Monday, 19 September 2016

Rookie Tournament: Young Canadiens 3, Senators 6

Thoughts, notes on the Canadiens' prospects losing 6-3 to the Senators' squad.  The Canadiens sat centre Mike McCarron, who until then had acted as team captain, and were described as lacking jump by the TSN 690 radio hosts who described the game.

--Shots 39-31 for the Young Canadiens.

--The TSN 690 boys mentioned that Nikita Scherbak’s and Arturri Lehkonen’s performance is much more muted today, without Michael McCarron as their centre.

They also suppose that they’re not well served by the back-to-back games in 18 hours, they’re not as peppy as they were last night.

--“Three goaltenders, three very different performances, one was head and shoulders over the others,” says one host, meaning Charlie Lindgren.  The other doesn’t think it was that clear cut.

--Victor Mete and Will Bitten get praise also.

--Lemonade out of lemons, the hosts say Noah Juulsen had a very strong rookie tournament. Good news.

--Michael Pezzetta dropped the gloves with Vincent Dunn, the hosts call it a draw at best. They kind of think it’s a period too late, that Mr. Dunn ran around doing “whatever he wanted” after he hit Mikhail Sergachev.

--Some background on Vincent Dunn, and also here.

--I get that the Sens are still scarred after the NHL allowed them to be belaked and domied out of the playoffs back in the day, but I hate that it’s the Canadiens who now bear the brunt of their arms race.

Guys like Vincent Dunn are an obvious menace. It’s obvious that he’ll injure other players, because that the ‘style’ he’ll have to play to have a job in the NHL. And he’ll get suspended and lose salary, but somehow the Senators themselves will not be punished in any way, not the coach for failing to discipline his player, not the GM for hiring this guy in the first place. The only ones who’ll face any consequences are the players.

And the taxpayers will pay Eugene Melnyk so he can build himself a palace and gouge the fans as a thank you.

It’s the Circle of Life.

--Mr. Dunn has had a very checkered career, I’m familiar with the name from reading game reports or watching LHJMQ games on TVA.

Until teams suffer real consequences for hiring these guys, until they face suspensions and loss of draft picks and loss of cap space for having guys like Raffi Torres and Matt Cooke in their lineup and committing their routine atrocities, it’ll never change, teams will keep drafting and handing contracts to the next generation, to the Vincent Dunns of the world.

But no, let’s blame the NHLPA for Sean Avery.

--I have a gap in my fandom when I didn’t really follow the Canadiens, I didn’t have a TV or cable or anything. I’d read about hockey in the Globe and Mail, catch a game here and there at the pub, but that’s it. So I’ve relied on social media to fill in these years-long gaps.

One fact I’ve picked up is that the Canadiens used to participate in these rookie camps, but stopped after they grew tired of getting gooned by the Leafs and other teams. The refrain goes that the Canadiens would show up with real prospects, with our usual (sigh…) size and skill profile, and get thumped by a Toronto team full of AHL scrubs who were 23 and trying to mug their way onto a roster.

So the Canadiens, it’s been told, stopped the madness, figured there was no point attending these, and concentrated instead on skill development during rookie camp, along with intra-squad scrimmages. It didn’t make sense to get into a asymmetrical war with the Leafs, to let kids right out of junior get injured by cynical pros.

Marc Bergevin went along with this skills-and-scrimmages practice at first, said he didn’t have a preference but would observe what we did when he first came over from the Blackhawks, but when an opening was created in the London tournament last year, he jumped on it. I figured he’s no shrinking violet, he believes the crucible of competition is how you determine who your real prospects are. I guessed he had a gentleman’s agreement with his counterpart GM’s about the types of players who were invited, the type of hockey that would be played, and how the refereeing would go.

I trusted him, I trusted the process, even though I had deep misgivings about having anything to do with the Senators, post-Eric Gryba on Lars Eller. I don’t want anything to do with the Sens, with their Mark Borowiecki (and I’m not even going to double-check if I spelled that right, he doesn’t deserve it) and Matt Kassians. I know they’re geographically nearby, so they’re a convenient opponent, but really, I don’t care, we’re not raiding the ashtray loose change for gas money. If anything, the Senators need us way more than we need them, I say we wall them off, we quarantine them.

So my qualms were kind of proven right, with no-hope prospect Vincent Dunn running Mikhail Sergachev from behind into the boards, long after he was anywhere near the puck. This is precisely what we (I) wanted to avoid, to have our crown jewels smashed by vandals.

If next season we again participate in this tourney, I expect Marc Bergevin to discuss this matter with his fellow GM’s and make sure we’re all on the same page. Also, I expect that if the other teams bring along a Vincent Dunn-type prospect, that we do the same, if having a Mike McCarron and a Brett Lernout on hand isn’t sufficient, as evidently it wasn’t last night. If they all have one of these guys, we bring two. If they bring two, we bring four.

And I’m not saying that having these guys along will ‘prevent’ violence or injuries, that they’ll really act as a deterrent, but more that they’ll keep each other occupied, like having George Parros in our lineup kept Colton Orr busy, he wasn’t running around slavering in the third period, still not having been fed, attempting to de-leg-itate Tomas Plekanec. When Colton Orr squared off with George Parros, we didn’t hear from him the rest of the night, he’d been neutralized. He’d done his duty.

And yeah, all that talk about size not mattering any more in the NHL, how the Penguins blah blah blah, and Victor Mete and Samuel Girard are the new wave of NHL defencemen, tell that to the Senators. If that’s the way they want to play, I literally would pick up my stick and go home, rather than risk an injury to Mikhail Sergachev. Let the Sens collapse in on themselves in their tiny backwater.

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