Latest posts by Omar White (see all)
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Auston Matthews: Almost a Canadien
With Montreal’s recent slump, the Atlantic Division has become more and more compact. Let’s take a little trip into the world of the What-If. What If Auston Matthews was on the Montreal Canadiens? Chris Johnston from Sportsnet discussed how close the Habs were from winning the draft lottery last year. After the first three lottery balls were drawn being 6, 8, and 5, the Habs had the same odds of winning as the Leafs did. If that happened, Montreal would have gotten their franchise number one centre. William Nylander most likely would’ve started at centre for the Leafs as he did last year with possibly Hyman as his winger. The whole team however would not be nearly as good as they are now. So thank you Bill Dally for picking the right ball. Tonight the Habs get to see again what they almost had.
Antoine Vermette was initially suspended 10 games for slashing a referee across the leg after a lost face-off in a game against the Minnesota Wild. Not agreeing with the decision (even though it is in the rulebook), Vermette appealed the decision which we know now was upheld today. Vermette now can either accept the suspension or move it to an independent arbitrator to be handed. That sounds familiar. The same thing happened last year with Calgary Flames defenceman Dennis Wideman who was suspended 20 games for hitting a ref from behind. There are those who believe there is a conspiracy going on in Calgary where they are not getting the calls they should because of Wideman. It’s possible that the same lack of calls could happen in Anaheim if this case is pushed further.
So, here’s an update on the Leafs line-up. Mitch Marner is going to miss his fifth game after sustaining an upper body injury against Columbus. Connor Carrick was paired with Gardnier at the morning skate, so perhaps he gets back in action tonight. With Carrick in, unfortunately it looks like Marchenko will be in the press box after having a solid outing against the Rangers on Thursday. Bozak has been M.I.A. for the past two days now. It hasn’t been reported that he is injured but Babcock said that he will be a game time decision. Which brings us to who might be replacing him. Ben Smith was skating on a line with JVR and Connor Brown on his wings. Smith lost his spot to Freddie The Goat after poor performances against Columbus, Ottawa, and Carolina. Hopefully his “re-set” has him ready for tonight if he does play.