2017-2018 Last Call For The Habs

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One week, seven days… that’s all that’s left for several teams around the NHL to add or unload some players through trades, at least for them to be eligible to play in the playoffs. Yes, the 2017-2018 trade deadline is upon us and so far, only one trade of significance has happened, when the Ottawa Senators and Los Angeles Kings danced together with key players in the deal, Dion Phaneuf and Marian Gaborik, switched uniforms. If history repeats itself, and there’s no reasons to think it won’t, many more trades should be expected as teams are looking at beefing up in hope for a long playoffs’ run.

Marc Bergevin and the Montreal Canadiens are in sales’ mode, sitting 29th out of a possible 31 teams, and while many names are or have been mentioned in trade rumours, they only have one key pending free agent to speak of: Tomas Plekanec. In my opinion, out of the Habs’ players names out there, he’s the most likely to find himself given a chance to play hockey while his current teammates are either watching the playoffs or resting somewhere warm comes April.

Not too long ago, NHL Insider Bob McKenzie was speculating on Plekanec’s value and his best guess was that the Canadiens’ forward could fetch a third round pick but, if a team was desperate enough, he might get Bergevin a second round pick. Others have reported that due to their lack of depth at centre, the Canadiens could very well be tempted to offer the veteran centre a contract extension which, if you think about it, would also make sense. You see, Plekanec is a true pro. He wears an “A” on his jersey for a reason and while he’s definitely not worth the $6 million he’s getting paid, he could be very useful at, let’s say, half of that salary. Is it possible that Bergevin could have a talk with his player informing him of his interest in re-signing him on July 1st, but give him a chance to play some significant games this upcoming spring while getting an asset in return? Very much so.

After Plekanec, don’t be surprised if Bergevin tried to revamp his defensive corp. Guys like Jordie Benn, David Schemko and Joe Morrow are all a dime a dozen but contending teams do like to add veteran depth to their roster in the event of potential injuries. One or two of them could very well find a taker by next Monday.

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Max Pacioretty will likely stay put until the NHL Draft.

As for the other names mentioned in trade rumours, fully expect Max Pacioretty to be in the Habs’ line-up against the Flyers on February 26th at night. The same goes for often mentioned Alex Galchenyuk, he who has been playing some better hockey for the past few weeks, and for Andrew Shaw, a rumour coming out of left field if you ask me.

Shea Weber

Speaking of coming out of left field, former Lightning GM Brian Lawton threw a bomb when he mentioned that Canadiens’ defenseman Shea Weber could get traded by trade deadline.

For what it’s worth, don’t hold your breath on this one folks and that, for two reasons: for one, Bergevin is taking way too much heat from some people for pulling the trigger on that trade and two, just like for Pacioretty or any other key player on the team, he would fetch much more at the draft due to the fact that all teams will have cap space by that time.

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* Oilers pick could become a 4th if Al Montoya plays two more games this season * If the Kings qualify for the playoffs, the Canadiens will receive their own 2018 4th round pick back which was part of the Dwight King trade.

One thing is for sure though, it should be an action-packed week once again as teams flex their muscles and prepare for a playoffs’ push. But because there just aren’t as many quality pending UFA’s available, you can expect more “hockey trades” like the Phaneuf/Gaborik one this season… and with few quality UFA’s in his line-up, that’s what Bergevin is hoping for. Go Habs Go!!!

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The Subban Saga: Enough is Enough!

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Habs’ fans are a unique breed but ever since ‘the trade’, Montreal Canadiens fans have been divided more than ever. In one corner, you have the fans who cheer for the number in the back of the jersey and in the other, the fans who cheer for the Habs no matter who wears the jersey, no matter what number is on those jerseys. And being catalogued doesn’t sit well with either types of fans. Being called a “P.K. Subban fan” is seen as an insult to them, while others are perceived as Habs’ “apologists”. 

The gap between the two types of fans seems to have widened after the Predators’ weekend visit in Montreal this past weekend. On Saturday, after going one on one against Subban and scoring a goal for the Canadiens, Brendan Gallagher gave his former ‘teammate’ the lip-service… but why would that be?

In the post-game scrum in the dressing room, reporters asked Gallagher three consecutive questions about Subban. Trying to evade the question the first two times and move on with the Canadiens’ game, he finally had enough and snapped the third time around. He basically stated the obvious, what everybody in the hockey world knows, saying that Subban has a need for attention. Boy did that not sit well with the people who see the former Habs’ player as the flawless Golden Boy! Twitter was inflamed by even those who, not so long ago, wanted Gallagher to wear the captain ‘C’ if Max Pacioretty was traded. After all, they couldn’t vote for Weber, the guy who came back in that trade, right?

History

Not so long ago, back on November 22nd in Nashville, Gallagher and Subban got into a scuffle after Nicolas Deslauriers (not Gallagher surprisingly) ran into Pekka Rinne. Notice who Subban goes after on the left of your screen. Not Deslauriers, who was the one going hard to the net. Nope. The smaller enemy was a much better target.

After the game, Subban showed his true colours once again, taking a shot at Gallagher. But hey, that’s Subban. Looking at him leave the interview afterwards is quite telling, truthfully. People can like him or not, but trying too deny that he loves the attention would be rather laughable.

But that’s the the first altercation between the two players as it all started back in 2015, during a team practice. At the time, it was downplayed but look at Alexei Emelin, Alex Galchenyuk and Carey Price going to support and encourage Gallagher.

So cut the narrative by defending the Golden Boy as fault-free. He was given a bridge deal for a reason and eventually got traded for the same reason, whether some fans of the number in the back of the jerseys are saying. Gallagher wears the CH on his heart and plays for the logo in front of the jersey. The other, as seen in more than a few occasions, likes to hear himself talk… and Gallagher was right with his post-game comments on February 10th.

Racism accusations

In what I would qualify as a huge stretch and reaching a new low in the battle to defend Subban, those “fans” took exception to a tweet by former first round pick Colten Teubert after he came to Gallagher’s defense, posting the following on his Twitter account:

Did you know that Monday was a racist word? Not saying that it’s not ever the case but I’m well in my 50’s and I have never heard the first work day of the week, a day that everybody hates, used in a racial way. So does it mean that all the Monday Memes on the internet have a racist connotation? Does it mean that people of colour cannot hate Mondays? Talk about a stretch! Get over yourselves people. It’s two people who don’t like each other. Reaching to racism is not only a stretch, it’s desperation in trying to find any excuses to defend the Golden Boy. Guess what? I hate Mondays too! Yet, I respect people of colours and different ethnic than myself, for the most part.

Many will disagree but it doesn’t change the fact: I never disliked Subban the individual… until the post-game comments against Gallagher. The guy is arrogant and does like to have the spotlight on him and will do anything to get it too. He, in my humble opinion, cost his team the Stanley Cup last year by waking him the giant Crosby with his Listerine comments and even the Predators recognized it, putting the muzzle on the controversial defenseman.

So fans, you are completely entitled to supporting whomever you want. You want to love Subban, it’s your right. But putting your head in the sand doesn’t make the issue disappear. He is what he is. The reason why he was selected in the second round is because of it. The reason why he was signed to a bridge contract is not because of his talent, but because of the doubts management had about his relationship with teammates and being a team player. Ultimately, he was traded for the same reason prior to his No-Movement Clause kicked in, which would have tied the Canadiens’ hands for eight long years. Like it or not, he wasn’t liked in the dressing room by a vast majority and it’s because of antics like the ones we’ve seen this season.

In the meantime, Habs’ fans will keep on cheering the Canadiens. Go Habs Go!