The Montreal Canadiens will have a new look up front on Tuesday against Winnipeg as Daniel Briere will skate on the fourth line alongside Travis Moen and Michael Bournival.
According to Briere, he knows what message is being sent.
“Michel [Therrien, head coach] has said it from the start that this is the way it’s going to go,” Briere told the Montreal Gazette. “There are some guys who have stepped up early and they deserve the ice time. In my case, I’ve always been something of a slow starter.
“Right now, I’m getting caught on the outside and it’s up to me to get back in.”
Briere, 36, has just one assist through five games while averaging nearly 16 minutes per night.
What’s curious is that despite his claims, Briere hasn’t historically been a slow starter. Consider this tweet from NHL.com’s Arpon Basu as evidence:
#Habs Brière’s starts: 09-10: 5 G 2 A first 8 GP 10-11: 6 G 2 A 9 GP 11-12: 4 G 6 A 10 GP 12-13: 2 G 2 A 11 GP Not so bad until last season
The way Therrien sees it, the decision to demote isn’t so much about Briere as it is the players around him. Montreal has a number of forwards playing well at the moment — Lars Eller, Alex Galchenyuk and Brendan Gallagher are all at least point-per-game guys thus far — and the reward of playing well is added ice time.
Vice versa for those not playing well.
“We have a lot of depth with our forwards, especially with our wingers,” Therrien explained. “We have to take some decisions and we made a decision to put Daniel on the fourth line.”
In related news, the Habs will get captain Brian Gionta back tonight vs. the Jets after he missed Saturday’s 4-1 win in Vancouver dealing with a personal matter.
Penguins thump the Ducks as Crosby’s hot streak continues
In a meeting between two clubs enjoying hot streaks and their own subsequent climbs through the standings, the Pittsburgh Penguins bested the Anaheim Ducks courtesy another dominant Sidney Crosby performance on Monday.
After that slow start, Crosby has put together a growing number of dominant performances of late.
The latest, a four-point night, helped the Penguins to a 6-2 final over the Ducks, stopping Anaheim’s winning streak at six games.
The Penguins now move into third in the Metropolitan Division, while the New York Islanders slip into the first Wild Card spot in the East. Pittsburgh’s lead over the Islanders, however, is only one point.
The Islanders also have a game in hand.
Panthers’ Barkov (upper-body injury) leaves game versus Red Wings
The talented 20-year-old forward and third overall pick in 2013 has since been suspended indefinitely without pay for failing to show up to an AHL game while down in the minors and hasn’t played since Jan. 18.
It’s been a while now, but Turris found himself in a similar situation when, in October of 2011, his agent Curt Overhardt confirmed that the now 26-year-old center wanted to be traded out of Arizona.
Back then, Turris, another third overall pick, was a restricted free agent and had been in contentious contract talks with the Coyotes. He eventually signed a two-year deal with the Coyotes and was acquired by Ottawa not long after.
He’s been there ever since, with two 20-plus goal seasons.
“It’s tough,” Turris told the Tampa Bay Times. “Everyone has mixed feelings, and especially not being an established player. Then people are doubting that you’re doing the right thing, you really have to have confidence in yourself and your ability to do it.
“It was very difficult to do. You’re getting a lot of heat from the media and people, and people within the organization. It was a tough, tough go.”
Speaking of heat from the media: In addition to the suspension, Drouin was ripped in a local newspaper column — “He’s the kid who quit” was one particular line that stands out — for his request and the drama that ensued from that.
For now, the trade deadline (Feb. 29) approaches and Drouin’s request has yet to be granted.