Les Partisans Are Happy - For One Night
Philadelphia Flyers 1 Montreal Canadiens 5
It didn’t take long for Pierre Gauthier to listen to fans and the media. Something needed to be done. Something needed to change. Someone needed to be held accountable for the start: the worst start in the franchise’s history.
So 90 minutes before the game Gauthier fired assistant coach Perry Pearn. Pearn and coach Martin go back a long way but that relationship ended tonight and that change led to the Canadiens walking over the Flyers tonight. That is what Gauthier would want everyone to believe!
After a long day of hearing everything from fire everybody to trade Carey Price, the Canadiens played maybe what was their best two periods of the season: the second and third.
The first period was much the same as the previous starts. The ever youthful Jaromir Jagr put the Flyers on the board first and the faithful wondered if this would be a repeat of the last five games. Suddenly -- and I say suddenly because it came out of nowhere -- Yannick Weber scored on the power play with three seconds left in the period. The world was round again and the team had a jump while going into their change room. Well they didn’t jump but coach Martin didn’t have to either.
The rest of the game was exactly what the fans have waited for. The team skated, skated hard, skated fast and right to the net. Erik Cole seemed to have a new lease on life and his enthusiasm rubbed off on his new line mates David Desharnais and Max Pacioretty. Pacioretty was a game time decision but his desire to play sure paid off as he and Andrei Kostitsyn put the Habs up two at the end of the second period. The Flyers played with no jump, no emotion and no real jam. It was a very different Philly team to the one that dominated the Habs last season.
The third saw Pacioretty and Michael Cammalleri finish off the Flyers. The game ended with only Wayne Simmonds showing any Flyer bite. The fans breathed a sigh of relief and the smile on coach Martin’s face was well there somewhere to be seen. Martin had the look that we all have when we see our best friend move away. We all wonder if anyone is left that likes you.
The three stars of the game, Erik Cole, David Desharnais and Max Pacioretty easily played their best games of the season. Carey Price had a steady game and the change to his old equipment paid off. Price had both his posts to thank as the Flyers rang pucks off them early and often. Les Partisans left happy, but as always is the case in Montreal, it’s what have you done for me lately. The next two games will seal the fate of Martin and Gauthier.
Now the question beckons: do you want the Habs to win or lose the next two games against the Bruins? If they lose then Martin and/or Gauthier are out but if they win both - then we get the status quo.
Let us get back to the firing of Perry Pearn. The Montreal Canadiens organization is known all over the league as one that is classy. But today they weren’t. Firing anyone 90 minutes before a game is disrespectful and downright stupid. So then why would the team do it?
Word is that Pearn violated the first rule and only rule that Gauthier has – never talk to the media without permission. Also word is that Pearn was fired because he was Martin’s best friend. Gauthier couldn’t fire Martin so he fired his best friend. Seems like a high school thing to do. It was.
But did the firing help the team in anyway. It scared Martin for sure and it added new voices to the change room. Pearn was in charge of the special teams and with him let go Randy Ladouceur was added to the bench staff. He and the other assistant coach Randy Cunneyworth were allowed to voice their opinions. And I am thinking this had a huge effect on Erik Cole. So, yes it did help the team’s play and yes it did light a fire under everyone.
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Shahab Khan the Schoolboy