Sunday, 23 November 2014

Nathan Beaulieu's and Jarred Tinordi's growing pains, and Dale Weise's growing confidence.

Éric Desjardins repeated two points he’s made before Saturday night on L’Antichambre. He says it’s obvious that Marc Bergevin has seen enough out of his young defencemen and decided they weren’t quite ready yet. Meantime, he felt that his team was ready to go for it, so he added depth and experience to his team to get it ready for a playoff run. As the panel discussed, building for the future is a good concept in theory, but coaches and players want to win right now, and they’ll all see the addition of Sergei Gonchar and Bryan Allen as positives, guys who can help.

Mr. Desjardins also repeated that Nathan Beaulieu will be miscast as a third-pairing defenceman, that he’s not the right player to put out there against bangers and crashers. Previously, he’d said that he himself as a rookie d-man didn’t feel comfortable on a third pairing, that he felt it was easier on the second pairing, even though his responsibilities were greater, and the opposition tougher, it just suited his skillset better. So for Nathan, he feels that the best thing for him is to play in the AHL as a Top 4 in all situation, and to not hang on to an NHL job just for the sake of it, while changing his approach, changing his game and picking up bad habits.

Denis Gauthier and Pierre Bouchard were also on the panel and all three agreed that Nate wasn’t playing ‘naturally’, taking the puck and skating it up with authority, he was forcing things, overthinking things. Pierre Bouchard felt that fateful pass against the Pens sealed his fate, it showed he’s not comfortable.

Guy Carbonneau was the lone dissenter. The defenceman panelists welcomed the fact that former centre Guy put a large portion of the blame for Nathan’s giveaway on a forward (Dale Weise), with a few chuckles. Generally, Guy Carbonneau would have preferred to have Nathan and Jarred learn the ropes now, in the NHL, even though they’ll make mistakes.

Also, let’s give Michel Therrien some love. And his legion of haters apoplexy.

Here is a rough translation of Dale Weise’s thoughts as told to Chantal Machabée of RDS.

“Thank God for Montreal. I never had a coach who ever trusted me this much.

“I got to Montreal, sat down with Michel Therrien and his coaches, and they told me exactly what they wanted, what they expected from me. I felt my confidence rising instantly.”

Chantal pointed out to him that he had five points in five games, including four goals.

“I’m scoring goals because I’m lucky, I’m getting good bounces. Those things happen sometimes. But the confidence I have right now is because I know what the coach expects from me, and that’s phenomenal for a player.”

Guy Carbonneau chimed in that at the start of the season, Michel Therrien had his puzzle probably set up one way, how he thought it would go, with his lineup composed with the players’ names on magnetic strips on his board.

But things happen, like René Bourque, who had a good playoffs. You’d like to keep him going on his streak, but really it just wasn’t working. Additionally, he was dragging down his two linemates, who themselves weren’t happy.

Same thing on the fourth line, with a Brandon Prust who’d given loyal services to the team and wasn’t happy with his icetime and usage.

Guy continued that now that Travis and René are removed from the roster, Brandon finds himself on the third line with more icetime and more talented players. Same for Dale Weise, who a couple weeks ago wasn’t playing great, but once room was cleared for him and his icetime and responsibility increased, saw his confidence shoot up, as well as his production.

1 comment:

  1. Having confidence in Weise is part of the problem. Therrien likes pluggers who bang the puck off the glass and he does not like skilled players who try to skate the puck up.

    I suspect strategic coaching at every level is pretty limited. The pool of coaches is limited to hockey players and there just aren't that many of them at any level who can do hockey strategy. I'm not convinced that playing experience is that big an advantage; some people can play, some can teach, some can build systems.

    I think the habs have gotten about as far as they can with a motivator coach and they need to switch to someone with a system before they quit on him. The blowout losses are an ominous sign. A strategist would realize who was playing well in spite of the occasional, visible error (Subban, who has only gotten worse, Beaulieu and Tinordi, Gilbert) and distinguish the players who don't have much hope (Allen, some departed vets).

    Price is hiding the flaws in the system.