Monday, September 28, 2009

A sneak preview?

With no exhibition games remaining for the Habs, I would have to believe Jacques Martin will be using the three days in Caledon, Ont., to settle on some line combinations, which is why I put a lot of credence in the combinations seen at practice today, as reported by Pat Hickey of Habs Inside/Out:

Pacioretty - Gomez - Gionta
Cammalleri - Plekanec - Kostitsyn (so glad I don't need to write the "A." anymore)
Latendresse -Lapierre - D'Agostini
Moen - Metropolit - Laraque

Markov - Spacek
Gill - Mara
Gorges - O'Byrne
Hamrlik - Weber

Just for comparison's sake, here's what I pegged the lines as being on July 10, when Travis Moen and Paul Mara signed with the Habs. Pretty pleased I managed to get the top-6 right, and I think adding a guy with more offence like Matt D'Agostini to Guillaume Latendresse and Maxim Lapierre could work out to make a pretty effective third line. Moen should see additional minutes on the penalty kill, I would imagine, as will Metropolit, while Laraque's spot on that line is extremely conditional on his health.

As far as the defensive pairings go, I'm not sure what's going on there. Despite what I wrote in July, I really didn't see Markov and Spacek playing together. These pairings like look like they may be subject to change, because Gorges and O'Byrne definitely won't be playing together since one of them will not be dressed on a given night.

I think this also confirms that Latendresse's bid for a top-6 role has failed, and he has no one to blame for that other than himself. He was given opportunities to grab that spot by showing a willingness to pay the price in front of the net, particularly on the power play, and he didn't do it. He might still get some power play time on the second unit, but his dream of a top-6 role appears to be on hold for now, lost to a 20-year-old American.

How many of you want to wager this will be a major scandal in the French papers tomorrow?


Phoff said...

Re: Latendresse

Yes, the French media will be enraged, no doubt.

Although Latendresse needs to take some of the blame, I don't agree that he's the only one to blame.

The organization caved to public pressure and kept him in the lineup as an 18-year-old with poor skating skills. He wasn't ready.

Latendresse needed time in the minors to find his game, find his scoring touch and find his role. Instead, he got limited minutes and was treated like a yo-yo by coach Carbo (Up-Down-Up-Down).

His development may be stunted as result. This also may be the case for Carey Price.

All that being said, this 3rd line has the potential to provide some good offense if they are given time and good coaching.

pierre said...

Gorges and OByrnes will most likely alternate on the right side of Hamrlik which will be kept on the left side as usually.

Mara is used to playing on the right side while Spacek dislike it as much as Markov and Gill do.... regardless Spacek is the one with the most experieneceon working the right side because of his PP duty.

As I remember it Markov and Spacek played half of one pre-season game together..... thats the duo you want to see on the ice when the big three are reunited late in a game when we are trailing behind.

The more versatile PAC while injured gaved LATS added opportunities to show that he didn't belong on the top two lines when 5 on 5..... will Martin favored DAGOSTINI and his right handed shot over him on the second wave PP ?

I dont know about the french press but LATS lover Bergeron's reaction should be a fun watch on tv tonight.

jkr said...

A small correction (McGguire made this mistake last week too). Latendresse was drafted in 2005 & was sent back to Drummondville for the 2005/06 season. He stayed with the Habs during the following season at the age of 19.

pierre said...

Just confirmed by cyberpresse Dagostini was the one being favored by Martin to join Plek and A.K. for the PP morning practice...... Hamrlik and Mara used as quaterback.

No need mentioning who were the selected quintet practicing the first wave.