Modifications have been made to the ice surface at the Habs Brossard practice facility.
In the wake of the Habs 3-1 loss to the Florida Panthers, in which they again went 0-for-the night on the powerplay, coach Jacques Martin instructed maintenance staff at Brossard to paint a big freakin' white arrow on the ice in hopes that it would help Canadiens shooters, specifically P.K. Subban, zero in on the opposition's net.
The arrow, approximately twenty feet long, cuts a swath through the slot and between the faceoff circles, pointing directly at the blue paint of the crease. To further impress on players the role of the arrow, Martin also had the words "This Way, Subban" stenciled at the base.
"It's been no secret that through the first 11 games of the season our powerplay has sucked the balls of a donkey. Much of that has to do with the inability of our point shooters to hit the net with their shots, or at the very least get them through traffic to set up a tip or deflection."
The Hab powerplay is near the bottom of the league in efficiency at under 8%, and has been held off the scoreboard for 8 of the team's first 11 games.
"Even though it's P.K.'s name on the ice, it's my hope that other players will use the training aid to their benefit", added the coach.
When pressed about who the "other players" were that Martin alluded to, he responded, "Cammy's been missing the net by wide margins lately, too. It's been, what... nine games since that little prick scored the goal. Believe me, I wanted to include his name along with that of Subban, but the painters couldn't remember how many L's were in Cammalleri, so I told them to forget it. It's two, correct?"
According to the NHL, the Canadiens have made an application to have the big freakin' arrow painted on the Bell Centre ice for regular season games, but that move has been rejected, the NHL saying that the only markings allowed the ice during and NHL game are those as described in the NHL rules.
"If we make an exception for the Canadiens, then we'll have to make an exception for everybody," said NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. "Pretty soon every team would want their own big freakin' arrow(s). I'm already having a hard enough time explaining to redneck Americans what the other lines on the ice are for. You'd think that the term 'icing' would be self-explanatory.'"
Regardless of the view of the league, if the massive new training aid at Brossard leads to an increase in shooting percentage in game action Martin says that plans are in place to paint another big freakin' arrow at the other end of the rink in hopes of doubling the ininitiative's efficiency.
"Maybe for the next one, we break into the swear jar and splurge and make it yellow," said Martin. "THAT would be lots of awesomeness.".