The start of Thomas Vanek’s time as a Canadien hasn’t been great — the team has lost all three games with him in the lineup, and he’s only managed to register one assist.
According to Habs head coach Michel Therrien, Vanek needs to change his style of play for the team to have more success.
“He’s got to make some adjustments to his game,” Therrien said, per NHL.com. “I understand that he’s confident on the left side; he’s been playing there most of his career.
“But at times you’ve got to adjust with the players that you’ve got and put together lines that you think will give you success as a team.”
Therrien has been playing Vanek as a right winger and seems set on continuing to do so. At Friday’s skate, Vanek was on the right side of center David Desharnais (Max Pacioretty was on the left), this after spending some time as a right winger on the Tomas Plekanec-Brian Gionta line (Daniel Briere is the RW now.)
It’s worth noting, however, that some metrics suggest Vanek’s game is fine the way it is.
According to SB Nation site Eyes on the Prize, Vanek’s Fenwick rating — a shot-based possession stat — is 62. 9 percent and Montreal’s is plus-21 percent when he’s on the ice. There’s also the argument Therrien should use Vanek more, as the Austrian forward has yet to top the 18 minute plateau in any of his three games with Montreal, and twice failed to crack 16.
Sidney Crosby has made news lately for his goal scoring and his use of the stick.
He speared Sabres forward Ryan O’Reilly below the belt the other night, and on Thursday he delivered a slash to Senators defenseman Marc Methot, who has since not returned to the game.
The slash rendered a finger on Methot’s left hand bloodied and injured. It certainly didn’t look good as Method (calmly) skated to the bench.
There was no call on the play.
Updated: Methot won’t return to this game.
Toronto’s talented rookies were back at it again Thursday, as William Nylander and Auston Matthews combined to set up the Maple Leafs’ first goal versus the New Jersey Devils.
Nylander added the second assist on the power play goal, giving him 35 helpers on the season.
That’s significant for a couple of reasons: He extends his point streak to 10 games, which sets a new Leafs rookie record. And the assist reportedly secured him another entry-level bonus:
The Anaheim Ducks have been without goalie John Gibson for almost two full weeks because of injury, but head coach Randy Carlyle provided reason for optimism on Thursday.
Per reports, Gibson took part in practice and Carlyle has said that his No. 1 netminder will play again during the regular season. Anaheim has nine games remaining on its schedule.
That’s good news for Anaheim heading into the post-season.
While Gibson has been out, Jonathan Bernier has stepped beyond his back-up role and provided solid goaltending for the Ducks during the stretch drive — which should also be a bonus for this club with the playoffs quickly approaching.
Bernier has wins in six of his last seven starts. In nine games this month, he has only twice allowed three goals or more.
The Ducks have fought their way back into contention for the Pacific Division with a recent surge that has coincided with San Jose’s current skid — only four wins in their last 10 games and four straight losses.
Related: Career back on track, Bernier hopes he can re-sign in Anaheim
The Winter Olympics are less than a year away and time is ticking on the NHL to make a decision — one way or another.
International Ice Hockey Federation President Rene Fasel tells The Associated Press he needs to know by the end of April whether NHL players will be cleared to play in the South Korea Olympics next year.
NHL team owners have made it clear they don’t want to stop their season again for the Winter Games and put their stars at risk of injury. The reluctance has come up before and yet the NHL has participated in the Olympics since 1998. This time, however, there seems to be an impasse.
For those hoping NHL players will compete in South Korea next year, the situation right now appears bleak, given the recent comments of commissioner Gary Bettman, who told Reuters that “…people should assume we are not going.”
Bettman has also argued the compressed schedule that accompanies the league’s participation in the Olympics is bad for the NHL.
Read more: Fehr: Players won’t negotiate with NHL over Olympics
Meanwhile, a number of players — Sidney Crosby, Jonathan Toews, Jakub Voracek and rising star Connor McDavid among them — have publicly lobbied for the opportunity to once again compete in the Olympics, adding that having the world’s best players there is a benefit to growing the game.
(In McDavid’s case, he has never played in the Olympics, but given his stature as arguably the league’s best player right now in only his second season, he’d be a shoe-in to make Team Canada if healthy.)
Voracek recently sounded off the matter, essentially calling the league’s position, “Absolutely ridiculous.”