It was a profound mess, but the Montreal Canadiens got through their Saturday game (a 5-2 loss to the Florida Panthers). Whether it was truly worth it to play that game shorthanded or not, they won’t suit up again for quite a while. The Canadiens’ home games have been postponed through Jan. 10, and all team activities have been paused through Jan. 6.
(That Jan. 6 pause also applies to the Canadiens’ AHL affiliate.)
“Given all the new positive cases arising daily, and for the health of our players and staff, we feel that pausing our activities is necessary at this time,” Canadiens executive Jeff Gorton said in a statement. “This pause will give our players the time they need to recover so that we can continue the season safely.”
Canadiens get through game shorthanded, multiple postponed contests
Truly, it’s a little baffling that Panthers forward Sam Reinhart used the word “infectious” to describe his team’s play after Saturday’s game against the Canadiens.
“I think the way we want to play is infectious. When you see one line going and playing with that speed, playing simple and attacking the game, it translates well to the next line and guys seem to feed off that.” – Sam Reinhart
— David Dwork (@DavidDwork) January 1, 2022
Heading into that game, the Canadiens were massively shorthanded thanks to COVID protocol and injuries. Montreal only dressed 11 forwards and five defensemen, and that number fell in-game after Cedric Paquette was injured.
La formation d’aujourd’hui.
Today’s lineup.#GoHabsGo pic.twitter.com/euOocY8PVQ
— Canadiens Montréal (@CanadiensMTL) January 1, 2022
Now, for what’s next.
Sportsnet’s Eric Engels described the process Jake Evans, Alexander Romanov and some other Canadiens players expect to go through after entering COVID protocol.
Provided he’s asymptomatic, Evans will be in isolation for five days in a Florida hotel room, and then he’ll likely fly to Plattsburgh, N.Y., before being driven over the border to Montreal. Same goes for Romanov and Brandon Baddock, while Cayden Primeau will come out of his isolation and head to New Jersey for the remaining nine days it takes to be permitted to fly back to Montreal.
Again, at the moment, the Canadiens’ home games are postponed through Jan. 10, and all activities are paused through Jan. 6. We’ll see if anything else changes, as the league wrestles with these challenges on-the-fly.
This all comes after the NHL postponed additional games due to Canada’s COVID restrictions on Friday.
James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.