Forward lines and defense pairings
Pacioretty – Danault – Radulov
Byron – Galchenyuk – Gallagher
Lehkonen – Plekanec – Shaw
Flynn – McCarron – Mitchell
Emelin – Weber
Markov – Petry
Beaulieu – Pateryn
David Desharnais, Sven Andrighetto, Nikita Nesterov
Well, at least the post-game pressers have improved. Moving on from a head coach who was inarticulate in both languages has been refreshing.
When asked if his team had followed the game plan, Claude Julien said, “I sure hope not, not with a result like that.”
So this team is not following the game plan. Julien added that poor execution meant that the Habs didn’t create any offence. And when the team isn’t scoring, it undermines their confidence.
Playing without confidence leads to a lack of consistency. That would explain the wild swings of performance from the Rangers game to tonight’s mess. And without consistency, the team can have no identity.
Just has diagnosed by Carey Price.
What to do? The prevailing opinion on social media had two recommended courses of action for general manager Marc Bergevin. According to the Twitter/Facebook brain trust, Bergevin should either engineer a blockbuster trade or tank the season.
So, blow it up, trade away as many players as possible, and do a nose dive from first in the Atlantic to out of the playoffs. Or, trade the future — Mikhail Sergachev, Noah Juulsen, Alex Galchenyuk — for a Matt Duchene or a Kevin Shattenkirk.
Now under the spotlight, a legitimate fear is that Bergevin, to save his job, could be tempted to follow one of those paths.
A more prudent course might be to acknowledge that the polar extremes are not going to happen this season: the Canadiens are not going to win the Stanley Cup nor are they going to get the number one draft slot.
Once that is understood, it’s also fair to state that coach Julien is a few weeks away from getting the team back on track. Playing to their potential, the Canadiens are a playoff team who probably won’t go very deep. If there is a deal that will help the club well beyond this Spring, then Bergevin should make it without sacrificing key players of the future.
Now that he has a proper coach in place, the general manager take a big picture view of any moves.
▲ Carey Price, Shea Weber, Artturi Lehkonen, Tomas Plekanec
▼ Brendan Gallagher, Alex Galchenyuk, Paul Byron