It's been a brutally tough go on the ice for the 2021 Montreal Canadiens, and an even tougher one off of it for the core pillars of the team's Cup Final run a few months ago.
It was announced shortly after the Canadiens' magical run fell just short to the Tampa Bay Lightning last July that injuries to his foot, ankle, thumb and knee would keep Shea Weber out of Montreal's lineup indefinitely. It was later revealed he would likely miss the entire 2021-22 season, as he was subsequently placed on LTIR with his career in doubt.
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, a dejected Marc Bergevin all but confirmed the worst for the Canadiens captain, saying the injury-plagued blueliner will miss the entire upcoming campaign.
In Bergevin's opinion, it's unlikely Weber will ever resume his NHL career.
“I think it’s a long shot,” Bergevin said. “You never know, but I would say it’s a long shot.”
Weber has five seasons left on his current deal, which carries a cap hit of around $7.9 million. The Canadiens organization declared in September that it would not name an interim captain in Weber's absence, shedding light on just how important the 36-year-old is to the fabric of the team's dressing room and what a massive loss this really is.
Compounded with the absence of all-world starting goaltender Carey Price — who is currently out indefinitely after he entered the NHL/NHLPA's joint player assistance program earlier this month — it's been a monumental hit to that dressing room, no doubt.
And on the ice, the group has looked lost without its top dogs leading the pack. With surely a bit of a postseason hangover lingering after a gruelling march to the finals and a shorter-than-ever-summer to recharge from it, Montreal has started 0-4 while being outscored 15-3 overall in a quartet of uninspired losses to the Leafs, Sabres, Rangers and Sharks, respectively.
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