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Enbies, Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s Canadians Time
Hello, and welcome to Canadians Time spent a lot happening though not much good when it comes to the Canadiens. A lot more injuries. And you know, what can you say it, it’s just injury after injury. And you gotta to think that in future seasons, there’s not going to be this string of bad luck that has befallen the Montreal Canadiens. And if they can put together a team that isn’t this injured, they’ll be likely able to find a lot more success. But also the team that is being iced is having some struggles towards the end of the season. And as the Red Wings game was not an enjoyable experience for me, or probably many watching um Marc Dumont had his his take on it, he said. And I quote, “Nick Suzuki never gives up and Mike Matheson plays every shift as it were game seven of the Stanley Cup Finals, which is what you’d expect for the leaders of the team, Brendan Gallagher and Jake Evans are known for giving their all in most shifts, but that’s just just about where the list ends.” So very, very critical of the team’s efforts and, and then he also pointed out that Cayden Primeau had to deal with defenders not doing their jobs last night last night. And he said, quote “it is quite apparent, the young goaltender was going to be left to his own devices early in the first period when the Red Wings simply had to walk their way into a high danger scoring area to score the first goal of the game.” And Dumont goes on to provide example, after example, of defenders letting Primeau down. So Primeau has his own issues in goaltending. But that there did seem to be some defensive issues there. And that’s most unwelcome. And I don’t know I mean, at this point, the Canadiens losing their games only makes their draft position better. But it would be nice for them to be competitive in the games they’re playing and they haven’t seen to be competitive in last few has been very unfortunate. Looking at Ryan Praught did a article looking at Montreal in March, and how they they looked at some of the numbers that Montreal had put up. And, quote, he said “all season long, the Canadiens have been a team that has given up a great deal of scoring chances and struggled to create the offense to balance it out. Unfortunately, that didn’t change in March.” So kind of sums it up. But he also had a very interesting observation amidst it’s a great article to read, just get all the details. So I urge you to go read it. But one observation I want to share is that he said that “offensively the Habs are actually scoring more than expected. While they’re improving this area, a lot of the Habs offense comes from the perimeter as opposed to the slot that makes it challenging to score efficiency efficiently” unquote. So so just there. It’s interesting that the Canadians are from their shot position are not In the best places, so that means there have less high danger chances, because they’re taking their shots from a lower probability area. And you gotta think that that’s an area where they need to improve upon because if, if you’re just, if you’re just taking your shots from areas, it’s a lower chance, obviously, that’s going to lower your chances of scoring goals. And if if somehow you’re magically not magically but you know, if you’re fortunately scoring more than you should, that’s that’s not going to be sustainable eventually. At some point that that puck luck’s gonna end. So next turning to prospects, Marc Dumont had an article about certain prospects, and he wrote about Riley Kidney. And one of the things he said was, quote, “as has been the case throughout the season, his playmaking was on full display, he generated a bevy of high danger chances and set up his teammates by creating an endless stream of passing lanes in the offensive zone.” And this was in game two of a playoff game in the juniors. He also spoke about Emil Heineman, who’s been playing in Laval, and he wrote about that Heineman had six goals and two assists in six games. So that’s been very impressive. Heineman’s really provided a spark that Laval could certainly use as they need to win as many games as possible to make the playoffs. Over on lockdown Canadiens Scott Matla provided an update on Jan Mysak, saying that he’s still adjusting. He described his NHL ceiling is lower but he’s still learning, he’s a growing project. And but he’s not worried because there is time in Matla’s words. Patrik Bexell wrote a piece he got Adam Engstrom’s coach’s perspective about the player and not going to paraphrase any of that. I’m just going to suggest you go and find it and take a read get the whole story. Rafaël Harvey-Pinard, Laura Saba on Locked On Canadiens noted that he’s been carving out his own path separate from Gallagher even though he was called Lavallagher. And I stumbled over that, but that the comparisons between the two RHP is now sort of, he’s got his own game. And and in Saba’s words and paraphrasing his self awareness of his abilities are the key to his success. And that’s a It’s as a valuable perspective. So you know, RHP has just been amazing. This year, and hopefully he just keeps keeps it up and we see more good things from him. And yeah, I mean, I don’t see him playing the same sort of game as Gallagher. He does. He does get down by the net. Certainly, but it does seem to be he he does seem to have a different different style too. So, so I don’t know. We’ll be interested to see what he develops into. Brian Wilde talked about Sean Farrell’s performance in the Red Wings game. And he was very glowing, and he said, quote, “there was no element of his game that said it was too big for him or too fast for him. He did not have trouble with the size of the Red Wings stopping him from achieving his goals and the game certainly wasn’t too fast for him. He had his time to make plays.” He also said “he processes the game quickly. When he gets the puck he has a plan in his mind already. He’s able to execute small plays quickly, like outlet passes on the half wall on defense, and head man passes in the neutral zone where the defenders coming to take time and space away.” And Wilde had more to say. And of course as usual, I’m not going to read an entire article to you that’s not proper. So I urge you to go read Brian Wilde’s recap of the Red Wings game where he goes into even more detail about Farrell and Farrell does seem to be fitting in pretty well. He’s He’s arrived at a time when the Canadiens are struggling overall so it’s not been the best of times to debut on the team. But he he just he just has he hasn’t looked out last out there at all. He looks like he’s, he’s ready to go. And he’s been thrown into it. I mean being put on the first line. I mean, that’s not that’s not exactly you know, just sort of letting him wade into the water. He’s been. He’s been really thrown into the fire. Dumont and had a piece on Mike Matheson. And it was good piece. He mentioned that in March, Matheson tied with Nick Suzuki for total points, and thus outscored all the other forwards. He said, quote, “not only is he an excellent skater, but he also has a penchant for getting control, generating controlled exits and controlled entries, which is significant boon for all the players who are lucky enough to be on the ice while Matheson’s playing.” And quotes like this are important because, you know, there’s there’s stats, and there’s advanced stats, and you can look at them, you can try to get an idea of, you know, where are the shots coming from? What’s your expected goals? What’s this? What’s that, but I don’t think it’s gonna get to the level of who’s generating exits and entries, which is a very important part of the game and, and Matheson, if he’s making those things happen, those are those are plays that are going to lead to both getting that puck out of the end, and moving it forward and leading to offensive opportunities. And certainly his skating skill. Everyone can see that, that that doesn’t require an expert’s view, but but the the, the exits and entries was very interesting note. And Dumont has also said that quote, “few players in the NHL seem to have the ability to drive the play as often as efficiently as Matheson.” So high high praise and he really has he’s really grown into a leader and that was that was the point of Dumont’s article, but I think we can all see it that there was sort of a thought that it would be, you know, maybe Edmundson or Savard would be the sort of more leader leaders of the defense but Matheson has really taken over and has really set an example and it’s it’s I believe that it was on the Habby Hour that they did the math that he if he had if he had a full season he had that injury earlier on, but he could have been a 60 point player this year and so it’s just quite a pickup. Kent Hughes should be commended for managing to swing that trade. I mean I just such a valuable player they got in return for Petry and Poehling Over on the goaltending side. Jakub Dobeš
was picked up out of Ohio State. He had as according to Locked On Canadians, he’s Six-Four, two hundred and one pounds, has a 918 save percentage during his college career. And they’re going to see what he can do now in the next level. May take him some time to develop as it seems to take all these goalies time to develop. Laura Saba posited that they might trade Jake Allen or Cayden Primeau depending on how Dobeš
plays Scott Matla doesn’t believe Primeau’s going anywhere. So that’s that’s an interesting there’s interesting divergence of opinion there among the hosts and it is it’s a it’s an interesting question of what’s going to happen with the goaltenders as this as the next few years roll on, and because Primeau is still, you’re not sure what you have in Primeau and on that note Trege Wilson wrote a a piece specifically talking about the need to give Primeau time to develop, like, Sam Montembeault was given time to develop. And and as he says in the in the lead in to the piece, he says that “his recent performances have been inconsistent with that said the Canadiens must be patient with Primeau and allow him to develop his skills over time, one player that they can look to as an example of Sam Montembeault, former goaltender for the Florida Panthers and current starter for the Canadiens” And yeah, I mean, Montembeault, spent a great deal of time playing in Springfield the at the time Florida’s affiliate, and didn’t didn’t, was not looking like you know, he was going up to, you know, become the the next big thing for Florida, if I remember correctly, and by all means, correct me if I’m wrong. And, and certainly when he came over to the Canadiens I mean, certainly last year, he looked, he looked very rough in his his his playing in the NHL. So, but now, he seems to be a very competent NHL goalie. And so Wilson outlines in detail his argument. So I urge you to read the piece. But it’s just it’s important to be patient. And that is not an not a position I necessarily held before. But it’s, it’s, it’s actually, actually, you know, I was actually reminded of the need to be patient by Beth of the Habby Hour. And then seeing Wilson’s piece, also kind of hammered home that, you know, you got to give these goalies time to develop. And so that’s, that’s just it’s just, you know, it’s it takes time. And I think I am not an expert in anything that’s abundantly clear. But it does seem to me, just in the eye test, that Primeau was playing better than he did play last year. And that it’s not the chaos that existed. I mean, the Canadiens aren’t necessarily playing better in front of him, which is making things not great. But I just, I just feel that he was it was not, it just wasn’t a he just wasn’t having a good time last year. But, but goaltending experts, by all means, can write it and tell me where I’m totally wrong about his positioning or his handling of the glove or whatever. And I will gladly eat crow. Another topic is, of course, Pierre-Luc Dubois. Are they going to trade for him? Elliote Friedman, such as it is believes there’s a very good chance 95% he said that he’s going to Montreal. To me. The way I feel with my outlook in life is that doesn’t mean anything because that 5% is 5% And that’s a lot of percentage points. So I, I don’t, I don’t feel confident in that. That he’s coming. And I, I’m just not just not sure and now they talk About it on Locked On Canadians. Laura Saba said at least have the conversation if there’s a reasonable return to go back. Scott Matla believes that the return would probably be cheaper than expected. So for what he describes as a top six NHL center, and it’s and there is the issue of like, what is on Dubois in the sort of the, the Columbus locker room issues and the Winnipeg locker room issues are, are they is he had his he at fault or it that is that’s the situation not in not his fault that there was any animosity? And it’s tough to know. That’s, that’s a concern. But it’s hard to know what is what. So given that, and of course, you then you have the scenario, maybe you don’t trade maybe wait for, you know, Dubois to become a UFA. And then go from there. I don’t know. I mean, to me, if you’re, if you want him, you should trade for him. Because if he becomes a UFA, and who knows. And next thing you know, he’s going to freakin’ Carolina, something like that. So I say I say if you’re going to get them make the trade, even though you got to give up assets. But you know, the Canadiens have assets. So So if he’s if he’s just this valuable piece you want, go get him and don’t leave stuff up to chance. On another topic, which I’m not really transitioning smoothly into at all, the Laval Rocket who, unlike the Habs have a chance to make the playoffs, they will be taking on the Cleveland Monsters on I believe, April 6th or 7th, I’m not sure now. So look at my notes. Either way, they’re going to take on the Cleveland Monsters at the end of this week. And they those two teams are close to each other in the rankings. So it’s a very important game. And as Mark Dumont put in one of his articles, if the Rocket can hold off the Monsters, their playoff odds will increase significantly. If they lose, things get rather complicated, and Dumont explained it more in the article. All the articles go in the show notes. Also, speaking of Laval, Scott Matla spoke about with his knowledge from covering them, and noted that Heineman and Dubé have been a key to Laval success. Again, he noted the six goals and six games for Heineman. And Dubé has 30 points for the rocket. And Matla said all he does is get big goals and big assists. And he said that someone stepped up and it was him. So I mean, Laval has had so many players called up. And so Dubé has appeared to be a player that has filled the void with those call ups. Finally, is the subject of the Canadiens rebuild, which of course is ongoing. And of course, if you want the best place to hear about the Canadians rebuild is to listen to The Build by Ian Bwah Ian Bwavum, Ian Boisvert. Wow. Really stumbled over that one. But just a brief foray into it. Couple pieces came out about the rebuild one by Blain Potvin and one by Nathan Ni. And Potvin described the rebuild as a puzzle and what the pieces of the puzzle needed to be and Ni interviewed Jack Han or Han and about the just sort of what Han saw as the just an analyz.. sort of to analyze the team. And both pieces were interesting, I’m just going to throw a quote from each in there and then urge you, as usual to go read the full thing. Potvin said, “they are methodically building the foundation using a modern draft and develop approach. This means that patience will be required from the fan base, it will take at least two more seasons of missing the playoffs, drafting high picks, and developing their prospects before the club will become a playoff contender, let alone a true Stanley Cup contender.” And then he says, and then he says, you know, here’s a look at what they have to do to become competitive. And then he goes on, and he talks about the pieces they need. And he talks about the culture that needs to be built. So that’s an interesting it’s interesting, though, that he’s he’s basically says gonna take two more seasons in his view. In the Nathan, Ni piece, Han wrote, or said, “what’s really interesting about the Montreal Canadiens currently is they’re not only embracing a lot of what other teams are doing moving towards the possession game and emphasizing player development. But they’re also interested in doing some big picture things in a slightly different way. The team is way more interested in investing in individual players than before. What does that mean? Well, how do young players get better first they have to play with and against good players. Second, they have to figure out what works and what doesn’t. And this innately means making a lot of mistakes. I look at this team now and see a team that tries to find future positives in these mistakes, rather than focusing on the immediate negatives. Martin St. Louis, is way more interested in letting his players express themselves and I think he would rather see good process and then get a good result.” So, so there’s sort of these, they’re different parts of the, of the puzzle as it were not just what your pool you’re putting into the team, and the culture and the culture. But who’s playing and what is expected of them playing and, and, and of course, Martin, St. Louis was quoted as saying that he that they want their players to develop, and that may sometimes be at odds with winning the game. And so, it, it’s, it is interesting that so that does this making the mistakes does sort of fall into the line of well, while they’re making mistakes they maybe losing games because they’re making mistakes, and they’re developing, and that feeds into not being a playoff team, drafting high picks, bringing in more players, but also if you’re drafting high picks, bringing inexperienced players who are going to make mistakes, and so the cycle kind of continues for a while. And and that’s just that’s just interesting. So that’s all I got this week. That’s all.