Overflowing infirmary reminiscent of M*A*S*H
Year after (miserable) year, the Canadiens players seem to be dropping like flies. Groundhog Day, over and over and over again.
Yet nothing seems to change. Every pre season we here the same old song from management "If we can avoid injuries.." "with some Lady Luck"...etc etc and etcetera!
But while players, heck even coaches and management are moved around like trading cards, the team of therapists/doctors, etc that are in charge of players' health, seem to stay the same.
So it begs the question: is it all on the Canadiens' medical team or are there other factors that can explain the never-ending slew of injuries that make this team look worse than a medical platoon?
For one, the Canadiens have clearly been built on speed, a solid goalie (otherwise known as the Jesus Price years) and a conservative style of play (aka defensive-minded aka boring as heck). But size was rarely (albeit it changed a bit in 2020) one of the key ingredients. And, well, logic would dictate that smaller players should be more injury-prone right?
Another likely factor explaining the disproportionate amount of injuries with this team is the fact that they have had little in the way of depth, and this has led to overusing certain players: Price being the first name that comes to mind, Weber, Edmundson, heck even Petry was playing an obscene amount of minutes, all even when they were in their 30s. This year players like Guhle, Xhekaj, Matheson, even Suzuki (albeit like the Wolverine he seems to be more resistant/heal faster than most mortals), were asked to take on a far greater workload than they should be given.
The fact that there have been so many openings and opportunities on this squad these past couple of seasons should not be discounted. I mean, if you are Cole Caufield, Jordan Harris, Guhle, Monahan or any of these young (heck even older) players trying to either earn contracts or take spots from (let's be nice), veterans whose play has been eroding, wouldn't you a) play extremely hard hence be more likely to get injured and b) perhaps even hide a thing or two from the medical team?
Obviously, the Canadiens medical should (and likely will) be questioned at season's end. We've seen too many players (Sean Monahan for example) be allowed to come back to soon this season and the onus should be on the medical team to run proper tests, ask the right questions and be absolutely sure they are not sending a player back if he is not properly healed.
So while changes could be coming this offseason, it may be too easy to simply throw the first stone at the team's medical staff. I feel as if one has to look at the culture/team identity that was left by Gorton/Hughes' predecessors. But if I'm Geoff Molson, I certainly have to be asking for accountability as this M*A*S*H rerun needs to end sooner than later.