Riding the Metro
Over the past few years, Metropolit has gotten used to getting the call from his coach when one of his teammates goes off to serve a penalty. With a team-leading 10 power play goals to his name so far this season, though, Metro is more likely to find himself out on the ice with the man advantage these days.
“When Gio [Brian Gionta] went down with an injury in November, I filled in for him on the right side on one of the power play units and something just clicked,” explained Metropolit, who before this year had scored just eight power play goals in his entire career combined. “I get in front of the net and try to distract the goalie. It’s great to be able to contribute, no matter the circumstances.”
After enjoying just 12 minutes with the man advantage all of last year under John Stevens in Philadelphia and then Guy Carbonneau and Bob Gainey in Montreal, Metropolit has found himself averaging 2 minutes and 16 seconds on the power play per game in 2009-10. A far cry from his time in Atlanta in 2006-07 – his third of seven NHL stops – when the speedy center wasn’t exactly quarterbacking the Thrashers’ power play, either.
“Bob Hartley, the head coach of the Thrashers at the time, split the job between me and Scott Mellanby, but I didn’t really have much of a role,” recalled Metropolit. “All I did was stand in front of the net, but I wasn’t really making plays happen.”
Brought in on waivers from the Flyers in February 2009, Metropolit has since become exactly the kind of defensive forward Gainey was looking for last year.
“When I got to camp this year, I was kind of expecting to have a defensive role as a penalty killer, kind of like last year,” admitted Metropolit. “I definitely wasn’t expecting to be getting so much time on the power play, let alone leading the team in power play goals, that’s for sure.”
Currently enjoying his time in the Top 10 in the league in that category, it looks like Metro might just have a new bargaining chip up his sleeve when his two-year contract expires this season. But for now, Metropolit is focused only taking full advantage of his newfound opportunity.
“My contract? We’ll worry about that after the season.”
Alexandre Harvey is a writer for canadiens.com. Translated by Shauna Denis.
Canadiens ink Hunter Bishop
Habs notebook - March 18, 2010
Between the pipes
Six and counting