It’s safe to say that the 2015-16 season hasn’t been kind to the Montreal Canadiens. After they got off to a great start, things fell apart for the Canadiens in early December. Sure, they had to deal with long-term injuries to key players like Carey Price and Brendan Gallagher, but every team has to deal with players coming in and out of the lineup.
Former Canadiens great Guy Lafleur knows a thing or two about winning. The Hall of Fame forward won five Stanley Cups in his 17-year career.
Speaking at a charity event in Montreal on Wednesday evening, Lafleur admitted that he couldn’t understand how an injury to a goaltender could affect a team this much.
“It’s strange to see that one man could make a big difference because Carey Price doesn’t score any goals,” Lafleur told PHT. “Some of the guys, some of the leaders have to show up a bit more and they have to take charge.”
Finding the back of the net has been problematic for Montreal. Outside of Alex Galchenyuk and Max Pacioretty, no other player has hit the 20-goal mark this season (Gallagher’s been injured).
When asked what he thought the Canadiens needed to add in the off-season, Lafleur had a pretty interesting answer.
“The off-season? They have to get some better players (laughs). The way I look at it right now, there’s no first line, second line, third line. I think they have four fourth lines.”
Ouch! That’s one way of putting it.
Lafleur’s comments aren’t 100 percent accurate because the Canadiens have plenty of talent on the roster, but he’s right when he says they aren’t good enough right now.
It’ll be interesting to see how the Canadiens front office approaches the upcoming off-season.
CHICAGO — Blackhawks forward Boris Katchouk will be sidelined for four to six weeks with a left ankle sprain, the team announced.
The 24-year-old Katchouk played almost 12 minutes during a 3-0 preseason loss to Detroit on Saturday night. He was acquired in a multiplayer trade with Tampa Bay in March.
The Blackhawks open the season on Oct. 12 at Colorado.
The team also said forward Jujhar Khaira is day to day with a right ankle injury.
ANAHEIM, Calif. — Ducks defenseman Urho Vaakanainen was taken off the Honda Center ice on a stretcher after he crashed into the end boards in the first period of Anaheim’s preseason game against the San Jose Sharks.
The Finnish defenseman was conscious and alert with full movement in his extremities at UCI Medical Center, the Ducks said.
The frightening incident occurred midway through the opening period when Vaakanainen smashed into the boards at a dangerous speed behind the Sharks’ net. Vaakanainen appeared to be concentrating on the pass he had just made to Derek Grant, who scored the Ducks’ opening goal on the assist.
Vaakanainen’s teammates came onto the ice and gathered around him as he was taken away on the stretcher.
The Ducks acquired the 23-year-old Vaakanainen from Boston last March in the deal that sent longtime Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm to the Bruins. After recording two assists in 14 games for the Ducks last season, Vaakanainen is attempting to win a top-six role on Anaheim’s defense this fall.
TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Lightning and team owner Jeff Vinik are donating $2 million toward Hurricane Ian relief efforts.
The NHL team announced that $1 million each will be donated by the Tampa Bay Lightning Foundation and the Vinik Family Foundation.
“This is a tragic situation for many families and communities across the state of Florida, but especially so in the southwest region of the state,” Vinik said in a statement released by the team. “In times like these the most important thing we can do is support one another, and we hope this donation will help families recover and rebuild in the months to come.”
Ian made landfall Wednesday on Florida’s Gulf Coast, south of the Tampa Bay area. The Lightning postponed two home preseason games and moved the club’s training camp to Nashville, Tennessee, during the storm.
TORONTO — Rasmus Sandin has signed a two-year, $2.8 million contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs, the club announced on Thursday.
The 22-year-old from Sweden was the 29th overall selection in the 2018 draft. Sandin had 16 points in 51 games with Toronto last season. He’s played in 88 career regular-season games, with six goals and 22 assists, and has one goal in five playoff games.
“Got a great set of tools,” fellow defenseman Jake Muzzin said. “With experience, I think they’re only going to get better.”
The signing comes as the Leafs’ blueliners been hit hard by injuries. Muzzin has been dealing with a back issue, and Timothy Liljegren recently had surgery for a hernia.
Toronto then lost Jamie Benn (groin) and Carl Dahlstrom (shoulder) in Wednesday’s 3-0 preseason victory over the Montreal Canadiens, pressing forwards Calle Jarnkrok and Alexander Kerfoot into defensive roles for two periods.