So here’s the deal on the Pacioretty/Gionta injuries. They made the trip to Ottawa which is very nice but so did Petteri Nokelainen, Nathan Beaulieu, Mike Blunden, Michael Bourneval, Greg Pateryn, Louis Leblanc, Dustin Tokarski and Roberrt Mayer. A 200 kilometre bus ride with their teammates doesn’t mean they’re ready to play. The company line from the Canadiens continues to be “day-to-day”.
Kevin Weekes, who now pontificates on Hockey Night in Canada, tweeted today that Gionta is facing surgery. He later clarified that whatever his upper body problem is, he will undergo the surgery after the playoffs end. There is a suspicion that his problem involves his right wrist or elbow. If in fact that’s true, then the difference maker will be how the injury affects his shot. No shot…..no sense in putting him in the lineup. Again, nobody, outside of Gionta and the Canadiens training staff, knows for sure the nature or extent of the injury.
For the last month or so, Pacioretty has not been the power forward we normally have come to expect, making me think his upper body problem involves his shoulder. Like the Gionta situation, it’s only speculation.
No sense putting either into a game unless their health allows them to be effective.
In game three and four of the Canadiens/Senators series, Paul MacLean will have the last word on line matchups. For one thing, he’s going to have to decide how much attention he wants to pay to Galchenyuk and Gallagher, who have been the Canadiens most effective forwards the last three or four weeks. And with Prust on left wing, they provided MacLean’s biggest headache on Friday.
But I have a feeling that much of the Ottawa video sessions have centered on what to do about P.K. Subban and Andrei Markov. Together they have generated 24 shots toward the Ottawa net in two games; Craig Anderson had to make saves on 15 of them.
Considering how well he played in those nine games with Hamilton after he signed his two year Canadiens contract, there were those who wondered why he wasn’t one of the eight players who were brought up to the parent club for the playoffs. Turns out Brian Burke, who is in charge of the US entry at the world championships, wanted him to be part of his team. From a development standpoint, taking a regular shift at a World Championship has more value than practicing with the rest of the “Black Aces” in Brossard. With the Canadiens blessing, Kristo went to the championship in Helsinki and Saturday in their opening game he drew assists on goals by former Canadiens prospect Aaron Palusahaj and Eric Johnson.