Rabid Habs

The Defence Will Take Time

A defensive makeover seemed to be Marc Bergevin‘s latest endeavor as he acquired David Schlemko, Karl Alzner, Mark Streit, Jakub Jerabek and Joe Morrow in the short space of 2 months. That’s what I call an overhaul, and then some. Furthermore, with the new bodies, it’s only natural that it would take some time for the Montreal Canadiens defenders to adjust to each other. That may be why our defence has been mediocre at best.

However, the game against the New York Rangers was a step in the right direction. Despite the agonizing defeat, Claude Julien seemed to have solved our bottom pairing issues for the time being. Mark Streit’s homecoming has been painful to watch. No disrespect to the Swiss-native but his age really shown on the ice. Insert Brandon Davidson and all of a sudden that pairing is bearable to watch. Davidson is certainly an improvement over the 39-year-old rearguard. Davidson was steady with the puck throughout the game and he was generally clean in his own area. Coincidentally, his partner Jordie Benn produced a much better showing than the Washington outing. We got one area of concern down.

Now the real task is at hand. At first, I had high hopes for the Alzner-Petry pairing. Their style of play would mesh well with each other. We have the defensive catalyst in Karl Alzner and the swift, puck-moving defender in Jeff Petry. It would’ve provided great balance and stability to that pairing. Unfortunately, the opposite happened. Although Karl Alzner has shown as advertised so far into his lengthy 5-year contract, Jeff Petry has been quite the contrary. The American-native is known for his ability to create offense by using his fast skating to set up his teammates. So far, the sloppy play from Petry and his inability to be an offensive threat is really holding him back. Jeff Petry is the weak link in that duo. I do believe Petry will recapture his form sooner rather than later. Is patience really going to be the solution?

We’re certainly due for some change. With David Schlemko eying a return in the near future, Marc Bergevin will have to send a player back to the Laval Rocket. Joe Morrow would be the likely candidate considering the fact that he has not seen any playing time thus far into the campaign.

Given the recent chatter, David Schlemko‘s likely partner would be Shea Weber. He could be slotted anywhere in the lineup. Realistically, he can play with either Weber, Petry or Benn on that left side.

We also cannot forget about Jakub Jerabek. He’s going to get a call up to the NHL sooner rather than later. Knowing that our defensive corps could induce some mobility in the lineup, Jerabek may find himself in the lineup in the coming weeks.

In conclusion, Claude Julien and his coaching staff have an abundance of options at their disposal. Till all else fails, I won’t panic.

This season is long, raise your heads up high, only 79 more games left.