The countdown to golf season continued last week for both the Habs and Laval. The Canadiens picked up one win while snatching defeat from the jaws of victory in another while what’s left of the Rocket continue to flounder as they get closer and closer to the basement in the AHL standings.
Brendan Gallagher: I’m quite disappointed with some of the negative backlash surrounding his decision not to play for Canada at the Worlds. He has been the heart and soul of the team this season and some fans still want to get on his back? He takes a beating out there and it’s not surprising he’s not 100% so if he wants to take a pass, he’s well within his rights to do so, especially since he went to the tournament last year.
Brett Lernout: I know some have been encouraged with what he has shown so far but I haven’t seen enough to suggest he’s playing himself into the discussion for a spot next season (unless that spot is a seventh or eighth defenceman). His physicality is an asset but he isn’t learning to play with more pace to his game which is something he needs to do to have success in the NHL. The fact he was converted to a regular recall means he’ll get a few more looks with the Habs this season.
Logan Shaw: Call me crazy but I think he may be playing his way into a qualifying offer for next season. He has not looked out of place at centre since being shifted over there and given the dearth of depth at that position in the organization, I could see management trying to keep him around.
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Goals: Brendan Gallagher (30)
Assists: Alex Galchenyuk (31)
Points: Brendan Gallagher (51)
+/-: Nicolas Deslauriers (+6)
PIMS: Deslauriers/Shaw (53)
Shots: Brendan Gallagher (269)
The trip to the bottom continues as three more losses has Laval dead last in the Eastern Conference. They remain ahead of Cleveland for the 30th and last spot in the league and that ‘battle’ should come down to the final few games.
News and Notes:
– This week’s edition of ‘Who in the world are these guys?’ takes us to the back end as a trio of newcomers were added on ATO deals. They are: Bailey Webster, Jordan Owens, and Adam Plant with Plant signing a one-way AHL deal for next season as well which is worth noting. Meanwhile, Rob Hamilton was released.
– Blueliner Matt Petgrave was suspended for Friday’s game against Binghamton for slew-footing after receiving a match penalty when it happened against the Marlies.
– Chris Terry was named Player of the Month for March. He remains one point out of the league leading for scoring with five games to play.
– Lines from last game:
Terry – Cracknell – Korostelev
Boucher – Petti – Gregoire
Veilleux – Ebbing – Waked
Petgrave (D) – Beauregard
Austin – Taormina
Owens – Plant
Bourque – Gelinas
Goals: Chris Terry (29)
Assists: Matt Taormina (45)
Points: Chris Terry (66)
+/-: Rinat Valiev (+14)
PIMS: Jeremy Gregoire (111)
Shots: Chris Terry (193)
April 4: Rochester vs Laval
April 6: Springfield vs Laval
April 7: Laval vs Belleville
With the playoffs being an afterthought for a while now, the mentality has rightly been all about the prospects recently. Despite that, I think the Habs have mismanaged their four post-deadline recalls and as a result, have lost out on a chance to reward a couple of hard-working veterans.
For those who haven’t been keeping track, Montreal has maxed out their recalls in Rinat Valiev, Michael McCarron, Brett Lernout (converted from an emergency one when David Schlemko returned), and Kerby Rychel. On the surface, the only one that doesn’t make a lot of sense is McCarron who did nothing at all to earn another NHL look. However, the decision to recall Valiev just days after the deadline seemed like a waste as well – why keep him down for just one game after acquiring him? If they knew they were recalling him, why not do it on deadline day itself when rosters expand? Yes, they’ll get to send him back down (if he’s healthy) a week from now but there’s not much value there. Between that and McCarron’s recall, that’s two that could have been better utilized.
Those two spots should have gone to Chris Terry and Adam Cracknell. Both are veterans but it’s not a bad thing to reward your top guys, especially if you have plans on re-signing one or both of them for next year (as they should). Terry is in a battle for the AHL scoring lead for the second straight year while Cracknell has done nothing but score since being acquired (and he’s a centre, something the Habs kind of need right now). Throwing them a bone late in the year might have bought them a bit of goodwill for future contract negotiations and, to me, that’s more valuable than seeing McCarron do nothing in meaningless NHL games or having Valiev be able to go back to play a pair of meaningless minor league contests next week. It’s a minor quibble, no doubt, but their recalls could have been handled better.