An 82 games schedule is a long season where teams and players will go through ups and downs, hot and cold streaks. The Montreal Canadiens were hot and even without Carey Price, they gave the league leading Tampa Bay Lightning all they could handle, losing a heartbreaker by allowing the game winner with just over a minute left in the third period, making the score tilt in Tampa’s favour 6-5. The scapegoat of the game definitely was goaltender Antti Niemi who had already allowed 4 goals on the Lightning’s first 14 shots.
One of the guys on a hot streak for the Canadiens, Andrew Shaw, had another good game by tallying two goals. Another hot hand, Phillip Danault, had three assists in the game. But how hot are they, really?
It’s interesting to note that in Drouin’s case, he has not been as involved as he was earlier on in the season, but he keeps putting points on the board. As for Tatar, he managed six points in his last three games after going six games pointless. Neither of those guys have been known for their consistency mind you.
At the other end of the spectrum, a couple of key offensive weapons for the Canadiens haven’t been so hot as of late.
Having said that, both those guys are going pedal to the metal so their lack of production is certainly not from a lack of effort. Domi still leads the Canadiens with 36 points in 39 games, while Gallagher leads his teams with 15 goals.
But boy oh boy, do the Canadiens need a healthy Carey Price back into their line-up… just like they needed Shea Weber back. The difference being that while Weber was out, Jeff Petry did an outstanding job under the circumstance, while Niemi simply can’t find his mojo from last season. And with Charlie Lindgren injured, one has to wonder if Claude Julien shouldn’t give 21 year-old rookie Michael McNiven a chance if Price isn’t ready for Monday…
He was a victim of the anti-Bergevin crew, those who will never forgive and forget that the Canadiens’ General Manager dared trading their Golden Boy P.K. Subban. Everything Bergevin did since is bad, according to them, and they would jump on every opportunity to try to prove their point. Some still do, even in the media. But Andrew Shaw is doing what Jonathan Drouin is doing. He’s following the trend set by Max Domi and Tomas Tatar in taking every ammunition out of their hands, deflating their bubble of criticism one by one.
The proof is in the pudding. Instead of recognizing that Shea Weber has had an immense impact on the Canadiens since returning to the line-up after almost a full year absence, something that everyone around the NHL acknowledges, one of Bergevin’s biggest detractors, Arpon Basu, typed this garbage after Weber was caught flat-footed against Andrei Svechnikov, last summer’s second overall pick:
Basu was so excited and in such a hurry to write that tweet that he misspelled Weber’s name! But guess what? While it may please the Brendan Kelly’s and company of this world, most Habs’ fans are knowledgeable enough to read right through the blind hater. Perhaps is it the fact that even Canadiens’ second best defenseman Jeff Petry is schooling their Golden Boy, the need to try to get back to Bergevin is just too strong… like a kitten unable to resit a laser-pointer!
Shaw on a roll
As pointed out, one of the victims of this blind hater has been Andrew Shaw. How many times have we seen local “reporters” throwing former Canadiens’ Lars Eller and his stats down our throats? Funny we’re not seeing that trend anymore. Funny how we don’t hear about Alex Galchenyuk and Mikhail Sergachev either. Why? Because it so happens that Domi, Drouin, Shaw and even Weber are outplaying those who were traded away. But don’t you worry… vulchers like Basu and company, while ignoring the current trend, will be waiting in the weeds as soon as the roles are reversed, as they’ve done in the past.
With a goal last night against Carolina on a beautiful feed by Weber, Shaw has extended his points streak to six games (2G-4A). As a matter of fact, the 27 year-old gritty forward has racked up no less than 17 points (8G-9A) in his last 17 games for the Canadiens since November 8th.
Since joining the Canadiens, Shaw has played 147 games and has put up 68 points on the board (0.46 Pts/GP). So far this season, he has 9 goals, 19 points in 28 games (0.68 Pts/GP) while being the same polivalent and gritty player that he is, providing sandpaper, creating havoc in front of the opposing net, and taking faceoffs when needed.
Some people wrongfully felt like Shaw wasn’t worth the $3,9 million cap hit the Canadiens are giving him, but few around the NHL share that feeling. Blackhawks’ captain Jonathan Toews was quoted back then saying that he was disappointed to see Shaw leave the Hawks’ organisation who traded him for no other reasons than the fact that they were tight against the salary cap and couldn’t afford to re-sign him. They wanted to keep him.
For inquiring minds, here are a few comparative contracts to Shaw around the NHL:
Craig Smith (NSH) $4.25M
Casey Cizikas (NYI) $3.35M
Carl Hagelin (ANA) $4M
Cody Eakin (DAL) $3.85M
* Source: capfriendly.com
Another comparative often used in the past by those with an axe to grind against Bergevin is Lars Eller, whom the Canadiens traded to Washington for two second round picks. Ironically, that’s the price that Bergevin paid Chicago to get Shaw. I say ironically because they complained about overpaying for Shaw but conveniently “forgot” that Bergevin received the same return for Eller. But what exactly has Eller done to be placed on a pedestal by those people, other than in an attempt to put Shaw down?
With the Canadiens, Eller, who carries a $3.5 million cap hit, played a total of 435 games in which he accumulated a grand total of 154 points (0.35 Pts/GP). With the Capitals, he has 73 points in 192 games (0.38 Pts/GP) and this season, he has 14 points in 30 games (0.47 Pts/GP). That’s a far cry from Shaw’s numbers, isn’t it? Now consider that Shaw is one of the leaders on the Canadiens…
So before you read – and mostly start believing – the junk thrown out there by certain “reporters” and/or “fans”, please ensure to consider the source as too many of them simply cannot make an unbiased assessment if their lives depended on it. Because you know… 76 now belongs to prospect Josh Brooks. Now here’s hoping that Shaw’s concussion issues are behind him, as they seem to be for the likes of Patrice Bergeron and Sidney Crosby amongst others. Go Habs Go!