No one really expected the Montreal Canadiens to be good this season, but there's no question injuries have taken a massive toll on the team's fortunes. Rookies like defenceman Kaiden Guhle
and forward Juraj Slafkovskı are out with long-term injuries, missing important development time. Cole Caufield
, who could have been chasing a 50 goal season, has been shut down due to a shoulder injury. More seasoned players like Brandon Gallagher, Jonathan Drouin
, and Mike Matheson are out of the lineup more than they are in. Paul Byron hasn't played at all, while others like Jake Evans
and Joel Armia
are looking at lengthy recovery times. This is now the second season in a row the Habs have had to deal with injuries and reoccurrences of injuries, and GM Kent Hughes said Saturday something has to give.
"I think we'll continue to evaluate that until the end of the year," said Hughes when asked whether the team's medical staff needs to be looked at. "Sometimes we have players who always want to come back too early. [Gallagher] is certainly one of those players who always wants to push the limit. If we tell Gally three weeks, he'll always try to be back in one and a half."
"With certain players, we have to do a bit more to protect certain players from themselves. And with others, we can probably need to push them a bit more. Last year we had a lot of back injuries. We had more than other teams in the league. When we see things like that, it makes us question things."
It's tough to know whether constant injuries like this are just bad luck, or a result of questionable decisions. Either way, Montreal will have to figure it out. Especially when it comes to ensuring the proper development of younger players.