The Montreal Canadiens shocked many prognosticators by winning the Northeast Division last season, but that doesn’t mean that every member of the team played over his head.
In particular, franchise goalie Carey Price and 2011-12 breakout player David Desharnais were disappointing. Habs head coach Michel Therrien told TSN on Wednesday that he has “no doubts” that the two will be better next season.
Therrien believes that Price, 25, will improve thanks to his will to succeed and the work of new goalie coach Stephane Waite.
“He’s a guy who brings instant credibility,” Therrien said of Waite. “I believe he’s a guy that’s going to help Carey. He brings a different voice, a different weight of words.”
It’s tougher to see why Therrien feels so confident about Desharnais, 26, bouncing back. The small center still spent most of his time lining up with Max Pacioretty last season, yet his numbers went down (and not just because it was an abbreviated season).
Before his 60-point breakout season in 2011-12, Desharnais had 22 points in 43 games in 2010-11, a stat line that resembles the 28 points he generated in 48 games in 2013.
It remains to be seen if either young player recovers as well as Therrien expects, but one can see why Montreal feels optimistic, especially since the Canadiens defied critics so drastically last season.