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Brodeur: Just Say No

A recent report has suggested that the legendary Martin Brodeur has interest in signing as a backup with the Habs. To push the boundaries of sanity even further, former Habs player and current RDS panelist Vincent Damphousse reports that the Habs have reached out to Brodeur.

Long live silly season!

At this stage of the off-season, and with no job, it shouldn’t be a surprise that Brodeur is now talking about signing in his home town. After all, it is standard operating procedure for all Quebec-born players to confess to “always wanting to play at home”…but only once their best years are behind them.

To completely push the cart off the rails, it seems as though a sizeable chunk of Habs land have been enchanted with this idea, completely forgetting about how lousy Brodeur has been for the last handful of seasons, and failing to recall that the Canadiens have a capable backup in Peter Budaj, and a terrific safety net in Dustin Tokarski. What upgrade does Brodeur offer the Habs? The simple answer is none.

“But Brodeur is arguably the best goalie ever, and has multiple cup wins to prove it! His experience is invaluable!” That’s the one retort that one could make that can’t be picked apart. The reality is, Brodeur’s cup-winning years are way behind him, and there’s precious little that he can teach Carey Price at this point, given Price’s own pressure-cooker maturation. The inevitable distraction that a Martin Brodeur signing would bring FAR outweighs what remains of his once amazing ability. The 2009-10 season seems to be the last of what he had to offer in terms of being reliable. Ever since then, he’s posted regular season save percentages of .903, .908, .901, and .901, for an average of  .903. That’s not NHL calibre, folks. Not even as a backup. His playoff numbers aren’t much better, posting an an average save percentage of .905 over his last four playoff years, which includes a run to the cup finals in 2012 where he posted a surprising .929 save percentage. Remove that outlier performance, and you can imagine where the numbers would be.

There is no statistical or logical justification for the Habs to dump Budaj, a very popular teammate by all media accounts, just to replace him with a player who has next to nothing left to give except for headaches. Just imagine the outcry from the lunatic fringe the first time Carey Price slips in to a funk. Imagine the volume of that outcry if it were to occur during the playoffs. If that doesn’t give you instant nausea, then you probably are at least a little bit in love with the idea that Brodeur could land in Montreal. Remember: the Habs jersey is made from the same material as the jerseys of the other 29 teams. There is no magic woven in to the bleu-blanc-rouge of the Habs. The jerseys are not sprinkled with pixie dust, nor are they bathed in the fountain of youth before making their way on to the backs of the players. Having Brodeur in a Habs jersey may make certain segments of the fanbase misty-eyed, but having Brodeur on the ice or on the bench in no way makes the Habs better.

So PK Subban is Going to Arbitration

Most of Habsland is waking up to the news that the Habs and PK Subban are going to salary arbitration.

The Habs vs PK!


Bad feelings!



Once we learn exactly when his hearing is, we’ll know the date by which he and the Habs will have happily come to terms on a shiny new deal (that we can all start criticizing for being too long and too expensive). In the meantime, he is protected from offer sheets, so you can stow your concerns on that, too.

Now go enjoy your summer.

Coach Therrien’s Future

With another day to kill before the start of game one, I figure now’s as good a time as any to yak about Habs coach Michel Therrien. Some like him, many can’t stand him. For those who value “process over results”, Therrien is the bane of their existence. For the rest, Therrien’s combined 75-42-13 record during his two seasons is proof enough that he’s pushing the right buttons and getting the most out of the team.

While both camps have valid points; valuing results over process is to be ignorant of what makes the Maple Leafs so hilarious to laugh at every year. Teams that rides percentages in either shooting or save percentage (or both) are doomed. On the other hand, the NHL remains a results-driven business, and few have done better than Therrien from a wins-and-losses perspective since the last lockout ended.

The 2014-15 season will be the final season of Therrien’s current contract. His future beyond that will hinge greatly on what happens in this playoff run. If the Canadiens bow out to Tampa with a whimper, the #FireTherrien camp will expect and demand Therrien’s immediate dismissal. If they bow out in a tough, well-played series, calls for his firing will still be loud and clear, no doubt, but won’t be as adamant. Short of a trip to the Cup Finals, there isn’t much that Michel Therrien can do to satisfy his naysayers. From an organizational perspective, if the Habs meekly exit the playoffs, then being bounced easily twice in two playoff years will not bode well for Therrien. He very well may be fired – to the delight of many, but he would certainly start 2014-15 on thin ice if he managed to avoid the axe.

If the Canadiens have a decent playoff run (which I’ll loosely define as a round one win, and at minimum a long, well-played second round, and more likely a second-round series win), then the #FireTherrien crowd will be sorely disappointed. A strong playoff run will not only result in Therrien emerging unscathed, and him starting 14-15 on terra firma, it will also likely see him get a contract extension during the off-season. The always-aware-of-optics Canadiens will not want questions swirling around their head coach when camp breaks, and a coach entering his final season – especially one that irks so many in both the media and fanbase (and perhaps even in the locker room) – will automatically carry the “lame duck coach” label. No team wants that distraction, so a strong playoff showing will probably end that discussion before it even begins. Then we’ll discuss how great or retarded Marc Bergevin is, again.

Personally, I’m not a huge fan of Therrien’s current strategy. The Canadiens have been less exciting and have been playing with fire all season long, with short bursts of hope to a return to playing “sustainable, effective” winning hockey. From last year to this year the Habs switched playing styles, and while the bottom line has been similar, the lion’s share of credit for this year’s success can go directly to Carey Price and the duo of Max Pacioretty and David Desharnais. Still, all teams ask of their head coach is to win games. That’s it, that’s all. They aren’t asked to win games under the constraint of demonstrating strong analytics (as much as we’d all like to see them). Therrien has done that, and in doing so has ticked the only box assigned to any coach. Initially I didn’t see Therrien making it to the end of his original contract, and that still may happen. The toughest road remains in front of him, but he has gone at least halfway in getting an extension for himself.

Cynics aren’t worried about the Canadiens doing well come Wednesday, and hence aren’t worried that the Habs will be toiling under Therrien for much longer. Of course, there are no guarantees no matter what happens. But the convergence of circumstances means that If you’re not a fan of Michel Therrien, this post-season puts you in a tough spot: the better the Canadiens do, the more likely it is that you’ll be stuck with him for the long haul.

So long, Raffy Diaz

Yesterday, Habs GM dealt misunderstood/misused/missthenet defenseman Raphael Diaz to the Canucks for some guy named Dale Wiese. My initial reaction was something along the lines of *headdesk*. Diaz is a useable guy who had become useless to Therrien for reasons only known to the Habs coach. Whether it was a lack of physicality or lack of scoring (he hasn’t beaten an NHL goalie in a long, long time, folks), Diaz found himself on the bench for the last 8 games.

Pretty clear that he’s not in the team’s plans especially now with Beaulieu in the mix, so Bergevin shipped him out to the West Coast, where he’s free to take Yannick Weber’s job for a second time.

Of course, the Habs can’t make a single move without generating utter madness among the fanbase, so it came as no surprise that the interwebs were lit aflame when news of the trade broke. Sure, a few people who want the Habs to get bigger approved of the trade. For the most part, however, the trade made people upset; not because of the trade itself, but because of the mindset that it represents. Bergevin during his short tenure as Habs GM has made a habit of bringing in bottom-six forwards and bottom-pairing defensemen. Surely more was expected, and definitely more talent is needed, so this move is an exercise in exasperation. Instead of trading Diaz for virtually nothing, people wondered, why didn’t they:

  • Actually play Diaz over Murray?
  • Get more for a guy that the advanced stats say is a good d-man?
  • Get a draft pick for him?
  • Keep him?

We can cry about Murray all we want, but the Habs like him. Why didn’t they get more for Diaz? Because he wasn’t worth much thanks to his own inability to produce. Sure he may be efficient as a D-man, but perceptions are hard to shake and Diaz is seen as an offensive guy who can help a powerplay, which he didn’t do. So long, trade value. Being benched for 8 straight games? R.I.P. trade value. Why didn’t Bergevin just take a mid-round pick rather than a useless player who will likely be in the AHL next year? That’s a good question, and all I can imagine is that the Canucks don’t want to part with assets, either. Smart thinking. Finally, why didn’t the Habs just keep him? Well…with Subban, Gorges, Emelin, Beaulieu and perhaps Markov all laying claim to top-4 slots for 2014-15, where does Diaz fit? As a UFA, it’s his chance to cash in, and unless he’s dumb, he probably has no interest in being a bottom pair guy in Montreal. Just a guess.

So while we can piss and moan until the sun goes down about Bergevin picking up yet another useless, insignificant player, we can and should take some comfort in the fact that he did not and has not moved any prized prospects or draft picks for short-term rentals to save the current season. Diaz may have been sabotaged as an asset and shipped in a trade that was totally unnecessary, but in the end, had he scored a goal against an NHL goalie in the last 2 calendar years (January 21, 2012 was the last time he scored a real goal), maybe he would have retained his value all by himself.

Of Pixie Dust and Dandruff

The last week has seen a fine particulate matter fall over a large swatch of Quebec, and not all of it is from raging forest fires. What Marc Bergevin may consider as his magic pixie dust, is in fact merely a ton of dandruff caused by the incessant head scratching that Habs fans have been doing over the last week.

Whether confused over the “reach” of drafting Michael McCarron in the first round, or the brand new signing of the freshly bought-out Daniel Briere, Habs fans have had much to talk about in an offseason that is already producing more questions than answers.

By the time news broke late in the afternoon that the Habs had officially signed Daniel Briere to a two-year, eight million dollar deal, Habsland was already ablaze with opinion, most of leaning to the negative side. And who can blame the naysayers? While I jumped for joy when Bergevin dumped Erik Cole for Michael Ryder, I did so thinking that the cap savings would be put to better use. It’s not time to jump to conclusions yet, especially since Briere has not played a game for the Canadiens yet, but the signs on the surface are not encouraging. He’s become injury prone, is in decline and is limited in terms of what he brings to the table. All this on top of being yet another diminutive player on a roster stacked with small players.

There are many, many reasons to be disappointed in this move. There is a distinct sense that the “Habs need Quebecois stars” crowd has penetrated Bergevin’s thought process and struck a chord, especially on the heels of missing out on Lecavalier. I’m not so sure I buy that, but it’s always loomed like a large shadow over in Montreal whenever a French player is brought in. Age, slipping production, health, and size are all additional reasons to be concerned about Bergevin’s judgement in this move. When you consider that Briere will occupy the right wing along with Brian Gionta and Brendan Gallagher, you can’t help but shudder at how this will be a glaring weakness on the road and in the playoffs.

The contract itself isn’t suicidal. Two years at eight million isn’t absurd, but Bergevin is going to have to do more than cite “character and experience” as reasons as to why this move is a smart one for the Canadiens.

Briere’s best days are surely behind him, but the outrage is over the top. There’s a large contingent of Habsland that prefers being right than to see the Canadiens succeed, so these people will not issue any credit even if Briere does make his mark on the powerplay, in shootouts or anywhere else for that matter. Many of these same fans are also holding fast to their six-year-old-grudge when Briere rejected the Canadiens as a free agent. Many still are masking their fear with anger that Bergevin added a French player “as a PR stunt”.

However this plays out, it is not a move that will cripple the Canadiens. It’s no better than a sideways move, and it paves the way for the trade of other small players like David Desharnais, or Brian Gionta at some point. To think of the Canadiens carrying Briere, Desharnais, Plekanec, Gallagher, and Gionta at the same time is stupefying. To have five of nine forwards measuring less than six feet tall is a disconcerting thought to say the least, but let’s give Bergevin more credit than this. He has to know by now that this is untenable and maybe bringing in Briere is the first domino that will trigger a series of moves that sees the Habs kicking off the 2013-14 campaign as a better team.

We’ve long believed that Quebec-born players that return to Montreal to play with the Habs always seem to struggle under the weight of expectations. If we keep our expectations in check, and be honest with ourselves that a 50-point year from Briere would be a success, then this isn’t the end of the world. While Briere and Desharnais (while he’s here) will surely get tons of sheltered minutes, protection, offensive zone starts and more powerplay time than they probably deserve, we can hope that fulfilling a dream, as Briere put it, will help him find a late-career second wind that makes his addition a positive one, and not something that will be a constant, unerring source of frustration for the next two seasons.

It’s all we’ve got, right?

Validation for Subban

If Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos is right, and Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban  is about to win the Norris trophy as the league’s best rearguard, then it’s validation on a few different levels.

Validation that Subban is not only the team’s best defenseman, but also their best player (so much for those who think Markov, capable as he is in his own right, is still the team’s leader on defense)

Validation that Marc Bergevin goofed in only awarding a two-year deal instead of opting for the long-term deal that many fans felt should have been a no-brainer.

Validation (from Bergevin’s point of view) that he provided Subban with the proper motivation to turn in an astounding season.

Validation that the silly rhetoric that the league and the surrounding media “doesn’t like Subban” due to his flamboyant, exuberant personality.

It had to be in the back of Bergevin’s mind that this could have been an outcome for Subban, and that the team would have to open up the vault in order to keep Subban happy long-term. Instead of paying Subban what most believed would have gotten him signed long-term last year (five years, 25 million dollars), he gambled that he would retain leverage in further negotiations with a short “bridge” deal. Bergevin may have used his hammer to keep the cost-controlled Subban in check, but that won’t work next time, if Bergevin is as smart as we all think and hope he is. The bridge deal was a de facto challenge to Subban: “show us what you can do and we’ll have no problem paying you”. Careful what you wish for, Marc! What became more and more obvious as the lockout-shortened season progressed is that the price to re-sign Subban was growing bigger with each passing game, to the point where “Doughty money” now seems the starting point as opposed to the end point. Subban, even as an RFA will have the luxury to name his price, and Bergevin will have little choice but to play ball.

Remember those people who said that Subban wasn’t worth Doughty money? They’ve likely changed their tune now. Those holdovers that still insist that 42 games shouldn’t grant Subban the right to back up the truck in order to collect his pay, but those people are harder to find these days and will soon be extinct.

There is a full 82-game season coming this fall, followed by what we hope will be a lengthy playoff run, and there’s no telling what may happen. Subban could continue his excellent play (smart money is on this option). He could suffer a dip in production and overall quality of play (hard to imagine), or he could get hurt and miss a large chunk of time. Bergevin can soon choose to re-open negotiations with Subban about a long-term deal that will keep him here for many years to come. Is that the smart play, financially speaking given that Subban will have a fresh trophy in his case? Or should he gamble yet again that he can gain the upper hand by waiting?

Either way, the Canadiens have a defenseman that is finally worthy of being called the league’s best. Not a top-five, or top-ten defenseman. The best defenseman. At just 23 years old, it’s a staggering thought to think that he has already risen to such a high level when most of his peers only peak in their late-20’s or even early 30’s.

If Subban is still only scratching the surface of his potential, then he will not only add more hardware to his mantle, but he will validate what he told Bob Gainey on the day he was drafted: that he would help this team win a Stanley Cup.

It’s Good To Have Options

With 6 picks in the first 90 overall selections at this month’s entry draft in New Jersey (pick #25 in the first round, picks #34, 36 and 57 in the second round, and picks #71 and 88 in the third round), Director of Scouting Trevor Timmins and his team (overseen by General Manager Marc Bergevin) have a lot of flexibility, should they decide to do something other than simply go buck-wild at the draft board.

It should be noted up front that Bergevin is an extremely strong proponent of building through the draft, and it’s more than likely that the Canadiens brass will let Timmins do what he does best and continue to stock the cupboards with young players with strong NHL potential.

For argument’s sake, let’s pretend that Bergevin and Timmins are considering their options. Would he bundle one or more of his picks in order to move up in the draft? Would he relish the opportunity to trade down and garner even more picks? Would they leverage some of their picks in a package with current roster players to land NHL-ready talent?

As vocal as he has been about using the draft to build the Habs, it’s likely that they are open-minded enough to consider what’s behind doors A, B, or C, should the opportunities present themselves.

Door Number 1 – Movin’ on Up

Let’s forget moving up in to the top ten. Despite rumors that Colorado and Edmonton are fielding offers for the first and seventh overall picks respectively, this sort of thing is to be expected. Both are teams that have been drafting high for years now with no real results to show for it and are simply fishing for a sucker GM who will give them the moon and stars for their pick. No doubt it would take the Habs first rounder, a second rounder, a strong prospect and a young roster player to even begin the discussion with either team. Pass. Timmins could decide to pick on Columbus, who currently hold the 14th and 19th picks in the first round. They too are rumored to be shopping their picks, no doubt in an attempt to help them be a sure-bet playoff team in 2013-14. It should also be noted that all three teams have recently had major shakeups in the front office. What GM doesn’t want to make a name for himself by being a mover and shaker at the draft?

While moving up may be a difficult task, The Canadiens do have the ammo needed to make a jump to anywhere from three to ten picks ahead of where they currently sit. They would only do this if they felt that there was a player that they absolutely HAD to have. In return, they’d have to give up their first rounder, and one of their early second round picks. I have all kinds of faith in the work of Trevor Timmins, so I’d be ok with this.

Door Number 2 – Quantity over Quality

It’s no longer a secret that you need a high volume of high-round draft picks if you want to be able to build a strong feeder system (see here for the painstaking details Part one | Part two). Given how the chances of finding an NHL player drop steeply after the first top-ten selections, they fall off the face off the earth in round two. This being the case, it would not make sense to trade down to scoop up more picks. If there’s a ‘but’ to this option, it’s that the Canadiens have one of the few guys able to find treasure outside of the first round. Want proof? P.K. Subban, Brendan Gallagher, Alexei Emelin, (the departed) Michael Ryder, Gabriel Dumont, (the soon to likely be departed) Yanick Weber and Ryan White were all drafted by the Habs outside of the first round. A mixed bag to be sure, but even if the list ended with Subban, Timmins has done a spectacular job of finding big talent outside of the agreed upon “elite”.

Do I like the “trade down” option? Not really, despite Timmins’ strong record. The only thing better than Timmins with a pocket full of draft picks is Timmins with a pocket full of early round draft picks.

Door Number 3 – Horse Trading

Ah, the draft day deal, otherwise known as the armchair GM’s favorite move. I remember being at the 2009 draft in Montreal. The only time the crowd was louder than when the Habs selected Louis Leblanc that night was when Bettman stepped up to the podium to announce the consummation of a trade (it was the Pronger-to-Philly deal).

Would the Canadiens consider moving their picks to bring in NHL-ready players (by this I mean established players of any age)? I think it’s all but certain that the Canadiens will never, under this administration, trade top picks for aging players. In a year where the salary cap is about to drop, there’s virtually no chance that the Canadiens will take on salary in exchange for cost-controlled assets. I find it doubtful that they’d trade picks for players of any calibre who are even approaching UFA status. What may be plausible is trading picks for young talent on entry-level deals who are either in need of a change, or their team badly covets a player from this year’s draft.

This option still runs counter to everything that Bergevin has said and counter to everything that today’s NHL is about: cheap, talented youth. The only option among the three above that makes any sense is that moving up in the draft without costing the organization any extra assets.

What say you?

First Place For Another Day

Regular season game #38

In the season’s final game of the long-running rivalry between the Bruins and Habs, it was the home team that finally broke through to claim victory, in the tightest of margins and the most stressful of manners.

Clinging to a one-goal lead with less than two minutes to play, Lars Eller grabbed a fistful of Zdeno Chara’s jersey and spun him to the ice. Whether the big ape helped himself to the ground is irrelevant; Eller, who had played a strong game to that point, showed a lack of judgement. Luckily it didn’t cost the Habs because the dismal Bruins powerplay was still dismal, even with the addition of Jaromir Jagr. They threw the puck around the ice and desperately hoped the big old Czech would fix everything for them. The final siren blared with the puck on Jagr’s stick and with no urgency from him at all.

The best Habs players list is starting to sound like a broken record. PK Subban had another two assists and had a Fenwick score of +16. For the #fancystats uninitiated, take my word for it: that’s really good (hat tip to @Heymynameiswill). His case for the Norris trophy continues to grow by leaps and bounds as he piles up the stats, minutes and defensive prowess needed to earn votes from the powers that be. Whether he wins the Norris or not isn’t all that important in the grand scheme of things. What is important is that the Habs have one of the league’s premier defensemen…if that hasn’t been obvious for a couple years already.

Carey Price was also stellar, turning aside from 26 of 27 shots and kept the Bruins third period push at bay. His rebound control was outstanding and the poise for which he’s become known for was on full display. It’s odd that it was his first win against the Bruins since October of 2011, but facts are facts, and with the playoffs around the corner, it’s a good confidence booster for Price to have should they face Boston in the postseason.

After suffering a reported groin injury on Wednesday in Philadelphia, Tomas Plekanec was back in the lineup and looked like his former self. He won 70% of his faceoffs which is key considering his Bruins counterpart, Patrice Bergeron sat the game out with yet another concussion.

It was a busy week for the Habs that saw them play five games in the last eight nights. Posting a 4-1 record during that stretch is absurd, and is only made more absurd by the fact that they surrendered just three goals in the four wins. This team navigates fatigue, travel and injury perfectly, and for that Michel Therrien, who has not had a full practice with his team in 8 days now, deserves an enormous share of the credit.

Next week is decidedly slower, with a home game against the resurgent Capitals on Monday, followed by two road games in Buffalo and Toronto.

Follow me on twitter: @kyleroussel

Ryde On!

Regular season game #37

Just 24 hours after the apocalypse, the fallout has cleared, the sun has broken through, and the world has righted itself. Situation normal.

While nothing went right in Philadelphia, everything went right against the Jets. With major concern swirling around Plekanec’s absence, Habs fans wondered how their team would conduct itself minus their most important centerman. We’ll concede that while the Jets aren’t hockey’s Harlem Globetrotters, the Habs did pretty damn well, especially the two young centermen with the spotlight on them: Lars Eller and Alex Galchenyuk. Eller had a goal and an assist, and looked much more like the active, versatile player we’ve become accustomed to while Galchenyuk emerged from a prolonged slump to score his 4th goal of the year. It’s not abnormal for a rookie, even one with Galchenyuk’s gifts to lose their way a bit during their first season as a pro, but on his goal, he was circling like a shark in chummed waters. He found a dead spot eight feet in front of Pavelec and waited for the inevitable. Slump = over. Michael Ryder continued his torrid pace, with two goals and an assist, and P.K. Subban was up to his usual tricks with another two assists to vault him in to the NHL’s top scoring defenseman with 30 points. Peter Budaj for his part turned in another strong performance as Price’s backup, turning aside 33 of 34 shots in front of members of his family. He was well deserving of the second star, and should strongly be considered for a contract extension. It never fails to entertain me when fans denigrate his work by saying he only plays “weak teams”. Newsflash: he’s designated, and paid as a backup…of course he plays the “weak teams”! (Let’s conveniently forget that he’s 2-0 against the Bruins this year.)

We could be worried about the Habs two-game trend of taking minimal shots on goal in the third period, but with the team as battered as it is, it would probably make more sense to cut the team some slack considering they actually won the game quite handily and kept their grip on first place in the North East with just 11 games to go.

With a huge showdown on Saturday night against the Bruins, this was a home win the Habs simply had to have, and it’s par for the course to see them rally minus their best center to get the job done. Michel Therrien has kept a stern hand on the wheel and his decisions continue to work out remarkably well. He may not win the Jack Adams trophy, but he sure as hell deserves to be a finalist.

With Plekanec listed as day-to-day, Bourque scheduled to practice with the team, and Diaz skating for the second consecutive day, Bergevin showed that sometimes the best deals are the ones you don’t make. And in Ryder’s case, he showed that sometimes the best deals are the ones you DO make.

Follow me on twitter: @kyleroussel

Flying Low

Regular season game #36

Let’s all take a collective deep breath….and exhale.

With the Habs turning in one of their worst performances of the year just hours after the trade deadline elapsed, it would be easy to slide in to a panic attack and question Bergevin’s decision not to make any moves to shore up the team.

Settle down.

Every team lays an egg once in a while. No, that’s not to say that it’s acceptable, because getting six shots in the final 40 minutes certainly isn’t acceptable. The fact is the final score flatters the Habs, since they did somehow manage to score twice in the second period. If not for the sloppy netminding of Ilya Bryzgalov, this game would have been a laugher.

The real concern following tonight’s game is the status of Tomas Plekanec, who left the game with just over 12 minutes left in the second period with a lower body injury. I’m only going to loosely make the connection, but without Plekanec, the Habs managed less shots during his absence than Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds had for the entire game on his own. If Plekanec is out for any length of time, the Habs are in serious trouble, since Eller, Desharnais, Halpern and Galchenyuk cannot replicate what Plekanec brings to the team. You can disagree, but you’d be wrong.

The Habs are a resilient bunch, and losing has not been their thing this season. All bets are off if Plekanec is seriously hurt, but considering how more than one goal deflected off of Habs defensemen and behind Price in to the net, I expect a livelier effort from the Habs tomorrow against Winnipeg coupled with a little more puck luck.

So with nothing more to talk about, the only thing to consider is what the plan becomes if Plekanec IS seriously hurt. Well, for starters, Lars Eller will take on a bigger role, and will hopefully be better than he was tonight. Jeff Halpern will also take on more minutes, especially when it comes to defensive zone faceoffs. Other than that, Desharnais will have no choice but to put points on the board on a consistent basis, and Galchenyuk will have to contribute a bit more than he has.

Again, let’s not let one loss set us on the path of despair. Until poor play becomes a pattern, assume that the Habs will bounce back, as they always have this season. If they lose the Jets tomorrow, raise an eyebrow. If they lose to the Bruins on Saturday…ok…go ahead and riot.

Follow me on twitter: @kyleroussel

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