Week 21 in One Word: Refresh

March 28, 2022

refresh

/rəˈfreSH/

give new strength or energy to; reinvigorate

Similar: revive, revitalize, restore, fortify, strengthen, energize, stimulate

an act or function of updating the display on a screen

The Montreal Canadiens had a jam-packed 21st week. In addition to a very productive trade deadline day, they were in action for four games. On Monday, they suffered a 3-2 overtime loss to a strong Boston Bruins team. Ben Chiarot and the Florida Panthers were in town on Thursday and the MSL-refreshed Habs held their own but lost 4-3. In the Saturday night game, Jake Allen stood on his head to turn away 49 Leafs shots, leading the Habs to a 4-2 win. On Sunday a tired team met the Devils in New Jersey and took the game to a shootout but lost 3-2.

Here’s how I saw Week 21 go down.

On trade deadline day, Hugo made it worth the effort of hitting the Twitter refresh button.  

What a trade deadline season for the Montreal Canadiens and the two-headed monster of Jeff Gorton and Kent Hughes!

HuGo started the day having already made significant strides. They started with the Valentine’s Day haul for Tyler Toffoli. Then in the week before the deadline they traded Ben Chiarot to the Florida Panthers for a 2023 1st round pick, forward prospect Ty Smilanic, and a 4th round pick. With limited in-demand UFAs on the roster, many figured the Habs were done.

Die-hards hitting the refresh button were rewarded.

When the clock struck 3, the Habs had made three deals, sending Brett Kulak home to Edmonton for D-man William Lagesson, a 2nd round pick in 2022 and a 7th round pick in 2024. Then HuGo dealt Artturi Lehkonen to Colorado for top defence prospect Justin Barron and a 2nd. The Habs ended the day by moving goaltender Andrew Hammond to the New Jersey Devils for Laval help in forward Nate Schnarr.

Habs fans have become accustomed to managing their expectations. It’s refreshing to watch the management crew accomplish great things.

At some point Habs fans will stop being shocked by the refreshing transparency of the HuGo team.

From the post-deadline presser to the fan Q and A with Chantal Machabee to the intermission interview on Thursday night, HuGo is bringing a refreshing new transparency to the Montreal Canadiens unlike anything that has been seen in a very long time, if ever.

Consider Pierre LeBrun’s intermission question about Jeff Petry’s situation. We learned that the Habs “had conversations with a group of teams” and that cap space was a significant factor for playoff contending teams – which tells us there was potential interest from contenders – and that moving a player like Petry is more of an off-season move. Hughes also intimated that they came close with one specific team. If he was any more transparent on that front his name would be Kyle Davidson.

This week saw some fresh blood enter the line-up… and some refreshed blood.  

Justin Barron was in practice this week. Acquired at the deadline on Monday, he was already with the team a couple of days later. Barron had the local media hitting the refresh button on their digital recorders after opening his presser in French. Smooth kid.

On Sunday night he saw his first game action in a Habs jersey. According to @DanKramerHabs on Twitter, who has been tracking these things for some time, Barron became the 952nd player to play a regular season game for the Montreal Canadiens, and the 23rd new player to debut this season. That might be a few too many refreshes for one team.

Barron had a decent first game for the Habs, but the highlight was Marty’s call to show him some ice in the overtime. Now there is a coach who understands playing guys to their strengths. Refreshing. Of course, that’s an easier call when the games mean little.

Tyler Pitlick, who had started to take on a Mr. Snuffleupagus quality, finally made an appearance for the Habs on Thursday against Florida. He had some rust to shake off but settled in nicely in a fourth line role. In the meanwhile, that number 24 is getting another refresh. Unfortunately, Pitlick left the game on Saturday with an upper body injury.

Martin St. Louis is trying to refresh some guys who need a fresh start by throwing them all together. This week we saw a Byron-Dvorak-Armia line, and they looked pretty good together. Is this a third line for the future or should we call them the Trade Block Line?

Lagesson played in his first game on Saturday night, before being replaced by Barron on Sunday night. Lagesson is a kid who is happy for a fresh start in Montreal. We’ll give him some games to settle, but with several kids competing for action, we may need to keep refreshing those D pairs.

Some guys would benefit from the opportunity to go home and refresh.

Petry was injured on Thursday night against the Panthers, and immediately fans suggested the Habs should just send him home for the rest of the season. It’s not quite that simple. At the other end, pundits are suggesting these end of season games are essential to boost Petry’s value so a trade can be possible in the summer. I’m not sure it’s quite that simple either.

Any team that’s trading for Petry is already convinced of his ability and has empathy for the impact of his family situation right now. Can a handful of games really shift the market that much?  Might a few days away from the team to refresh serve everyone well? Maybe a quick visit and return for the last 10 games or so?

Then we have Brendan Gallagher and Jonathan Drouin. Drouin has another wrist injury and is seeking a second opinion before deciding upon a course of action. Gallagher is out for some reason or another. This is the third consecutive season where both players have lost significant games to injury and illness. Does a handful of games accomplish anything for these players, or are they better served being sent home for a long off-season to refresh?

Will either of these guys be on a refreshed 2022-23 roster?

The Habs have added a late-season freshman.

Jordan Harris’ college career ended on Friday when Northeastern University was eliminated from NCAA playoff action. The player projects to be a 4-6 defenceman for the Habs. Without delay, Harris was signed to a two-year entry-level contract on Saturday afternoon and will burn the first year this season.

I don’t buy the take from some bloggers that Harris signing with the Habs was always a done deal. About a week before he was fired, Bergevin himself lamented that if Harris preferred to play for the Bruins or Rangers there wasn’t much he could do about that.

If there is one thing I don’t miss about Bergevin – and I should be clear that there are about a million things I don’t miss about Bergevin – it’s the constant whining about how hard his job was and how little we should expect he’d be able to do.

Instead, from Hughes we saw the perfect combination of humility and confidence. We hope we can sign him – we’re confident we can… and then he delivered. Now we wait to see the kid in action.

What a refreshing time to be a Habs fan.

Published by Lori Bennett

Hockey is my hobby. I love a respectful hockey chat or debate, but it stops being fun if we're jerks.

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