BROSSARD – With the first day of the GMs’ meeting kicking off Monday morning in Boca Raton, Florida, the NHL’s head-shot epidemic was once again a hot topic of conversation in the Canadiens’ dressing room.
Before the Habs took to the ice for practice, they received a visit from team owner Geoff Molson who arrived to address the players directly on his reasoning behind last week’s letter to the Montreal Canadiens’ fan base.
“It was definitely much appreciated that Geoff made sure to speak with the team this morning and took the time to explain to the players his approach as team owner as well as his reasons for writing the letter to the fans,” expressed Habs’ head-coach Jacques Martin who also voiced his own take on the issue.
“The parity in the League makes individual games as well as positioning in the standings so close now right now that the level of overall competition had really increased. There needs to be an understanding on the part of the players on what needs to be done as well as a willingness to make the changes,” offered Martin. “There needs to be a higher level of respect for players in vulnerable positions.”
One player who definitely appreciated the personal touch his team’s owner has brought to the situation was Habs’ rookie defenseman P.K. Subban
“Geoff has been involved with our team all year long. He’s a great owner. His relationship with the players is definitely a positive one and it’s nice to know that he supports us 100%,” said Subban before taking a moment to comment on the recently injured Max Pacioretty
, one of the latest NHLers to risk having his season ended by a concussion.
“I think Max might be getting more headaches from me texting him all the time than from the concussion,” joked Subban. “I sent him one after the Pittsburgh game to say that we got the big win for him and he answered back saying to keep winning so he could come get back into the lineup. That was a great thing to hear from him.”
Alex Auld, the Canadiens’ representative with the NHLPA, ventured that while there may be no single culprit responsible for the wave of injuries sidelining some of the League’s most talented individuals, it’s not the concussions that are new to the sport – only the way they’re diagnosed.
“It’s becoming more and more common. The ability to better diagnose concussions now than ever before is making us more aware of them, but the speed of the game, the equipment and the size of today’s players are also all factors. From the time kids start playing they’re brought up a sense of being invincible. Even my son gets the feeling when he’s in his equipment, wearing his helmet, that nothing can hurt him,” explained the Canadiens’ backup netminder.
“There are really two generations of players. When there weren’t even helmets, players recognized they were a lot more vulnerable on the ice and ultimately there was a greater level of respect towards each other for just that reason.”
Justin Fragapane is a writer for canadiens.comALSO READ: Comments from the Room: Gionta
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