Struggling Habs get back to basics


The Montreal Canadiens have been one of the 2013 season’s surprise successes, but things have slowed down lately (culminating in a four-game losing streak). Things have gotten bad enough that home fans even started booing Carey Price, enraging Josh Gorges in the process.

Habs bench boss Michel Therrien isn’t exactly known for his gentle touch, so his team might have expected a bag skate or at least a harrowing yell session on Monday. Instead, he focused on defensive fundamentals in practice, as players told CTV.

“I didn’t know there weren’t going to be any pucks on the ice. We were all a little nervous,” P.K. Subban said. “I think today was just about us getting better, it wasn’t a punishment. It was just about getting back to the things that made us successful.”

Players who spent time in the AHL have been successful with the team this season, particularly Brendan Gallagher.

With the Hamilton Bulldogs’ season over, the Montreal decided to recall eight AHL players: goalies Robert Mayer and Dustin Tokarski, forwards Michael Bournival, Louis Leblanc and Pettri Nokelainen along with defensemen Nathan Beaulieu, Jarred Tinordi and Greg Pateryn. They’ll get prepped with the Bulldogs coaching staff until April 28, when they’ll be available for postseason play.

Canadiens blog Habs on the Prize provides some additional context:

The call up for Leblanc is likely a breath of fresh air, as the 22 year old forward has been struggling in Hamilton all season, and could use a fresh start.

The most confusing choice though, is the call up of Nokelainen. Not only is Nokelainen not useful in an NHL role, but he was brought up over Danny Kristo, who’s certainly more of an impact player in every respect.