Thursday, June 30 2022

They shouldn’t have played, but this year’s NHL Draft, this season’s schedule and hockey-related income are all reasons why they did.

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Just lose, baby!


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That could be the Habs’ motto for the rest of this NHL season.

It also helps explain why the Canadiens agreed to go ahead with their game against the Panthers on New Year’s Day in Florida despite having 16 players on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol roster. The Canadians were only able to dress 18 players for the game – 11 forwards, five defensemen and two goaltenders, two under the norm – and unsurprisingly lost 5-2 to the Panthers.

The 18 players the Canadiens have dressed for the game hit a combined salary cap of $22.76 million, according to figures from, and nine of them earn the league minimum of $750,000. .

To put that into perspective, the NHL team’s minimum salary cap this season is US$60.2 million with a maximum of US$81.5 million. There was virtually no chance that the Canadians would beat the Panthers, one of the best teams in the league.


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Still, the NHL agreed to let the Canadiens play after giving the team the option to postpone the game. The Canadians saw their record drop to 7-23-4, including 2-13-3 on the road.

The NHL’s No. 1 goal at this point appears to end an 82-game regular season for each team and postponing games for a team like the Canadiens, who are already far from the playoff race, doesn’t help that. . The NHL has already postponed the Canadiens’ next four scheduled games at the Bell Center because the league and the team don’t want to play in an empty Bell Center due to COVID-19 restrictions in Quebec.

As for the Canadiens, losses will help them more than wins for the rest of this season when it comes to securing a No. 1 pick in the NHL Draft this year.

This is one of the reasons the New Year’s game was played in Florida.

The Canadiens have halted all post-game activity until Thursday and their next game won’t take place until next Wednesday against the Bruins in Boston, a game originally scheduled at the Bell Centre.

Allan Walsh is the most outspoken player’s agent in the NHL – he even started his own Agent Provocateur podcast – so I thought it would be a good idea to call him and get his opinion on what’s going on. happening with the NHL and COVID-19.


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“The league is concerned that it has so many games postponed that it will not be able to fill them all during what was planned to be the three-week Olympic break (in February) and will have no alternative but to start to push the season back into June and the playoffs continue into July,” Walsh said. “Again, that would result in a schedule (next season) that doesn’t fit into the traditional NHL schedule.

“I think the NHL looks at the integrity of the season in general and certainly a team that’s last in a conference there will be fewer integrity issues that come up with them,” Walsh added of the situation of Canadians. “Maybe not against who they’re playing, but at least with them and even a little less depending on who the competition is than a team fighting for a playoff spot or firmly in a playoff spot.”


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The Canadiens weren’t a competitive team even before they were hit hard by COVID-19, so it’s not like the NHL is giving the Panthers two free points. But it still doesn’t look good and isn’t fair to fans paying for tickets hoping to see two real NHL teams.

Players are caught in a bind when it comes to playing these games because the salary cap is based on hockey-related revenue, which also impacts the locked-in money players pay. There’s also the issue of players testing positive for COVID-19 on the road (seven Canadians tested positive on the last road trip) and needing to quarantine in a hotel room in that city.

Walsh said he’s heard that most players who test positive are either asymptomatic or have minor to moderate symptoms that can last 1-3 days where they don’t feel very well. He added that the lingering symptom in some cases has been shortness of breath when they start exercising again and fatigue that can last for a little while.


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“There may be an inherent conflict here between revenue and player safety,” Walsh said. “And my personal opinion is that when those two – when you weigh the risk-benefit analysis and it’s applied to revenue rather than player safety – you should always give player safety the benefit of the doubt. In some cases, in some situations over the last two weeks, player safety has taken precedence and in other situations (hockey related revenue) has taken precedence over player safety and I’m not Agree with that. I think that’s wrong.

It was wrong for the Canadians to play on New Year’s Day.

However, there are many reasons why they did it.

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  1. Goaltender Samuel Montembeault was added to the NHL's COVID-19 protocol list on Tuesday.  The Canadiens now have three goaltenders on the roster, including Jake Allen and Cayden Primeau.

    Canadiens add four more players to NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list

  2. Mathieu Darche of the Montreal Canadiens watches Martin Brodeur of the New Jersey Devils as Lars Eller's shot finds the net at the Bell Center in Montreal on December 17, 2011.

    Stu Cowan: Mathieu Darche ticks all the boxes in search for Canadiens general manager

  3. Agent Allan Walsh was front and center during an awkward handshake between Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin and then-captain Max Pacioretty at Jonathan Drouin's benefit golf tournament in September.

    Stu Cowan: Player’s agent Allan Walsh grew up a big Habs fan

  4. Former Canadiens captain Max Pacioretty (right) and current Canadiens forward Jonathan Drouin (left) chat with player agent Allan Walsh during the Jonathan Drouin Charity Golf Tournament on September 6, 2018 in Terrebonne.  Walsh is the agent for both players.

    A Q&A with outspoken NHL player agent Allan Walsh



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