The Benefits of the Break for the Montreal Canadiens

MONTREAL, QC - MARCH 02: Montreal Canadiens Phillip Danault (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
MONTREAL, QC - MARCH 02: Montreal Canadiens Phillip Danault (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images) /

Recently, a friend of mine asked me whether or not I thought the pause in the Montreal Canadiens schedule was good or bad.

Obviously, if you don’t know, the Canadiens have been on a break for the past week after a player tested positive for COVID-19. Because of this, the team has had a number of games postponed and they have all been forced to stay away from the rink.

Now, one would immediately think that this is a bad thing as the Canadiens can’t practice or meet during this “quarantining” period. However, I would argue that there are a number of benefits to this break.

The Montreal Canadiens possess one of the older rosters in the NHL, sitting at an average of 28, which is good for 8th in the league. Not only that, but some of their biggest stars are over the age of thirty, with players like Carey Price (33), Shea Weber (35), and Jeff Petry (33), to name a few.

So giving those veteran legs a rest in the middle of a rather intense season ahead of what will be a even more condensed schedule for the Canadiens down the line, will be an extreme asset.

In addition to this, their most recent acquisition Eric Staal (36) can benefit from this break as it means he misses less games for his new team. This will give him a rest to recuperate, something he himself recognizes to be a benefit to him.

I realize many people may be worried that this will be a step back for the Canadiens as it causes them to take the foot off the pedal after they just started building momentum. However, there are more benefits to this break than not.

Despite not being able to practice, they can all still review game footage and examine plays in the digital format, something the present NHL player has become accustomed to doing.

Furthermore, something to take into consideration is, interim head coach Dominique Ducharme took over the team in between games this season, which did not give him much time to become acclimated with his new job. It can be argued that this week off will give him and his assistant coaches time to look at the problems that still plague the Montreal Canadiens, and look to resolve them, while also giving players a longer opportunity to review his systems.

Finally, the Canadiens were fortunate to have the teams below them losing their games played in the absence of the Canadiens, which did not shift the North Division standings whatsoever. This plays into the Canadiens’ benefit as they now possess even more games in hand against teams below them like Vancouver and Calgary.

Granted, that does not always guarantee points on the board, but rather the opportunity for separation in the standings. All of these factors can be beneficial to the Canadiens, but it is on the team to take advantage of what is before them.

And what that is, is an opportunity to rest an older roster, allow the players and the new coaching staff to better prepare themselves for the grind of the rest of the season, and knowing they have the opportunity to secure a playoff spot with all of these games in hand.

Next. Staal gives Habs much needed centre depth. dark

As mentioned, these factors can quickly turn to a hinderance if the team does not take advantage of the opportunity before them. Only time will tell if they can fully live up to the elevated expectations put before them this season by management and the fanbase.