Rabid Habs

The Champ, The Chump and The Bum, Vol. 14

Written by: Karine Hains

The Habs just finished a home stretch in which they won 4 out of 5 games and managed to get themselves back on top of the standings in their division. Lars Eller’s injury turned out to be a blessing in disguise since it prompted Therrien to move Galchenyuk to centre and break-up the Desharnais-Pacioretty duo.

The Champ: THAT first line

We saw another spectacular tic-tac-toe play yesterday between Pacioretty-Galchenyuk and Gallagher and I get the feeling it won’t be the last time we see such a feat! This week, we also saw Galchenyuk get his first career hat trick on one night and lose four teeth on another one but through it all, Chucky was smiling and one thing is incredibly obvious, the kid is loving his new first line centre role and the crowd is in awe at his skills. While I have nothing against Desharnais, I must admit that he is much more suited to a third-line role than to a top billing pivot. Finally, the Habs’ sharpshooter has got a class-A centre feeding him which has also enabled us to discover that Max Pac can do more than just shoot. During the victory over the Canes, Chucky got 3 goals and Pacioretty got 3 assists, some of which were absolutely brilliant. To me, Max looked like one of those cars that has a collision detection system, no need to look, he knows where the obstacles are and where his teammates are, it was a thing of beauty to see.

The Chump: The congestion at centre…

With Eller coming back to the line-up, Therrien has got too many centers on his hands. Sure, it’s great to have some depth but your third-line centre shouldn’t really be making 3.5 million or at least, you shouldn’t have two third-line centres worth that much. While Therrien decided to ship Desharnais to the wing upon Eller’s return, that meant that Bournival ended up in the press gallery once more. While I have every confidence in Bergevin and his work, I do feel he will soon have to make a tough decision and ship out a centre through the trade market. Galchenyuk is Montreal’s most prized jewel and there’s no way we’re letting him slip away but he will need to be signed to a pricey extension sooner rather than later. Plekanec is the team’s most consistent two-way centre and I dread to think what this team would look like without him but I wonder if he won’t be the one to attract the most attention. Desharnais and Eller both make 3.5 million and while David can command that kind of money in Montreal, I very much doubt that another team would be willing to foot that bill. As for Eller, he has yet to have a breakthrough season, he shows flashes of brilliance and then falls back into obscurity. As for Malhotra, his contract is up this year but I’ll admit that I’d love to keep him around. He excels at face-offs and has allowed Plekanec to have a much more offensive role this year and let’s face it, he’s also a great asset on the penalty-kill. The more I think about it, the more I think that Plekanec will be the one sent packing…He makes 5 M a season and his name is made league-wide, I do believe he will generate the most interest from other GMs. Do not get me wrong, I do not want Plekanec to go but I’m afraid that this is what’s coming…Of course, at this stage, this is all speculation but we’ll know soon enough…

The Bum: Clayton Stoner

I know, there was no call on the play and no disciplinary hearing but to me, and to 21 000+ Habs fans in the Bell Centre it looked quite bad. Of course, maybe Pacioretty took too much time to admire his own play as some people have been saying but to me, bottom line is, no one should propel an opposing player face first into the boards. Thankfully the scary incident didn’t have much consequences but I feel somewhat protective of number 67, you have to admit, he’s had more than his share of scares in the past few years and surely karma should leave him alone now.

This week the Habs have a very light schedule, a single game against the Canes so you’ll forgive me for taking the week off, this weekly column will return on January 4th, until then; best wishes to all of you for the holidays!