Rabid Habs

The Champ, The Chump and The Bum, Vol. 13

Written by: Karine Hains

As the holidays approach there is a wind of positivity in Montreal, the last week has seen the Sainte-Flanelle get a couple of well deserved wins against the Canucks and the Kings. Need a remind you that the Kings are the reigning Stanley Cup champions? However the road to this fun week wasn’t easy. It was a bumpy ride in which the Habs lost 6 games out of 7 that finally prompted the coaching staff into action…

The Champ: Alex Galchenyuk

This week, the fans finally got to see what some of them had been calling for for months; Alex Galchenyuk at centre. Yes, with that series of defeat, Michel Therrien finally decided to shuffle his lines for good. What do I mean for good? Well, he did it at practice and gave the guys time to learn to play with each other instead of in a moment of panic during the third period of a losing effort. The most notable was that Alex Galchenyuk was finally given the position of number one centre with Pacioretty on one wing and Gallagher on the other. While Chucky didn’t get on the score sheet against Vancouver, he still logged nearly 19 solid minutes, one shot, one hit and a minor penalty to be named the second star of the game. In his second game as the top line pivot, he was once again kept off the scoresheet but his face off percentage was near the 70% mark. So even though he’s not recorded a point in those two games, we saw some grade A effort and were able to realize that he is now much more responsible defensively and ready to handle a much bigger role on the Habs line-up.

The Chump: David Desharnais

To be fair, he gets the mention for his play since the start of the season up until this week. With Therrien changing the lines, Desharnais went from first line centre to third line centre. Quite a demotion but the little Quebecer handled it beautifully. When asked about his new role on the team he gave Galchenyuk high praises and said that the youngster wasn’t chosen 3rd overall without a reason adding that he could still help the team in a different role. It will be quite a change for him considering that he’s been Max Pacioretty’s sidekick for so long but now the “chemistry between Max and David” argument has lost some of its luster on the back of that disastrous sequence and Therrien elected to break up the duo. Funnily enough, the decision came just as Michael Bournival was ready to come back from injury and the Habs head coach decided to give himself a new look third line comprising 3 french canadiens: Desharnais, Bournival and Parenteau. Some fans went as far as calling that line the French Connection 2.0 but I think this is somewhat premature, let’s see if they deliver results before giving them such a billing. While Desharnais wasn’t all that in the game against Vancouver, he seemed to find his rhythm against L.A. scoring one goal and adding an assist while Bournival and Parenteau both chipped in an assist. Could it be that the coach has found the right combination for the 3 Quebec natives? Time will tell but for now, it sure looks good!

The Bum: That mumps outbreak

It started in Anaheim sidelining Corey Perry and François Beauchemin and since then, it’s made its way around the league. 5 victims in Minnesota, Tanner Glass of the Rangers and a couple in New Jersey but now, it looks like Bryan Allen might have it (it would make sense since he came to us from the Ducks) and anyone who has seen THAT picture of Sidney Crosby knows something is not right there. The Pens haven’t confirmed that their captain is suffering from the mumps but his swollen face sure makes us think that he is…We all know what to wish NHL players for the new year: good health! Whether or not our team is affected, I think we all much prefer seeing complete teams compete and being completely dazzled by the skills of the NHL stars. Enough with the mumps already!

This week the Habs will take on the Hurricanes on Tuesday, the Ducks on Thursday and the Senators on Saturday in what is the last full week before the Christmas break. Let’s hope Santa is kind to our Canadiens!