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Saturday, April 5, 2014

Beaulieu is Back!

The day has finally come. Nathan Beaulieu has finally been recalled by the Montreal Canadiens in light of Douglas Murray being handed a three game suspension.  In my opinion, this is long overdue. Beaulieu is a dynamic defensive man who has done everything in his power to improve his all around game in hopes of making the club full time. At one point this season he seemed like he was in Montreal to stay.  Leading up to the Olympic break Beaulieu was playing regular minutes, and appeared as though he was a perfect fit. When he was sent down to Hamilton for the break, everyone assumed he would be back up right after. I would have taken it as a slap in the face to be passed over after having success and proving my worth. I can only assume that this is how Beaulieu would feel. He deserves this chance, and will have to make the most of his opportunity.

Beaulieu has played 16 games with the Canadiens thus far this season. He has 2 assists, a +5 rating, 14 shots and only 8 penalty minutes in that time. Is there room for improvement? Absolutely. But in order to improve, Beaulieu at this point in his hockey career, he needs to advance to the next level of competition. There are a couple of guys battling for a spot on the Habs D core heading down the stretch, and I believe Beaulieu should have an equal opportunity.

Lets look at some stats of guys who are battling for the final spot (or two) (before Friday's game).

Francis Boullion
48 GP, one goal, four assists for a total of five points. He has 31 shots despite being seen on the second PP unit relatively frequently for some odd reason. Boullion sees time on a top pairing alongside offensive catalyst PK Subban.

Douglas Murray
52 GP, no goal, 2 assists, and has only 25 shots on net. Murray is a big man and is meant to bring size and grit to an otherwise small line-up. He does that, but that is about it. His skating is very sloppy, and he makes some terrible decisions where he really shouldn't. Why he is playing such big minutes is beyond me.

Jarred Tinordi
19 GP, no goal and no assist. He has nine shots on net, but has not really been used as an offensive defenseman. Tinordi deserves a spot in this line-up just the same as Beaulieu. He makes mistakes sometimes, but playing in the NHL will help improve these small in-game errors.

In a perfect world, Nathan Beaulieu and Jarred Tinordi would both have permanent spots on this Canadiens team. Timordi is a big man, who is willing to play physically, drop his gloves, be a shutdown player, and will go on rushes when the time is right. He brings everything Montreal needs in a defenceman and should have a permanent spot next season on the Habs back end. Beaulieu has a great offensive upside, and is a smart player. He is exactly what Montreal needs on a second PP unit as he is able to put the puck in the net. Playing with an excellent role model in PK Subban would help take Beaulieu's game to a whole new level.

With Murray and Gorges both out, these two young studs should get their opportunity to play with the club. There are spots available, and I hope Therrien makes the right decision here.

Welcome back Beau-flow!

Thanks for reading, and give me a follow @Darrinharmy

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