The Habs’ version of American Idol, D-man style, could be coming to an end.
After rotating prospects Greg Pateryn, Jarred Tinordi and Nathan Beaulieu in and out of the lineup recently, it now appears that Yannick Weber (remember him?) could be given a shot at re-claiming a regular spot along the Montreal blueline. For now, at least.
After today’s practice at Brossard, head coach Michel Therrien said there was a possibility that Weber could return to the lineup Wednesday night in Pittsburgh against the Penguins, saying it would be a game-time decision.
Weber has appeared in a grand total of two games this season and would appear to be on the cusp of returning to action as a result of Beaulieu’s innefective performance (he certainly wasn’t alone) in Monday night’s 7-3 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers. The knee-jerk reaction by many Habs fans appeared to be: “give Jarred Tinordi another shot!” The only problem with that is: Jarred Tinordi is Jarred Tinordi. He is NOT Chris Pronger. Not yet, at least.
In other words: Pateryn, Tinordi and Beaulieu are not yet ready for prime time. Is Yannick Weber? Well, we could find out as early as tomorrow night.
But please: no more experiments with defencemen doubling as fourth liners. The Mark Streit ship sailed years ago. Yannick Weber is NOT a fourth-line player. (Heck. TRAVIS MOEN isn’t even a fourth-line player. But that’s a conversation for another day.) It remains to seen if Weber’s even a serviceable NHL defenceman. But if you’re going to give him a shot along the blueline, then let him wrap his head around that assignment, and that assignment alone.
It would have been nice to give Weber an earlier opportunity to play his way back into the lineup at SOME point this season, certainly since the injury to Rafael Diaz, but the coaching staff elected not to seek out my advice. Instead we ended up seeing a game of musical chairs involving Pateryn, Tinordi and Beaulieu.
In the meantime, many Habs fans are clealry ready to wash their hands of Ryan White. Yes, White has been guilty of a boneheaded play or two, or three this season — most recently against the Flyers Monday night with his hit on Kent Huskins. But I still feel that a player like White — one of the precious few on this team willing to put his body on the line — could be effective come playoff time. But it would appear that I’m in the minority.
So, with the Canadiens playing .500 hockey over their last 14 games, Peter Budaj will get a chance to right this ship against the Penguins, while Carey Price gets additional time to stew in his juices until his next scheduled start, Thursday, when Tampa comes to town.