without Rene Bourque. He’s a serviceable 3rd line centre with a great face off winning percentage. He’s still streaky when it comes to offense. He’s not using his body this season and his hit count is dramatically lower than last season. C-
Carey Price. I know fans love Carey and he’s having a better season; but he needs to steal a few more games for the team. 2.34 GAA and .922 SV% aren’t bad and the 2 shut outs so far are to his credit. C+
David Desharnais. Well his first quarter this year has been better than last season. Is on a pace to score less than 40 points. Playing next to Pacioretty that’s very weak. Needs to effectively shoot more. Montreal needs to trade him to make room for either Galchenyuk at Centre or another centre to be acquired. C-
Alexei Emelin. I love this guy. I don’t know what’s happened to his game? It’s a mystery. He’s not there for his offense, but his defense has to pick up. On pace for 250 hits and 130 blocked shots. He can and needs to do better. C-
Tom Gilbert. Definitely a let down for the Habs. Can and needs to play much better. D
Rene Bourque and Travis Moen are gone so they won’t be rated here. This could be a new trend for Montreal. Don’t live up to your expectations and you’re off the team. I think I like that.
Coach and GM
Michel Therrien’s squad is winning. They may be winning ugly, but a win is a win. However teams adjust and as the season progresses to the play offs the ante is upped and there’s less room and time. The Habs pass too much. Watching games that they lose the one trend this writer sees is that one pass too many. They need to shoot more and be less predictable, and harder to scout. That’s coaching. B+
Marc Bergevin. I have to admit I like what he’s done so far this season. He still hasn’t addressed the major issue on this squad, but it’s a tough issue to address. The problem with the Habs, especially leading into the play offs is size and toughness. What little they have is not skilled so when you play Brandon Prust you are losing offensively. Looking at the trade market there is very little of that which will be available and what is will be at a premium. That being said this season Montreal has to make a major push and so far strong moves have been made. A+
What do you think Habs fans? You can post your comments below.
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