The Habs and the trade deadline

This is the year where the Montreal Canadiens should be buyers

It’s been a while since the Montreal Canadiens have had such an opportunity to go deep in the playoffs. With the realigned divisions for the 2020‒21 National Hockey League (NHL) season, the Habs are only playing fellow Canadian opponents in the regular season.

The best four of their seven-team division will qualify for the playoffs, and with those teams only playing each other until the Stanley Cup semi-finals, the chance to make it past the first two rounds is there for the Habs.

The Canadiens have started the season strong, but have had some trouble in the past month, even firing their head coach. Yet, they’re still in a playoff spot and seem confident on the ice against pretty much all their opponents. It would be fair to think that this season, for the first time in years, General Manager Marc Bergevin would try to improve his team by the NHL trade deadline, with hopes to shock the hockey world and win the Stanley Cup.

After adding key players Tyler Toffoli and Josh Anderson last offseason, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Bergevin add depth for his third and fourth lines. Bergevin doesn’t often make trades, but when he does, he rarely fails to improve his roster, either in the short-term or long-term.

An important player who could be traded is Phillip Danault. Despite being a great centreman and good defensively, Danault is in the last year of his contract, and hasn’t offered much offensively this season. Any team looking for depth at this position would give a lot for him, especially at the trade deadline, when teams often overpay.


Graphic by Rose-Marie Dion


Hockey’s back, baby!

The return of an NHL regular season, and of Canadian normalcy

Today marks the start of the 2021 NHL season, which, for many of us, also marks the beginning of a return to normalcy. Like so many other Canadians, my life has always included a whole lot of hockey-watching, so when COVID hit nearly a year ago now (what the hell, right?) amongst all the crazy life changes that it brought, the weirdest by far was to be cooped up during the playoff season, with no playoff hockey to be seen.

This return of a “regular season” feels like a breath of fresh air to me. Although it’s not what I once knew it as, and I won’t be able to go home to Ottawa and sit in my family’s seats to enjoy a game in person (or not enjoy — I’m an Ottawa Senators fan so it’s touch and go), being able to watch hockey again is about as normal as anything has felt in the last 10 months.

Before COVID forced businesses to close down in March, I worked as a hostess at a busy restaurant near the Bell Centre. Our success was and is largely dependent on Habs games and big crowds flocking to the arena. Although I actively dislike the Habs, being in a busy, hockey-centric atmosphere is always fun. When the NHL stopped play in March, it didn’t just mean no more hockey, it meant no more work. It meant a massive loss in revenue to my workplace, and it meant myself and my coworkers losing our income and struggling to get government support. I’ll take this opportunity to thank Trudaddy for that CERB cash, despite the hours upon hours I spent on the phone with Service Canada in order to get it.

My restaurant finally opened their doors on Sept. 1, just for the news to come out on Sept. 28 that we would need to close again — the day of both my birthday and the Stanley Cup Final, what fun!

All of this to say, there have been highs and lows this past year. There has been time to reflect, rejuvenate and relax, and plenty of time to go a little stir crazy. So, now that we’re in the thick of it once again — government-imposed curfew and all — let’s take a moment to be grateful for being given back one piece of normalcy that we so craved. Stock the fridge with beer, put on your jersey, and celly from the comfort of your living room; hockey is back.

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