Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The power play cavalry is coming

The Habs just called up Yannick Weber from the Bulldogs and sent Doug Janik back down to the minors.

If this move wasn't obvious before, going 0-for-6 on the power play over the past two games certainly made it so. Weber may have all sorts of warts in his own end, but he can shoot the puck with velocity and accuracy, something that has been sorely lacking the past couple of games.

He has 16 goals and 28 assists in 68 games with the Bulldogs this year, putting him seventh in scoring among the league's defencemen, and was named to both the all-star game and all-rookie team. He's scored 10 of his 16 goals on the power play and he leads the team in shots on goal with 201, or just over three per game.

With Janik heading to Hamilton and Mathieu Dandenault playing so well on that wing with Glen Metropolit and Christopher Higgins, I really don't know how Weber will be used in 5-on-5 situations, but it would appear obvious to me that he'll be playing on defence unles Gainey does an about-face and puts Dandenault back there.

Weber's a right-handed shot, so that gives the Canadiens four defencemen who normally play the right side and one of them will have to slide over. If I were Bob Gainey, I would move Mike Komisarek to the left side and pair him Ryan O'Byrne, then put Roman Hamrlik with Weber and Josh Gorges with Patrice Brisebois.

It's not ideal, but at least you'd have one reliable, steady-handed defenceman on each pairing (notwithstanding Komisarek's last game), and the defensive pairings get all jumbled up as the game goes along in any case depending on whether or not the Habs have a lead. If they do on Thursday, you can be sure to see a heavy dose of Komisarek, Hamrlik and Gorges.

What kind of pairings would you come up with?


Anonymous said...

i think it's a good idea to slide komisarek over. given the speculation that he's not hitting because of his right shoulder, let's see what happens on the left.

komisarek and o'byrne could be disaster waiting to happen but otherwise i like your d pairings. i'd really like to see dandenault on d so komisarek doesn't have to play so much but it seems like that's not going to happen.

so we've called up weber but i haven't heard a thing about sergei in over a week. is there any news?


Anonymous said...

I would bring Dandy back to the blue line. I agree that he is playing with fire upfront, but our D weakness is glaring, and Dandy could bring some good veteran calm back there. So, if I had my druthers, I would like to see:

Hamrlik with Gorges (20-25 mins)
Komisarek with Dandy (20-25 mins)

I would keep Breezer and Weber in platoon duty to sub in for one of the top four (10 to 20 mins) but NOT play together, and both are good to log time on the PP.

As for O'Byrne, and it pains me to say this cause I think he has potential, I would sit him at this point. Some guys thrive and come of age in a tight pressure situation like the Habs are in, but I think what O'Byrne might need is to start fresh next season. He is a liability each time he is on the ice right now.

To replace Dandy upfront, I would go with Stewart. He is not as fast and good on the forecheck as Dandy, but he can park it in front of the net and get some Tim Kerr type garbage goals off feeds from Higgins and Metropolit doing their corner work.

I would also pull D'Agostini aside and tell him that one more game like that and he is in Hamilton for the remainder.

That said, I don't think Bob will do the Dandy switch, but just my two cents.

Topham said...

I also think Dandenault comes back to the blueline. Gainey's reluctance to move Dandenault back may only be surpassed by his reluctance to try another rookie back there. I think it's a short-term gamble, not a solution for round 1.

In that case, perhaps Weber is a 4th liner on a line that is seldom used. Higgins and Kostitsyn play with Plekanec, D'Agostini gets a few shifts and Metropolit fills in more than Matt but has low minutes compared to the three other centres (except on PK).

Of course, it's not ideal. Having Markov would be ideal. having Lang would be ideal. It's a schmozzle as my boss would say. It pays off if we get a point. Then we can look at long-term possibilities...

B B said...

O'Byrne's play Monday was disappointing . I'd seen promise since his last recall. Komisarek has the stage to show his stuff, especially against the B's to night.

Sliver24 said...

They actually have six guys that normally play the right side: Komisarek, Gorges, O'Byrne, Dandenault, Brisebois and Weber. The only natural left-D is Hamrlik.

For my big-minutes compromise I would move Gorges over to play the left side. He's a left-handed shot, so the transition should be easier for him to make - at least in theory.

My pairs look like this:

Gorges - Komisarek
Hamrlik - O'Byrne
Dandenault - Brisebois

Weber plays on the fourth line and on the PP with Hamrlik. I then put Gorges on the left side with Brisebois on the PP's second wave.