In this week’s Montreal Canadiens news and rumors rundown, we’ll break down trade rumors, Canadiens roster updates, and much more.
During Saturday’s post-game press conference, head coach Dominique Ducharme confirms that Tomas Tatar is day-to-day with a lower-body injury (LBI)
This adds Tatar to a growing list of injuries, namely Paul Byron (LBI) and Jonathan Drouin (non-COVID illness) as listed as day-to-day. For a team having difficulty scoring goals, losing three top-nine wingers hurts. The silver lining may be that fans might finally get to see Cole Caufield called up from the taxi squad.
Gilles Lupien Nearing the End
The Canadiens’ 1974 second-round pick, Gilles Lupien, has returned to hospital as his cancer has returned. After a check-up to ensure his cancer from the year prior was in remission, the doctors found something, and told him, “Monsieur Lupien, we think maybe September, you’re made of strong stuff, maybe October. It is terminal, you have five months to live”
The former Habs enforcer, who won three Stanley Cups while protecting players such as Steve Shutt and Guy Lafleur, spent many seasons as a player agent taking care of the young players entering the NHL. He approached being an agent as he did as an NHL enforcer, he defended the young men he represented. “Loupie” as he was affectionately called, impacted many lives in hockey and outside of hockey. His last months will be spent living as best as he can with family and friends. Cancer Sucks.
Caufield’s Skills Impress
Max Talbot was interviewed by Mathias Brunet of La Presse in Montreal (Mathias Brunet, Caufield va en marquer, des buts, dans la LNH, La Presse, 23 Apr 2021)
In that interview, Talbot, who works with Pat Brisson, Caufield’s agent, was asked about the young winger’s skill set and his expectations.
While fans are worried that Caufield isn’t getting enough playing time, Talbot sees it differently.
“He would be in good hands under Joel Bouchard, but if he plays two or six games in the AHL won’t change his development”Maxime Talbot
Talbot also commented on the skill set Caufield displays,
“Those who think he won’t play in the NHL don’t really know anything. He’s the type of player that we haven’t seen in Montreal in a long time. He has a tool like Stamko, like Ovechkin. No one can shoot like (Caufield) can”Maxime Talbot
While not playing a few AHL games isn’t slowing his development, it isn’t speeding it along either. Getting into the Canadiens lineup would be beneficial not just for his development, but also to add some excitement for the fans. At worst, he gets to see the speed of the NHL game, at best, he is able to help the team’s stalled offence and power play.
Caufield Keeps Winning
With his 30 goals in 31 games this season, Caufield has won the Hobey Baker Award as the NCAA’s MVP. Soon after he was awarded the Wisconsin Badgers team MVP honours.
Now, Caufield has been awarded United States College Hockey Online (USCHO) MVP award as voted on by NCAA Division writers and editors.
Caufield had an incredible sophomore season, and took advantage of playing in one of the few leagues in the world that had a full season, which could only help his confidence and his progression.
Destiny in Their Own Hands
Habs fans are getting worried. The Candiens have 10 games remaining in the regular season as they try to hold onto the fourth and final playoff position in the Scotiabank North Division
The team still controls its own destiny. However, that means they’ll need to start winning games again. Jeff Petry echos the views of the players
“We control our own destiny. Our fate’s in our hands. We play and we execute and get the wins … it’s in our hands.”Jeff Petry (from ‘In the Habs’ Room: ‘We control our own destiny,’ Jeff Petry says,’ Montreal Gazette, 04/25/2021)
This edition of the Canadiens has its problems, that being said, there is enough depth on the team that they could reasonably expect to win five of their last 10 games to finally earn a playoff position for the third time in the last five seasons. There is no more room for error, or excuses. It’s time to take control of their own destiny, or face another early offseason.
As the NHL season continues, keep an eye on The Hockey Writers and our new THW Podcast Network for the latest Canadiens news, notes and rumors.