But Tuesday, Moen was back on that line at practice, and my initial reaction was that this is not the mandate he was brought here to fill. Moen's greatest offensive season in the NHL was 21 points in 82 games with Anaheim in 2006-07, the same year they won the Cup. Even in junior, his best output was only 27 points.
But Martin's reasoning for the move Tuesday was actually a little glimpse into the possible hidden motivation behind it, at least in my eyes. Martin said Moen will be useful because of his willingness to go to the front of the net and create traffic, which will be an important factor in improving the team's even strength scoring.
Isn't there a young player on the Canadiens with size and infinitely better hands than Moen who could have been called on to fill that role? Isn't there a young player who continuously talks about his need to go to the front of the net, yet never does? Isn't there a young player who openly lobbied for a top-six role on the team on the very first day of training camp, but then was passed over after showing little to justify such a promotion?
I wonder if Guillaume Latendresse was watching Martin's press conference, and since he most likely wasn't, hopefully he gets the message Martin is not-so-subtly sending him.
This is a job that was there for the taking for Latendresse, yet he lost it in camp to Max Pacioretty, and when he didn't work out Martin opted for a bruiser with no hands.
Latendresse has topped Moen's career high in points in each of his three NHL seasons, and no one will argue that Moen is the more offensively gifted player. But there are two areas of Moen's game where he excels: work and desire.
If rewarding those traits with a first line role isn't a message to Latendresse, I don't know what is. And if Latendresse doesn't get that message, it's entirely possible he never will. I remember clearly last pre-season when Latendresse spoke glowingly of the Red Wings' Tomas Holmstrom and how he would be a perfect player to pattern his own game after. It never happened. While Latendresse sometimes like setting up shop in front of the net, he never stays there very long, preferring to drift up to the slot or to the side of the net to be in a better position to shoot.
That is not very Holmstrom-like. In fact, it's not even very Moen-like, which is why Latendresse sees himself pigeon-holed into a third line role. It's something that will not change until he not only realizes what it is that's expected of him, but until he actually starts delivering on those expectations.
Meanwhile, Tuesday curiously saw the emergence of a controversy surrounding Georges Laraque's appearance in a racy Internet ad for some alcoholic energy drink. I understand the ad is not exactly something that would make Gloria Steinham proud, but it's not as if it's the first time women have been objectified in a commercial for an alcoholic beverage.
That doesn't make it OK, but there is a pattern established here, and to attack Laraque for perpetuating that pattern is not entirely fair. It is even less fair when some of the admonishment comes from the NHL itself, a league that thrives on beer sponsorship dollars, yet has a provision in its collective bargaining agreement that forbids players from endorsing that beer. Is that not the ultimate in hypocrisy?
In case you're one of the only people in the hockey universe not to have seen the ad yet, here it is:
Finally, it was Shawn Belle that was called up from Hamilton on Tuesday to replace Yannick Weber and not Marc-André Bergeron. I understand Bergeron needs to get into game shape and that Weber was a bit of a disaster out west, but considering the Habs power play woes, would it not have been worth a little look to see what P.K. Subban can do? Just asking.