When The ‘H’ Stands For… Healthcare

In a hockey season, there will be injuries. And some seasons will be worse than others. But the string of injuries suffered by the Montreal Canadiens is getting totally out of hand. Never, in my 50 plus years of hockey, do I remember seeing a rash of injuries so important on one team… and there have been some bad ones! To make matters worse, the situation in Montreal has most of their top players out of the line-up. This is forcing the team to play with bottom line and pairings defense, their backup goaltender. They also have to give bigger roles too soon to young players and many AHLers.

Last night against the Stanley Cup champions Tampa Bay Lightning, the Canadiens had 64% worth of $81.5 million salary limit out of the line-up in a 3-2 loss. You don’t believe it? Do the math:

Carey Price$10,500,000
Shea Weber$7,857,143
Brendan Gallagher$6,500,000
Jeff Petry$6,250,000
Josh Anderson$5,500,000
Tyler Toffoli$4,500,000
Joel Edmundson$3,500,000
Joel Armia$3,400,000
Paul Byron$3,400,000
Sami Niku$750,000
TOTAL$52,157,143 / $81,500,000 = 64%

Only three of the players listed above aren’t top line forwards, top pairing defensemen or a starting goalie. That’s right. That’s the impact the injuries have had all season long on the Canadiens. Price, Weber, Edmundson and Byron have yet to play a game so far this season. We’re a third of the season in.

To make matters worse, the Canadiens lost Christian Dvorak ($4.45M) early in the second period last night. So they finished the game with 69.5% of the $81.5 million cap out of their line-up!!!

Gutsy effort

The Canadiens played an almost perfect game last night against the Lightning. They were the better team on the ice for most of the game. But as it’s been the case all season long, two defensive breakdowns in the final two minutes or so resulted in to pucks in the back of their net.

Jake Allen has been very solid as of late. David Savard has greatly improved in the last 10-14 days and had his best game in a Habs’ uniform last night. Ben Chiarot is his usual reliable self and he’s raising his trade value each day. Nick Suzuki collected the 100th point of his young career. Alexander Romanov is playing like a top-4 defenseman already. Ryan Poehling and Michael Pezzetta are playing like they belong.

Constant negativity

In spite of that great effort, we could see a bunch of fans on social media complaining about the team. Don’t people have a sense of reality here? Really, what did they expect? Realistically. For one, this team is going nowhere this season. Geoff Molson cleaned house on the seventh floor at the Bell Centre.

Jeff Gorton isn’t a week into the job and they’re looking for a new GM. They’re in the process of evaluating what they have. What world are those people living in? Take a deep breath, get some fresh air and mostly, get a dose of reality here folks. Arm yourself with a little patience and give this new management a bit of time to turn around… at least until the end of this season. It’s the only smart thing to do.

More reading…

Dominique Ducharme The Scapegoat

Media Relationship: It’s Complicated

Medical Staff and Carey Price’s Future