The Montreal Canadiens seem to be having a roller coaster of a season, although it seems much of it is down. The team had a seven-game losing streak early in the year. Then they rebounded with a three-game mini win streak, followed by another five-game losing streak. Then a five-game winning streak looked like the team might turn their fortunes around until now, a three-game losing streak.
After a 6-2 defeat at the hands of the struggling Edmonton Oilers, The Athletic’s Mitch Melnick writes (subscription required) the team has major flaws and needs to be rebuilt as the team lacks one key philosophy that most teams have adjusted to, which is speed. The Oilers skated right past the slow-moving Canadiens on their way to an easy win.
Melnick writes that captain Max Pacioretty basically admitted that he was intimidated by the speed of the Oilers and has scored only once in the last 13 games. Much of the blame falls on general manager Marc Bergevin, who believes that players such as Jordie Benn and Tomas Plekanec are key pieces to the team’s success and believes they deserve big minutes for the franchise. But blame should also be thrown at Claude Julien, who didn’t play one of their fastest skaters in Victor Mete against the speedy Oilers.
- Rumors of a concussion circle around Toronto Maple Leafs star Auston Matthews, who is doubtful to play in tonight’s matchup with the Edmonton Oilers, tweets James Mirtle of The Athletic. Matthews took a blow to the head from teammate Morgan Rielly during Saturday’s 4-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins. He was turning around in the defensive zone when the two players collided in the third period. Matthews took the brunt of the hit, mostly in the chin. The 20-year-old wasn’t put into concussion protocol and played two more shifts after the hit. He had already missed four games earlier this year due to back issues and has only scored once in his last nine games.
- Max Bultman of The Athletic (subscription required) writes that Tyler Bertuzzi’s stint with the Detroit Red Wings Saturday didn’t go as plan. As the team found itself on special teams for a large chunk of the game, Bertuzzi saw little time on the ice (9:23) as he doesn’t play on either unit. Unfortunately with Luke Witkowski returning from a 10-game suspension and a possible return of David Booth, the team will have to make a decision on whether to return Bertuzzi to the Grand Rapids Griffins or allow him to develop his game in Detroit at the expense of some veterans who are struggling. Considering that many feel he is a player that the rest of the team would want around, the move might suggest what direction the team is trending towards in the near future. Regardless, a move will have to be made within the next day or so.