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.
As PHT’s mentioned before, the Florida Panthers stand as a fascinating contrast between youth and experience.
Let’s not kid ourselves, though; fresh faces usually beat out gray beards, at least when it comes to teams that are still trying to build toward contender status.
While it’s by no means official, two Panthers beat writers – the Miami Herald’s George Richards and the Florida Sun-Sentinel’s Harvey Fialkov – report that the Panthers are likely to pass on Martin Havlat.
It wasn’t just about the likes of Jonathan Huberdeau and Nick Bjugstad leading the charge. Other young Panthers (maybe most notably Quinton Howden and Connor Brickley) made the team, thus making Havlat less necessary.
One would assume that it might be tough for the 34-year-old to find work, at least if he insists upon only an NHL deal.
Health issues continue to dog him, but he’s no longer one of those guys who tantalizes with talent when he is healthy enough to play.
Havlat also doesn’t really bring much to the table defensively. While other veterans can kill penalties and show a little more verstaility, Havlat’s greatest selling point is scoring.
Could this be it for a solid career that may nonetheless end with a “What if?” or two?
Considering all of the controversy surrounding the 41-game suspension for Raffi Torres, some might have lost track of the guy who received that hit: Jakob Silfverberg.
The good news is that, at the moment, it seems like he’s OK.
The Anaheim Ducks announced that he skated on his own and will be involved in the team’s next practice:
That falls in line with some of the fall-out from the hit, as head coach Bruce Boudreau let out a relieved “thank goodness” at the young forward seemingly dodging a bullet.
Here’s video of the hit and the suspension decision:
Silfverberg, 24, enjoyed a nice breakout in 2014-15, especially during the playoffs.
Keep in mind that injuries can sometimes crop up later than expected, especially potential head injuries/concussions. Still, it seems like the initial reaction is that the damage was minimal.