Monday, 3 October 2016

Preseason: Canadiens 2, Leafs 3 (OT)

Gary Bettman locked me out of the preseason, which is especially mean, since the previous couple of seasons I could at least watch the exhibition games on RDS without getting blacked out.  So I had to resort to RDS' "Canadiens Express".  If I miss anything, it's not due to my lack of attention, it's that the footage ended up on the cutting room floor.

--Pierre Houde and I think alike.  We both take note when, early in the first, Jacob de la Rose battles for the puck in the offensive zone, like he wants it, and creates a scoring threat.

--Daniel Audette makes it 1-0, on a snipe from a feed from Nathan Beaulieu (him again).  Daniel was drafted two seasons ago based on his offensive potential, but it has kind of remained dormant, he didn't take the expected steps forward since then.  Last season, experts predicted great things from him and his Phénix team, but they stagnated instead.

Daniel got signed to a contract early, and now he gets to go to St. John's and prove himself, work on his game.  He's caught our eye a couple of times since rookie camp, so maybe he was bored with Junior, maybe being a pro will make him perk up.

--A couple of good saves by Mike Condon, who is a surprise starter as far as I'm concerned.  I don't wish him ill, and he won't be able to say that he didn't get a chance this preseason.  A lot of Canadiens fans have written him off after his poor game against the Senators, but his coaches have put him back out there.

--Midway through the second, I see a Stefan Matteau foray into the offensive zone, when he tries to beat a defenceman one-on-one, ends up in the corner where he gets cancelled out and loses the puck.

The previous game against the Sens, one scene that stood out for me was how when Chris Neil snowed Al Montoya, Philip Samuelsson dutifully intervened as the whistle sounded, and got his face generously washed and his head bopped for his troubles.  The thing is, Stefan Matteau was right there, and he didn't quite jump into it, he didn't race to get there first, he let his teammate have at it, since he was a half step closer and square to Chris Neil.

Which didn't really sit well with me.  If we expect anything from Devante Smith-Pelly
Stefan Matteau, it's a physical presence, that he insulate his smaller teammates from intimidation tactics as much as he can.  I don't ask Max Pacioretty to go up against Chris Neil, that's not his job, we have other uses for him.  But if Stefan doesn't do this job, I'm not really sure we have any use for him on the team.  We might as well send him through waivers to St. John's and wish him good luck.

--Mike Condon, who apparently is having a good night, allows the first goal by the Leafs, after making fourteen saves.

Canadiens 1, Leafs 1

--I haven't seen Mike McCarron battle against Frédérik Gauthier yet, the two giant centremen from the 2013 draft.  Am I mistaken that these two fought during the Memorial Cup in 2015?  I think it was the other giant from the Océanic, Samuel Morin.

--I haven't seen much of the Mikhail Sergachev-Jeff Petry pairing, they've been low-key.  I guess that can be a good thing.  It seems Nathan Beaulieu and Jeff Pateryn are getting most of the icetime.

--Come to think of it, I want Mike McCarron to end up with the number 15 Bobby Smith Memorial sweater.

--Mark Barberio doesn't look great on the Morgan Rielly goal that gives the Leafs the lead.  I hate that play when a defenceman leaves his feet or stops skating when defending a rush, the slide to block the pass, or the stick shaft along the ice.

Canadiens 1, Leafs 2

--Roman Polak looking very tough crosschecking 5'6" Daniel Audette behind the Leafs net, even though he doesn't even have the puck.

If the NHL would apply its rules, and call Mr. Polak for interference or roughing, which it should have for the outright punches he was throwing, he'd spend the game in the box, and would quickly find himself out of a job.  Guys who can actually play hockey would take his place, and everyone would be happier.

But Gary Bettman wants to increase revenue by selling ad space on jerseys, instead of improving his league's game.

--After frittering away a 6-on-3 situation due to two Toronto penalties and having pulled their goalie, the Canadiens manage to tie the game with 17 seconds remaining.  Daniel Carr finally buries one, it's been a long camp for him.  Mike McCarron had whiffed on a pass from the corner from David Desharnais, which is a good thing, since he was so close to the goalie that he might have been handcuffed, and stuffed the puck into the goalie's pads.  Instead, the pass reached Daniel in the near slot who put it glove side.

Canadiens 2, Leafs 2

--Kirk Muller and Michel Therrien sharing a witticism behind the bench before overtime?  Michel Therrien looks bemused by what the Associate Coach just confided in him.

--Mark Barberio does a good job of defending an odd-man rush in OT.  End to end action.

--Matt Hunwick scores to put an end to a fun and furious overtime period.  What this needed was definitely not more Roman Polak.  The normally sedate Gardens crowd was losing its mind over the twists and turns.

Unfortunately, the goal came because of a needless giveaway in the Leafs zone by Nathan Beaulieu.  He tried a blind pass to a teammate when he could have just been patient, held on to the puck.  I wonder if he felt he had to do something, since the Canadiens were well installed in the offensive zone, passing the puck effectively, but not getting a chance to score.  He might have felt like he needed to create something.

RDS gives him the third star regardless.

Montréal IceCaps (split squad 'B') 2, Maple Leafs 3

--Guy Carbonneau's headline on L'Antichambre was "Sylvain Lefebvre Will Be Happy", meaning he's got good players coming his way, who didn't necessarily earn a roster spot in the NHL yet.

--Gaston Therrien says "It's Time to Move On to Serious Matters", stating that it might be the worst training camp he's ever seen, due mostly to the World Cup.  Guy Carbonneau piles on, stating that if the League suspended the rule that 8 bona fide NHL'ers must be in the lineup for each preseason game, it wasn't necessary to break it so enthusiastically.

--Gaston thinks Arturri Lehkonen took a step back tonight.  He says the in the previous games, he'd come close to scoring, he'd have chances, and we'd make excuses for him, but tonight he didn't really create those chances, put himself in the coaches' good graces.

He says that often after a camp we'll bemoan that certain youngsters didn't really get an opportunity to prove themselves, but it won't be the case this year.  The kids had lots of icetime, lots of opportunity, and didn't do much with it.


I made notes earlier as to Stefan Matteau, but another snapshot that caught my attention was him standing in the faceoff circle in the offensive zone, à la Ovechkin, ready for a pass and a one-timer. And I wondered, “Why are you not right near the crease, raising hell with their defencemen, creating a mess for their goalie?”

There’s a verified story about the irascible Eddie Shore, when he was the owner/GM/Head Coach/player on the Springfield Indians in the AHL, that he’d tied a goalie with a chain to his net to prevent him from wandering around (it’s been said that he leaned towards old-school in his views and methods).

Maybe Michel Therrien should have tied Devo and Stefan to the opposition net, in practice, with maybe fifteen feet of loose, to learn them that that’s where they should be, using their size to muck up the goalie and two opposition defencemen.

But Michel is much too progressive in his methods to ever try such tried and true methods.

No comments:

Post a Comment