There was an incredibly eventful 48 hours following the last Montreal Canadiens game, as sweeping personnel changes in the front office have ushered in a new era for a struggling team. Amid the chaos, there are still games of hockey to be played on the ice, one such game coming against another struggling team in the Vancouver Canucks on Monday night.
Welcome to your Bottom Six Minutes, in which I’ll discuss Montreal’s struggles apparently outweighing those of Vancouver.
Given that Geoff Molson made a point of identifying player development as a major focus of his organizational overhaul, it was maddening to see Dominique Ducharme’s deployment in this game. He benched Cole Caufield for a stretch in the second period, and gave him a total of 49 seconds of power play time in the game. His boss was fired, the owner noted player development issues as a cause for that dismissal in a press conference, and he stifled one of their most promising offensive forwards later that same day. When you can’t see the forest for the trees...
He also elected to start players like Jake Evans and Artturi Lehkonen — two of his best defensive forwards — 60% of the time in the offensive zone. This, while starting Jonathan Drouin and Brendan Gallagher — two of his best offensive forwards — less than 40% of the time in the offenzive zone. It is hard to imagine a scenario where he is coaching this team much longer once a new General Manager is named.
But I digress. It was tough to pick a silver lining in a game like this, but I elected to go with Jeff Petry. I felt that was his best game of the season, and if this is a sign of him turning things around, it will be good for the Canadiens regardless of whether the incoming GM sees him as part of the future. Better trade value, or better production as part of the team — a win-win scenario.
So click the play button below for my full thoughts, and we will be back with another episode after Thursday’s game against the Colorado Avalanche.