Nothing.That’s what the Canadiens should — and probably will — do before the NHL trade deadline Monday.That might be disappointing to some fans but the reality is that, after a few wrong turns, general manager Marc Bergevin has the team back on what he hopes will be a path to a 25th Stanley Cup.This team won’t challenge for the Cup this season — although it should be noted that people said the same thing about the 1992-93 team that produced the Canadiens’ last Cup win — and it is also not a team that is one player away from winning the Stanley Cup.
Montreal Canadiens right-wing Brendan Gallagher is congratulated by teammates after scoring against the Philadelphia Flyers during first period NHL action at the Bell Centre in Montreal on Feb. 21, 2019.
Dave Sidaway /
Dave Sidaway / Montreal Gazette
This team is very similar to the 1993 champions. It is anchored by a world-class goaltender and there is an abundance of enthusiastic young players with huge upsides. The defence, which was considered a weakness coming into the season, has solidified with the return of Shea Weber to full health. There is no forward challenging for the scoring title, but there are three lines capable of scoring goals and the team is playing exciting, fan-pleasing hockey.There are players who could help the Canadiens improve the current roster, but there’s a Catch-22. Good players come at a price and Bergevin has said he doesn’t want to be that GM who overpays at the deadline. He believes in keeping his assets, whether it be a young player on the roster, one of his developing draft picks or future draft picks.That strategy was evident last week when he added to the team’s depth by picking up forwards Nate Thompson and Dale Weise and defenceman Christian Folin. In return, he gave up a depth defenceman (David Schlemko), an AHL forward (Byron Froese) and he moved down about 10 spots in the June’s draft, sending a low fourth-round pick to Los Angeles for a high fifth-round pick.A few months ago, there was speculation the Canadiens would move defenceman Jordie Benn, who is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. Bergevin likes to get something in return before allowing a player to test free agency, but there are several reasons for keeping Benn. The biggest reason is that he is playing the best hockey of his career and has developed chemistry with the reliable Brett Kulak on the third pairing. The other reason is that Bergevin doesn’t have a Plan B. The answer was supposed to be Noah Juulsen, but the youngster is out with a serious eye problem.
Carolina Hurricanes’ Warren Foegele (13) and teammates celebrate at centre ice after a win over the Edmonton Oilers on Feb. 15, 2019, in Raleigh, N.C.
Karl B DeBlaker /
Lighten up, Grapes: Don Cherry was in a full blown, doddering fuddy-duddy mood last week as he railed about the Carolina Hurricanes’ post-game victory celebrations. Cherry called the Hurricanes jerks for engaging in the cleverly choreographed celebrations that have turned centre ice into a bowling alley, a baseball diamond and a limbo dance routine.Cherry has lost sight of the fact that hockey is a game and, as the Hurricanes struggle to get into the playoff race, every victory is fun. The guy who fashions sport jackets made from your Aunt Gracie’s drapes, should understand it’s about entertainment and if celebrations can attract a few more fans in a city where basketball is king, it’s a good thing.One thing that seemed to irk Cherry the most was the fact Carolina head coach Rod Brind’Amour and captain Justin Williams are good ol’ Canadian boys who should be embarrassed by this display. In fact, it was Williams’ idea to have some fun and Brind’Amour made it clear he’s on board with having fun.The Hurricanes and a Washington, D.C., firm called BreakingT were quick to jump on the controversy. They combined to design a T-shirt with the words Bunch of Jerks above the Hurricanes logo. The design was approved on Sunday and, while production was delayed by the Presidents’ Day holiday Monday, the first shirts were in the Hurricanes’ souvenir shop in time for Tuesday’s home game against the Rangers.The visitors won that game 2-1 so there was no celebration, but the shirts flew off the shelves.“This will be the highest selling hockey shirt that we’ve ever sold,” said BreakingT president Jamie Mottram. “This one has just really taken off in a way that we could not have expected.”There’s no word on whether Cherry will get a share of the profits.
Les Canadiennes’ Hilary Knight takes the puck up the middle of the ice during a 3-1 loss to the Calgary Inferno at Place Bell in Laval on Oct. 14, 2018.
Dave Sidaway /
Dave Sidaway / Montreal Gazette
Les Canadiennes go pink: Hockey fans will get a chance to see some exciting hockey and help a good cause when Les Canadiennes present their annual Pink in the Rink game Saturday at Place Bell in Laval. Les Canadiennes will face the CWHL defending Clarkson Cup-champion Markham Thunder at 6:30 p.m. following the Laval Rocket-Manitoba Moose AHL game at 3 p.m.The women’s game will feature an online and silent auction of hockey memorabilia with proceeds going to the MUHC Breast Cancer Clinic. Over the years, the team has raised more than $100,000, including more than $20,000 last year. Fans can buy tickets for the women’s game and anyone holding a Rocket ticket will receive free admission.Les Canadiennes will close their regular season Sunday when they play Markham on the Place Bell Community Rink firstname.lastname@example.org/zababes1Related