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Friday Habs Headlines: Shea Weber’s usage declining down the stretch

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In today’s links, Shea Weber’s ice time is dropping as the Habs head into their most critical part of the season, can Jonathan Drouin find consistent production amidst a prolonged slump, and how can the Edmonton Oilers turn their fortunes as a franchise around?

NHL: New York Islanders at Montreal Canadiens Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

Montreal Canadiens news and notes

  • In the middle of the most important part of the season, Shea Weber’s usage has significantly decreased. [La Presse | Google Translate]
  • Claude Julien emphasized the importance of last change prior to Thursday night’s game against the New York Islanders. [La Presse]
  • The three players added at the trade deadline might have a greater impact on the team than their individual play may indicate. [The Athletic]
  • Jonathan Drouin answered his critics with two points against the Islanders, but his slump prior to that had people wondering if he was caught in a vicious cycle similar to the one that ensnared Alex Galchenyuk. [The Athletic]
  • The stretch run might prove to be a grind for a Habs team that have used their legs all year long. [Hockey Inside/Out]
  • Jesperi Kotkaniemi welcomed his brother Kasperi to his first NHL game last Saturday night. [Montreal Canadiens]
  • The Habs will hold their annual food drive this Saturday at the Bell Centre. [Montreal Canadiens]
  • Is Marie-Philip Poulin already the greatest female hockey player of all-time? [The Athletic]

In the thick of the wild-card race

  • Olli Maatta was cleared for contact on Thursday as the Pittsburgh Penguins blueline slowly returns to full strength. [Pittsburgh Tribune-Review]
  • In the midst of a mini-slump, the Penguins are tired of crawling towards the playoffs, one loser point at a time. [Pittsburgh Tribune-Review]
  • Largely panned deadline acquisition Erik Gudbranson has been surprisingly good as a Penguin. [Pensburgh]
  • Pierre-Luc Dubois is in the midst of the biggest drought of his young career, but his underlying metrics are starting to trend up. [1st Ohio Battery]
  • Sergei Bobrovsky missed Thursday night’s match against the Edmonton Oilers with what John Tortorella calls a “nick.” [Sportsnet]

Around the league and elsewhere

  • While all the discussion is focused on locker room culture, Travis Yost offers that the Edmonton Oilers’ road to recovery hinges on their ability to get talented wingers. [TSN]
  • What have the Dallas Stars accomplished since their owner went on his epic rant against his star players? [Sportsnet]
  • The Toronto Maple Leafs have signed recently acquired Nic Petan to a two year contract extension. [TSN]
  • Chris Drury has been named the general manager of the US men’s national hockey team for the upcoming World Championships. [NHL.com]
  • How Colorado Avalanche prospect Cale Makar turned the UMass hockey program around. [ESPN]