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Sports Jack Todd: F1 race in Montreal is not worth the COVID-19 risk

00:45  19 april  2021
00:45  19 april  2021 Source:   montrealgazette.com

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What a dumpster of a week.

a close up of a bridge: Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve is deserted on April 15, 2021, as the fate of this year's Canadian Grand Prix Formula One race, scheduled for June 13, remains uncertain. © Provided by The Gazette Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve is deserted on April 15, 2021, as the fate of this year's Canadian Grand Prix Formula One race, scheduled for June 13, remains uncertain.

Ontario has become Brazil — without the fun.

Canada’s athletes must be praying the Tokyo Olympics are cancelled so they don’t have to parade around in jean jackets that look like they were scrounged from Doug Ford’s dumpster.

The Canadiens? They’re playing like they think the season is already in the dumpster.

And the 2021 Montreal Grand Prix needs to be tossed in the dumpster.

Taking it from the bottom of the dumpster up : There is no reason to allow 1,300 Formula One personnel to fly from Azerbaijan to Montreal to hold a race without spectators on June 13. Montreal health officials turned thumbs down on the race because of COVID-19, leading to premature reports that the race was cancelled.

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It wasn’t — but it will have to be cancelled. Early reports also indicated that the contract for the years 2022 to 2029 might be cancelled if the race wasn’t run this year, but that apparently is not the case.

So where is the upside for Montreal in hosting the F1 circus this season? There is none. There would be no influx of tourists, there would be no parties on Crescent St., there would be no packed restaurants and bars. A couple of international hotel chains would profit and that’s it — and for that we’d have to allow more than a thousand globe-trotting individuals, some possibly carrying lethal variants, into our city? Thanks — but no thanks.

a person skiing on the snow:  Canadiens goalie Carey Price clears the puck in front of Ottawa Senators centre Josh Norris during Saturday afternoon’s game at the Bell Centre. © Provided by The Gazette Canadiens goalie Carey Price clears the puck in front of Ottawa Senators centre Josh Norris during Saturday afternoon’s game at the Bell Centre.

Next up, your Montreal Canadiens . Halfway through Saturday afternoon’s tranquillizer dart of a game against the Ottawa Senators, the shots on goal were 8-6, Montreal. Thirty minutes of hockey, 14 shots, two goals. Both of them scored by the Senators on Carey Price, who looked like he might just about do as Jake Allen’s backup.

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Yes, the Canadiens were playing the second game of a back-to-back in less than 24 hours. But the Calgary Flames had done the same earlier in the week, beating the Leafs in Toronto Tuesday and then flying in to lay a whupping on the Habs the next night.

The numbers are grim: 2-4-0 on a six-game homestand. Outscored 20-9 on home ice. Seven games without heart-and-soul Brendan Gallagher and the Canadiens have scored a total of 11 goals while getting shut out twice — and four of those goals came in Monday’s win over the Leafs.

If you’re a fan, it’s doubly maddening. Give up on them, and the Habs drub Toronto. Get your hopes up, and they can’t score against Ottawa. Worse, apart from Gallagher’s broken thumb, they’re mostly healthy, so it’s hard to find excuses for their miserable play.

Fans who wanted Claude Julien out are even more miserable, because the team was significantly better under Julien than it is with Dominique Ducharme as coach. The Canadiens were 9-5-4 under Julien, they’re now 10-9-5 under Ducharme.

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The only hope is that Gallagher returns for the playoffs, although he has struggled in his recovery from previous hand injuries.

That this team relies so heavily on Gallagher for leadership as well as scoring doesn’t say much for Shea Weber and the other veterans. You can’t blame Eric Staal, bless him, because he just arrived and where the mind might be eager, the body simply can’t do it anymore. And you can’t blame Corey Perry, who has given the Canadiens more than they had any right to respect.

But with the exception of Jeff Petry, the veterans who have been here longer have had little to offer — and that includes, in particular, Price and Weber. Price’s up-and-down play doesn’t add up to much except worries over his contract. When a fan of the female persuasion was cooing over Price’s bone structure on Twitter Saturday, I suggested that perhaps he should try stopping pucks with his bone structure, because nothing else seems to work.

Price, at least, has had some good stretches. That’s not the case with Weber. Fans think he’s done, but I have thought it more likely that Weber is playing hurt. An injury, however, doesn’t account for the howlers. Weber is now good for one or two or three a game, mistakes that would get a lesser player nailed to the bench for a month.

NHL evaluating alternate plans for North Division's playoff setup

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Yes, the Canadiens are playing through a pandemic. It’s tough on everyone, tougher still when your young centremen and a raft of other players aren’t scoring and your All-World goaltender is playing like he’s barely All-Brossard.

When this is over, Geoff Molson needs to take a long, hard look at the entire organization. He should take his time, but there can be no sacred cows. And that includes the goaltender, the defenceman, the coach and the GM.

Heroes : Wilfried Nancy, Mason Toye, Romell Quioto, Victor Wanyama, Djordje Mihailovic, Artemi Panarin, J.T. Miller, Tyler Toffoli, Jake Allen, Cole Caufield, Steph Curry, Daniel Evans, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Larry Doby &&&& last but not least, Jackie Robinson.

Zeros : Canada’s Tokyo Olympic gear, Max Domi, Tony DeAngelo, Novak Djokovic, Daniel Marino, MegaGym 24H, the Department of Player Safety, UFC, George Springer, Ron MacLean, Claude Brochu, David Samson &&&& last but not least, Jeffrey Loria.

Now and forever.

jacktodd46@yahoo.com

Twitter.com/jacktodd46

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