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Pregame: Canadiens vs Lightning

March 18, 2023, 1:50 PM ET [134 Comments]
Karine Hains
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Follow me @KarineHains for all updates about the Montreal Canadiens and women's hockey

In the loss to the Panthers, Kaiden Guhle left the game momentarily with a knee injury and came back a few minutes later. Yesterday, he was not at practice and that tends to prove my point from yesterday morning. When you have a knee injury, unless it’s a complete tear of a ligament, it doesn’t hurt all that much right away, but the next day, that’s when you realize that you cannot straighten your leg completely or bend it fully and you know you’re in trouble. I’m no doctor, but having had knee injuries multiple times and 6 operations, I speak from experience I whish I didn’t have when it comes to knees and that’s why I cannot for the life of me comprehend why the Habs’ medical staff didn’t err on the side of caution with their most promising blue line prospect who recently came back from another knee injury.

Prior to yesterday’s practice a team meeting had also been called following the atrocious display against Florida and somehow Jonathan Drouin managed to miss it. As a result, he wasn’t allowed to practice and may be scratched today, although the Canadiens may be force to use him for lack of healthy players, they could have gone with 11 forwards and 7 defensemen by dressing Chris Wideman, but if Guhle isn’t good to go, that’s not an option. Martin St-Louis commenting on the situation said that attendance to team meetings was non-negotiable. Frankly, I said a few days ago that I didn’t think the Habs should entertain the possibility of extending Drouin, even if it was on the cheap and that right there, should be the final nail in the coffin.

I was told on Twitter that I was too harsh without knowing the full story and that it came out in the afternoon that he didn’t miss the meeting, but was only a couple of minutes late. To me, that doesn’t matter, whatever the reason he had for being late, clearly, that was not an acceptable justification to Martin St-Louis and that’s good enough for me. If he had a good enough excuse, I’m sure the story would have been buried and he would have practiced with the team. The truth of the matter is, the Canadiens are rebuilding and they want to put a winning culture in place with dedicated professionals and they need their veterans to lead by example. Drouin is a nice guy, great in the community and a great human being, but he does have consistency issues and he doesn’t appear to be able to stay healthy, for me it’s time for the Canadiens to move on.

Anyways, enough said about this, tonight the Canadiens will be taking on the Lightning to wrap up their 4-game roadtrip. We’ll know closer to the game what the line-up will look like, I suspect a lot hinges on Guhle being able to play and if St-Louis feels comfortable sitting Drouin with a center line already so depleted. Time will tell…

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