Do not be expecting the Canadiens to be calling up Ryan Poehling any time soon. Poehling’s first AHL game came nowhere close to matching his first NHL contest. Not only did the 20-year-old center fail to score a goal or garner a point, he ended his first Laval game -2, and once again had some struggles in the faceoff circle, and was guilt of several turnovers, including three in one first-period shift.
Poehling wouldn’t be the first NCAA hotshot to get sent down to the minors and quickly discover that it’s not going to be a picnic replicating what he did in college…the AHL is fast hockey played by grown men.
Nothing to get too excited about either way. He can’t be faulted for thinking it would go a little easier considering that he had a hat trick in his one and only NHL game last April. Surely that meant he would net at least five in Laval…would it not?
He is coming back from a concussion and only played twice in the past three weeks going into the game, so expectations may have been a little high. He will adjust to the pace soon enough, and we can expect some better games in the near future.
Josh Brook had a relatively quiet opening match..failing to stand out either positively or negatively. Certainly…if one wanted to compare – Fleury looked better in Game 1 versus NHL competition than Brook did versus AHL players, so Brook is another promising prospect I would not be in a rush to see being called up. He will need some seasoning.
- Playing Alain and Cox over Pezzetta and Verbeek (who is in the ECHL) rankles me. And Olofsson can’t be ready soon enough so Lamarche can watch from the stands. Kudos to Lamarche managing to play 73 AHL games last season for Laval…now back to the ECHL where you belong.
*It was a rough third AHL shift for Poehling. Kicked out of the faceoff circle, and then three turnovers before causing an offside. There will be those times; adjusting to playing pro hockey
*Plenty to like about Lukas Vejdemo, but his skating is just not quite there….it’s arguably below average at the AHL level. If it can improve he has a shot at a fourth-line center role some day. The clock is ticking, though. He better improve it over the next 12 months.
*Matt Peca’s skating will make him a dangerous AHL player and a borderline NHLer…what appears to be his Achilles heel besides a lack of size is problems handling the puck at times. It happened a lot in Montreal and it was happening tonight in Laval…pucks bounce off of his stick too often.
*Alex Belzile’s pass to Hudon for Laval’s power play goal was terrific and it was nice to see Hudon pull the trigger with a hard one-timer. He needed to do that in the exhibition season a couple of times. His misfortune being sent down will be Laval’s blessing; expect him to produce at a steady clip.
*Charlie Lindgren would like to have that game-winning goal back…a backhander from the high slot. He has had a disturbing habit of giving up at least one soft goal a game for the past two seasons, and that needs to stop for this Laval team to break the nine-year slump of Montreal’s AHL affiliates missing the playoffs. I was frankly disappointed that Primeau didn’t get the call; here’s hoping he’s the starter by mid season.