Rabid Habs

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, Vol. 3

Habs' Nathan Beaulieu and Jarred Tinordi

Written by: Karine Hains

Well, the preseason is in the books and it’s time to bring on what we’ve all been waiting for: meaningful hockey games! We’re finally done with the auditioning and the real deal is just around the corner!

The Good: The second line

As some of you may be aware Tomas Plekanec is 61 points away from the 500-career points mark, while many say he has no chance in hell of notching 61 points in the season, I’m starting to think otherwise. In 2009-2010, he recorded a career-high 70 points, the following season he got 57 points. Granted, things have been more of a struggle since then but let’s face it, he’s hardly had stability on his wings in the past few seasons. If this year’s preseason has taught us anything, it’s that Michel Therrien seems serious about giving Plekanec a real shot at playing with the two most talented youngster on the team; Alex Galchenyuk and Brendan Gallagher. Thus far, this experiment is looking good and while many wish the coach would give “Chucky” the opportunity to play at centre, I think a pairing with Plekanec will give him an opportunity to grow in the role. Let’s face it, Plekanec is arguably the smartest centre on the Habs roster which means that he can read the game like no other. We’ve seen it in Friday’s game against Ottawa, if Chucky feels like taking the centre spot in a given shift, Plekanec sees it and swaps roles with ease. Add to the fact that Gallagher is know as the team’s most reliable “booster cables” and you can bet Plekanec will have a chance to rack up the points this year. Good luck, Tomas, Habs nation is rooting for you!

The Bad: Jarred Tinordi

Now, I’m not saying the big blueliner has been downright bad during camp but it seems to me that each and every game made it clearer that he is nowhere near as ready for the big league as Nathan Beaulieu is. It’s a shame since his physical presence would be a huge asset (no pun intended) for the Bleu, Blanc, Rouge but the fact is that while he can dish out some impressive hits, he often finds himself in an uncomfortable position having lost his man. Granted he made heck of a save with a stick to lend a helping hand to Carey Price in last night’s match but I see this more as a glimpse of what the future can bring rather than what he can deliver on a day to day basis. It’s a shame but I do feel the last few games will have convinced the management team to keep Francis Bouillon around for one more year while Tinordi racks up some serious minutes in the American League. I just don’t see him progressing as much if he’s kept around as the 7th d-man. In all honesty, I would have liked Tinordi to go after Neil or Borrowiecki after their respective tilt with Max Pacioretty and P.K. Subban on Friday night but he failed to do so…Once again, the mop-up job had to be done by Brandon Prust the following night as he wasn’t in the line-up during the match.

The Ugly: Chris Neil and co. in Friday’s match

One thing has been very clear this preseason, the games may mean nothing but your star players are not prevented from picking-up meaningful injuries while skating in them. Hockey is and always has been a fast paced contact sport and, because of it’s very nature, a dangerous one as well. There is no avoiding that. However, what can and should be avoided, and not only in the preseason is goons targeting stars for fights just for the heck of it. In Friday night’s game, Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau delivered a cross-check to the back of a Sens’ player in front of Lehner’s net and Chris Neil decided that this warranted his jumping on Max Pacioretty and attempting to start a fight. It’s well-known, Chris Neil is a tough customer and his role is mainly that of an enforcer but there is a line that should not be crossed, you do not attack another’s team skilled players for no reason. At the same time Borrowiecki decided that he would dance with P.K. Subban, while it was clear that P.K. was much more willing to fight than Pacioretty had been, the fact remain that it is not his job to do that. Just think of the uproar if Subban had been injured in that needless bout. That being said, it was great to see Subban stand up for himself and his teamates in a way only a true leader could do but he definitely shouldn’t have to drop the gloves in a meaningless preseason match-up. Wise up Paul MacLean and control your beasts please!