Canadiens’ head coach Jacques Martin is looking for A Few Good Men.
This is not to be confused with the 1992 film of the same name, starring Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson. The movie features the now-classic line, “You can’t handle the truth,” which Nicholson spits out during a memorable courtroom scene.
Yes, Jacques Martin is looking for a few good men. The truth is, they are nowhere to be found.
With the team’s two top goal scoring-threats, Andrei Kostitsyn and now Michael Cammalleri, out for the long haul with lower-body injuries, Martin is hoping that somebody (anybody!) will step up and help fill the void. But, seriously, is there any indication that anyone on this team, or in this organization, is ready to do that?
Will it be Matt D’Agostini? Why should it be? What indication is there that D’Agostini, recalled from Hamilton early into his conditioning stint, is ready to perform consistantly at a big-league level? He has yet to do so this season, even though he had plenty of opportunity playing with Cammalleri and Tomas Plekanec before being sent to the Bulldogs. What’s particularly ironic about D’Agostini’s situation is that, one year ago, he was called up from Hamilton at a time when the Canadiens were hurt and hurting, and he responded splendidly.
Then again, Max Pacioretty was also called up by the Habs right around that time and, he too, responded well. Where does Max Pacioretty find himself today? He finds himself riding the bus with the Bulldogs, after a listless and lacklustre first-half season with the big team. Is Pacioretty ready for prime time just a handful of games into his stint with the ‘Dogs?
I doubt it. Although he did score his first this season as a ‘Dog the other night against the Milwaukee Admirals.
A Few Good Men. Jacques Martin is looking for a Few Good Men. Where is he going to find them?
I suppose he thought he had a couple in Tom Pyatt and Ryan White, two Bulldogs who were called up by big team earlier this season, only to be sent back down to Hamilton. Pyatt, I’m told, has not distinguished himself well since his return to the American Hockey League. I suppose he’s not happy with his demotion. Why should he be? Yes, Pyatt and White performed admirably during their stay in Montreal — as fourth-line players.
The Canadiens have too many fourth-line players. And even their fourth-liners aren’t performing well enough to be fourth-liners. What they need is A Few Good Men.
Maxime Lapierre? Hands up those of you who thought Lapierre would shine in the spotlight, when the Canadiens made the decision to send his old friend Guillaume Latendresse to the Minnesota Wild? He did shine. For one game. Okay, maybe two. Yes, on occasion, he has reminded us of the player who helped take this team by the scruff of the neck and drag it, kicking and screaming, into the playoffs last season. But, only on occasion. Overall, Lapierre has been a huge disappointment this season.
But, as we’ve noted, he’s not alone.
Mathieu Darche. Is he the answer? There’s a reason why this veteran has basically been a career minor leaguer. He brings an admirable work ethic to the rink, and as shown a nice touch, or two, around the net. But is he one of the Few Good Men that Jacques Martin needs to help carry this team into a playoff position? No. He a fourth-line player. On a good night, he’s a third-line player.
Sergei Kostitsyn? A fourth-liner since his return from injury, a first-liner most recently. A better work ethic, absolutely. But how about a goal or two, on a team that is aching for production?
Where are the goals? And where will they come from? Is it time to see what Brock Trotter can bring to the rink, after watching him tear up the scoresheet this season in Hamilton? How about Mike Glumac???
So many players and so little production. At a time when all Jacques Martin is looking for, are a Few Good Men.