Jacques Martin is apparently channeling my brother.
Bro comes over today to help out with putting on the tree top (I prefer “vertically challenged” or “fun sized” BTW) and of course we get to talking about hockey. He’s very happy about Scott Gomez’s apparent demotion to the 4th line last night during the Habs win over the San Jose Sharks.
“I said it had to happen weeks ago,” he declared with an annoying air of smugness.
“Did you now?”
“I also said they had to put Markov on the LTIR and they finally did. Said they should play Cammy on the point on the power play. And I said Subban should be benched for his cockiness. I should be running the goddamned team!”
“Oh really? And what else do you think should be done?”
“Put the top line back together (Cammy, Pleky, AK). Put Gomez on 3rd with Max & wassisname, Eller wasn’t it? (Darche actually) Also, every 10 games Price needs to sit out...not every 15. Anyone who sits down for a game, or takes it easy in the third sits out the next...just like high school hockey. You don’t try, you don’t play.”
Everyone armchair coaches. It’s part of the fun of being a sports fan.
I agree with Bro about the top line and Price. As for his policy on who sits, well there are times he’d have had to sit out most of the team the next game so I’m not so sure that one would work.
For what it’s worth (absolutely not a damned thing), I’d have my lines looking like this if I were Head Coach:
Cammalleri – Plekanec – Kostitsyn
Pouliot – Eller – Gionta
Darche – Gomez – Lapierre
Moen – Halpern – Pyatt
I do think the only way Pouliot gets promoted back to the 2nd line is if Eller goes with him. I’m really reluctant to the idea of splitting those two apart, just like I was when Jacques pulled Cammy off Plekanec’s line.
And what exactly is wrong with Cammalleri this year?
I’ve seen him take a bit o’ criticism for his play but if you look at who he is playing with, it’s a wonder he’s managed to produce at all. Moen with his hands of concrete and inability to make a play and a non-existent, defensive liability like Gomez are not effective linemates for the Habs $6 million dollar sniper.
Again, this is turning into a huge pet peeve for me. Don’t they all?
How much longer can Jacques continue to rely on the 3rd line to pick up the 2nd line’s slack? I’m betting until nearer the trade deadline, barring injury, as long as the Habs continue to post points in the win column fairly regularly.
At that point Gauthier has the cap space to make the Canadiens a tempting trade partner. It’s really the only pro to the Markov injury situation.
I don’t expect Gomez to stay down on the 4th line either, unfortunately.
Jacques didn’t call it a demotion post-game, citing that he was trying to inject some energy into the lines, but it’s hard to ignore that your most expensive player is now anchoring the bottom line.
My favorite comment on this move was courtesy of a twitter friend who wondered what the 4th line had done to rate that demotion. Sad, but true.
As for Subban, he’s made some bad decisions on the ice as of late, and there were reports of him mixing it up with Pleky in practices a couple of times. Jacques also said there were other issues other than his play during the Oilers game which helped lead to the 2 goals against that cost the Habs the win.
Whether that’s true or not, there’s a definite clock ticking louder and louder on his time to return to the ice. I suspect Subban is bright enough to have gotten the message even before getting shoved into the box, so I expect refocused effort from him once Jacques lets him outta Fidoville.
Meanwhile, how about that Yannick Weber? 2 games, 2 assists and he plays solid defensive hockey, keeping his game simple as Jacques likes. Hands up those of you who expected to have some depth on defense without Markov. Yeah, my hand is down too.
It’s a good problem to have. Will be interesting to see who Jacques sits and when to put Subban back into play. He doesn’t usually mess with his lineups too much after a win, and the Habs have finally strung together two in a row for the first time in weeks.
Montreal played patient and sound defensive hockey versus a very good Sharks team. They wanted to be more consistent in their efforts, and put their efforts where their mouths were and came away with a win.
Keep it up guys!
And yes, I’ll cop to rooting for Toronto when they played Boston last night. I’m all about what’s best for the Habs – always – and a Toronto win last night means opening up in the standings over the Bruins. The Teddy Bears still got one but not two, and really it was nice for my Toronto twitter friends to see their team eke out a well deserved win.
Now that that’s over with, so is my rooting for Toronto. Sorry Leafs friends.
OK I need to go decorate a tree, write another blog (my 5th in 2 days), cook supper, and do some cleaning. I’ll be glad to go back to work tomorrow so I can take it easy.