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Sports anxiety in Montreal, disaster in Ottawa and French in Arizona

It’s December 18 and autumn reminds us how unpleasant its rain can be. #Solstice #December21

Surprise, surprise, the Habs – despite a string of injuries to some of their key players – are still in the playoff hunt this morning. 2.3% is better than zero

The Habs are effectively four points – but two games down – on the Capitals and in last place for the “P” word. If things go on like this, Kent Hughes will be right, and the Habs will play meaningful games in March and April (while not extending their season into May).

The problem is, the channel may 0 or even probably – land by January 3.

Why? Because tonight, the Montreal club begins a seven-game series on the road… holiday games that are historically difficult for the Habs.

The Canadiens’ next seven opponents are, in order :

Jets (today)
Wild (Thursday)
Blackhawks (Friday)
Hurricanes (December 28)
Panthers (December 30)
Lightning (December 31)
Stars (January 2)

Let’s say I make an effort and try to side with the optimists, I’d be tempted to note the fact that the Habs won’t have to travel all the way to British Columbia, California or Arizona. #LongFlights

But having to face only one opponent (Chicago) with a lower points-per-game average (away from the Bell Centre, no less) is enough to dampen my morning positivity.Even though many Quebecers will be attending the games in Florida next week…

How many games will the Habs win on their long holiday trip? We’ll see.

The Habs have played more than a third of their season. On January 11, it will have played half its campaign. Will they still be in the playoff hunt? The next few weeks will be decisive.

What will Steve Staios do?
Speaking of decisive weeks, Ottawa Senators fans are on edge right now.

Pierre Dorion was fired a few weeks ago, and Steve Staios, President of Hockey Operations, is currently acting as interim GM. The latter probably had no intention of firing D.J. Smith before the end of the season – a bit like Jeff Gorton and Kent Hughes with Dominique Ducharme two years ago – but the pressure is starting to build.

The Sens lost a fourth consecutive game last night, and the team will be back at home next weekend. It’s often under these conditions that coaching changestake place.

Perhaps Steve Staios and Michael Andlauer are already on the case as I write this…

Only the poor Sharks and the very incomplete Blackawks have fewer points than the Senators in 2023-24. The Habs and their rebuild are doing better than the Sens and their completed rebuild…

Did Patrick Roy keep his phone open on the Florida golf courses?

Did Norm ‘s sources catch a glimpse of Roy in Kanata recently?

Will BPM Sports dare the Senators to make a move just before Christmas?

French in Arizona
It’s hard to get service in French in some Montreal neighborhoods…

And Canadian national anthems are rarely bilingual in NHL arenas =… or before a CFL playoff game involving the Alouettes!

But in Arizona, the French fact is respected. A number of Coyotes caps are currently on sale at the arena… with the NHL’s Franco logo on the back. Note the letters L-N-H rather than N-H-L.

Of course, this isn’t about respecting the French language. I was being sarcastic a few seconds earlier…

We’re talking about a mistake made by someone who works for the NHL or directly for the Coyotes. No, there’s no connection to be made with Quebec City and the Nordiques either…

Note that Coyotes fan Matt Abbott and his subscribers had no idea there was a French NHL logo. You know, when you say you’re lost in North America, in Quebec…


– Martin St-Louis will lead his 150th career game tonight in Manitoba. He has a 58-77-14 record behind an NHL bench. How would you rate him if you were his teacher… and you weren’t on strike, of course?

– Kaiden Guhle is capable of the best and the worst this season. On Saturday, he had a splendid game against the Islanders (1 assist and plus-4 differential). However, he had just gone four games without a point and with a negative differential. Some nights, he looks like a future Norris Trophy winner, while others, he’s turning the ball over Sami Niku-style.

When he’s able to be more consistent, Guhle will be a stud. Let’s be patient, he’s only 21.

– Teams have until 11:59 p.m. tomorrow night to make non-emergency recalls/returns or complete transactions. Will Kent Hughes move?

Note that the holiday freeze will be lifted on the morning of the 28th this year.

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