The Canadiens announced their practice lineups this morning, and they were almost universally applauded by fans that had been asking for a change for weeks, months, and even years.
Simply put, it was quite evident that David Desharnais and Max Pacioretty were not producing at a level that would justify keeping them together.
#Habs lines: Pacioretty - Galchenyuk - Gallagher Andrighetto - Plekanec - Sekac Bournival-Desharnais-Parenteau Prust-Malhotra-Weise Tangradi— John Lu (@JohnLuTSNMtl) December 8, 2014
At first glance, those lines look fantastic. Alex Galchenyuk gets to play down the middle, his natural position. David Desharnais is relegated to a more reasonable role, and Max Pacioretty gets to play with a new set-up man.
One of the main arguments against breaking up the duo of Max Pacioretty and David Desharnais, was that Pacioretty would not be happy playing away from his little buddy. People had convinced themselves that this professional athlete would let his friendship with a teammate get in the way of logic.
Fortunately, that's not the case.
Max Pacioretty used the word "stale" to describe his line, said change is a fresh start: "People knew what our line was up to."— Аrpon Basu (@ArponBasu) December 8, 2014
Pacioretty is very realistic about the situation. The line wasn't working, and was incredibly predictable.
As for Desharnais, he knew a change was coming as well.
Desharnais also expected change because his line wasn't producing: "If you get 100 million chances and don't put any in, it doesn't matter."— Аrpon Basu (@ArponBasu) December 8, 2014
Of course, that doesn't mean that Pacioretty is throwing Desharnais under the bus.
Pacioretty on Desharnais: "I hope he goes with his new line and makes me look like the dead weight on the line."— Аrpon Basu (@ArponBasu) December 8, 2014
When it comes down to it, this is the exact type of roster configuration that Habs fans had been demanding all year. The real test will be how long Michel Therrien keeps the lines together, especially if the Canadiens find themselves down by one in the next game they play.
Ideally, they get a reasonable time frame in which they could gel, but that remains to be seen. It always takes time for players to build chemistry, even more so in the middle of the NHL schedule.
As it stands, the forward shuffle is a step in the right direction, albeit very late in its application. The acknowledgment by Desharnais and Pacioretty only supports the idea that a change was long overdue.
Let's be clear, this isn't a preemptive lineup shuffle, it's definitely reactionary shakeup by Michel Therrien. The Canadiens are in a funk right now, and the coach is pulling out all the stops.
Better late than never, right?