June 5, 2012; Montreal, QC, Canada; Montreal Canadiens new head coach Michel Therrien is introduced at a press conference at the Bell Sports Complex. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-US PRESSWIRE

Michel Therrien's Lines

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We miss hockey very much, even more so with the prospect of a lockout coming our way. So each time us Habs fans get a new bit of news it becomes time to analyse it to death.

Today, we got to see a glimpse at Coach Therrien’s line chart white board in today’s article by David Stubbs in the Montreal Gazette.

From the photo I was able to reconsistute the lines Therrien had on the board.

Forwards
LW C RW
Pacioretty Desharnais Cole
Eller Plekanec Gionta
Moen Prust Armstrong
Gomez White Gallagher
Geoffrion Galchenyuk Leblanc
Blunden Nokelainen Palushaj
Avtsin Dumont Nattinen
Bournival Holland

Many of the combinations might seem strange but its the first thing people should remember is that this is for pre-season rather than real games. This isn’t necessarily the combinations he’d ice if game 1 was tomorrow. If we’re looking for insights here its in terms of what experiments Therrien is looking to try at camp.

  • First off, Gomez is on the roster. It looks like they intend to have him at training camp and competing for a spot. Therrien is also seeing how he does as a bottom line left winger, which is interesting.
  • The vache sacrée line is kept together. Looks like Therrien, as he’s stated publically, is running with last years top scoring line.
  • Eller-Plekanec-Gionta. Eller hasn’t been at this best on LW, but he didn’t play much there in 2011-12 either. Eller-Plekanec-Cole was a dominant defensive line when it played at the start of last season though. This combines the team’s best three defensive forwards together and might be an interesting idea for the top shutdown line. Losing Eller from the 3rd line would probably lead to weakness there however. Eller is likely playing there to make up for Bourque being out for injury but if this unit does well it might be permanent.
  • The chief grinders are put together with Prust at center. Prust was a C in lower leagues but has largely been a winger in the NHL. If he can take a faceoff and hold the middle of the ice I could see the Habs trying this as a checking/grinding line. They’d get beat on even strength but maybe they are good enough defensively to avoid getting killed.
  • They are also looking at giving White a shot at center. I’d bet they’d like one of him or Prust doing that job in the bottom six. I’d bet Gomez remains in the lineup at plays one of the center spots as well.
  • Gallagher looks high on the depth chart, maybe he’s going to get a real chance off making the team at camp.
  • Galchenyuk starts with AHL/NHL tweeners Leblanc and Geoffrion. Good place to see how much game he has and maybe move him up if he really impresses. Good place for Leblanc to show some stuff as well.
  • Blunden-Nokelainen-Palushaj look like the first line for Hamilton.
  • Likewise for Avtsin-Dumont-Nattinen. AHL top niners playing with each other. Interesting that Nattinen has been more of a winger here and last season in Hamilton.
  • The CHL graduates playing together here just like they might in Hamilton. I think Gallagher would be great with this pair if he doesn’t make the NHL lineup.
Defense
LD RD
Gorges Kaberle
Markov Emelin
Boullion Subban
Tinordi Weber
Beaulieu Diaz
St. Denis Ellis
Thrower Pateryn
  • It looks like the quest for a 2nd pairing is underway, with two potential candidates set to be put through their paces. Markov-Emelin makes a lot of sense on paper but didn’t do so hot to end last year, albeit when neither player was at their top form. Gorges-Kaberle is another that looks like it could work on paper with two players of complimentary skillsets lined up together. I’d think the better of the two gets the second pairing job with the other broken up with its top defenseman being the 1st LD with Subban and its other being the third LD with Diaz. Or Therrien is a crazy man playing favourites by trying to get his pet a chance to play with his best player.
  • The promising new pro left D play with the young NHL right D in Tinordi-Weber and Beaulieu-Diaz. Sensible way to see what they’ve got for future reference.
  • Likewise young Ellis gets partnered with steady St. Denis. That could be an AHL shutdown pairing.
  • Thrower is highly regarded enough to be on the board just after his draft while his team-mate Dietz is off to the side in the undifferentiated prospect group.

Interesting stuff. Now we just need a training camp to watch.

EDIT: Stubbs took down the photo. I think the line board just became an “A Winning Habit” exclusive.

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Tags: Michael Therrien Montreal Canadiens Training Camp

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