All Habs Mailbag: Devils, Therrien, Price, Bad Anthems

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By Jared Book, Staff Writer, All Habs Hockey Magazine

MONTREAL, QC – With Chantal on vacation, I am honoured to take over the Mailbag for the next two weeks. The draft is this weekend, and the season is just about over. Before we get going with a busy summer, let us take some time to answer some questions.allhabsmailbag

Do you have a question or a topic you would like us to discuss? Okay, here’s what you can do.

Let us know:

  1. who you are
  2. where you’re from
  3. if you wish, send us a photo of you in your favourite Habs gear
  4. who’s your favorite player, present or past
  5. and of course, your question

You can contact us via Twitter, our Facebook page or email at info (at) allhabs (dot) net

We’ll feature you, and your question, in the All Habs Mailbag!

Here’s what you wanted to discuss this week:

Given their financial difficulties, could the New Jersey Devils ever be a candidate for sale/relocation?

Travis, New York

I am very torn on this question. You don’t hear much about the Devils financial difficulties besides the odd attendance issues. However, there is a real problem there. If you haven’t noticed, the New Jersey Devils are the only remaining major professional team with New Jersey in their name. The former co-tenants at the Prudential Center, the New Jersey Nets have moved to Brooklyn. The New York Islanders have taken that route as well.

News that they have defaulted on a restructured loan payment definitely doesn’t help things but the biggest problem that the New Jersey Devils have is that they have no face of the franchise. Yes, they have Martin Brodeur but I mean after he retires which should be relatively soon. They no longer have a Zach Parise. Scott Stevens and Scott Niedermayer are long retired. Ilya Kovalchuk is never going to have the New Jersey Devils come to mind. David Clarkson will probably leave as well. Long-term, that may be a bigger problem than their financials.

The last variable is that the state of New Jersey tried very hard to keep Metlife Stadium (home of the NFL’s Jets and Giants) in the state. They tried unsuccessfully to keep the Nets. The Prudential Center is a beautiful building and the Devils are their biggest tenant. I would not expect the Devils to leave New Jersey without a fight and all possible options are explored.

What does Michel Therrien need to improve next season?

Dave, Montreal

Learning the strengths and weaknesses of his players, and accountability. Therrien used both of these things sparingly last year and a major reason for that was the short season. With limited practice and no time to waste, Therrien was slow to adjust and split up things that weren’t working. Alex Galchenyuk barely got any power play time, and David Desharnais and Max Pacioretty were together for most of the season despite their production getting worse as the season wore on. With a full training camp ahead and higher expectations around the team, I would expect a shorter leash on most Canadiens as Therrien will be able to experiment more if things aren’t going well over an 82 game season.

Carey Price: Are the poor coaching rumors justified? Or was his unsteady play at the end due to fatigue and/or injury?

@halfbeerjurr via Twitter

There is no way any one knows the answer for sure except for the Canadiens brass or Price himself.

I’ve seen it said that a good goaltending coach doesn’t make the goalie learn a new style, instead using the goalie’s strengths and weaknesses to mould his own style. It could be blamed on the short season, a limited training camp but the style didn’t mould with Price this season and there were not very many adjustments made. This was a major reason Pierre Groulx was not retained, but I’m not sure it was the only reason that Price struggled late in the year and in the playoffs.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Price wasn’t playing through some pain before he left Game 4 against the Ottawa Senators. In an 82 game season, I would expect Peter Budaj to get some more regular work this season, and a spaced out schedule should allow for Price to get a little more rest, and a little more time to work out kinks with a regular practice schedule.

Who is the worst anthem singer in the NHL?

[By popular request from last Mailbag]

If you know their name, they are probably on this list. The fact is, the anthem singers that fist pump, wave towels or anything else probably antagonize opposing fans as much as they rally their own. Much like Brandon Gallagher or Brad Marchand, you hate them to sing against you but would love them to sing for your team.

So, while I don’t care for Lyndon Slewidge, Rene Rancourt and I don’t really even like Charles Prevost-Linton. Maybe I just hate anthems… But on that note, the worst? Probably someone who never gets invited back. Like this person in Ottawa.