Before the Thanksgiving bird could get stuffed the Montreal Canadiens were already in injury trouble. Mike Hoffman and Joel Edmundon arrived at camp with injuries sustained in the offseason and will miss several weeks. Several players were injured through the preseason period, and the group is oddly banged up for October. After losing Captain Shea Weber to what may be a career-ending injury, the Canadiens needed this camp to gel a new group.
Following off-season meniscus surgery, star goaltender Carey Price was always questionable to start the season. On Thursday, the NHL and NHL Players’ Association issued a news release concerning Price, indicating he would be “away from the team while voluntarily taking part in the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program.” This was followed by an Instagram post from Carey’s wife Angela Price, noting the “importance of putting your mental health first not just by saying it, but by showing up and doing the work to get better. Carey’s showing up for himself and our family and making the absolute best decision possible for us.”
GM Marc Bergevin held a press conference shortly after the announcement. He confirmed he became aware of the situation on Wednesday and that it had come as a surprise. Price had been noted as being away for a non-COVID illness. When asked about Price, the human being, Bergevin became very emotional and simply said, “It’s hard.”
Carey will be away for a minimum of 30 days. This was a turn of events that no one anticipated and is a healthy reminder for all of us that the guys who show up for our professional sports entertainment are made of flesh and blood like the rest of us. As Marc Bergevin said, we wish for better days ahead for Carey and his family.
The Toronto Maple Leafs also experienced significant off-season changes, but their group seems to be coming together nicely. Auston Matthews is practicing after wrist surgery and is hoping to be available for the season opener. Nick Ritchie is making a play to fill the hole left by Zach Hyman. Nick Robertson, believed by Leafs fans to be a competitor for the Calder Trophy, will begin the year in the AHL. Nikita Gusev was released from his professional tryout. Josh Ho-Sang will attempt to resuscitate his career on a contract with the Marlies. Coach Sheldon Keefe, entering the last year of his contract, was given a two-year extension.
Elsewhere in the NHL, a ray of hope was detected this week when TSN’s Darren Dreger reported that the saga around the Jack Eichel trade “may be shifting” with interested teams gaining deeper access to his medical records.
Vegas Golden Knights goalie Robin Lehner ruffled feathers with a tweet storm about the inappropriate use of medications by NHL teams. His public rant led to a private meeting with the NHL and NHLPA and a plan to address Lehner’s concerns. The actual plan is not immediately clear.
The NHL is investigating Evander Kane of the San Jose Sharks following allegations that he falsified a COVID-19 vaccination card. Kane has been keeping the NHL busy as this incident follows a summer investigation of claims that Kane had bet on NHL games. The allegations were not verified.
The NHL regular season gets under way on Tuesday, but for most Newfoundland fans it really starts on Wednesday when the Habs will be in Toronto to face the Leafs. Toronto will come out strong for this one, wanting to compensate for their playoff collapse against Montreal.
Week 9 of 16 in the CFL gifted us with a brilliant debut, a blow out, an overtime and a Family Day home team win.
On Tuesday the Redblacks fielded rookie quarterback Caleb Evans who threw three touchdown passes in his first professional game to lead Ottawa to a 34-24 win over the Edmonton Elks. Blue Bombers quarterback Zach Collaros threw 28 of 33 passes on Friday night for an amazing 417 yards and two touchdowns as Winnipeg blew out the BC Lions with a 30-9 finish.
At Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton on Saturday, the Tiger-Cats blew a 14-point 4th quarter lead and lost 23-20 in overtime to the Montreal Alouettes. It was Family Day on Saturday in Calgary as the Stampeders beat the Saskatchewan Roughriders 23-17.
The Argos enjoyed a bye week.
Blue Jays Babble
It went deep into the evening on the last day of the 2021 Major League Baseball season before the fate of this year’s Toronto Blue Jays was known. On Sunday, the Jays needed the win, and some help from some other teams if they were to claim a wild card spot. They pulled off a convincing 12-4 win over the Orioles, but the other ducks refused to get in a row and Toronto was eliminated from the post-season.
Big decisions are on the docket for the off-season. Robbie Ray and Marcus Semien, two important cogs in the Jays wheel, were both added last off-season on one-year deals and are free agents. Each guy will need to be re-signed or replaced, and the bullpen needs significant reinforcements.
But those are winter conversations. For now, we can look forward to a young and talented team that promises to give us playoff baseball in the very near future.
Lori Bennett is a social worker, policy professional, recreational softball player and coach, and new ukulele-ist. Originally from NL and now based in Toronto, Lori loves a good hockey chat or debate, as long as it remains respectful. She posts game time thoughts on twitter