The Montreal Canadiens held their annual red vs. white scrimmage on Sunday afternoon, a final intrasquad contest before they begin the pre-season tonight against the Devils. For veterans, these contests remain more preparatory than anything, while for younger players it represents a good opportunity to impress the coaching staff, as well as the Bell Centre faithful.
Joel Armia, despite being a veteran player, may be playing himself right out of a roster spot.
On two occasions, he was set up with excellent opportunities for one-timers, missing one altogether and sending the other one four feet wide of the net.
One could argue he was the least impressive forward on either side, in a game that featured a number of forwards not remotely expected to crack the NHL this season. His veteran status ostensibly pencils him in for a roster spot regardless of camp performance, but his overall body of work thus far could erase his name entirely.
He needs to do something to solidify himself, but in the overtime period of that same game, he went out and did this.
Shoving an opposing player from behind and towards your goaltender is certainly a choice. You’re risking your own teammate’s health as much as your opponent, and it is essentially a petulant reaction to being beat on the play. It’s risky in a real game, and unacceptable in an intrasquad game designed to prepare your team for the upcoming season.
Kirby Dach appeared to be no worse for wear, finishing the game thereafter, but this was an odd entry in what has already been, at best, a lackluster camp effort from Armia. At this point, I’d argue the Habs should waive him with the hope that another team is willing to take his contract off their hands.
It just isn’t working out, and if this camp has shown us anything, it’s that there is no shortage of younger talent ready to step up.
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