Andrew Shaw Makes A Warrior’s Call To Teammates

“Everyone.  All lines, all D, goalie; everyone has to be playing their best every night.  Lines are taking nights off, players are taking nights off.  They don’t have that fight.” – Andrew Shaw following a 2-1 loss to the Islanders on Thursday


To find one person that disagrees with him is to identify an unabashed liar.


All of the cliches have been spat out over the last brief while, ranging from claims of them being out of gas (leading to Tony Marinaro calling a gas station in attempt to purchase fuel for the team), having hit a wall, nothing left to give and so on.  Balderdash.  Andrew Shaw is a guy out there on a nightly basis that is as engaged as ever and don’t think for one second that this has nothing to do with his former team being on their way to the Bell Centre amidst their push for a playoff spot because the western conference is an absolute joke outside of approximately four teams; everyone had written teams like the Hawks and the Blues off and left them for dead and here they are, both in the mix.  Carey Price is out there on nearly a nightly basis because the second coming of Antti Niemi has jumped the shark (no pun intended following his abysmal outing at the shark tank) and he still has something left in the tank.  Shea Weber is still out there but watching him skate as of late has looked akin to watching the zamboni in action during play which has left nothing on this planet to suggest that he has not been fighting an injury for the last month or so, the guess here being another fracture in his foot.


A chunk of Habs Nation wants to single out Jonathan Drouin for having an “inconsistent output” but wherein lies the logic? Sure, his numbers have been relatively dry as of late and this is not an opportune time at which to have this but this is just another trend that has mysteriously followed the Habs for years now: that stretch of about a week during March where they get shut out every single game.  This may be a more concentrated form but the time that they often get off the schneid is now.  As far as Drouin is concerned, he is 23 years old and being paid $5,500,000 in average annual value during the course of his current contract while playing at a pace of somewhere to the tune of 55-60 points this season.  Consider now that he is on his way to career highs this season, minus his former linemates in Tampa Bay in the forms of Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos.  First he is criticized for doing too little and then in the same breath he is criticized for doing too much.


Has the asinine sense circling these criticisms set in yet?


No one player bears the mark for sacrifice through this stretch and Andrew Shaw himself has not implied that such is the case.  To emphasize this: “players” and “lines” taking nights off implies more than one.  A market largely comprised of intelligent observers, many of whom graduated kindergarten, should not have to be reminded that 1+1=2 or that there are 20 players active on any given night.


When things are only going right for one or two players, seemingly, on any given night then perhaps that suggests that there is a problem with the unit itself.  The much maligned power play will not be fixed at this point of the season.  The defensive unit will not having its glaring needs addressed nor be given an undisputedly healthy Shea Weber ahead of the season’s end.  If the problem is being out of energy or somehow emotionally bankrupt, maybe the ever faithful Guy Carbonneau bowling night for the team would be just the recipe to cure what ails them.  Wayne Gretzky often said the best thing to do was just relax, have a cheat day and get back to it later.


Listing suggestions could run on and on but what Andrew Shaw said, in the truest fashion of a bona fide leader, stands as accurate as can be.  This is a team that cannot take their foot off the gas and certainly not now.  Purgatory is hell is the modern NHL and that is exactly where the Habs are right now: not good enough to be firmly in the playoff picture and not bad enough to nab another Jesperi Kotkaniemi.  These players bear zero consideration to where the team will be drafting this year, nor should they consider that.  The Montreal Canadiens are concerned with instilling a sense of respect but in the event that they fail to make the playoffs because they could not get the job done at the eleventh hour and keep up with other legitimately competitive teams, that sense of respect is likely history.


Here is the proof: The Toronto Maple Leafs used to make an annual tradition of scoring a bunch of goals in the first month or so of the season, get a little turbulent as time went on, be on the ropes and then some in March and fall completely apart by April and end up in this no man’s land.  How much did anyone respect them? That stench still follows them today.


Letters on jerseys aside, Andrew Shaw and Carey Price are the ones that appear to be particularly interested in driving this ship right now.  No team can afford to have any passengers at this point of the season but especially not the Montreal Canadiens.  Days away from the ice, they can figure out whatever it is that they need but come game day everyone needs to get behind the wheel and put on their most high octane playlist; for optimal results they should try Kickstart My Heart by Mötley Crüe or if they need a more direct message, a few Annakin Slayd tracks off of the album Fahrenheit 514 ought to do the trick.

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