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Canadian players haven’t forgotten Arber Xhekaj
The Canadiens are on fire: they picked up their 5th point in three games (2-0-1) last night in Minnesota. He also picked up his 5th point out of a possible 6 on the road since December 8.

Unfortunately, the boys started the game flat and went back to the locker room with a 0-2 deficit after 20 minutes. Not a single player was ready to start the game early in the first. Had Martin St-Louis prepared them badly? Maybe…

But even with this poor start, more or less competent/impartial referees, players preaching indiscipline and a couple of weak goals awarded by Samuel Montembeault, the club didn’t give up, refused to give up and managed to come back from behind twice (catch-up hockey). The result: an overtime defeat that still earns the team a point.

The Habs find themselves five points out of a playoff spot, caught in a congestion with the Sabres, Penguins, Red Wings and Devils

But it’s also five points from second-bottom in the East, with only the Sabres, Blue Jackets and Senators behind it. Let’s say the glass is half a third full, if you will…

The factremains that very few players contributed to last night’s score: Suzuki, Caufield, Slafkovsky, Matheson and Savard. That’s it.

In short, last night’s point came from the first trio and the first defensive pair. If the first trio had been a little stronger last night, the Tricolore would have escaped Minnesota with the win.

But it’s good to see the first trio producing… like a first trio.

Nick Suzuki picked up a point in his fourth straight game (six points in total), scoring his first goal in six games.

Juraj Slafkovsky, the perfect complement to the NickCole duo according to many, scored his first goal in 14 games. He also had his first game of more than one point (2) since November 18.

And Cole Caufield also had a good game overall.

Last night, the Habs’ first trio was too strong for the rest of the group. If it had been an intra-squad game, it would have washed the others out. It’s often said that Suzuki and Caufield would be second-trio players for a contender team, but yesterday they played as well as any first trio in the league. The numbers speak for themselves.

Arber Xhekaj and his Montreal Laval teammates
Kirby Dach, whose season ended on October 14, is feeling better. He shared a post on his Instagram account yesterday showing him standing without crutches or a walker. He doesn’t even seem to be wearing a splint, at least not over his pants.

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A post shared by Kirby Dach (@kdach77)

This photo wasn’t taken in the last few hours, as the Canadian is currently on the road.

This is good news for Kirby Dach, a guy who underwent surgery just two months ago.

However,he had to promise his surgeon that he wouldn’t return to the game in 2023-24 before going under the knife.

Two other things are worth mentioning in this holiday image. First, Alex Newhook can be seen riding around on some kind of medical scooter. Newhook should be able to return to the game in March, but that’s a long way off.

More importantly, the photo features six Canadiens players, Santa Claus… and Arber Xhekaj. Knowing that Xhekaj was traded to the Rocket on December 4 and that this photo was possibly taken after that (the team’s Christmas event), we can conclude that Xhekaj is still hanging out with first-team guys. Or that Kirby Dach doesn’t hesitate to refer to Xhekaj as his teammate.

No, the Habs players haven’t forgotten their Sheriff… and the organization doesn’t (really) seem to have thrown in the towel with the latter. Despite his recall and the array of left-handed defensemen in the organization…

I’m pretty sure a lot of them would applaud his recall… along with the owners of La Chambre restaurants.

Remember that Xhekaj has been doing very well for Laval over the past few games, both defensively and in terms of his discipline on the ice. In fact, that was the objective of his stint with the club-school…

When will we see him back with the big club? My money’s on the end of January, for reasons that aren’t very scientific or researched. How about you?

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