The NHL has announced that the activities of the Montreal Canadiens would not resume until late March after two players (Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Joel Armia) were place under the league’s COVID protocol. Pending test results in the coming days, it is expected that the Canadiens will be able to re-open their facilities for practice on Monday, March 29. The decision was made by the League’s, NHLPA’s and Club’s medical groups. No other Canadiens’ player or staff was was added to the list today, but they decided to rather play it safe than sorry. This announcement means the cancellation – or postponement – of a total of four games so far: three against the Edmonton Oilers and the first of a four-game series against the Ottawa Senators.
While the news is not good, it’s not all bad for the Canadiens as the team is going through its first true rash of injuries. Josh Anderson is back but still nursing a leg injury. Ben Chiarot broke his hand in a fight against T.J. Miller of the Canucks and is out for a period of six to eight weeks. And it had been announced that the team’s top goals’ scorer, Tyler Toffoli, was going to miss the three games against the Oilers. It was obvious that some players were running out of juice, like captain Shea Weber and sophomore center Nick Suzuki amongst others.
An early trade deadline
One of the biggest tumbling blocks of this unusual year’s trade deadline is the quarantine period of 14 days if a Canadian team acquires a player from the United States. With this week off, this unsuspected break could be the perfect timing for Habs’ GM Marc Bergevin to pull the trigger on a deal or two. Not only will his players get healthier and rested, but the team would miss the new player(s) only a week instead of two, with no games being played.
It has been reported that Bergevin was in talks with David Poile, of the Nashville Predators, and perhaps more players form his team. I have been watching the Preds closely lately and Mattias Ekholm has been a monster since Roman Josi was out (he came back last night). But there’s also Erik Haula, a 30-year old Finnish center who is flirty with the 55% bar in the faceoffs’ circle the last couple of seasons. Some rumours said that teams were calling for Filip Forsberg but the Preds trading him would make very little sense.
Regardless, Bergevin has the assets to trade, including Jordan Harris, who decided to stay at Northeastern University to play his fourth and final season. Keep an eye on Bergevin and the Canadiens as if I can see that the timing is perfect, you can rest assures that he sees that too. Go Habs Go!