Forward lines and defense pairings
Galchenyuk – Drouin – Gallagher
Byron – De La Rose – Lehkonen
Scherbak – A. Shaw – L. Shaw
Deslauriers – Froese – Carr
Reilly – Petry
Alzner – Juulsen
Benn – Valiev
Ales Hemsky – concussion, Shea Weber – lower-body, Carey Price – concussion, Charles Hudon – hand, Victor Mete – hand, Max Pacioretty – lower-body, David Schlemko – undisclosed, Antti Niemi – undisclosed
This season has been horrendous, of that there is no debate. Much of the decline was predicted by a few of us last fall after a disastrous summer by Marc Bergevin. Few, if any, of the GM’s moves were successful, effectively dismantling the Eastern Conference winning roster from the previous season.
With the exception of early-season injuries to Carey Price and Shea Weber, the decline was in full free-fall prior to the injury bug striking the Canadiens. Yet the rash of players recently-sidelined may offer a convenient excuse to management as they prepare for their post-mortem press conferences.
We were ‘treated’ to a preview of that following the Panthers’ shellacking of the Canadiens on Thursday night. Claude Julien wasted no time throwing his young players under the bus saying that his young players are “in over their heads” insinuating that they were to blame for the lopsided loss in Sunrise.
Sadly, no one asked the obvious follow-up: ‘But coach, how do you explain the dreadful play of non-rookies like Jonathan Drouin, Jeff Petry and Brendan Gallagher?’, who were a combined minus-9 on the night?
Drouin, who has never been accused of displaying leadership qualities, cowardly joined the coach’s chorus saying “Sometimes, you’ll have new guys who are just starting out in the NHL. They’re nervous, they’re not used to everything yet and it takes time.”
Many fans hung their heads when ownership all but confirmed that the general manager will be back in place next season. With management unfairly pointing fingers at convenient targets, and players who have contributed to the mess refusing to take responsibility, can fans expect results to be markedly different next season?
▼ Jonathan Drouin, Mike Reilly, Nicolas Deslauriers, Byron Froese, Logan Shaw, Rinat Valiev, Jeff Petry, Jordie Benn, Brendan Gallagher, Andrew Shaw, Alex Galchenyuk