There have been some choices that are still left to be questioned in Montreal when it comes to the Canadiens, their trades and moves throughout the past few seasons. The Canadiens will miss the playoffs for the second time in three years, and with a just a few games to go in the season, head coach Claude Julien has decided to make some changes to his lineup ahead of tonight's contest against the Winnipeg Jets.
Julien announced following the morning's skate that veteran defenseman Jordie Benn will be a healthy scratch for the contest.
And to say that Benn was not happy about it is quite the understatement. Following the coach's announcement, Benn did not waste time to rip Julien and question his decision.
"It sucks and it pisses me off," he said to media members present as reported by Richard Labbe from La Presse, translated from French. "I am not going to scream and go overboard with it, I will have to wait for my turn."
There has been so much trade chatter around the Canadiens this season, it is deafening in Montreal. Captain Max Pacioretty has has his load, and even star goaltender Carey Price has been involved in some crazy rumors, claiming he could start his massive new contract with another team this summer. Speaking of Price, he should get an ovation tonight when the Canadiens announce that this marks his 557th game and he will move ahead of the late Jacques Plante for the most games played by a Canadiens goaltender.
Rumors have also circled around Gallagher, Alex Galchenyuk and a few defenders as some pundits demand that the Habs enter a rebuild mode after many failed seasons. The main thing die-hard Habs fans want to see is a change in management, as some are unsatisfied with the work general manager Marc Bergevin has done over the years. Some have also questioned Julien's job in the past season with the team, however, the head coach has quite a solid resume and pay check to keep him in Montreal.
Julien was not just in a bad mood whilst announcing the lineup for tonight's game. He was also happy to report and congratulate players like forwards Paul Byron and Brendan Gallagher. This morning, the Canadiens announced that Byron is this season’s winner of the Jacques Beauchamp-Molson Trophy, awarded annually to the member of the team who played a dominant role during the regular season without earning any particular honour. Gallagher is the Molson Cup Player of the Year, winning the honour for the first time in his career.
However, it does not seem to make Benn happier about his coach's decision... As for Julien, he claimed that it was only about everyone getting his turn.
"There is nothing special about it," Julien explained. "We move our defensemen in the lineup. We have seven healthy defenders, and we can only play six. We move them around so we can evaluate other players."