Thursday, March 26, 2009

Experience is a relative thing

I understand not wanting to mess with a winning lineup, but I simply can't understand why Bob Gainey would once again call on the services of Patrice Brisebois for tonight's game against the Lightning.

Gainey has insisted on using players with experience, and few on the Canadiens have more than Brisebois. But much of his experience is as a mistake-prone defenceman who tends to wither in the face of physical teams. I'm not saying the Lightning is the Broad Street Bullies, but I can see them laying on an aggressive foreheck tonight and I'm not sure Brisebois will be that effective.

Tuesday night against Atlanta, Brisebois was probably the most glaring negative point for the Canadiens. It was his hesitant pinch at the blue line that led to Atlanta's first goal, though Guillaume Latendresse was ultimately at fault on that play for failing to cover for his defenceman. Still, Brisebois' initial decision to pinch when he had no hope of reaching the puck first was a poor one.

He was a team-worst minus-2 on Tuesday night and was credited with only two giveaways, though it appeared like more becuase they were so glaring, including a vintage Brisebois pass up the middle that was picked off by the Thrashers in the slot.

I know Ryan O'Byrne is not brimming with confidence and he's also prone to errors, but I refuse to believe he coould be worse than Brisebois was Tuesday night.

5 comments:

Sliver24 said...

I couldn't agree more with your assessment of Brisebois in the Atlanta game. If I'm not mistaken his "vintage Brisebois pass up the middle" was a tape-to-taper to none other than Ilya Kovalchuk.

I would say, however, that Kostopoulos was the Habs' worst player on that night. He was only credited with one giveaway but I guess they don't count completely broken offensive plays in that category. I can remember at least three occasions when he made horrible plays as the Habs gained the offensive zone, each resulting in a quick transition and scoring chance by Atlanta.

I'd love to see Bob play Dandenault as the team's sixth defenseman. That would also open up a spot on the fourth line for Greg Stewart. I guess, though, if Bob is intent on using his fourth line as a shutdown line, Stewart is probably a little green for the role.

Anonymous said...

I like O'Byrne. Despite that I am more comfortable with Brisbois at this stage in their careers. Brisbois has more upside right now... they both make mistakes and only Brisbois can get a clutch assist or goal.

Schrick said...

Let's face it, Brisbois is a likable veteran but a has-been. I agree with the Habit's analysis.

Rajiv said...

Arpon,

I am sorry - I have to disagree. O'Byrne is a serious liability...he makes the most glaring errors and is not doing what he is there for - using his size!

He is not an NHL ready player, doesn't really hit, takes bad penalties at the worst times, can't score and leaves too much room for other team to score. Notice him always skating backwards when other team is pinching in.

Brisebois, on the other hand, has made mistakes in the past - none as bad as O'Byrne has done this year.

When Brisebois shoots, it at least hits the net! Even Komisarek cannot boast of that..

O'Byrne needs to be sent down - he is clearly not ready for NHL.

If he was in the lineup tonight, I would have guaranteed a loss for the Habs.

He was horrible against the Leafs last Sat.

Now if Bouillon was back, then I would definitely choose him over both Breezers and O'Byrne.

If you disagree, please explain to me what O'Byrne has done for the team this year?

Briseboise has at least scored some goals from the point..

pierre said...

Liability wise they are pretty much equivalant right now but I agree with Anonymus that Brisebois has a better first pass and increased our puck possession time in the end... like Sliver24 said Dandenault would be the better choice and I hope he would have been tonight's choice had we not meet Tampa with Lecavalier and St-Louis which warrant special consideration and the use of a shutdown line.

I hate to watch a game when we feel the need to use a shutdown line because while the other team's best offensive players get to play the hight minutes on the game the reverse happened to our team.... I doubt that it would be the strategy to use in tonight's game if our team was playing with the same level of confidence that we were at that time last season when we had Price and our PP machine working at their respective best.