Forward lines and defense pairings
Pacioretty – Danault – Radulov
Lehkonen – Galchenyuk – Byron
Andrighetto – Plekanec – Shaw
Carr – McCarron – Mitchell
Emelin – Weber
Markov – Petry
Beaulieu – Pateryn
David Desharnais, Nikita Nesterov, Brian Flynn
Brendan Gallagher (hand)
Michel Therrien is a mediocre NHL coach at best who has fostered the careers of mediocre players. His difficulty at relating to and get the best from elite players is well-documented. This season Therrien has picked a fight with Alex Galchenyuk.
It’s clear that Galchenyuk would not have gotten an opportunity to break out at center was it not for the injury to teacher’s pet David Desharnais. This season, after starting as the Canadiens number one centre, Galchenyuk hasn’t been able to get back to that spot when he returned from an injury.
But why? Desharnais has looked like ECHL-level talent, playing so poorly that even Therrien couldn’t justify granting him a top-6 spot on a regular basis. But the coach as a new favorite, Phillip Danault. And while Danault has performed well for a fourth-line centre, he has only been along for the ride on the top line.
Desharnais is the king of secondary assists. He regularly padded his point totals benefiting from his plum assignments. It would seem that Danault is following along in those footsteps riding the coattails of the Max Pacioretty-Alexander Radulov show. All this to the detriment of Galchenyuk and the Canadiens.
So Marc Bergevin may sacrifice the future for some immediate help before the trade deadline. But we will continue to see Therrien pulling hard on the reins of the thoroughbreds, effectively stalling the potential of elite players and the Canadiens engine.
▲ Max Pacioretty, Alexander Radulov, Shea Weber
▼ Al Montoya, Andrew Shaw, Michel Therrien