It wasn’t pretty but the Habs picked up two
more wins this past week to stay near the top of the East. In Hamilton,
things aren’t going as well as another poor stretch of home games has earned
them a trip to the North Division basement. With Montreal scuffling
lately, some are wondering if it’s time to fire Michel Therrien; my Final
Thought looks at why those people shouldn’t get their hopes up anytime soon.
1) P-A Parenteau’s shootout prowess. At
the time the trade was made, many (myself included) focused on what he could
bring to the table in terms of more consistent top-six production but his
shootout abilities have made the move look more lopsided. Three game
winning shootout goals in any season is pretty good; three in a month is quite
2) Max Pacioretty for approaching his slump the
right way. When things aren’t going well, goal scorers often have a
tendency to pass more and shoot less. Pacioretty hasn’t been doing that;
in fact, he’s shooting even more. Keep firing and eventually the puck will
go in. It’s not always pretty but it’s a good way to try to stop his
3) Jiri Sekac, whose play should keep him out
of the doghouse for a bit. When a player gets a chance after sitting a
while, merely doing okay isn’t good enough most of the time to help his cause.
Being a factor in both games while picking up a couple of points shows he’s
stepping up which will earn him some rope with the coaches.
1) The first period woes. I’ve talked
about this before but the Habs have now gone the entire first month of the
season (plus a few days at least) without leading after 20 minutes. We’re
15 games into the season, to not have a single lead after the first period is
mind-boggling, not to mention unacceptable.
2) Rene Bourque. He’s now on a
career-long scoring drought to start a season (he briefly had one goal but it
was later given to Eller) and he’s not helping himself in terms of his effort
level from shift to shift. As a result, he finds himself on waivers and
has only himself to blame.
3) Michael Bournival’s bad luck. While
the team has had some success this year in terms of their success, Bournival
hasn’t really been a part of it. After sitting for the better part of a
month, he finally gets to play and he gets hurt nearly right away. It
can’t get too much worse for him, can it?
Shootout – Skaters
Shootout – Goalies
Goals: Max Pacioretty (6)
Assists: Desharnais/Emelin/Subban (6)
Points: Pacioretty/Plekanec (10)
+/-: Desharnais/Pacioretty (+7)
PIMS: Brandon Prust (23)
Shots: Max Pacioretty (54)
The exciting news of the week is that Hamilton
finally won a home game. The not-so-exciting news is that they
followed that win up by blowing third period leads in consecutive home contests
en route to two more losses.
– Magnus Nygren returned from his lower body
injury on Saturday. That leaves Stefan
Fournier, Eric Tangradi, and Dalton Thrower on the shelf.
– Christian Thomas had a six game point streak
snapped in Saturday’s loss. That’s the longest Bulldog point streak in the
early going this season.
– Morgan Ellis has been sent down to Wheeling
of the ECHL. While this may sound like a bad thing at first glance, he has
been a healthy scratch for all but one game this season. At this point, he
just needs to play regularly and playing a level lower is better than not
playing at all.
– Lines from the most recent game:
Hudon – Andrighetto – Hensick
Carr – Dumont – Thomas
Crisp – de la Rose – Dowell
Nevins – Macenauer – Sorkin
Tinordi – Pateryn
Finley – Nygren
|20||Jacob de la Rose||3||1||0||-1||2||0|
Goals: Sven Andrighetto (6)
Assists: Charles Hudon (9)
Points: Charles Hudon (11)
+/-: Charles Hudon (+10)
PIMS: Connor Crisp (48)
Shots: Sven Andrighetto (41)
November 13: Hamilton vs St. John’s
November 14: Hamilton vs St. John’s
November 16: Rochester vs Hamilton
With the Habs being in a funk for
the better part of the last two weeks, some have began to wonder if the Habs
will consider replacing Michel Therrien. The short answer is no; the long
answer is no, not a chance. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a huge fan of
Therrien but there are a few reasons I suspect the thought wouldn’t be
entertained anytime soon.
– Record – Since Therrien took
over, the Habs have turned things around considerably iand, despite getting
outplayed more often than not, are off to a strong start in the standings this
year. It’s hard to fire a coach when your team is winning two-thirds of
its games after a deep run in the playoffs a year earlier.
– Money – Yes, the Habs are a cash
cow but I’m sure Geoff Molson wouldn’t be thrilled if Marc Bergevin went to fire
Therrien mere months after giving him a long-term extension. That’s not to
say that he wouldn’t ever get permission but given the situation, I’m sure the
owner would be preaching some patience.
– Trust – Despite two years of
failure (and another not-so-hot start this season), Bulldogs coach Sylvain
Lefebvre still has a job. The only logical reason is that Bergevin somehow
trusts Lefebvre and if that’s still the case in spite of how much Hamilton has
underachieved, he’s going to trust Therrien if the Habs struggle for a few
– Slumps happen – In this day and
age, there’s an awful lot of over-reaction to slumps. They happen to
pretty much every team at some point or another during the season and quite
often more than once in the same year. They’ve happened before to the Habs
and they’ve come out of it fine each time. Guess what, it’ll happen again
and they’ll get through it then too. You can’t fire a coach (or even
reasonably consider it) each time there’s a slump.
– Lack of competent replacements –
Midseason firings often result in internal promotions. This means that
it’s likely that Lefebvre would get the short-term promotion and that’s a
terrifying thought. If not him, Clement Jodoin could get the nod strictly
as an interim coach for the rest of the year. That’s also a scary option.
When there’s a requirement to hire bilingual coaches, pickings are slim.
They’re even slimmer midseason.
Is Michel Therrien the best coach
in the league? No. Is he the best tactician? No. Has the
team done well with him back at the helm? Yes. That alone buys him
the benefit of the doubt when bad streaks arise while the other points will buy
him even more time. Like it or not, Therrien’s going to be around for a