Preseason- Montreal Canadiens v. Boston Bruins
I have not seen a live Habs game in a very long while and got the chance to visit some friends in Halifax and take in the game versus the Bruins. I would like to say the game lived up to the expectations, however the disappointment started the day before when the roster was announced. Young guys that need more seasoning were plentiful in the lineup for the Habs and a seasoned crew with very few youngsters was present for the Bruins.
The result was predictable. The mostly inexperienced Habs got a drubbing by the Boston Bruins. The special team play was non-existent. Two power play goals and two shorthanded goals against by les glorieux are totally unexceptable. Those special teams were the strength of the Habs in the past few years. With so many young guys in the line up, it is difficult to know if it is the players as a total or the so called system. I can tell you for a defense first system - it was not very defensive.
There were some bright spots. Scott Gomez had a good game, scored on a breakaway to open the scoring and looked ready for the season. Alex Henry (who will probably open the season in Hamilton) took on Thornton in a long battle that ended in a draw. He also looked comfortable out there. Nathan Beaulieu looked like the smooth operator he will be, but he needs some more seasoning. I was pleasantly surprised with Yannick Weber, he played a solid game for the most part.
I understand that coach Jacques Martin et al are still evaluating the youngsters-however the time is past when actual decisions should have been made. I know there are some battles for positions, but the regulars must get some chemistry happening and get used to playing together for the start of the season. In other words-time to separate the men from the boys. Do all those teenagers have a chance to make the team at this juncture in their development - I think not.
There were a tremendous number of preseason games played by the Habs this season and I believe that necessitated holding on to a larger than normal number of players. However, there were other teams that had about the same number and they have been whitling away.
These same two teams play again in Montreal tonight and if the same players play - the result will be the same. Hopefully the cuts are coming soon but unfortunately for Halifax - not soon enough.