Nov 29, 2013; Washington, DC, USA; Montreal Canadiens head coach Michel Therrien on the bench against the Washington Capitals during the third period at the Verizon Center. The Capitals won 3-2 in an overtime shootout. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Dear Michel Therrien: A How To Guide On The Montreal Canadiens Defensemen

Dec 31, 2013; Raleigh, NC, USA; Montreal Canadiens coach Michel Therrien looks on against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. The Carolina Hurricanes defeated the Montreal Canadiens 5-4 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Dear Mr. Therrien,

 

I am writing you in response to the way you benched P.K. Subban last night when the Montreal Canadiens needed him most. It was not the first head scratching move you have made, so I decided to go down the list of every defenseman on the roster, and let you know how and when to use them.

Jan 8, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Flyers center Chris Vande Velde (76) and Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban (76) battle behind goaltender Peter Budal (30) during the third period at the Wells Fargo Center. The Flyers defeated the Canadiens, 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

P.K. Subban: Okay Therrien, there seems to be some sort of a break down in communication here, so I will spell this out for you as best I can. Subban won the Norris Trophy last season. This award is for the best defenseman in the league. Subban was named to Team Canada a few days ago. This is one of the best hockey teams ever assembled, and he is on it. This means Subban is really, really good and should be on the ice as much as freakin’ possible. I am not going to even bother getting into the stats and the contrast in Habs success when he is on the ice, and when he is not. Just put him on the ice. I do not care if he just coughed up the puck, or punched someone in the face, or made fun of your mother. JUST STOP BENCHING HIM!

Andrei Markov: This guy is pretty good Michel, especially on the power play. However he is 35 years old and has had multiple knee surgeries. He is old, but productive. However, he ran out of gas after about this many games last season, so stop playing him 25 minutes a night! This guy is a real asset but there is absolutely no need of him getting more shorthanded ice time than Subban and Emelin. This guy hasn’t played more than 48 games in a season since 2009, so you are going to run him into the ground in an Olympic year, where he will have to play over 100 games if the Habs get out of the first round? Give the old fella a break!

Josh Gorges: You have actually used this guy well. Lots of ice time when down a man, next to none when on power play and about 20 minutes a game. 1 out of 7 ain’t bad!

 

Jan 2, 2014; Dallas, TX, USA; Montreal Canadiens head coach Michel Therrien watches his team take on the Dallas Stars during the third period at the American Airlines Center. The Canadiens defeated the Stars 6-4. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Alexei Emelin: Emelin is struggling recently but he is a tough and mean shut down defenseman, and has shown plenty of promise in the past. Now let me think, where could we use a tough and mean shut down defender? Maybe on the penalty kill Therrien? You know, that place you keep throwing Raphael Diaz and watching him panic while searching for a life raft. Don’t you think this guy could clear the front of the net a little better than Diaz? He is averaging 45 seconds a game on the PK and Diaz is getting nearly 3 minutes!!

Raphael Diaz: I mentioned above that Diaz is getting an incredible amount of shorthanded ice time. He deserves some, maybe, if he is playing in Hamilton. He was once a promising puck mover but was never mistaken for Larry Robinson in his own zone, or even Douglas Murray for that matter. Last year you were mad at Paul MacLean for not knowing who player 61 was. It appears you have forgotten who he is yourself. Get him off the penalty kill!!!

Francis Bouillon: Bouillon has been on the ice 125 minutes of power play time since the beginning of last season. That is the length of 62 and a half power plays. He has no goals, one assist and one point.

Douglas Murray: You have a hard time figuring out your own blue line so I assume you have no idea what is going on in Hamilton. So, call Hamilton and ask: who is your best defenseman? When they say Greg Pateryn, you respond, “Okay, send him to Montreal.” Murray was dealt for two second round picks last year, see if you can get two sevenths for him now. I guess trades aren’t your job, so just see if you can get him a ride to the airport.

There you go Michel. This is not a bad group of defensemen if used properly. So use them properly. Montreal could have a better power play and a better penalty kill if the right players were on the ice at the right time.

Everyone who is a fan of the Canadiens can see this, so open your eyes Therrien!

 

Sincerely,

Kenny MacMillan

Editor,

AWinningHabit.com

 

Oh, and follow us on twitter Michel! @FSAWinningHabit

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