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It’s time to send Barron a message… And to call Xhekaj back.

The Justin Barron we’re seeing right now isn’t the Justin Barron of a month ago.

The defender has been struggling defensively for the past few games… and this comes after Kent Hughes has been praising his progress lately.

The following two clips sum up the situation:

The young defenseman makes mistakes in his zone, he turns the puck over, he loses battles along the boards, he drops easy pucks in offensive territory…

It’s as if he’s completely lost his confidence.

Things are so bad right now that the idea of leaving him out to send him a message is starting to become quite popular.

Sometimes, that’s what it takes to make a young player like him understand things. But it can’t go on like this.

At least, if Martin St-Louis wants to give himself the best chance of winning night after night, he’ll have to act. For the good of his club, and that of his protégé.

In fact, it seems that St-Louis wants to win lately.

Last night, only David Savard and Mike Matheson played more than 18 minutes among the defensemen, and that’s saying something…

Meanwhile, there’s Arber Xhekaj in Laval, waiting for another chance to make his mark in the NHL.

The Sheriff was on everyone’s mind last night during the game against the Hurricanes, by the way.

Stefan Noesen violently hit Juraj Slafkovsky and nobody came to the young man’s defense, which probably wouldn’t have happened with #72 in the line-up

And that, as it were, was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Many, including Matt Drake of Eyes On The Prize, think the Habs should recall Xhekaj to give Barron a break:

We know what Arber Xhekaj brings to the rink, and it’s true that he too has some defensive shortcomings.

That’s why he was demoted to the AHL… But right now, it’s almost impossible to do worse than Barron.

If you’re going to have a defensively atrocious defenseman who Martin St-Louis can’t trust… Might as well have a defenseman who has defensive shortcomings, but who brings a positive element to the coach’s line-up, right?

At the end of the day, the Habs simply have to find a solution to help Justin Barron. They have to give him the “chance” to realize that he has to give more, because everyone knows he can do it.

There’s a reason Kent Hughes spoke so highly of him, after all.

In bursts

– He’s dominating right now.

– It’s going to be interesting.

– Voilà!

– Nice.

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