When Ryan White was suspended for five games for his hit on Flyers’ defenceman Kent Huskins on April 15, most Habs’ fans apeared to be ready to write him off.
Don’t count me among them, although there was some justification for that sentiment.
Even before his reckless hit on Huskins, White found himself in coach Michel Therrien’s doghouse on more than one occasion this season as a result of what can charitably be described as “bonehead plays” that resulted in costly trips to the penalty box. For many Habs’ fans, White’s five-game suspension was the last straw.
But not for Michel Therrien.
White was eligible to return to the lineup for the final game of the regular season in Toronto, and Therrien elected to go with the feisty, if somewhat undisciplined 4th liner, against the Leafs. The move paid off: for both White, and the Canadiens.
“I really liked the the way he played last game. He played with emotion,” said Therrien after today’s morning practice at Brossard. “He’s a lot more disciplined than he was. The intensity is always there in the playoffs, and he’s an intense player.”
Indeed, on the eve of Montreal’s playoff opener against the Ottawa Senators tomorrow night at the Bell Centre, White looks to have played his way back into Therrien’s good books. At practice this week, White has been flanked by Travis Moen and Brandon Prust — resulting in a fourth-line unit that will no doubt leave the “other” fourth line at practice, Jeff Halpern, Colby Armstrong and Yannick Weber, in the press box tomorrow night..
White admited that sitting out the suspension was though.
“I’ve been doing a lot of sitting out this season…it’s not very fun. Obviously you can’t help your team win and that always sucks.”
White added that although he’s not really trying to change his game, he acknolwedged that riding that “fine line” has been a learning experience for him.
“I’ve been caught on the other side of the line a few times this season. I”m not really trying to change my game. I keep telling myself: keep playing hockey, and just worry about the things that matter. Some night’s the things that don’t matter get in the way a little bit. I’ve been taking care of my own business and that’s what Michel wants from me.”