The Canadian |  Edmundson's imminent return will shake up the defense

The Canadian | Edmundson’s imminent return will shake up the defense

Good news for the Canadian: Joel Edmundson is obviously very close to playing again.

Posted yesterday at 5:13 pm

Simon Olivier Lorange

Simon Olivier Lorange

Bothered by a back injury that deprived him of all of training camp and the Habs’ seven games this season, the 29-year-old veteran flew his team to Buffalo on Wednesday afternoon, the first leg of a eight days to continue. to St. Louis, Minnesota and Winnipeg.

Wearing a jersey that excludes contact with the ice, Edmundson participated in two full practices this week. On Wednesday morning, his colleague Corey Schueneman was loaned to the Laval Rocket in the American League. Since it is unusual for a club to travel with just six healthy defenders, it is assumed that Manitoban will be available quickly for their coaches to enter the fray.

There is no doubt that by the time he is ready to play, Edmundson will be inserted into training. Montreal’s defense has held up so far, but the presence of four rookies in a game situation has already begun to show its limits.

Edmundson “looks great on the track; I’m sure he’s ready and excited to play,” Kaiden Guhle said after Wednesday’s practice. “He will bring a lot of calm and confidence to our young group. Whenever we can get help, we take it. It’s exciting to see him back. »

So we wonder who Joel Edmundson’s presence will send to the stands. The exercise may seem surprising, knowing that this defensive unit is not a strong point of the circuit, but some elements deserve attention.

David Savard can sleep in peace. Stéphane Robidas, coach of the Habs defenders, praised his “reassuring presence” on Wednesday.

Despite their young age, it is very likely that Kaiden Guhle and Jordan Harris will also be saved. Guhle consistently plays more than 20 minutes a game and, with Savard, he takes on the top lines of the opposition. Harris stands out more and more for his defensive reliability. “It deprives the opponent of time and space,” Robidas analyzed.

The American inherited 25 minutes last Tuesday night after Guhle was forced to leave the match with an ear injury.

“I felt prepared,” Harris said. You have to be prepared for all eventualities. »

That leaves Johnathan Kovacevic, Arber Xhekaj and Chris Wideman. There are arguments for and against each of them. Let’s talk about it.

Kovacevich: for


Johnathan Kovacevich

“He’s good defensively, he’s a big guy; he has a good stick, plays short and blocks shots. He is a nice addition. Robidas had nothing but good things to say about the man who joined the Canadiens at the end of training camp. With Harris, he usually fills the opposite second row, a considerable burden for such a green duo. He is also right-handed.

Kovacevich: against

He is clumsy. In the Minnesota Wild’s game-winning goal Tuesday, he carried no weight against Ryan Hartman or Frédérick Gaudreau. Robidas’ list of accolades could also be fully applied to Edmundson’s profile.

Xhekaj: for


Arber Xhekaj

Undeniable surprise from training camp. The toughness he brings is unmatched on defense, possibly on the entire team. Robidas, like others before him, praised the fluidity of his skating for a player his size.

Xhekaj: cons

His inexperience more evident than with Harris and Guhle. In the last two games, his indiscipline betrayed him.

Wideman: for


chris wideman

He is literally the club’s only viable option on the power play. Pure offensive defender, used in the first wave. Robidas also likes to see this veteran in the Xhekaj duo with equal force. And he is right-handed.

Wideman: Cons

All the rest. Despite his human qualities, Wideman would struggle to break a top 6 elsewhere in the NHL. He only plays 14 minutes per game at five against five.

In fact, if the election were based purely on merit, Wideman would probably be the one to pay. Against the wild, he was particularly mistreated. And his performance on the power play isn’t as inspiring as his teammates elsewhere.

Removing him or Kovacevic from the lineup, however, would mean sending a southpaw down the right flank, an option not all coaches relish. Both Harris and Guhle played in reverse during rookie camp or training camp. Harris has also done it in the past at Northeastern University and at World Juniors. “It’s something I practice. And I want to help the team in any way I can. I can also become a guardian, if you want! The river.

Changing defenses is not taboo for Robidas. As a right-hander, he had to play on the left for three different teams during his career on the ice.

In any case, he recalled, it is up to Martin St-Louis to decide. And we know the head coach isn’t afraid of extraordinary experiences.

Maybe that’s what you’ll do again to solve your problem. A happy problem, anyway.


Nicolas Beaudin acquired from the Hawks


Nicholas Beaudin

The Canadiens acquired Quebec defender Nicolas Beaudin from the Chicago Blachkawks in exchange for forward Cam Hillis. The two clubs thus exchange two players who no longer had a place in their organization. Beaudin, a first-round pick in 2018 (27me in all), has seen its star fade year after year. In his fourth season in the professional ranks, he has only played 22 NHL games. At the end of the Hawks’ training camp, he got waivers but went unclaimed. Meanwhile, Hillis is in the third and final year of his entry-level contract. However, he seems far from the big leagues, he who was loaned to the Leones de Trois-Rivières, in the ECHL, for the second consecutive year. A third-round draft pick, also in 2018, he only played one game for the Canadiens, largely due to the organization’s roster shortage at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

More fear than harm for Guhle


Kaiden Guhle

The dots decorating Kaiden Guhle’s left ear aren’t the most appetizing, but they won’t stop the defender from playing in the next game. The youngster was hit by a puck during Tuesday’s game against the Minnesota Wild and had to leave the game early to receive first aid. However, his inner ear was not affected, he said.

Armia and Slafkovsky wait


joel armia

Although they accompany their team on the road, it is not clear if Joel Armia and Juraj Slafkovsky will play soon. Armia sustained an “upper body” injury during a preseason game and is still continuing her rehab. Slavkovsky also received a blow to the “upper body” a week ago. On Wednesday he practiced for the first time wearing a jersey that allowed him to give and receive contacts. However, after training, the club said that he had not yet received the green light from the doctors to play.

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