You knew this poll was coming today. The Montreal Canadiens were eliminated last night, meaning that Canada’s Stanley Cup drought — no team has won it since the Habs in 1993 — will continue until at least next season.
Of the seven Canadian teams, there isn’t really one that screams Cup contender. Six of them missed the playoffs this season, and with all due respect to Montreal, there weren’t a ton of people picking the Habs to go as far as they did. Meanwhile…
— Calgary’s still in the early stages of a rebuild.
— Edmonton’s been rebuilding for what seems like forever. And based on last season, plenty of construction remains.
— Ottawa has Erik Karlsson…and financial limitations.
— Toronto still doesn’t have the kind of elite center that Cup-winning teams usually have. Not to mention the kind of stud defenseman.
Our vote? We’re giving it to Montreal. PK Subban and Carey Price are legitimate stars, and both of them are only in their mid-20s. Max Pacioretty and Lars Eller are still young. Alex Galchenyuk and Brendan Gallagher are even younger.
It’s far from a perfect roster in Montreal. But then, in voting, one has to consider the competition.
Uh oh, Marian Hossa might be injured after awkward fall
The Chicago Blackhawks are on edge on Saturday, and it’s not because of what’s currently a close game against the Anaheim Ducks.
(Not that they’re indifferent toward a match against their opponents from last year’s conference final match, mind you.)
Instead, the Blackhawks are quite concerned about the health of Marian Hossa, who needed help off of the ice following an awkward, scary-looking crash into the boards. (Hampus Lindholm delivered the hip check that sent Hossa sprawling, in case you’re wondering.)
Video isn’t yet available, but My Regular Face’s GIF captures that troubling moment:
It’s unlikely that Chris Stewart will generate another 30-goal season in the NHL, but he still might be missed by the Anaheim Ducks.
The team announced that the ornery forward is expected to miss four-to-eight weeks with a fractured jaw. If that’s the recovery window, Stewart may go into the playoffs a little rusty (if he can get in any regular season games at all).
One bright side for Anaheim: if they believe that they need to replace what Stewart brings to the table (rugged play with a dash of offense), then at least this injury happened before the the Feb. 29 trade deadline.
Report: Wild will tab John Torchetti as interim head coach
Torchetti is no stranger to the NHL, although he’ll probably be frustrated if this opportunity doesn’t turn into a full-time gig. He was also an interim head coach for the Los Angeles Kings and Florida Panthers.
As of this writing, the Wild are in a three-way tie for the first spot outside of the West’s wild card mix, although they could sink a bit depending upon how Arizona and Vancouver handle the one game they have in hand on the Wild.
More importantly, Minnesota’s currently three points behind Nashville for the final wild card spot.
That’s not an impossible goal for Torchetti. For whatever it’s worth, Sports Club Stats gives Minnesota a 34.7 percent chance to make the playoffs.