I understand the role of Gionta. He's not a top 6 player, people should looking at him as one, but he's still a fantastic possession/defensive player who can chip in the odd goal, especially for his size. Yes he has a big contract, but it's the final year. I think people are wayyyyyyyyyy too hard on him because they think his level of play should match his dollar amount. Outside of his PP, Therrien used Gionta quite well.
As for Desharnais and Briere. Well, it's tricky. I would understand their role if we had one of the two on the team, but both of them together is absolutely redundant. Seriously, Briere wasn't needed as long Desharnais is here.
Coming from a Flyers fan, Briere's not needed on any team at this point in his career.
It's funny because it's not that far away from being a good D-core. Losing Emelin hurt a lot and showed how thin the D was. Even when Emelin comes back, the D improves, but it's still missing a big minute-eater.
The problem is that Diaz-Boullion-Tinordi (for now)-Murray are all bottom pairing D men. Subban is the only real top 3 d-man. Gorges can play a good top 4 complimentary role, but he's out of his league being given huge minutes on the first pairing. Markov is still good, he just needs a solid partner: Emelin.
D stretches to your forwards as well. If my impression of Desharnais from skimming your board is correct, Desharnais and Briere makes the situation worse for you guys as far as the D goes, especially paired up together.
-Markov and Diaz were brutal (although nice assist to Diaz on the first goal). D corps as a whole looked pretty suspect.
-Eller was a beast, nothing else to say.
-The game wasn't his fault but at no point did I feel confident in Price...he was overplaying everything and fighting the puck all night.
-Team toughness was really impressive. Moen jumping in for Prust was what we needed to see from him. Tinordi wrecked Ashton. Parros was filling the role we needed until that horrific fall. Hopefully he's OK.
-Same for Pacioretty, hope it's nothing serious in his case.
-Desharnais and Briere were pretty invisible. Plekanec a little less so, but all 3 have to be better.
I thought Price made some good athletic saves and overall played decently, but as WTK pointed out he didn't play to the level he needs to be at for this team to be consistently competitive. One thing i noticed was that he still has the tendency to take himself out of position a bit on his cross crease slides. I think Waite is working on that with him and hopefully he can get better at that. Still the loss was most definitely not his fault.
Desharnais was our worst player, and while i understand Therrien's rationale for continuing to give the EGG line sheltered minutes, i hope he realizes pretty soon that they are ready for an increased role. All in all we have too many unidimensional small guys in our top 9 and it continues to be an issue. Still, the Habs are a team in transition and it don't expect much to change until some of our younger guys are ready. Just gotta suck it up until then.
Our D was terrible but i think its important to keep in mind just how banged up they are. We continue to struggle with Emelin out of the lineup precisely because he is the type of top 4 D we are missing. Tinordi looked good, and i am VERY excited to see what he's capable of with more confidence. Diaz and Markov was a disaster. Gorges was all over the place but wasn't a liability.
All in all some encouraging things and some of the same issues. Hopefully the coaches saw the same things the fans did.
Just a few weeks ago I posted on here that our d was awful and one of the worst d-corps in the east.
I was laughed off the board. All I kept hearing was "2nd in the east hurhurhur"...Well, I ****ing told you guys this defence sucks. I told you. It was obvious since last year this defence sucks.
At least now you all see it too.
With everyone healthy, our defense is not even close to being the worst in the East. We're not even bottom three in our own division (Florida, Tampa Bay and Buffalo).
Also, I highly doubt you were "laughed off the board" considering it is widely known that our defense is the weakest aspect of our team. But it's hardly fair to make that statement after the first game of the season, with 4 injuries on the back end...