“If you look at the playoffs from the start, there are certain players that are having some trouble contributing offensively. These types of players need to adjust to the intensity of the playoffs.”
That was Montreal coach Michel Therrien today, in the wake of the Canadiens’ 1-0 loss to Boston last night at the Bell Centre. According to NHL.com, the coach was talking about forwards Max Pacioretty and David Desharnais, even if he didn’t specifically name names.
Pacioretty and Desharnais have just a goal each in these playoffs — this after the former scored 39 times in the regular season, and the latter finished third on the Habs with 52 points.
While Therrien conceded that “they are being checked very tightly,” he put the onus on the players to “adapt to that challenge” and “bring us some more offense.”
The Canadiens have scored 11 goals in the first four games against Boston, and that’s actually not too bad against one of the best defensive teams in hockey. That said, five of the 11 goals were scored by defensemen, with two coming from bottom-six forwards Dale Weise and Rene Bourque, and another into an empty net.
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Looks as though slumping Dallas winger Valeri Nichushkin could be a healthy scratch tonight when the Stars host the Oilers at American Airlines.
Per the Morning-News, Nichushkin — who barely played in the second and third periods of Saturday’s 6-3 loss to Colorado — is likely to be replaced by Colton Sceviour in the lineup.
Stars head coach Lindy Ruff was fuming after the Avs defeat, calling it “embarrassing, worse than disappointing.” It didn’t take a genius to realize one of the players in his doghouse was Nichushkin, who had just 2:02 of ice time in the second period and 3:24 in the third.
Yesterday, Ruff dropped Nichushkin to the fourth line in practice.
“I’ve been trying to help him by shifting him around,” the head coach explained. “He had some struggles early in camp on right wing, so I put him on left, and he doesn’t seem real comfortable at left right now.
“His game, everything has got to get a little bit quicker.”
The 10th overall pick in 2013, Nichushkin has struggled to build on the form shown in his rookie campaign, when he scored 14 goals and 34 points in 79 contests.
He missed nearly all of last season with a linger hip ailment and has been a virtual non-factor through the first two games this year.
When the Los Angeles Kings announced they’d settled with Mike Richards, it didn’t take long for the accusations of salary-cap circumvention to materialize.
And though NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly was adamant that the settlement was “far from” circumvention, apparently not everyone agrees with the league in that regard.
“Privately, other teams are screaming bloody murder and are threatening to make an issue about it at December’s Board of Governors’ meeting,” Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports.
Friedman goes into more detail in his story, so click the link to read more.
But remember how we wrote that the issue in this case was precedent, and that the “NHL and NHLPA can’t allow teams to escape onerous contracts through a back door”?
Well, one agent posed a good question to Friedman: “What’s to stop other teams from trying this?”