Rabid Habs

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, Vol. 2

Habs Nikita Scherbak at 2014 NHL Entry Draft

Written by: Karine Hains

The Habs started their preseason calendar in a reassuring fashion last night with a 3-2 win over their eternal rivals the Boston Bruins. What’s even better though is that what could arguably be described as the Bruins’ B team was overcome by what definitely was the Habs’ C team. Looking at the respective rosters, one could see a lot more regulars in the Boston line-up than in the Montreal one. In fact, Plekanec, Bourque, Markov and Gilbert were the only very experienced players wearing the bleu, blanc et rouge last night. So, without further ado and after one week of the proper training camp and one preseason game, here is the second edition of the good, the bad and the ugly.

The Good: The performances of Christian Thomas, Jiri Sekac and Nikita Scherbak

Well, there were a few speed-bumps for Scherbak especially and awful turnover that lead to the Bruins’ first goal but overall, the highly touted draft pick lived up to his billing showing great skills and speed. On a line with Hudon and Bourque, he didn’t appear to be missing his linemates from the red vs white match, Galchenyuk and Gallagher.

As for Christian Thomas, he got himself on the score sheet not once but twice managing to notch a goal and an assist. Needless to say he delivered a rather impressive performance, he played with flair and managed to leave a lot of Bruins’ players in his dust. The work he accomplished on the game-winning goal was nothing short of outstanding: a fantastic burst of speed followed by a surgical pass across the face of the net to serve Bowman’s the game winner on a silver plater. The sole concern of this writer when it comes to Thomas though is his stature. It’s well known that the Habs are far from too big and Thomas is only 5’9 which could unfortunately play against him.

Last week’s piece focused on Sekac and he didn’t make a liar out of me by performing rather well! Skating alongside with Plekanec and De la Rose he truly looked like he belonged and managed to score the Habs’ first goal. If I was a betting woman, I’d say that my money is on him making the team right from the get go this season. Time will tell!

The Bad: Michael McCarron’s injury

Let’s be frank, during the scrimmages, McCarron was almost embarrassing to watch. He looked out of place and a little bit like an elephant trying to squeeze into the aisles of a China shop without breaking anything. However, in a real match, against real enemies, he was rather solid and applied a few solid hits. Clearly, his style of play was not suited to scrimmages but it definitely was just what was needed last night. In short, McCarron showed great promise last night but he was hitting everything in sight and that unfortunately included the goal post. Result: a nasty looking injury the extent of which the Habs have yet to reveal. Injury or not though, McCarron is not NHL ready yet and he still needs to further develop. It’s a shame that this injury will more than likely prevent him from making a real case for himself.

The Ugly: The league’s injury list

The preseason games have only just started and already, plenty of very serious injuries have been suffered by important players. The early favorite for the rookie of the year title, Jonathan Drouin, fractured his thumb and will miss 3 to 4 weeks. Red Wings’ star Pavel Datsyuk suffered a shoulder injury in last night’s game against the Pens and Detroit has confirmed that the injury will keep him out of action for 3 to 4 weeks. After a season where he missed 37 games, that’s the last thing Datsyuk needed. That being said, the news are even worst in Carolina where Jordan Staal broke a bone in his leg and in New York where Derek Stepan is the fallen soldier, having also suffered a broken leg. While we’re all glad that hockey is back, we sure could have done without the return of the injury bug. Make sure you pay attention to what’s going on before the draft of your fantasy league!

Have a good week everyone and enjoy the 3 games in 4 days we have coming our way!