Call of the Wilde: What they can with what they have
- The power play has more movement on it now, rotating not just Shea Weber around more to get him looks, but also the third forward is high and looking for a dead zone. I would like to see Artturi Lehkonen get a chance on the power play. He has a great shot.
- The penalty kill is much more aggressive now and the results are showing. These changes take some time. The corner is not yet turned but progress is being made. Good to see Lehkonen get some time here. His hockey IQ is so high. He also angles off his opponents as well as anyone so he's a natural to halt the rush into the Habs zone.
- We learned this week that Greg Pateryn has been on the block for a long time. There's no way you get fair value for him at this moment. It's a terrible time to deal him. Pateryn on a first period shift had a very difficult moment where he had a checker with good position on him. He could have faltered easily but he outmuscled the check impressively and in one motion found the perfect outlet pass. He was also strong in NYC. He is a better defender than Nesterov. Pateryn is talented. Flat out. End of discussion. He needs to stay.
- Julien has done all right so far. The special teams has improved and there is more movement through all zones. The defence is joining the rush. One thing though is Weber and Emelin just don't work together and I am surprised that Julien has not found a puck mover for Weber. On the 2nd goal they both just gave up the blue line and the Isles had all sorts of time to turn what looked like an innocent rush into a goal, turning one pass with 5 guys back into a breakaway. Not good. In fact, very bad.
- It has been a tough year for Brendan Gallagher. Another serious injury and you worry that shot isn't the same now. He had 20 goals last season when he was also injured. He will finish far lower than that with just 6 so far this year. This has to turn soon for him.
- Not sure what to do about Tomas Plekanec. He's in an offensive role and there simply is no offence there anymore, neither in scoring goals or creating chances.The Habs are 26th in the league in goals from the centre position. Hockey is won from the middle out. Look no farther than this position for why the Habs have not been in a final since 1993. I'm not laying it all on Plekanec here. It's institutional. Twenty years without a 1-2 punch down the middle.
- Claude Julien with game number 1,000 behind the bench. That is quite an accomplishment: A good coach and a good man, and a Stanley Cup winner. If this ship doesn't right with Julien at the helm, that would be two coaches taking the fall. Two too many.
- I hate the argument that this is a lack of effort, as if they're professionals but they're not trying. They can only do what they have the skill set to do in the long run. Bergevin has to get the Habs some more skill. Two top six forwards and a left first pairing D are needed or they will be in the same situation where they are now and maybe lower, even if Scotty Bowman in his prime took over.