Trade Kovalchuk? Re-Sign him? Both?

In a season where Montreal Canadiens’ fans don’t have much to celebrate about, the signing of former NHL star Ilya Kovalchuk by team General Manager Marc Bergevin feels like a breath of fresh air. Brought in to help provide a warm body during a plague of injuries hitting the Habs, the Russian right winger has delivered more than anyone could have expected so far.

We know the story. Kovalchuk wanted to come back to the NHL and signed a 3-year contract with the Los Angeles Kings paying him an average of $6.25 million. In his first season back to the NHL, the 6-foot 3-inches 222 lbs winger managed 16 goals and 34 points in 64 games, playing an average of 16:14 minutes per game, with a team worst minus -26 differential amongst Kings’ forwards. This season did not start well between Kovalchuk and the Kings either as he only had three goals in 17 games and was already minus -10, going as far as being a healthy scratch. Los Angeles decided to keep him away from the team until they made the decision to buy him out. He played his last game with the Kings on November 9th and his contract was finally bought out on December 17th.

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Carey Price and Shea Weber Still Respected

We keep hearing, reading Habs’ fans claiming that Carey Price and Shea Weber are either finished or some people find any way possible to downplay them when they play well. This is called getting your foot in your mouth at some point and refusing to admit being wrong, fighting tooth and nail to save face instead. And then, when others who are in a better position than them come out and say the opposite to what those “fans” claim, they revert to accusing them of lying or come up with some lame excuse to downplay what they’re saying.

Well folks, we just have another example today. In a recent poll they have conducted with nearly 400 NHL players, the Athletic has published the results today. And for Habs’ fans, there are two questions of interest…

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Most Likely to Get Traded or Not Be Traded

Another game, and the rollercoaster of emotions continues if you’re a Montreal Canadiens’ fan. Great start of the season, followed by injuries to Jonathan Drouin and Paul Byron, bringing an eight game winless streak. A few wins later, the hope is back but it’s then followed by yet another sequence of eight games without a win. The morale is low for Habs’ fans but then, they win two in a row, returning within seven points of a playoffs’ spot. Fans regain a glimmer of hopes but the team falls flat on their face at home against a Chicago Blackhawks’ team who had played the night before. Back to nine points behind, there is little hope once again.

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The Decline of The Canadiens Empire

Another season, another year without playoffs for the Montreal Canadiens and their fans. As management claims that the goal each season is to make the playoffs, this would then mean that the team is falling short of their goal in what seems to be a bit too regularly. Based on the results, either the goals are set too high, or we’re not being told the truth. Either way, it’s a situation that must be corrected soon. Fans and media members are getting frustrated and if Carey Price‘s recent interview is any indication, it seems like the players are sharing their feelings. After all, being eliminated in January after missing the playoffs by four points a year ago is a huge blow for everyone.

With the team suffering through not one, but two 8-games losing streaks in the last few weeks, Twitter and call-in radio shows are not a good place to be these days. We know how fans and media can be in Montreal and they’re all out in full force for their witch hunt, pitchforks and lanterns in hand. But why exactly is this happening? What went wrong this season? The truth is, it’s not only one thing, one person or even one group responsible, but a series of events. Let’s have a look at why this is:

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What is a Rebuild? A Reset? A Retool? Know the Differences

NHL teams and their terms. We’re going through a complete rebuild. No wait… I think it’s a reset. No, no, we’re doing a retool. In the meantime, fans are debating amongst themselves and through the media, arguing what their favourite team is actually doing. The worst part is that we’re all describing pretty much the same thing. It’s just that we don’t have the same definition of those three often-used expressions. While a rebuild is pretty self-explanatory, the line between that, a reset and a retool can be quite blurry and depending on who you talk to, they will call it differently.

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Shea Weber Shooting For a Fourth Title

It’s the All-Star weekend in the NHL and some of the best players in the world are all gathered at the Enterprise Center, home of the 2019 Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues. The 3 on 3 mini-tournament will take place on Saturday but tonight is the most anticipated and interesting event of the weekend: the Skills’ Competition.

And the Montreal Canadiens are sending one of the best to represent them in team captain Shea Weber. Known for his big shot across the NHL, Weber is built for the hardest shots’ competition and tonight will be his time to shine. He will be gunning for his fourth hardest shots’ title, which would place him third all-time since the event was introduced back in 1990.

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