“If they want, I can play in attack” – Samuel Montembeault
“I have never seen this. It's crazy. We didn't even have a full roster this morning in practice. If they want, I can play in attack.”
Samuel Montembeault laughs, but he recognizes that the situation is special to say the least. The carnage falling on the Canadian is beyond measure.
According to mangameslost.com, which lists the number of games missed by each team due to injuries, the Habs largely lead the NHL with 670 games missed. By comparison, the Maple Leafs are second with 532 games missed. A remarkable gap.
Not a week has gone by this season without someone new on the injured list. In fact, there are so many cripples that Brendan Gallagher pointed out a few days ago that there aren't enough seats on the bridge to accommodate them all.
C It is to believe that a curse fell on the team.
“There must be someone at home who pricks a voodoo doll with needles”, launched Montembeault.
“If that's the case, we'll have to find that person before next season,” retorted Joel Edmundson, who himself missed 21 games due to injuries.
Medical staff at fault?
Indeed, because, as surprising as it may seem, with five games to play in the season, the troop of Martin St-Louis will very possibly surpass the 731 games missed last season.
Do worse than a winter when COVID-19 decimated the team's ranks to such an extent that we had to call on the services of Cameron Hillis, a forward who started the season with the Trois-Rivières Lions in the ECHL, it must be done!
“It's bad luck,” Edmundson said. There is no specific reason. It's a year like that.”
Is the answer to the riddle that simple? Let's say that it is permissible to doubt it.
Besides, and this is not the first time that the file has arisen this season, there will certainly be an examination to be made concerning the work done by the Canadian's medical staff.
Bad luck alone cannot explain why nine players had to give up at the end of the season. And that doesn't include Carey Price and Paul Byron, who didn't play a game in 2022-23.
Paul Byron, Joel Edmunson and Carey Price after a win over the Senators Ottawa, in March 2021.
“We will definitely try to get answers at the end of the year to see what we can do best, indicated Martin St. -Louis. These are discussions that we will have to have.”
Suzuki, the antithesis
There are the infirmary subscribers and, at the other end of the spectrum, there is Nick Suzuki. The captain of the Canadiens is the only one to have played the team's 77 games (Johnathan Kovacevic comes second with 72).
In fact, he is the iron man of the Montreal camp with 286 games consecutive streaks, the fourth-longest active streak on the Bettman circuit.
Still fascinating considering that Suzuki is averaging 21:12 per game, the sixth-highest average among forwards in the NHL.
“I've been injured before, but it was nothing that could keep me out,” said the 23-year-old forward.
“You have to take care of your body every day. I think I'm doing a better job at that as the years go by, he added. It is up to each player to prepare well before games and practices.”
Would there be a deficiency in this area among Suzuki's teammates? We may have part of the answer.