The Montreal Canadiens are already turning every head in the National Hockey League in their direction, a day before their next game.
The team has officially announced that both forwards Ales Hemsky and Andrew Shaw won't take part in tomorrow evening's game against the Tampa Bay Lightning, though both players participated in a full contact practice on Friday.
Now, for Hemsky, fans can understand. The forward has been out of the Habs lineup since Oct. 21 and there is no timetable for his return.
However, many insiders know that rival clubs have been looking to make an offer for Shaw, as general manager Marc Bergevin seems against the idea of moving the former Cup champion. Shaw has missed five weeks with a lower-body injury and many suggested that he was nearing a return this week after he practiced in a contact jersey all week. It now appears he is unlikely to return to the lineup before the Feb. 26 trade deadline.
TSN insider Darren Dreger recently reported that some talks are still going on about captain Max Pacioretty and forward Alex Galchenyuk as the trade deadline approaches, but one player won't be moving: Shaw. Bergevin, if he remains in control and owner Geoff Molson lets him act on the market, does not want Shaw out of Montreal.
"I know that there’s a terrific amount of interest, say, in Andrew Shaw. And I also know that Bergevin just doesn’t want to trade Andrew Shaw. It would take a mind-blowing deal or offer to move Andrew Shaw because of how significant he is a part of the culture, not unlike Gallagher and when Shea Weber is healthy we know what he brings from a leadership perspective," Dreger added.
“I guess what I don’t understand is how can you be in that position as a general manager when you’ve got so many holes that you need to fill. He swung and he missed on Radulov obviously, and Markov. He’s got a ton of cap space. And if there’s interest in any player, in this case a very good player and a guy with experience and a decent contract in Andrew Shaw that someone’s willing to give you fair value, why wouldn’t you consider making that deal.
“Pacioretty, Galchenyuk – if he doesn’t get what he needs, whatever that is – it depends team-by-team according to teams that I’m talking to – then he’s in no rush."
So, should we just be relieved that the Habs are not taking any chances with him? After all, it was just announced that top defenseman Shea Weber will undergo surgery on his left foot and won't return to the lineup until next season, and star goalie Carey Price is out with a concussion.
The season is tanked, so why rush Shaw to play again - especially before Monday's trade deadline - ESPECIALLY if Bergevin will not accept any offer made on the gritty forward!
Unless there is something else in the works... Three days to go to find out.