While the start of the week wasn’t great for the Habs, they followed it up with a pair of strong games over the weekend to end on a high note. Meanwhile, there were no high notes in Laval as they got pummelled in their lone matchup.
Karl Alzner: He has had a chance with Shea Weber out to really show that he can step up and be more than a depth piece. That just hasn’t happened and as a result, his ice time is starting to dip considerably to the point where players that have spent a fair bit of time as a healthy scratch recently. At this point, one has to wonder if he’ll be the next to be scratched (or if his contract will save him from that fate for now).
Brendan Gallagher: It’s impressive how he has been able to be productive despite having linemates that have struggled to score for most of the season (Sunday’s game notwithstanding). What is particularly surprising is how he hasn’t really moved up in the lineup lately. With Gallagher being one of the more consistent scorers, it would seem to make sense that he should move up into the top-six at some point. Assuming Tomas Plekanec is eventually moved, that might be the opportunity to move Gallagher into a spot higher up.
Nikita Scherbak: It was nice to see Scherbak used in an offensive role in his two games instead of being used on the fourth line (although replacing Jonathan Drouin on the point on the power play wasn’t a smart idea). With Laval having no hope at a playoff spot either now, the Habs might as well have Scherbak in the lineup on a regular basis the rest of the way to help him get ready for next season.
|25||Jacob de la Rose||2||0||0||-1||0||0||9:49|
Goals: Brendan Gallagher (18)
Assists: Drouin/Galchenyuk (19)
Points: Max Pacioretty (33)
+/-: Nicolas Deslauriers (+8)
PIMS: Andrew Shaw (47)
Shots: Max Pacioretty (191)
Fresh off the All-Star break, Laval was thoroughly embarrassed in their lone game of the week, falling 7-1 to the Marlies. They now sit further out of a playoff spot than the Habs are.
News and Notes:
– Matt Taormina missed Saturday’s game with an upper-body injury and there’s no word on how long he will be out. Yannick Veilleux has a knee issue as does Niki Petti who was hurt in practice. As a result, Laval signed defenceman Matt Petgrave and forward Chris Leveille to PTO deals; both players were with their ECHL affiliate in Brampton.
– Zach Fucale was once again recalled from Brampton even though the Rocket had just one game (that he didn’t dress for). Meanwhile, the Beast continue to struggle and could probably benefit from having Fucale in their lineup. This one still doesn’t make sense.
– Taormina and Chris Terry’s were Laval’s representatives at the All-Star Game where the North Division won the title. Taormina had a goal and two assists with an even rating and one shot on goal in the four mini-games while Terry had an assist, a -1 rating, and five shots.
– Lines from last game:
Audette – Cracknell – Terry
Boucher – McCarron – Gregoire
Petti – Eisenschmid – Baun
Broll – Ebbing – Waked
Gelinas – Juulsen
Parisi – Lernout
Bourque – Leblanc
February 3: Toronto 7, Laval 1
Goals: Chris Terry (20)
Assists: Matt Taormina (36)
Points: Chris Terry (43)
+/-: Jakub Jerabek (+10)
PIMS: Michael McCarron (74)
Shots: Chris Terry (142)
February 7: Laval vs Binghamton
February 9: Laval vs Utica
February 10: Laval vs Syracuse
There has been a lot of talk lately about how the Habs could benefit from Geoff Molson stepping aside as team president to put someone with more hockey acumen in that role. Considering how quickly Molson moved into that position after buying the team, it’s hard to imagine him relinquishing it. However, there is a pretty solution to allow the owner to retain his title while still benefiting from someone who has been there before.
Quite a few teams in recent years have employed senior advisors – people that are long-time coaches or general managers that want to stay involved in the game but don’t necessarily want to be involved in the day-to-day operations of the team. This sounds like the ideal solution for the Canadiens. Hiring someone like this that is independent of management adds that extra layer of oversight (with experience) while Molson stays on in his current role as is his desire.
Considering the situation (since Molson isn’t giving up the president role), this is about the best option the team has available to them and it shouldn’t be hard to implement. It wouldn’t be a role that requires much (if any) public speaking so the usual language requirements shouldn’t be at play as well – they can just focus on hiring the best person available, period. Midseason isn’t a great time to do this but as soon as the season ends, this is something that should be near the top of Molson’s lengthy priority list.