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Sports Jack Todd — Canadiens' season is toast and all jobs are on the line

01:40  17 february  2020
01:40  17 february  2020 Source:   montrealgazette.com

Dubois has three points to help Blue Jackets defeat Canadiens 4-3

  Dubois has three points to help Blue Jackets defeat Canadiens 4-3 MONTREAL — Pierre-Luc Dubois scored twice and added an assist to give the Columbus Blue Jackets a 4-3 win over the Canadiens on Sunday afternoon to sweep the season series with Montreal. Vladislav Gavrikov and Gustav Nyquist, into the empty net, also scored for the Blue Jackets (28-16-9), who have not lost in regulation in eight consecutive games. Goaltender Elvis Merzlikins made 27 saves and improved to 10-2-0 since replacing injured starter Joonas Korpisalo.Tomas Tatar, Max Domi and Shea Weber scored for the Canadiens (24-23-7), who remain eight points out of a playoff spot with 28 games left.

I wrote two weeks ago that the Canadiens need to sign him and I have seen nothing to change my mind. Kovalchuk’s value on the ice, in the room and If fans could choose a candidate for a trade, it would likely be Max Domi. He is an RFA after this season and after a sparkling first campaign with the

It’s not yet time to write the obituary, but the Montreal Canadiens have that hangdog look about them — as though they know they’re beaten and they’re just waiting for it to become official before they start booking tee times. The natives, predictably, are restless.

a group of people racing each other on a snow covered slope:  Canadiens goaltender Carey Price clears the puck against the Dallas Stars at Bell Centre on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020, in Montreal.© Jean-Yves Ahern Canadiens goaltender Carey Price clears the puck against the Dallas Stars at Bell Centre on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020, in Montreal.

Days before Garrett Rank and Dean Morton turned in an officiating performance Saturday night so rancid the normally stoic Brendan Gallagher was moved to a fiery postgame outburst, the Canadiens quietly made their exit from this miserable season with a home loss to the Arizona Coyotes.

It wasn’t official. There’s still a chance, but there’s also a mathematical possibility you might hit the 6/49 jackpot. With the Habs on the outside looking in and facing a road trip to Boston and Pittsburgh, the Arizona game was one they had to put in the win column. The Dallas game was another.

Kovalchuk scores in SO, Canadiens rally past Devils 5-4

  Kovalchuk scores in SO, Canadiens rally past Devils 5-4 NEWARK, N.J. — Ilya Kovalchuk scored the only shootout goal and the Montreal Canadiens rallied from a three-goal deficit to beat the New Jersey Devils 5-4 on Tuesday night. Montreal's Charlie Lindgren had 20 saves filling for an ill Carey Price, and easily handled muffed chances by Nikita Gusev, Kyle Palmieri and Jack Hughes in the shootout. Joel Armia, Nate Thompson, Nick Cousins and Christian Folin scored in regulation for the Canadiens. Palmieri scored two-power-play goals for New Jersey, including the game-tying tally with 20 seconds left in regulation. The late power play was the result of Montreal having too many men on the ice.

The Canadiens , worn out from scoring goals on the Buffalo Sabres on Friday, did precisely that But the Canadiens are where they are today for a reason that is often overlooked in hockey: their Watch the way players like the newly acquired Tomas Fleischmann and Jeff Petry go about doing their jobs .

Jack Todd , Special to Montreal Gazette. For most of the Marc Bergevin era, the Canadiens have shown all the imagination and creativity of a pet rock. Gallant left to take the head coaching job with the Florida Panthers, only to be unceremoniously fired by the ridiculous Tom Rowe after two fine

Now I’m as mystified as anyone else as to how two referees with only six skaters to watch could fail to notice either Max Domi’s mouth being torn open by a high stick, or a flagrant centre-ice trip to haul down Joel Armia — but good teams don’t blow 3-0 leads at home no matter how bad the officiating.

In truth, any hope the Canadiens had of a miracle resurgence was gutted when captain Shea Weber went down. The team took the news like a Mike Tyson uppercut to the solar plexus. Faced with a crucial week, they lost all four games, their season effectively over by Valentine’s Day.

a group of people racing each other on a snow covered slope:  Canadiens goaltender Carey Price clears the puck against the Dallas Stars at Bell Centre on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020, in Montreal.© Jean-Yves Ahern Canadiens goaltender Carey Price clears the puck against the Dallas Stars at Bell Centre on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020, in Montreal.

To the bitter end, this will go down as a team that was less than the sum of its parts, for reasons that remain less than clear. Fairly or unfairly, blame has already been apportioned to head coach Claude Julien and GM Marc Bergevin. The fans want blood on the carpet and they want it now, to the point where some want Bergevin fired immediately, with the trade deadline a week away.

Montreal Canadiens send Ryan Poehling to Laval

  Montreal Canadiens send Ryan Poehling to Laval The forward had been dealing with the flu, and now will help the Rocket try and make the playoffs.Les Canadiens ont cédé l’attaquant Ryan Poehling au Rocket de Laval.

But the Canadiens are going to come roaring back from a lost season . They are going to do so in part because they couldn’t possibly be as unlucky with But this is not your father’s foxhole team — and the next guy who makes a dumb foxhole joke should have to put on the goalie pads and play target

 Jack Todd : Canadiens need to pick a lane and not wander. When you’re well outside the playoff picture and trying to claw your way back in, hard The Montreal Canadiens are going through a bad stretch, but the War Room's complete inability to get replay reviews right is a league-wide issue that is

The suggestion is ludicrous, but it leads to a strange truth underlying this lost season, which is the team seems to be worse despite a series of strong moves made by Bergevin over the past couple of years, deals that brought in Domi, Tomas Tatar, Armia and young Nick Suzuki, who has merely been the Canadiens best skater over the past month.

Bergevin simply doesn’t lose significant trades — yet his team is about to miss the playoffs for the third consecutive season and fourth time in five years and that is, as his critics are quick to point out, unacceptable — especially in Montreal.

Excuses are out there, ranging from Carey Price’s November slump, to losing four key forwards at once, to the embarrassing work done by referees Rank and Morton on Saturday night — but every team has issues to overcome. The good ones do, teams like Boston, Pittsburgh and Tampa, all now steaming toward the playoffs as the Habs fade away.

Stu Cowan: Love affair with Canadiens' Ilya Kovalchuk keeps growing

  Stu Cowan: Love affair with Canadiens' Ilya Kovalchuk keeps growing The Canadiens held their annual skills competition Sunday morning at the Bell Centre in front of about 15,000 noisy fans, with a lot of families and kids having a good time. Ilya Kovalchuk put on his own skills competition with his two sons on a quiet outdoor rink in Verdun Friday afternoon. Kovalchuk posted a video of it on his Instagram page as he displayed some impressive stick-handling skills while his boys — Philipp and Artem — tried unsuccessfully to get the puck off him. Kovalchuk celebrated by shouting “Ha! Ha!” “His hands … you see those hands?” teammate Max Domi said with a big smile when asked about the video. “I feel bad for those kids.

The bottom line is that Julien is a terrific coach and the Canadiens are fortunate he was available. At no point in any of those losses did the Canadiens really battle. Game after game, they went down with a whimper. With a 1-5-1 record in February and the spectre looming of another collapse on the order

It was sweet to see the faces of the smiling children at the Bell Centre as the Canadiens won both ends of their Super Bowl doubleheader this weekend. It was good to see the fans with something positive to talk about

This long disastrous stretch seems to have begun when Jonathan Drouin was injured , followed in quick succession by Paul Byron, Armia and Gallagher. When he finally returned to action, Drouin was back in the lineup for all of four games, played as though he was cradling a carton of eggs on the blade of his stick, then came down with a sprained ankle — calling his heart and desire into question all over again.

Meanwhile, Ilya Kovalchuk , who had provided such a tremendous boost for team and fans alike, has hit a wall and delivered only one goal and one assist in his last six games. That was to be expected for a player who has seen limited action over the past two seasons, but this is rather a long wall, complicating any possible contract and/or trade negotiations.

Now Weber is out, the season is toast and Geoff Molson will have some huge decisions to make come April and the golf course. For now, Bergevin goes into the trade deadline with only a couple of players who should be untouchable: Gallagher, because he’s the heart and soul, and Suzuki, because he’s the future. I would hang on to Tatar and Jeff Petry, but when your team plays as this one has, all jobs are on the line — including those of the kindly old coach and the GM himself.

Canadiens' Shea Weber makes a quick recovery from ankle injury

  Canadiens' Shea Weber makes a quick recovery from ankle injury If Shea Weber’s future as a player in the NHL was ever in question, he knew nothing about it. Weber suffered what the Canadiens first reported to be a “lower-body injury” during a 5-4 shootout win over the Devils in New Jersey on Feb. 4. Last Wednesday, former Sportsnet hockey analyst Nick Kypreos had Canadiens fans panicking when he tweeted out: “Sources say Shea Weber injury has his season likely over and his future in question. Told injury is related to foot that was surgically repaired in 2018. While waiting for swelling to alleviate and further confirmation, surgery seemed unavoidable going into this week.

♦♦♦

Baseball that matters in Montreal by June 2024? Impossible, you say?

Yet it seems now the return of the Expos (or more properly, the Ex-Rays) is now all but a certainty, at least on a shared basis with the city of Tampa. According to a report from my old friend Réjean Tremblay, the Stephen Bronfman group is now only a few months away from becoming minority partners with Tampa majority owner Stuart Sternberg in a split-city concept that already has the approval of Major League Baseball. The Bronfman group is going full speed ahead with its Peel Basin ballpark project with completion planned for three years after the first shovel goes in the ground.

It’s a lot to take in and it’s unclear how this can be done given the outright opposition of the city of St. Petersburg and that infamous unbreakable lease. In the long-term, meaning after 2028, I still believe this team is going to belong entirely to the city of Montreal. Meanwhile, I’m waiting to see how it all works, but it now seems clear:

It’s no longer “whether” the Expos return in some form. It’s when.

jacktodd46@yahoo.com

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In the Habs' Room: Ben Chiarot upstages Ovechkin with two-goal night .
WASHINGTON — On a night when the focus was on The Great 8, it was the guy wearing No. 8 for the Canadiens who stole the spotlight. Alex Ovechkin, No. 8 for the Washington Capitals, came into the game needing two goals to become only the eighth player in NHL history score 700 in a career.  Alex Ovechkin, No. 8 for the Washington Capitals, came into the game needing two goals to become only the eighth player in NHL history score 700 in a career. Ovechkin managed to score once, but it was Ben Chiarot who scored two goals for the Canadiens — including the winner in OT — in a 4-3 victory.

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