The Montreal Canadiens are expecting to have Ben Chiarot back in the lineup tonight, just four weeks after breaking his hand in a fight. Chiarot is returning nearly two weeks ahead of schedule, a nice boost for a Montreal team that is still perched precariously in the final North Division playoff spot. As head coach Dominique Ducharme noted to reporters including TSN’s John Lu today, however, Chiarot’s return from long-term injured reserve complicates the Canadiens cap situation and could delay the debut of top prospect Cole Caufield who was recalled to the taxi squad today–or even many of the team’s other reserves.
Of course, as Eric Engels of Sportsnet tweets, this could change quickly and certainly won’t keep the active roster static for the rest of the season. Though Ducharme’s comments may have been concerning to Montreal fans, the important news today is Chiarot’s return to his familiar spot next to Shea Weber with just 16 games left in the season.
- Toronto Maple Leafs forward Zach Hyman will sacrifice $5,000 for his high-stick on Winnipeg Jets defenseman Neal Pionk, but won’t face any suspension for the incident. Near the end of last night’s game, Hyman was involved in a net-front battle and after receiving a slash from Pionk, turned and struck Pionk in the face with the blade of his stick. The Maple Leafs forward was given a penalty on the play and now faces the maximum allowable fine under the CBA.
- Before joining the Vegas Golden Knights, first as assistant GM and then as GM, Kelly McCrimmon ran the entire Brandon Wheat Kings organization for decades. The owner of the WHL franchise, McCrimmon acted as GM and quite often head coach as well through 2015-16. One of the important members of that front office, in fact the man who took over as GM in 2019, is also now heading to the NHL. Darren Ritchie, who has been with the Wheat Kings since 2006 in various roles, most recently general manager, has left the junior club to take an amateur scouting position with the Maple Leafs. The Wheat Kings have named AGM Doug Gasper as his replacement.