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

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?

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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. []
  • How Colorado Avalanche prospect Cale Makar turned the UMass hockey program around. [ESPN]