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Nobody’s worried about Juraj Slafkovsky’s blow
Last night, the Canadiens were in action in Carolina. It lost the game 5-3, for those who missed it.

The most talked-about incident in the wake of the game was the late-game hit on Juraj Slafkovsky. It was a blow to the head, there’s no other way to put it.

Here it is, for those interested.

Clearly, when you look at the replay, you can see that Stefan Noesen aimed for the head. His skates looked like they were going to take off the ice and Slaf fell to the ice like a potato sack. Even if he’s not the best-protected guy in the NHL, let’s just say there wasn’t much he could do about it last night.

But was he punished? No. Why not? Because… uh… good question.

In reality, nobody seemed to mind it on the ice either. I know Cole Caufield’s role isn’t to fight, but Slaf’s teammates, who didn’t finish the game, didn’t make the opponent pay.

Kaiden Guhle, Jordan Harris and Nick Suzuki were also on the ice. And the captain is being called names on social networks for not defending his teammate…

Will it take the Sheriff’s return for the Habs to get some respect?

But it’s not just on the ice that people don’t seem to care. Josh Anderson, questioned after the game, said his teammate looked okay and not to worry.

The same goes for Sean Monahan, who saw the move quickly but thought his team-mate looked OK.

Add to this the fact that there should be no further sanction against the Canes player and the fact that everything looks OK for Slaf after his tests on the bangs of the concussion protocol and we have the portrait of a club that isn’t doing much at the moment.

We’ll see today how Slaf feels, but I think the blow to Slaf’s head yesterday is being downplayed a lot. Josh Anderson may say that these blows need to be reviewed, but let’s just say that yesterday, the Habs didn’t send a big message following the blow to Slaf.

It’s also worth noting that Martin St-Louis didn’t really seem angry about the hit on Slaf in his post-game remarks. It’s all very well to talk about Slaf having to protect himself (which is very true), but it seems to me that I’d have liked to have seen more dog on the Habs’ side to defend Slafkovsky.

But hey. That’s not all that should be remembered about Martin St-Louis’ men’s first post-Christmas game since December 22. The Hurricanes had shaken off the rust in Wednesday’s game.

So, what should we remember?

1. The Habs got off to a poor start, and everyone agrees with that. But despite that, Martin St-Louis enjoyed the rest of the game, with his boys putting in a lot of effort. The same goes for the players.

But as Simon-Olivier Lorange points out, did you see a lot of shots in the third? I understand that the effort was there, but…

2. The good news is that the Habs were still opportunistic at the right times. The two first-period goals (including Mike Matheson’s power-play goal) are proof of that.

The Habs also managed to regain a two-goal lead for the third game in a row. It didn’t result in a win, but still. That’s a positive. #Character

3. Asked about the work of his goaltender, Martin St-Louis said Cayden Primeau had been decent. The latter made 26 saves on 30 shots and saw Martin St-Louis win a challenge in the first period on a (cancelled) Hurricanes goal.

I don’t know why Primeau was playing a second straight game (in fact, I wonder who wanted to evaluate him), but he certainly didn’t earn many points last night.

4. Sean Monahan, with an assist in the first, earned his 500th NHL point. He became the fourth player in the 2013 draft to reach that plateau in his career.

Nathan MacKinnon, Aleksander Barkov and Elias Lindholm are the other members of the group.

5. Yesterday, Josh Anderson found the back of the net for the fifth time in five games. He’s really picked up since his two-goal game against the New York Islanders.

Much to his coach’s delight.

6. Jayden Struble continues to impress. He’s playing more and more minutes (16:38 yesterday, his second-highest total in the NHL) and is really solid when he needs to make a play.

With the duo of Kaiden Guhle and Justin Barron not always perfect, Martin St-Louis must be happy to count on Struble and the return of Jordan Harris, who did well in his return to action yesterday.

7. The last time the Habs won a game in Carolina was in 2016. On April 7, 2016, Michel Therrien’s Habs collected the W in Carolina with that lineup.

Of the lot, only Brendan Gallagher remains.

8. Jesperi Kotkaniemi played 9:41 yesterday. That’s by far the lowest total of any Hurricanes skater. For the Habs, only the fourth trio did worse.

Things aren’t going well for KK these days. Will he be able to bounce back?


With the loss, the Canadiens find themselves in 13th place in the East. They’re also four points out of the playoffs at the time of writing, which is pretty crazy.

It’s also 10th in Tankathon’s rankings, for what it’s worth.

(Credit: Tankathon)

But the Habs’ priority is the next game. The club traveled to Florida yesterday, and the guys will practice at 12:30 p.m. in preparation for tomorrow night’s game against the Panthers. We’ll be watching to see if Slaf makes it to practice.

The Habs will also play in Tampa Bay on Sunday and Dallas on Tuesday before returning to Montreal.

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