The injury bug continues to ravage both the Habs and IceCaps but it didn’t slow either team down as both teams won two of three games while picking up a point in their lone loss. With both teams doing well at the moment, the timing of Marc Bergevin’s extension certainly seems appropriate; his new deal is the focus of my Final Thought.
Cheers and Jeers
1) Sven Andrighetto. When Brendan Gallagher went down, the lack of depth on the right wing became serious cause for concern. Andrighetto’s strong play thus far has made that a bit less of an issue. It’s only a handful of games (and he did slow down after a hot start last year) but he is fitting in well alongside Galchenyuk and Eller.
2) Nathan Beaulieu, who is holding his own on the second pairing. I don’t know if he holds on to it from here on out (my hunch is we’ll see a Beaulieu-Pateryn pairing at some point) but regardless this a positive step forward in his development. Now if he can find a way to shoot more often and become more of an offensive threat, then I’d be one happy camper.
3) Alex Galchenyuk, who removed the monkey off his back in a big way. With the Desharnais line having an off-week offensively (it was bound to happen), Galchenyuk and his unit picked up the slack. He also looked comfortable on the right wing on the PP and has shown some early chemistry with Andrighetto. Galchenyuk has been streaky (and this is probably another of those) but when he’s on, he’s a treat to watch.
1) Montreal’s handling of Dustin Tokarski who has played all of one period in a month. With Carey Price down again and Mike Condon showing fatigue in his last stretch as the starter, the Habs are going to need Tokarski. Unfortunately, he’s going to be so rusty that the coaches will be even more hesitant to use him. Tokarski was with the IceCaps last weekend but didn’t see any game action. I suspect they’d like a mulligan of that decision now.
2) Asking Bud Holloway and Christian Thomas, both skill players, to make an impact on the remnants of a checking line. Andrighetto, the other recall, is in a scoring role which allows him to play to his strengths and he has done well early on. Holloway and Thomas aren’t exactly two-way players though; they’re skill guys playing with not-so-skilled players on a more defensive-oriented fourth line. If that’s the spot that the call-up will play (and that’s fine), there are other alternatives that can better fit that role. Daniel Carr, called up Sunday, is a better fit for that spot.
3) Jeff Petry, who hasn’t looked like himself the last few games. He seems to be turning over the puck a lot more, is getting lost at times in coverage, and has made some questionable decisions overall. It hasn’t been too costly yet but with Price out again, all of the blueliners need to be at their best and he isn’t at the moment.
Shootout – Skaters:
Shootout – Goalies:
Goals: Max Pacioretty (12)
Assists: P.K. Subban (19)
Points: Pacioretty/Plekanec (24)
+/-: Gilbert/Subban (+11)
PIMS: Nathan Beaulieu (25)
Shots: Max Pacioretty (95)
Despite a heavily depleted roster due to injuries and call-ups, the IceCaps had a very strong week, picking up five of a possible six points including two straight wins over league-leading Toronto.
News and Notes:
– Saturday’s win over the Marlies ended a six game streak where every game went to overtime.
– Add Darren Dietz and Mark Barberio to the ever-growing list of injuries. Among those who were injured prior to this week, Connor Crisp appears to be the closest to returning to the lineup although there are no return timetables for any of the players.
– Two of the three remaining affiliated players were recalled from Brampton (Tim Bozon and Eddie Pasquale) while Luc-Olivier Blain inked a tryout deal. He played in two games and was subsequently released.
– Jarred Tinordi played in all three games after being assigned on a conditioning stint from Montreal. It was his first game action since the preseason.
– Lines from the most recent game:
Hudon – McCarron – Carr
Fournier – Dumont – Holloway
Bozon – MacMillan – Gregoire
McNally – Miceli
Tinordi – Ellis
Hanley – Didier
Bennett – Lernout
Shootout – Skaters:
Shootout – Goalies:
Goals: Charles Hudon (10)
Assists: Bud Holloway (17)
Points: Bud Holloway (23)
+/-: Morgan Ellis (+12)
PIMS: Michael McCarron (35)
Shots: Charles Hudon (60)
December 2: St. John’s vs Albany
December 4: St. John’s vs Utica
December 5: St. John’s vs Binghamton
Marc Bergevin’s five year contract extension came as a bit of a surprise considering he had another year and a half left on his current deal. Part of me can’t help but wonder if there’s something to the timing of this extension though.
The Habs appear to be in their window to contend for a Stanley Cup in the next couple of years. It’s usually at that time that a GM will be more willing to part with a future asset or two to secure that final piece to help win now. This extension is a sign from Geoff Molson that regardless of what happens in this window of contention, he trusts that Bergevin will be the one to move them forward no matter what.
Does that mean that Bergevin may be more willing to go for it now (or soon)? With that extra security now in tow, I think he might be; it certainly can’t hurt the odds. The extension is a major vote of confidence either way and it is one that he has certainly earned.