As in: bottom of, top of

In 2023, two regular Canadiens players have not missed a game due to injuries: Nick Suzuki and Samuel Montembeault. End of list. Everyone, at one time or another, has suffered an injury, whether it be to the “lower body” or the “upper body”, sometimes even both, as was the case for Joel Edmundson in January last, whose pain traveled from the bottom to the top between the end of a match and the next morning. He ended up injured in the back. We would have liked to know how the back could have been confused with the “lower body”, but a sweep among medical staff in recent years has made monitoring this issue more complex. Fun fact, or not: traffic at the infirmary has not decreased since October.

As in: the good, the bad

After a light break-in last winter and spring, the chair has undoubtedly become THE keyword of the last training camp. Martin St-Louis used it daily to exemplify the internal competition at the camp. He peaked on September 20: “You always want to go and get the best chair you can. But you have to stay realistic too and you have to know who the players are sitting in the chairs in front of you. You have to take a chair and play the role of that chair. But still trying to get on the chair. You must understand the role that the coach is trying to give you. Don’t be afraid to steal a chair, even if you’re an American League guy. There are always chairs that get stolen. » As the same St-Louis says in its Hydro-Québec advertisement: any questions?

As in: the year of

The Habs staff had clearly taken part in a brainstorming session before the organization’s annual golf tournament in September. The main theme that emerged: growth, or “growth”, in English. Jeff Gorton, the club’s vice-president of hockey operations, launched it outright and repeated it a few times, then imitated by general manager Kent Hughes and then by Martin St-Louis. Obviously, we preferred this word to “the one that starts with a P” (see the following capsule). So far this season, it’s Juraj Slafkovsky who appears to be top of the class in the growth department. Some will say that it is in particular because he started from very, very far away. But we won’t go there.

As in: playoffs, or the word you should not say

After speaking on growth, the same Jeff Gorton warned that he would not use the “word that starts with a P”, like “playoffs”, or series in French – whether they are eliminations or detail, depending on your tastes. It gave a strange atmosphere to this start of the 2023-2024 season, but ultimately, it was better not to promise what there was a strong risk of not being able to deliver. When you think about it, growth is more convenient.

As in: before the result

Respect the process, keep the process in mind, emphasize the process… All excuses are good to rely on this catch-all concept which ultimately designates the work invested to achieve a result. Consequently, players and their coaches tend to refer to it often when a team has only 20 wins in regulation time over a full year.

As in: David

At the end of a second season of misery in a row, the Canadian obtained a high draft pick. This was all it took to reignite the escalation of speculation. Many fans dreamed of the Russian Matvei Michkov – the manager of a sluggish site even filmed himself having a nervous breakdown live from Nashville. Speaking in the fifth row, the club management instead selected David Reinbacher. We bet that Carey Price will never forget the name of the Austrian defender again, after having completely frozen on the scene when announcing the choice of CH.

As in: digital

Confetti fall and five-up: the Canadian finished first in a statistical category. Oh ! sorry, we looked at the ranking backwards again. Let’s start again: the CH finished in 32nd and last place in the NHL, for the whole of 2023, shorthanded. With a famished success rate of 71.9% three games from the finish line, the Flannel will win this title by an appreciable margin. On a positive note, it can only go up in 2024.

As in: the one we are looking for

According to the Eureka search engine, “constance” and “Martin St-Louis” were found in the same text 54 times in 2023 in La Presse and Le Journal de Montréal. And that’s probably just the tip of the iceberg. The theme of consistency is omnipresent in the daily life of the Habs. And we can understand why he is looking for it so much: since January 1, the team has achieved at least two consecutive victories on only nine occasions. It’s not that the CH is incapable of success. Only, when it happens, it doesn’t last long.

As in: threesome

Nothing naughty here. Just three goalkeepers who have played turns, or almost, since the start of this season. Once the initial commotion had passed, everyone seemed to have come around to the idea that the carousel would be in place for a good while. Until that changes, Samuel Montembeault, Jake Allen and Cayden Primeau seem to have made peace with playing in rotation, although Montembeault has played more often in recent weeks. The big winners of the exercise? All conversations starting with “who’s goaling tonight? “.

As in: blue

The “reverse retro” sweater was born in the fall of 2022, but it was at the start of 2023 that Canadiens players played the most games in powder blue. Their record under these circumstances: 1-6-1. The trend did not escape Martin St-Louis who, after the last of these matches, did not mince his words. “It’s a historic franchise,” he said. There are probably guys who wore this sweater 50 years ago, in red and white, and they’re looking down at us like, What are you doing in blue? » We ask ourselves the same question when we see that the organization has kept the Metal mascot alive, an idea that should never have come out of the email exchange in which it was born.