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Canadiens: a sad end to the season ahead
Credit: Capture d'écran / Screenshot

Canadiens hockey returns this week. It’ll be a quiet start to the week, with the Habs taking on the Capitals tomorrow night in Washington… and then not playing until Saturday afternoon. This will give Martin St-Louis and his men time to correct a few collective shortcomings. Rarely can the team practice so much without having to play games during the regular season.

On Saturday and Sunday afternoon, the Stars and Blues will visit the club in the afternoon (1:00 p.m.), as has been the case for several years during Super Bowl weekend. This means that all the week’s games will be broadcast on RDS. #NoHockeySaturdayNight

However, the Habs will have a new and better look this week.

First, Sean Monahan has been traded to the Winnipeg Jets. To say the team will miss him, both on the ice and in the dressing room, is an understatement.

Second, Kent Hughes and Jeff Gorton recalled Lucas Condotta, who had been traded to the Rocket just before the All-Star break. The guy played two games this season in the show… games in which he played 6:36 and 5:20. At best, he’ll be the fourth center until Alex Newhook returns.

Third, the Canadiens signed Brandon Gignac, a local boy from Repentigny, to a one-and-a-half-year deal. Gignac isn’t the biggest (5’11 and 180 lbs.), but he’s one of the fastest. He also possesses a great deal of vision, as evidenced by the fact that this morning he was the fifth-highest scorer in the AHL.

Gignac came through the ECHL after playing his only NHL game. He never gave up. He richly deserves this contract and the privilege of playing for the Montreal Canadiens.

But…

Lucas Condotta doesn’t always play center in Laval. This weekend, he was used on the wing, as Philippe Maillet, Brandon Gignac, Mitchell Stephens and Jan Mysak were J-F Houle’s four centers. At least Gignac is a real center.

So, this morning, the Habs’ center line looks like this : Nick Suzuki, Jake Evans, Brandon Gignac and Lucas Condotta. Let’s face it: it’s tough out there for an NHL team.

Alex Newhook – who trained without restrictions yesterday – may have to be used at center when he returns, even though he’s much better on the wing than at center. So that won’t solve everything.

At the start of the season, we had Suzuki, Monahan, Dach, Newhook, Evans, Dvorak and so on as options at center…

Conclusion : the 2022-23 season totally fell apart when Sean Monahan was injured and didn’t return to the game. That’s exactly what’s likely to happen from now on. This morning, the Habs find themselves 10 points out of a playoff spot… with 33 games to go. It’s not going back up.

The odds of the club making the playoffs are around 2% according to various statistical models… but the odds of the club collapsing are close to 100% according to advanced studies myself. It’s just too bad that the Blackhawks, Sharks and Ducks are way/too far behind the Habs. #Lottery

33 games with Condotta, Evans, Gignac, Pearson, Pezzetta, Ylonen, Armia, Harvey-Pinard, Gallagher (after his suspension)… let’s just say that the offensive show at the Bell Centre won’t be worth the price of a ticket for the Reds very often. I’m willing to believe that Montreal’s young defense is interesting, but it’s not the defense of a team in the basement that puts on a show and draws people in.

Here’s hoping this is the last season of tanking and despair! Kent Hughes, Jeff Gorton and Geoff Molson talk like guys who will dare to aim for the playoffs next year. I hope these aren’t just empty words…

What about Lias Andersson?
Even with the medical and therapeutic changes made, the past will have guaranteed the future: the Habs had to deal with several injuries to the center this season: Dvorak, Dach, Newhook…

And now they must face the end of the season without Sean Monahan in uniform.

To compensate for these absences, Kent Hughes has called on Mitchell Stephens, Lucas Condotta and Brandon Gignac in recent weeks…

But I wonder why he hasn’t signed Lias Andersson.

The guy’s already played in the NHL. He’s 6’1. He was drafted by Jeff Gorton in New York. He plays center (and wing). He has 22 points in 26 games this season in Laval (he was injured). He has a positive differential.

Andersson is also on a roll, with 4 points in his last 3 games… and 13 in his last 12.

(Credit: Twitter/X)

Why did we sign him last summer if we don’t call him back when we need guys like him?

Even if he’s more comfortable on the wing than at center… Condotta was called back twice, in a pretty similar scenario. And Condotta (13 points in 40 games) is far less dangerous offensively.

Do we think Andersson is bad without the puck? Come on!

It’s not as if Joshua Roy and Emil Heineman, both wingers recalled earlier this season, are future Selke Trophy recipients.

There will always be decisions I don’t understand about the Montreal Canadiens. But then, who am I to challenge the calls of Jeff Gorton and Kent Hughes?

Let’s go Lucas!

In brief

– It’s going to be a big day in the world of sports/politics. #PressConferences

– Don’t you think we should know right now what other costs will be needed to renovate the interior of the Olympic Stadium AND who/what it will be used for before taking 1 billion of public money to install a new non-retractable roof? #ÇaVa?

– Matias Coccaro wants to break everything when he loses… even in a playful training game.

– The 2026 World Cup will be mostly American (and not at all Montreal).

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