The Montreal Canadiens re-signed veteran blueliner Andrei Markov and look to lock up star defenseman P.K. Subban this summer, but that doesn’t mean the Habs’ defense will be identical to the group that made it to the 2014 Eastern Conference finals.
Saturday’s revelation might be the most surprising update in that regard, though. TSN’s Bob McKenzie reports that the Canadiens discussed trading Josh Gorges to – of all teams – the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Fans of the two rivals can breathe easily, as it appears that the Maple Leafs didn’t make the list of 15 teams he’d accept a trade to.
That bit of rivalry intrigue aside, it’s surprising to hear that the Canadiens might want to move the experienced blueliner. There’s already word that Montreal will allow veterans Mike Weaver and Francis Bouillon to hit unrestricted free agency, so this opens the door for a lot of turnover among the Canadiens’ blueline corps.
Curious future for Gorges?
Then again, maybe the Habs view his injury troubles from 2013-14 as a sign that his best days are behind him; that would be a troubling sight since his $3.9 million cap hit runs through the 2017-18 season. The fact that Gorges blocked the second-most shots (177) of all Montreal players despite playing 66 games to Markov’s 81 (who finished with 180) speaks to his courage, yet it also opens the door to speculation that he might wear down in his 30’s.
Apparently Blue Jackets management is a little shaken by the second 0-3-0 start in franchise history, however.
Columbus GM Jarmo Kekalainen shared his shock and dismay with the Columbus Post-Dispatch on Tuesday.
“I’m surprised how, in just five days, we’ve gone from a very confident group to something that’s the opposite of that,” Kekalainen told The Dispatch on Tuesday. “Our confidence, our game … it’s off the rails right now.
Maybe losing to the Buffalo Sabres stings a little bit extra?
Kekalainen said “there’s no excuse for how we played in Buffalo,” pointing out that every team in the NHL is a “good team.”
Indeed, just about every squad boasts some dangerous weapons if they catch an opponent sleeping.
The Post-Dispatch goes deeper on Columbus’ recent history of stumbling out of the gate, but consider the foreboding stretch coming up.
Next four games: Three out of four at home Eight games following that: Seven out of eight on the road.
As you can see, winter is coming for Columbus, so they best get things together. All things considered, this is the right time for a wake-up call.
For bonus chuckles, here’s a photo of Kekalainen on a railing.
He entered the building considerably later than usual, but his presence at least opened the door for the possibility of No. 8 suiting up against the San Jose Sharks.
Instead, the Capitals will face the hot-starting Sharks without Ovechkin (personal reasons) and Nicklas Backstrom (injury).
That’s a tall order, yet it’s also an opportunity for Barry Trotz to prove his system is a difference-maker … and that the Capitals have the young players to take up the mantle when the big stars are out
This is how Washington’s forward lines may look tonight:
With Ovechkin out, Caps lines look like this: