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Having three goalkeepers puts too much pressure on Arber Xhekaj and the defence

The Canadiens currently have three goalies in their line-up. No, please, don’t fall off your chair this lunchtime: that wasn’t exactly the point of the operation.

The more time passes, the more we understand that Kent Hughes wants to (finally) secure Samuel Montembeault’s contract before parting with another masked man.

That’s legitimate, but…

That said, you have to look at the impact this has on the goalkeepers. After all, even if they’re doing well this season, they must be looking forward to a sense of urgency from their boss.

And as Renaud Lavoie (JdeM) reports, right now, that’s not the case.

Asked about the DGs’ presence in Toronto, Kent Hughes doesn’t want to “fix something that isn’t broken”, and since his goalies are doing well, there’s no rush.

It’s not an emergency to fix this, even if we don’t want it to be like this all season. There are things we need to keep evaluating. – Kent Hughes

But the problem is bigger than that. Instead of having 21 active skaters, the CH is only allowed 20. The typical 23-man roster is built for two goalies, not three.

Usually, we’re talking about 13 or 14 forwards and seven or eight defensemen. This gives the team a lot of breathing room when injuries occur.

But with three goalies, the CH doesn’t have a lot of leeway when injuries occur. And when the club announces that three guys need a day of treatment…

That’s not to say that Rafaël Harvey-Pinard, Mike Matheson and Jordan Harris will all miss their turn tomorrow, but there are doubts right now. And that’s normal.

So, of the 20 skaters, three are in bad shape. It’s probably more than three, but three are in such bad shape that they have to take time off for treatment.

If RHP can’t play, the CH will use Michael Pezzetta. It’s a lesser evil – although I like the Quebecer better.

But defensively, it’s a different kettle of fish. After all, if Harris and Matheson can’t play (I’d be surprised if Matheson didn’t, though), the CH will only have five guys on hand.

And right now, in Laval, no one is a miracle solution.

As a result, it’s the defensemen who are currently the victims of the ménage à trois in front of the net. Joel Armia too, you might say… and that’s not exactly untrue.

And of necessity, this means that Arber Xhekaj can’t breathe, as he’s playing less and less during games, as Raphaël Doucet of La Poche Bleue points out.

At the start of the season, the defenseman was playing more. But now, even if he’s not penalized, he’s spending more and more time on the bench. That’s not a bad thing, since he’s having a little more trouble on the ice these days…

But it does demonstrate the need for depth.

Mike Matheson, Kaiden Guhle, Justin Barron and Johnathan Kovacevic are playing very well, and if there were any extras, they’re not guys who’d skip a turn, we agree.

But if the CH had some muscle on the blue line, maybe the coaching staff could consider that Xhekaj might benefit from a breath of fresh air out of the lineup once in a while.

But because of Cayden Primeau, that’s not possible.

I’m not saying I’d necessarily leave the big defender out anytime soon. But if there were an internal struggle, it would force him to play as if his place in the lineup depended on it, and he’d think twice before compromising himself defensively to apply a check.

In bursts

– So much the better.

– Josh Anderson must score tomorrow.

– Really?

– P.K. is happy when it shakes out.

– For soccer fans.

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