Forward lines and defense pairings
Pacioretty – Galchenyuk – Radulov
Byron – Plekanec – Gallagher
Lehkonen – Danault – Shaw
Flynn – McCarron – Mitchell
Emelin – Weber
Markov – Petry
Beaulieu – Nesterov
David Desharnais, Greg Pateryn, Sven Andrighetto
If you didn’t look too closely, one might be tempted to claim that the change behind the bench had no effect on the listless Canadiens, interpreting today’s result as evidence that coaching wasn’t the problem. That couldn’t be further from the truth.
On the contrary, Michel Therrien was not only a coach with a stale message and an outdated system, he was a coach who inflicted considerable damage on this team. In other words, the worst kind of coach.
Therrien had a stubborn, arrogant approach. He took no responsibility for his inability to adapt and poor communication with his team. But Therrien was expert at stripping confidence from players.
Post-game today, new head coach Claude Julien more than once mentioned observing his player’s lack of confidence. The Canadiens are a fragile team, thanks to Therrien, and that will take time to repair. But Julien has recognized the problem and will take steps to turn the ship around.
Today, we witnessed the same lack of shots and scoring chances that have been plaguing the Habs in calendar year 2017. And oh those neutral zone turnovers. The Jets are a weak team in their own end, but the Canadiens didn’t spend much time there.
So the fragile Canadiens were outbattled by the exuberant Jets.
Julien has his work cut out for him. He has already started to implement new tactics. Today the Canadiens abandoned the diamond formation on the penalty-kill opting for the box instead. And own-zone breakouts used the middle of the ice rather than simply chipping it off the boards.
But the most critical job for Julien is rebuilding the player’s confidence. We have already heard many players acknowledge Julien’s positive messages, something that was sorely missing under Therrien. That’s a good start but Julien will have to work miracles in a short period of time.
▲ Carey Price, Andrei Markov
▼ Nathan Beaulieu, Phillip Danault