DESPERATE TIMES…


…call for desperate measures.

How else can you explain the decision to call up Mathieu Darche from the Hamilton Bulldogs and put him on a line with Tomas Plekanec and Mike Cammalleri?  Or the decision to put Ryan O’Byrne (?!) on a line with Marc-Andre Bergeron and Glen Metropolit?

Don’t get me wrong.  Darche, a McGill University grad and Montreal native, earned his trip to the big league’s for last night’s game against the St. Louis Blues at the Bell Centre.  Basically a career minor-leaguer, except for a 73-season season with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2007-2008, Darche was wearing the Captain’s “C” with the Hamilton Bulldogs, and for good reason, at the time of his call-up.  However, is he a top-six NHL forward?

My spies in Hamilton tell me that if anybody deserved the call up it was Brock Trotter, who has 18 goals and 24 assists for 42 points in 42 games with the ‘Dogs.  And Tom Pyatt, who had a chance to perhaps become a ful-time fixture with the Habs earlier this season?  I’m told that he is not adjusting well to life back down on the farm.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  Putting a player on the first line does not make him a first-line player.  Then again, the Cammalleri-Plek tandem is no longer part of the first line, not since Andrei Kostitsyn went down with an injury.  That honor belongs to Benoit Pouliot (the only guy who seems to be able to put the puck in the net with any regularity these days), Brian Gionta, and Scott Gomez, (who has been playing his best hockey as a Hab in recent weeks.)

Darche finished -1 on the strength of 9:55 of ice time.  However, he is not the answer as Andrei Kostitsyn’s replacement.  Then again, neither is Matt D’Agostini, who watched last night’s game against the Blues from the press box.  Maxime Lapierre finished up as the game on that line and was his usual lacklustre self.

Didn’t I hear somewhere that Lapierre would rise to the challenge and be a more effective player with Guillaume Latendresse out of the picture? 

Yeah, right.

And please.  Stop trying to look for the next Mark Streit.  Marc-Andre Bergeron is not the next Mark Streit.  And it’s pretty clear that neither is Ryan O’Byrne.  At a time when O’Byrne is still a work in progress along the blueline at the NHL level, why in the world would you expose him up front for 4:14 seconds of ice time?  O’Byrne looked like a deer caught in the head lights.  And why wouldn’t he??? What was he doing there in the first place???

Reminds me Guy Carbonneau’s Josh-Georges-to-the-fourth-line experiment that we saw last season.  What a resounding success THAT move was.  NOT!

So it goes, on a night when the Canadiens picked up a point they didn’t deserve in a 4-3 overtime loss to the Blues.

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About ahefter

I have covered hockey extensively during my 30-year sports broadcasting career. From the Miracle on Ice at Lake Placid to the Edmonton Oiler dynasty years, I've shared my views on hockey with listeners in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. You can "catch me in action" on Youtube at the following URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1n5BdB9ngYw My radio stops include TSN 690 Montreal, CJAD Montreal, CKNW Vancouver, and CKEY Toronto. I also ran the Canadian Press sports desk (radio). My travels as a network reporter have taken me to four Olympics, most recently Vancouver 2010. I'm currently an Applied Assistant Professor within the School of Communication at the University of Hartford.
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One Response to DESPERATE TIMES…

  1. Pingback: 5 for Writing: Sedins, Shootouts, Habs and a King | The Hockey Writers

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