Stu Cowan: Canadians have game points ahead of Dadonov’s departure

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A trade would be the best thing for the forward as he has no future with the Habs beyond this season.

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SAINT PAUL, Minnesota — After the Canadiens beat the Blues 7-4 on Saturday in St. Louis, Evgenii Dadonov was spotted by members of the Montreal media chatting with general manager Kent Hughes in the hallway between the locker room and the coaches room.

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Dadonov had been one of three forwards to be eliminated healthy for the game, along with Jonathan Drouin and Rem Pitlick.

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The Canadiens had the day off Sunday and when they practiced in St. Louis on Monday before flying to Minnesota, Dadonov was off the ice. Chantal Machabée, the team’s vice president of communications, described it as a “maintenance day” for Dadonov.

When head coach Martin St. Louis was asked a few questions about Dadonov after Monday’s practice, he lost patience with reporters for the first time since taking over the team in February.

“Listen guys, he wasn’t on the ice today,” St. Louis said. “Chantal told you (why). So stop.”

When asked if anything happened to Dadonov between Saturday and Monday that prevented him from training, St. Louis replied, “I don’t know. He wasn’t ready to practice today.

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Dadonov was not among 16 players who took part in an optional morning skate Tuesday at the Xcel Energy Center. The team said it was a “therapy day” for him and that the situation was not serious. Dadonov won’t be in the lineup against the Wild on Tuesday night and neither will Mike Hoffman and Michael Pezzetta, with Drouin and Pitlick returning. St. Louis would only say Dadonov “wasn’t available” to play.

Since taking over as head coach, St. Louis has spoken more than once about how he can relate to what every player goes through due to his experience as a player who doesn’t. went undrafted, got waived, sent to the minors, played on the fourth line and first line, and ended up in the Hall of Fame. St. Louis also asked to be traded from Tampa Bay after former Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman initially cut him out of Team Canada’s roster for the 2014 Sochi Olympics. eventually made the Olympic team as a replacement for Steven Stamkos, but less than two weeks after Team Canada won the gold medal, St. Louis got his wish and was traded to the New York Rangers.

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A trade would be the best thing for Dadonov at this point because he has no future with the Canadiens beyond this season, when the 33-year-old becomes an unrestricted free agent. The fact that Dadonov has a salary cap of US$5 million (he actually earns US$6.5 million) and no points in eight games with a minus-3 differential doesn’t help his situation.

“Of course I can understand,” St. Louis said when asked about the current situation of veteran players like Dadonov being out of the lineup. “Sometimes it just feels like it’s almost drifting away. That’s why I say, especially throughout your career, your career window is so short and your mind has to be stronger than your feelings, because it’s easy to get lost in feelings.

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“So I understand that guys feel in a way… let down. I get it and they should be. If they are not, I worry. Then you have your moment of disappointment, but after that your mind has to come in and fight those feelings and take responsibility for getting back into formation. And also when you come back make an impact that it’s hard for the coach to take you out. We wouldn’t necessarily have those scenarios if we had 13 forwards. But with 15 mostly healthy guys, those are tough decisions.

When Hughes traded the final four years of Shea Weber’s contract (his $7.857 million salary cap won’t count as he remains on long-term injured reserve) to the Vegas Golden Knights this summer, he had to recuperate. something back. and it was Dadonov. Hughes would no doubt like to trade Dadonov at some point, but there’s no guarantee another team will want him.

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It will be interesting to see how this situation unfolds as the Canadiens have 15 forwards and just six defensemen, with Mike Matheson and Joel Edmundson injured.

“I think everyone knows in this locker room that they bring something,” St. Louis said. “Everyone has value. Just because they’re out (of range) doesn’t mean they don’t have value. It is their responsibility to continue to elevate their values. The next opportunity they have in the game is to work on the value they have and make it difficult for the coaches.

Captain Nick Suzuki noted the Canadiens still had a solid forward lineup against the Blues without Dadonov, Drouin and Pitlick, a sign of their depth. The Canadiens scored a season-high seven goals in St. Louis.

“We have talent in the forward lineup,” Suzuki said after the game. “That’s why we have 15 forwards with us. It’s a bit unheard of. When you’re in line, you have to earn your place. The internal competition is there and the guys want to stay in the lineup.

This includes Dadonov.

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