Call of the Wilde: Galchenyuk shines
CTV Montreal Published Thursday, March 23, 2017 10:12PM EDT Last Updated Friday, March 24, 2017 9:09AM EDT
- All eyes were on the big change that Claude Julien tried, moving Galchenyuk back to the wing and trying Shaw at centre for the first time this season. It worked in game one of the new but old experiment. Galchenyuk free to just roam up and down the wing, simply taking the point man on defensive zone coverage, thus giving him a clear head to just do what he can do on offence. First period and Galchenyuk had more chances than he had in the previous two weeks. He was robbed by a defender on the first chance. On the second, a perfect shot into the top corner on the pass from the new centre Shaw. He also looked comfortable in the middle his first game. Offensively there was to be honest no change whatsoever in his game. He was still the first forward and then he had to hustle back to cover down low on defence. He didn't seem to have any difficulty with his assignments. So with Lehkonen on night one there's a reason to believe they'll be a night two.
- Martinsen with another solid outing and if one of King or Martinsen must be in, this doesn't seem like a difficult decision at the moment. Martinsen with the better wheels for one. He's implicated in the play more often. He's in front of the net taking his share of cross checks. He's in the corner hitting. He's clearing the puck deftly off the half wall to a mate he hasn't seemed to have looked at. A ton of good hockey plays. The fourth line with McCarron also in the lineup for the first time in a while much more effective with more zone time than previous outings. It's got to be Martinsen moving forward unless something changes somehow.
- Jordie Benn continues to be the big trading deadline revelation. He's got the great cap hit and has been such a strong contribution so far for the Habs since March 1st. He laid out the big hit that led to the turnover that produced the first goal. He also laid out another couple big hits on the night. I loved this trade right away and praised Benn vociferously as soon as it happened but this is surprising beyond even that. Benn has been the stability the Habs have needed at the four hole for the Habs. All they need to do now is actually put him in the four hole. With the struggles Emelin has most nights it should be Benn and Petry together as the second pair.
- Alexei Emelin as I put this record that skips on my turntable. It just keeps repeating the sentence "what is he doing?" Emelin with a beautiful tackle that led to the power play that led to the Canes first goal. Only problem is tackles no matter how perfectly executed are not allowed in hockey. Second goal and Emelin has his man at the blue line but backs off deeper and deeper into Price who is beaten on the backhand. Not an egregious error by Emelin standards but bottom line is he is on for another against and implicated in the play when it happened. I understand no one ever wants to be embarrassed putting $4.1 million in the press box but in the playoffs they're not going to be able to get away with a roster decision that is designed to just trick other GMs into thinking the player may have high value. I really don't know what is going on with Emelin but Beaulieu and Davidson are always better choices.
- Bergevin is a terrific GM. He's made some deals that are mind boggingly good. Byron with a 20 goal season as a waiver wire pick up. Danault is the Habs first line centre and he came for a retired player and a UFA. Add Jordie Benn as a terrific addition. However, the entire circus around Galchenyuk wouldn't be an issue if this kid wasn't forced to be a centre. No one would even care about it if Bergevin would somehow address this issue. Yes I know it's hard. Yes I know centres aren't available. He's got to give to get or he has to spend to get but he's got to get. My thought is that Galchenyuk is a better winger. He's a sniper and is good leading the play; not arriving late because he was down low. He can have a great long career of goals as a winger, controversy-free, if the club is stronger at centre by getting someone else. The pressure on Alex is on him of course but it is also a failure to insulate him from a difficult task that he has not naturally warmed too. Listen it's simple: if you have had a debate for five years whether a guy is a centre and you have never once for five years debated whether the guy is a winger, then you have your answer where he belongs. So Marc go get someone down the middle so you can win a cup. Cup winners aren't weak in the middle.
- The Habs likely only need 94 points on the season to make the playoffs. They are at 91 points with 8 games remaining. The Islanders have 10 games left. If they go 7 and 3, they finish with 94 points as the last in. So even though that looked grim, the Habs don't need much in the way of results to get into the final 16.
- Certainly no one wants to hear this but the Hurricanes have one regulation loss in their last 11 games. They're a strong hockey team right now. The results bear it out so I know you thought that it would be an easy one but the Hurricanes are beating everyone. This wasn't that unexpected. There are no free nights in the NHL if you're not ready and hungry.