Montreal Canadiens: Alex Newhook Will Be Difficult To Replace

MONTREAL, CANADA - NOVEMBER 30: Alex Newhook #15 of the Montreal Canadiens stands during the anthems prior to the game against the Florida Panthers at the Bell Centre on November 30, 2023 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The Florida Panthers defeated the Montreal Canadiens 5-1. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
MONTREAL, CANADA - NOVEMBER 30: Alex Newhook #15 of the Montreal Canadiens stands during the anthems prior to the game against the Florida Panthers at the Bell Centre on November 30, 2023 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The Florida Panthers defeated the Montreal Canadiens 5-1. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images) /
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The Montreal Canadiens dreaded injury luck has taken another victim, the team announced on Saturday. Alex Newhook is out for 10-12 weeks with a high ankle sprain.

Newhook had just been hitting his stride with Nick Suzuki and Brendan Gallagher forming the Habs’ top line. He made a difference with his speed, keeping opponents honest, because of his ability to blow through the neutral zone. Alongside Suzuki, the pair have built some chemistry, and with Gallagher in the mix, Newhook saw an increase in his scoring chances.

If there was ever a question about where he fits in the lineup, he answered that emphatically. He looked great on Suzuki’s wing and seemed to find another gear when working the give-and-go with the captain. The rebuild has hit a snag with Kirby Dach, Rafael Harvey Pinard and Alex Newhook all out with injuries.

Offensively the team is still trying to find their identity, and the impact of Newhook’s absence is a significant one. The lines will go through the blender once again, and new chemistry will need to build up over the next 10-15 games. Again, his speed, anticipation and processor serve him well, and he has been a perfect fit with the Habs young forward core.

Montreal will aim to fill the vacant role by committee, which has been the narrative for essentially the entire season. Just 23 games in, and the Habs have Chris Wideman, Arber Xhekaj, RHP, Dach, David Savard, Jordan Harris and Newhook all injured, and Carey Price on ltir. The team continues to push forward, but missing core pieces takes its toll.

We will all be waiting for you to get back, Alex, and when you do the team will be much better for it. You were hitting your stride, and while the team is still not where they want to be, you were a difference maker. All the best in your recovery, and I hope that you come out of this even stronger.

The Canadiens will collectively try to replace your presence and production. But you’re an essential part of the plan, and that’s precisely why nobody will fill the hole left behind, quite like you can.

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