Friday, October 24, 2008

That's a short leash you're wearing

So, Ryan O'Byrne is going to be watching Saturday night's Habs game against the Ducks from the press box, a victim of the return of Francis Bouillon and the importance of Patrice Brisebois to the power play.

It appears his tough game against the Panthers Monday night is the primary reason he'll be out of the lineup, and in fact it made Guy Carbonneau's decision easier for him. I would think that facing a team like the Ducks, you'd want O'Byrne in the lineup for his physical presence. It's not the type of team against which Brisebois tends to excel.

But with the power play sputtering right now, Brisebois becomes a very important piece of the puzzle.

I just wonder what this will do to O'Byrne's confidence, especially if it starts becoming a regular occurrence. I remember Mike Komisarek's beginnings under Claude Julien, who also tended to punish his young defenceman when he made too many mistakes in a particular game, severely limiting his ice time. In fact, I remain convinced that Julien's use of Komisarek was a determining factor in Bob Gainey firing him, because as soon as he took over behind the bench, Komisarek's ice time increased quite significantly.

Is Carbonneau doing the same thing to O'Byrne? It's too early to tell right now, but the context is also quite different. Gainey was taking over a mediocre squad and could afford to allow Komisarek to learn on the job. This year's team, obviously, is not mediocre, and Carbonneau's number one priority is winning, not development.

But for Carbonneau to win come spring, unless Gainey brings in another quality defenceman to play with Roman Hamrlik, he's going to need O'Byrne to improve significantly over the coming months and the odd poor game is to be expected. I'm not sure if putting him in the press box is the best way to get O'Byrne to a level where he could be an impact player come playoff time.

1 comment:

pierre said...

Anahein is the most penalised team in the NHL ... they usually play a rough game and I would expect them to be even more blunt than usual in front of the net because their scoring has been a huge problem thus far this season and they should be getting desperated by now about getting something going.

Under those circumstances its fair to say that Carbo would be in the minority about prefering Brisebois over O'Byrne on such occasion..... I found it frustrating myself.

Most could understand Carbo using Brisebois over O'Byrne in our series against BOS and PHI even thought the craving by some to see O'Byrne in the line-up during those physical contests was somewhat warranted..... after all Brisebois didn't not particularely shine in those series... he looked slow and small at time during eventstrengh never mind that he also was a non-factor during power play as well... could have rooki O'Byrne done better... we will never know.

So I can understand why Gorges will be paired with Harmlik now that Bouillon is back... but to remove him altogether in a game against Anahein is plain bizarre.

Its not like if Brisebois was Streit.... he is right handed and cannot be served passes from Hamrlik to unleashed ''one timers''.... he cannot served him back passes neither for the same off-handed reason.

Carbo is saying that watching the game from above will be good for O'Byrne's developpement.... one could easilly say that playing would be better.... specially considering all the games O'Byrne got to watch last season because of his injury and all.