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Time to ballot Jake Allen

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Time to ballot Jake Allen

The Canadiens return to action tonight in Columbus. The team left Montreal over a week ago and will (finally) be back in town overnight. Bet the boys will be short on legs tomorrow at the Bell Centre (against the mighty and “violent”) Panthers…

But let’s not rush into the future too quickly; the club has a game to win tonight in Columbus against Wilfried Nancy Pascal Vincent.

Martin St-Louis revealed on Monday in California the identity of his starting goaltender tonight: Samuel Montembeault.

Excuse me, but I’m going to indulge in a little milk: the ménage à trois made no sense two or three weeks ago… but it makes even less sense today. It has to stop.

Here’s the list of goaltenders starting in the CH’s 21 games so far this season:

October 11: Jake Allen
October 14: Samuel Montembeault
October 17: Samuel Montembeault
October 21: Jake Allen
October 23: Jake Allen
October 24: Cayden Primeau
October 26: Samuel Montembeault
October 28: Jake Allen
October 30: Samuel Montembeault
November 2: Jake Allen
November 4: Samuel Montembeault
November 7: Jake Allen
November 9: Cayden Primeau
November 11: Samuel Montembeault
November 12: Jake Allen
November 14: Samuel Montembeault
November 16: Cayden Primeau
November 18: Jake Allen
November 22: Samuel Montembeault
November 24: Cayden Primeau
November 25: Jake Allen
*29: Samuel Montembeault

What do you notice?

At the start of the season, Martin St-Louis dared to use a goalkeeper two games in a row. After his October 14 win over Connor Bedard, Corey Perry and the Blackhawks, Samuel Montembeault got the next start (on the 17th). However, a poor start cost him the net.

The following week, Jake Allen beat the Capitals (2 goals against) and was rewarded with the start against the Sabres, whom he also beat (1 goal against). However, he lost his net under the pretext that the other two goalies had to be played, y’know….

And therein lies the rub.

Martin St-Louis, Kent Hughes, Jeff Gorton and company are trying to instill a good culture throughout the organization. The guys have to be responsible and accountable… they have to do everything they can to help… they have to show that they’re useful to the team…

But all this has to come with two conditions/consequences:

First. When you play well, you must be rewarded. Forwards and defensemen need to see their playing time enhanced, especially on the power play…

But goalies must also be rewarded when they do well.

Tonight, the Habs will send out a different goaltender from their previous game for the 17th time in a row. So much for the famous concept of meritocracy. Whether you do well or not, you’re out next night!

Montembeault has played four games in which he’s allowed two goals or less since October 29, yet he’s never been given the next start. Instead, it’s been given to Allen or Montembeault.

It’s also happened twice to Cayden Primeau – out of four starts, that’s a batting average no worse – and he’s never been rewarded with a second consecutive start.

On the contrary, Primeau’s second game in two nights – with travel in between and a return to the city that often hinders a team effort – is likely to be another trap game tomorrow against the Panthers.

It’s imperative to change that, Kent, for the sake of the famous culture you’re trying to instill in the dressing room. Talk of accountability, progression, the collective… it has to come with rewards for good students/players.

Unfortunately, when you keep giving Josh Anderson power-play time – rather than writing him off after 21 scoreless games – it doesn’t send the right message. In the pros, you have to “earn your use”, your place…

That was my second condition.

The perfect sequence A-B-C-A-B-C-A-B-C is good in peewee… in baseball, not in the NHL! And don’t tell me Martin St-Louis is a peewee coach…

Does Kent Hughes regret extending Jake Allen’s contract ? He might… but we don’t live in the past; he’s got to move, and fast.

Samuel Montembeault and Jake Allen are candidates for a possible deal, according to TheAthletic, and something’s got to give…

Put Jake Allen’s name on the waivers, send him to Laval (because we all agree that, with his stats and salary, he wouldn’t be in demand) and play him down low. That way, your three goalies would see some action, and the Habs wouldn’t be hurt by a possible injury.

In the end, the optimal situation might just be to send Allen to Laval (via the waivers): you wouldn’t lose any assets and you’d protect yourself.

Let’s hope Kent Hughes, a former agent, isn’t thinking like one right now…

He probably doesn’t care about his perfect rotation and/or not offending Jake Allen by putting him through the waivers.

We’re talking professional hockey here, not junior AA on Montreal’s North Shore.

Perfect rotations and nice theoretical concepts not based on performance work best in the union world and in friendly games… which the NHL is not at all!

Extension

Arber Xhekaj, who was originally an option today according to Renaud Lavoie, may have to wait until tomorrow or Saturday before returning to action.

Josh Anderson will be looking to end his 21-game drought (24 if you include last season’s final games) against the worst team in the East. But watch out! The Blue Jackets have just beaten the mighty Bruins and are on a roll (three wins in four games).

Will the CH manage a third win in four games at the end of their road trip… or will they have to settle for a .500 record? Playing for .750 would be exceptional, when we remember how inconclusive Montreal’s performances have been in the past.

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