To keep tabs of the Montreal Canadiens, I thought I’d start posting a “Studs & Duds” type thing. Unfortunately, all the clever rhyming names like the aforementioned, “Studs & Duds” were taken. I was left to choose from some really stupid names. I came up with “Lights & Frights” and “Rad & Bad”. So, I think I’ll just stick with the vague “Ups and Downs” That’s probably taken as well, but I’ll take my chances. You can expect to see a post like this every 4 to 5 games. I’ll point out who I’m really liking and who’s doing well. On the flip side, I’ll also point out who needs to step up. Enough of my babbling. let’s get on with the post.
An obvious “Up” to begin the season is Max Pacioretty. In 4 games, Max has notched 2 goals, 2 assists and a whopping 18 shots on net. I’m astonished as to how quickly he has become one of my favourite players in the entire league, and not just because he is doing well. The first time he stepped on the ice against Buffalo in the preseason I was overcome with a positive feeling about him, the way he was skating, his play in the offencive zone, everything jumped out to me. Max didn’t do well points wise in the preseason, but never the less, I and all of Habs nation were astonished at how much better he looked after coming back from that horrible injury. Before the season premiere, on Hockey Night in Canada, a clip was shown regarding how much, and how hard Pacioretty had been training in the off-season. I don’t remember the exact number, but the clip said he gained 17 (I think) pounds of muscle. Coming into this season Pacioretty now has more of the thing he had been lacking in seasons prior, strength. This newly acquired strength has really showed early in the season. His dominance on the ice can easily be seen. He is powering by defencemen, applying very heavy and effective forecheck and skating hard back on the backcheck. Nothing for Martin to complain about.
Last night in Montreal, The line of Pacioretty-Desharnais-Kostitsyn were arguably the best line for either team. A combined plus-3 rating and 5 points between the 3 of them. I would expect to see this line together in future games.
I predict Pacioretty will be among Plekanec and Cammaleri as the team’s top offencive contributors come April.
And for every “Up” there has to be a “Down”. To begin the season there are two players in particular that come to mind when thinking of less than stellar showings. Carey Price and PK Subban. As much as it kills me to do criticize my favourite player and my favourite goalie, there is no way of avoiding it. Subban is a team worst minus-3 and has taken more penalty minutes than any other player on the team at 6. Subban knows that he hasn’t been playing well. Before Saturday night’s game he told the media, “I’ve gotta play better. I played like crap the first few games.” Subban did the opposite of play better vs. the Avalanche. Minus-1 with a brutal giveaway that Statsny would score on. Though, he did play better offencively with an assist and 5 shots. Now all Subban has to do is improve defencively and he can get himself out of the “Down” section.
The second “Down” is being given to Carey Price. I hate criticizing goalies, because no matter how good a goalie someone is, they will have bad stretches or bad games, that’s just the way it is. I hate doing it, but I have to acknowledge that Price hasn’t played his best in these first four games. 2.96 GAA and .880 SV%. Montreal’s defence also hasn’t been very kind to Price, the D is still quite inexperienced so some time will be needed for them to adjust. Montreal has never been known to get off to great starts, I’m not worried. I’m sure Price and Subban will shape up and be huge contributors this year.
I didn’t rip on the “Downs” as much as I would if others players were there. I’m to biased to actually give these players what they deserve. Rest assured if I put someone like Gomez or Kostitsyn in the “down” column, there will be no bias.
Montreal has a tough time ahead in their next 5 games, facing divsion rivals, Buffalo and Toronto, Cup Contenders, Philly and Pittsburgh and the Florida Panthers. You’ll see the next “Ups and Downs” in about a week and a half after Montreal in done with the Philadelphia Flyers.
Montreal’s next game is Tuesday vs. the new look Buffalo Sabres. Post game here, but no Pregame! I did it and they lost, you will never see a pregame post from me ever again!
Well, I may link one to my twitter.
Speaking of twitter, Give me a follow @JacksonScarrow !