“Patience is also a form of action.” – Auguste Rodin.
Rash decisions can be fatal when it comes to running a sports franchise. Armed with the luxury of a winning record, Canadiens general manager Pierre Gauthier has been able exhibit patience as Scott Gomez struggled through the first twenty games of the season without a top six calibre left winger on his line.
Yes…there have been the rumours of impending deals, most notably the possible signing of free agent Bill Guerin. But, from the Canadiens front office there has been only deafening silence.
Turns out, all the Canadiens may have needed to do was wait for Max Pacioretty to step up. Pacioretty was drafted in the first round by the Canadiens with the idea that he would become an NHL power forward. Along the way, there were some decisions made that may have slowed his development including a quick promotion to the main club last year when he clearly wasn’t ready. He’s back in Hamilton now and if he’s not ready now, he’s very close.
Pacioretty just completed a seven-point three-game weekend in which he scored four goals, including a natural hattrick in Toronto Saturday afternoon on his 22nd birthday. He also scored the only Hamilton goal during the losing shootout Saturday.
This afternoon (Sunday) he added two more points. The goal he scored was a brilliant effort in which he passed the puck to himself in the neutral zone to create a breakaway and then rifled the puck over the glove of the Marlies goaltender..
It seems inevitable that Pacioretty will be promoted. When, is an open question. Two weeks ago Pacioretty rightly, questioned the wisdom of bringing him up if he’s only going to play limited minutes as a third or fourth line player. Pacioretty was a first round draft choice because he had potential to be a top-six power forward. Getting major minute experience in Hamilton trumps riding the benches in Montreal when it comes to career development.
After eighteen games Pacioretty is the Bulldog’s second leading point getter with 21, one behind David Desharnais. He has a team-leading eight goals and is by far the leader in shots on goal with 84, almost five per game. That statistic tells you something about his net-presence, something that was absent last year both in Montreal and in Hamilton. There may be some issues about his defence that could hold him back on the short term (although he has a plus-3 rating right now) but longterm it appears Max Pacioretty could be that missing link that Pierre Gauthier has been patiently seeking.