Forward lines and defense pairings
Pacioretty – Drouin – Lehkonen
Byron – Plekanec – Gallagher
Galchenyuk – Danault – Hudon
Deslauriers – Froese – Carr
Alzner – Petry
Morrow – Benn
Mete – Schlemko
Jacob De La Rose, Jakub Jerabek, Logan Shaw
Ales Hemsky – concussion, Shea Weber – lower-body, Andrew Shaw – lower-body
“When Jonathan Drouin is in the defensive zone, he doesn’t even attempt to play ‘D’.” One of my colleagues passed this on to me. They are the words of Comcast colour man Bill Clement during the Flyers broadcast tonight.
Sometimes it takes the words of an outsider to simply and accurately express the truth that no member of the adoring Montreal mainstream media will dare utter.
Marc Bergevin’s off-season plan was simple. Feeling rather unloved after the trade of fan favorite, P.K. Subban, the Canadiens general manager had a way of turning the tide. Acquire the next great francophone hope, no matter the cost, and send him on a PR tour.
Jonathan Drouin appeared in all the right places and said all the right things. He even became the captain’s best buddy over the summer months in a failed attempt to create on-ice chemistry, off-ice.
Then the red carpet was rolled out to the double CH’s under the Jumbotron in the Bell Centre. With no background for the position Drouin was anointed as the number one centre of the Montreal Canadiens.
In May 2015, Marc Bergevin infamously said that NHL trades aren’t made on Playstation. Well, neither is the pro game played there. Right now the Canadiens are dealing with a stark dose of reality after concocting an absurd plan that could have only worked on a video game.
The Jonathan Drouin experiment has been a disaster.
Drouin’s offense has been impotent. His goals for per 60 of 1.6 is right between Logan Shaw and Byron Froese. Drouin’s goals against per 60 is 3.6, among the worst forwards on the team. As Clement correctly pointed out on the broadcast, Drouin has shown no interest in contributing to team defense.
The 22-year-old’s relative number GF-GA/60 is dead last on the Canadiens.
With just over a minute to play in this game, the Canadiens had a 2-1 lead enroute to a rare road win. As the Flyers entered the Canadiens zone unchallenged, Drouin managed a courtesy fly-by. Jake Voracek used the screen of Karl Alzner to get the tying goal with 1:26 left.
Details. They are the margin between winning and losing many nights. And post-game, Claude Julien said that his team isn’t good enough right now to be attentive to details.
But why should we expect otherwise? This team was constructed with primary attention to how it would be received off-ice. The on-ice product continues to find ways to lose.
▲ Carey Price, Tomas Plekanec, Jeff Petry, Paul Byron
▼ Jonathan Drouin, Joe Morrow, Jordie Benn, Nicolas Deslauriers, David Schlemko, Phillip Danault, Karl Alzner