At 1-6-1, the Montreal Canadiens are off to their worst eight-game start since the 1941-42 season. Sounds shocking. Doesn’t it? Much of the problem is the team’s inability to put the puck in the net as the team is currently ranked last (31st) in the NHL in goals scored at 1.5 per game (just 12 goals scored all year). However, despite that fact, Elliotte Friedman said Saturday on the Headlines segment on Hockey Night in Canada (via Emily Sadler of Sportsnet) that the team isn’t going into panic mode just yet.
“It’s the biggest story in the league and probably for no good reasons,” Friedman said Saturday. “I think the sense you get just from looking around is the Canadiens are determined not to make any panic moves.”
Sadler writes that the team’s start looks even worse compared to last year’s phenomenal start to the season when they were 7-0-1 after the first eight games. To make matters worse, the team is also among the worst in goals allowed as they are ranked 29th after averaging 4.13 goals in these first eight games. That’s with the NHL’s top goalie in Carey Price.
Friedman also said that it’s unlikely the team would make a general manger change and get rid of Marc Bergevin, even though Friedman said that four of the last five GM changes the Canadiens have made were in-season changes.
“I don’t get the sense … that there’s any desire to remove Bergevin right now. He’s under contract until 2022,” Friedman said.
- Michael Smith of NHL.com writes that Carolina Hurricanes winger Jeff Skinner, who added his fourth and fifth goals of the season in Saturday’s 4-3 loss to the Dallas Stars is continuing where he left off. Skinner attempted to fuel a comeback with his team down by four goals, but the team fell short. Already a three-time 30-goal scorer, the 25-year-old has been the main offensive firepower for the Hurricanes this season. Smith writes that if you go back to March of last year, Skinner has scored 22 goals in his last 25 games.
- Peter Wallner of MLive.com writes that the Detroit Red Wings traded defenseman Ryan Sproul Saturday to the New York Rangers to alleviate a logjam of defensemen. Sproul was not likely to ever crack Detroit’s defensive rotation. Talking to Detroit general manager Ken Holland, the scribe writes that the Red Wings made the move to open up playing time in Grand Rapids, where the team hopes to give more minutes to prospects Filip Hronek and Vili Saarijarvi. Hronek, the team’s second-round pick in the 2016 draft, has only played in two games for the Griffins this year, while Saarijarvi, a 2015 third-round pick, had an assist in three games for Toledo of the ECHL, but is expected to get promoted to Grand Rapids shortly.
- The Ottawa Senators announced that they have reassigned defenseman Ben Harpur to Belleville of the AHL. The 22-year-old was called up early in the season to help with the team’s defensive depth only to get injured in his first game with Ottawa. He was placed on injured reserve with a shoulder injury, and now that he is healthy again, will return to his AHL team.