Andrew Shaw’s Emotion: Right or Wrong?

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Hockey is an emotional game. Fans are emotional, coaches are at times emotional, and players will often show signs of emotion. Emotions come from different sources during a hockey game, whether it be from a big hit, a fight, a big save, a big goal… or even after a penalty call. 

During the game against the Anaheim Ducks, while his team was putting tons of pressure trying to tie the game at two a piece in the last minute of the third period, Andrew Shaw was given a penalty for hooking… and he wasn’t pleased about it. After viewing the replay from the penalty box, Shaw smashed his stick against the glass, then broke it on his knee while making sure to have a few choice words for the referee… which cost him a misconduct.

If you haven’t seen the play in question, here it is:

Yes, Shaw’s penalty cost the Canadiens a chance to even up the score in hope to send the game to overtime. Whether it should have been called a penalty or not is up for debate, which is certainly not the purpose of this article. The penalty was called and that in itself is what cost the Canadiens a chance to get at least one point.That’s how the cookie crumbles.

But some “fans”, frustrated with the fact that the team is having such a good start and looking for things to complain about, are raging on Shaw for his reaction in the penalty box. Why might you ask? No one really knows, unless they are looking for fleas where there are none.

Really folks? Do we need to go back in time when one of the best leaders in the NHL showed emotion in the penalty box? Remember Doug Gilmour?

Shaw showed some emotions. He did that spontaneously, because he cares! He cares that this call, at that particular time, is what the referee decided to call when both let others pass all game which were more obvious than this one! You see, what players, coaches and fans cannot stand is the lack of consistency not only throughout a season, but during a game.

Give me a team of players who care well ahead of players who will accept losing.

Two referee system not working

It’s been said time and time again, but this two referee system is not working. Not only do you add one more body on the ice where space is already hard to find, but you involve a second judgement in there for penalties. How many times do we see the referee closest to the action choosing to let a play go and the far referee, from almost centre ice, raise his arm to make a call on that same play?

When you only had one referee, yes some calls were being missed but you can’t convince me that calls aren’t being missed today with the two men on the ice. However with the one referee system, players knew what to expect. They knew the referees, what they liked to call and what they would let them get away with. It was rather even on both side. No second guessing from another judgement out there.

The NHL needs to take a second look at this two referee system and find ways to get back to one referee on the ice. Linesmen can already blow the whistle to call a penalty when there are too many men on the ice, and get consulted when a defensive player shoots the puck in the crowd from his own zone. Perhaps adding a couple of penalties would help take some of the pressure off the referee but two guys with the red stripes simply doesn’t work. It doesn’t work for the players, it doesn’t work for the teams, and it certainly doesn’t work for the fans.

 

 

What Have Fans Learned on The Habs?

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After the awful season Canadiens’ fans had to suffer through last season, and all the major changes the team has gone through in the off-season, there were many question marks on this year’s Habs and several people were very vocal in showing their displeasure with the direction the team was taking. They say that crow is best served cold and thankfully, hockey is a game played on ice. Take a seat folks, there’s plenty of servings for everyone! 

So what is it that fans and media have learned in the first quarter of the season? What were the question marks in the off-season and how have those questions been answers (if they have been at all) all things considered? Well, let’s have a look at the most “popular” topics of this off-season…

Alexander Radulov is not Alexander Semin

Yes, many were saying that Radulov would be Semin 2.0 and some were even hoping he would be. The fact is that Radulov was a gamble, but the odds were on his side. Bergevin did his homework and spoke to his former coach and GM. He even spoke to newly acquired All-Star defenseman Shea Weber about him, he who played with him in Nashville. At the time of writing those lines, Radulov has 18 points in 22 games, with 11 primary assists, second most in the entire NHL. He’s second in team points behind his linemate Alex Galchenyuk. Not Semin.

Carey Price was missed

If anyone expects that losing the league MVP, winner of five NHL awards, for most of the season won’t have a serious negative effect on a team, think again. Price was greatly missed by the Canadiens. You see, he’s so much more than just an excellent goaltender. He is the ultimate leader on this team and he’s also a third defenseman on the ice. The Habs’ breakouts are totally different when he’s playing, saving the defensemen from punishing hits facing the boards. He’s a key part of the system. He was missed.

Shea Weber is good at hockey

The hot topic of the season. We’ve learned that analytics are scratching their head trying to figure out mathematically how the Habs (and most particularly Weber) can have such a positive impact. Fans are realising that Weber is just… good at hockey! He’s a gamer, on and off the ice. We know about his leadership, we know about his booming slap shot. His detractors didn’t know about his shut-down ability, his physicality and the respect he imposes on the ice. His 18 points (including 8 goals) are good for second in the NHL in scoring for defensemen, two points behind Brent Burns, and his plus – 18 rating is also second (1st amongst defensemen) in the entire NHL. Thank you Dr. Kowalski, the kids really appreciate watching him and the Habs play some great hockey. Weber is good.

Michel Therrien’s job is not in jeopardy

We have heard and read all summer about “Ifs” and “Buts” about Therrien’s tenure as the Canadiens’ head coach. IF the Habs are up to a slow start… But he must improve his coaching… If Its and Buts were candy and nuts, it would be Christmas every day! He wasn’t my personal choice for head coach when the announcement was made but the fact is that Therrien’s record speaks for itself. Oh he’s far from perfect but players like him. Little things he does for them, days off, putting them in the starting line-up against teams they played for, rolling four lines, etc. Those are things players appreciate. His job is safe this year.

Kirk Muller knows powerplay

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Kirk Muller

Muller is a likeable guy. He’s a leader who not only played in Montreal and captained this team, but he understands the market and the pressure that comes with it. The Canadiens’ powerplay finished the season 25th overall last year. So far this season, they sit in 5th place in the NHL. As an associate coach, he has some say in the day-to-day decisions on the team and that is great for the organisation. Don’t kid yourself: while other coaches will give their input, it’s Muller and not Therrien who decides who plays on the special teams! The fact is that Muller knows powerplay.

Habs didn’t screw up Alex Galchenyuk’s development

So much was said about the way the Canadiens were bringing up Galchenyuk. As the youngster sits 5th in NHL scoring today, finally playing centre on the top line, it seems like “the plan” is paying off. Playing him all those years on the wing took some responsibility off his shoulders and, according to Galchenyuk himself, has taught him what it takes to score goals in this league. The beauty of it all is that he’s not done progressing. Therrien praised his hard work ethics just recently and they will keep on adding to his responsibilities as he improves. Not only didn’t the Habs screw up his development, they helped him develop in what he is today.

Coaches can sit David Desharnais

This is perhaps the most surprising to be honest. Here I thought that as long as Therrien was the head coach of the Canadiens, Desharnais would be a Top-6 centre. Well it looks like I was wrong. Not only is his ice time (12:52 per game) drastically cut from what it was last season (16:00), but he spent some time on the wing and was even a healthy scratch one game! Who would have thought? Even his powerplay time (1:21 per game) has been cut from last season (2:18). This being the last year of his contract, things aren’t looking so good for little Davey’s future with the team…

There you have it folks! Oh there are other topics we could have covered I’m sure, but those are, in my humble opinion, some of the key question marks entering the season. With the Canadiens sitting in first place in the NHL with a 16-4-2 record, good for 34 points, three points ahead of the New York Rangers in second place, one would be hard-pressed to convince me to be negative about this team. Yes, there is room for improvement and we are seeing a very active Marc Bergevin, trying to improve in areas where the team needs help. Anyone else curious about the GM spending a few days in San Jose considering the Canadiens aren’t playing there until… Friday?