The Montreal Canadiens met the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday evening, October 5, in Toronto and overwhelmed the previously unbeaten Maple Leafs in the third period to win a shootout by the score of 6-5. It was a great rivalry for these two original six teams and a good evening of hockey entertainment for fans all across Canada. Probably these are Canadians’ two favorite teams.
In this edition of Canadiens’ team news, which is a feature we will do weekly here at NHLTradeTalk.com, we will review the recent news coming out of the organization.
Item One: Ryan Poehling
Ryan Poehling was upset that the Canadiens decided to send him to the AHL, but he claims to understand why the team made the decision. His response to the demotion? He’s determined it won’t be a long stay in Laval.
Specifically, Poehling stated: “I was upset, obviously. I wasn’t happy being sent down because I felt like I did all the right things. I did what they asked. I was a bit shocked, I would say, but you can’t be discouraged in this league. You’re going to get knocked down a few times.”
Attempting to make lemonade after the demotion, the 20-year-old rookie grasped onto Marc Bergevin’s note that it was only a question of time before he returned to the team.
One can see why the youngster was upset. He came in like a storm at the end of last season. Although it was the last few games, some fans would wonder how Poehling might have done better than he did. Over those last three games, he played well enough and scored a hat trick in the season’s finale against the Maple Leafs.
Poehling had a tough training camp this preseason, missing a significant portion because of a concussion. That lack of preseason practice and playing time really ruined his chances of finding a spot on the roster. Still, it would be a surprise if the 2017 first-round pick from Lakeville, Minnesota (only 28 miles from where former Maple Leafs’ defenseman Jake Gardiner grew up – Minnetonka) didn’t come to eventually play a significant role with the Canadiens this season.
Item Two: Victor Mete Hasn’t Scored Since When?
Talk about frustration. Defenseman Victor Mete is “chasing” a record, or perhaps it’s better to say the record is chasing him. Coming into the October 5th game against the Maple Leafs, Mete had played 122 NHL games without a goal.
Guess what? He didn’t score in the Maple Leafs game, and he set a Canadiens’ team record. The previous record was “held” by Mike Komisarek, a defenseman who played with the team from 2002-2009. Komisarek scored his first NHL goal in his 122nd game as a Canadiens’ player. He eventually ended with 14 goals in 551 games.
The all-time record for non-goal-scoring by a player other than a goalie is held by the Carolina Hurricane’s Steve Halko, who played 155 games over six seasons without scoring a goal. Sadly, Halko retired after the 2002-03 season without ever scoring an NHL goal. Really, 155 games isn’t that far away for Mete – it would happen this season, should he not score.
Item Three: Tomas Tatar Is Becoming a Montreal Canadiens’ Fan Favorite
When the Montreal Canadiens acquired Tomas Tatar from the Vegas Golden Knights, the team also picked up prospect Nick Suzuki and a 2019 second-round pick. To get these players, the team sent the Golden Knights Max Pacioretty. At that time, Tatar was seen as a throw-in to the trade, which many fans believed was about bringing the young Suzuki to the team.
Tatar certainly wasn’t a headliner. His stock was low and his salary was high. Tartar just had his worst season statistically – even when the Golden Knights were on a playoff push, had a salary of over $5 million per season, and was a healthy scratch during much of the playoffs. Not a good reference letter for a job.
The trade to Montreal rejuvenated Tatar’s career. He had his career-best with 58 points. Plus, the Habs’ fans embraced him – mostly because they appreciate how he’s taken to living in the great Canadian city of Montreal.
In one moment that went viral, super Habs’ fan Derek Toulouse released the tweet below. Tatar then invited Toulouse to be his guest for a home game. The response by the Canadiens’ fan base was endearing, and they really took to Tatar.
As Tatar noted, “You don’t get to meet this big of a fan every day. I wanted to meet him and make his day better.” He did.
In addition, Tatar also began to take French lessons. That caught on with the fans because it showed respect for the city. So far this season, Tatar has scored a single goal against the Carolina Hurricanes. But he has scored with the fans of the Canadiens. Good luck to him and his team this season.
Item Four: Shea Weber Didn’t Get a Shot on Goal in Loss to Carolina
Shea Weber had two assists in the Canadiens’ shootout victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs. He also had eight shots on goal during regulation and the overtime. However, in the team’s overtime loss to the Carolina Hurricanes, Weber was quiet – for him. He went the entire game without a shot on goal, and that was with logging 24:11 of ice time.
Weber seldom is held without a shot on net, and the 2018-19 season is a case in point. Only four times during the entire season did he not register a shot.
The 34-year-old Weber is clearly the Canadiens’ top defenseman. When he was traded to Montreal for fan favorite PK Subban, many fans were upset. But here he is still with the team, and Subban has moved on yet again – this time to the New Jersey Devils. Weber is looking to have a strong 2019-20 season – if he can stay healthy. Last season, he simply couldn’t out skate injuries.
Here at NHLTradeTalk.com, we hope he has a season of healthy competition.