Call Of The Wilde: Montreal Canadiens dominate Ottawa Senators – Montreal

The Montreal Canadiens played their last game before the trading deadline. There’s a feeling that only Artturi Lehkonen is a real possibility with the return being as high as a first round draft choice. However, anything is possible until it is done Monday afternoon as Jeff Petry and Brett Kulak could also be had for the right price.

The Canadiens took on the Ottawa Senators at the Bell Centre, with Montreal absolutely imposing their will on the Senators 5-1.

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Wilde Horses

Corey Schueneman has been a real interesting find for the Canadians. He spent three seasons in the USHL, then another four seasons at Western Michigan. After not getting drafted, that is usually the end of the line for a player such as Schueneman.

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A player has received his college degree but was not being drafted, so there is not enough interest to carry on farther. It’s at that moment, the player starts the career that he studied. However, Schueneman persisted.

He spent another four seasons in the American Hockey League with not a single sniff. He even got pushed down to the East Coast Hockey League for a stint. Surely, that is the end of a career.

Nope.

Schueneman just kept on going and when the Canadians had basically everyone in the organization with COVID-19, they had no other player to look to. Attrition gave Schueneman a chance, finally.

He got his shot and is he ever taking it. He looks good at the NHL level. Not sure if he can be a regular and keep his game at the same spot it is now, but he is close.


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Call of the Wilde!


Call of the Wilde!

In the first period against the Senators, on the first goal, he knew there was a change, and he had to keep going into the attack zone by himself. He held on to the puck perfectly, allowing a full change, and before he knew it, the puck wound up on Jake Evans’ stick for 1-0. The play doesn’t happen, if not for Schueneman’s awareness.

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In the second period, he got on the power play and struck an easily tipped shot that was by Joel Armia. Add an assist for Schueneman to go with his goal on Thursday night. He’s suddenly an NHLer.

That’s the thing sometimes for a defenseman. It can take until the age of 26 to figure it all out. The age of 26 is still an age where the game is improving for a defender. For a forward, if the light bulb has not gone off yet, it’s the end of the line. However, for a defender, the learning curve is still arcing.

Schueneman’s contract expires at the end of this season, but you have to think that he has earned another season with the organization, and if the club does not improve significantly on the blue line as soon as next season, he’s earned another look in Montreal. He plays smart. He reads the play nicely. His first pass is good. He gets beaten physically every now and then, but not a lot of players don’t.

He is one of those ‘tweeners’ but he’s trending up, and that’s worth more of a commitment to him.

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Another player trending up is Cole Caufield, who scored on another absolute snipe into the top corner. Earlier this season, he was not attempting the top corner with his shots, and it was bizarre. It was as if he wanted to prove that he could find every spot on the net.

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This is faulty thinking in the new goalie style that is popular today. The modern goalie goes down into the Reverse VH, which means he leaves the top of the goal open many times to make sure nothing is available at the bottom. The thinking is that the shooter is challenged to execute the much tougher shot high.

Not all players can get to the top corner with great accuracy, so it’s smart math to challenge the shooter. Unless the shooter is Caufield, who is back to trying for the top corner and executing the harder shot beautifully.

Caufield’s second period rocket was his 13th goal of the season. He has 22 points in 17 games since his season — and maybe even his career — was revived with the coaching change to Martin St. Louis. Caufield had one goal in his first 30 games and 12 in his last 17 games. It’s a remarkable turn around.

Caufield was on pace for a 2.8 goal season under Ducharme. Since his revival, he is on pace for a 58 goal season. Slightly better.


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Call of the Wilde!


Call of the Wilde! – Mar 11, 2022

Wilde Goats

Nothing to report. It was a dominating performance from the Canadians. They are a rejuvenated team. They made this one look easy. Jake Allen stopped 29 of 30. It was not closed. Simply a much better team under Martin St. Louis.

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Wilde Cards

It was the final night of the conference tournaments in NCAA college hockey with plenty of ramifications for Canadiens prospects. Most concerning is the plight of Northeastern as they lost to the University of Connecticut in the semi-finals of Hockey East on Friday night.

That meant Jordan Harris could have been finished with his college career and we would finally learn his plan for the future. Whether he signs with the Canadiens or decides to move on to another club.

Northeastern needed some math to get into the national tournament, which would keep Harris going for a couple more weeks. The nationals in NCAA are a 16-team event with four regionals. Six clubs get automatic byes by winning their conference, and the other six are at-large bids decided by ranking.

Northeastern needed help from two clubs to not upset the higher-ranked club in their finals.

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First, they needed Quinnipiac to beat Harvard. They got no help toward that goal when one of Quinnipiac’s top players lost Ty Smilanic, who recently became Canadiens property. He was out with an injury announced late in the day. Harvard got the advantage there heading into the final of the ECAC.

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Harvard also has a Canadiens prospect in Sean Farrell, who has had an outstanding rookie season in college hockey after graduating as a 100 point man in USHL hockey for the Chicago Steel. Harvard won in overtime 3-2. Farrell is going to the nationals.

So no favor there for Harris. The next hope was that U-Mass would beat U-Conn, which earlier beat Northeastern in the semis. U-Mass got the job done for Harris with a 2-1 overtime scoreline. That was the right result for Harris. One favor done.

But they needed one more favor to get into the nationals. Bemidji State had to lose to Minnesota State in the Central Collegiate Hockey Conference final. This was a story for the ages, as Minnesota State won in overtime — they were celebrating with the trophy for 45 minutes. They then received word that the puck did not actually go in the net, but through the side of the net.


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Call of the Wilde!


Call of the Wilde! – Mar 4, 2022

They probably celebrated with some beer and were asked to go back out to keep playing a game they thought they won almost an hour before. Bemidji State had a second chance, while Minnesota State had to get sober. Northeastern no doubt was celebrating too their nationals berth, but then were also flabbergasted.

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An hour and ten minutes later after Minnesota State thought they had won, they had to go out and win again.

And they did. It was the most bizarre moment in hockey in a very long time, but somehow any long-term controversy was averted. The CCHA got the call right after a belated amount of time. They demanded that they rightly so keep playing. The result that changed nothing came in to take the edge off the mistake of not noticing their original error.

That was the combination of results that was needed for Northeastern. Jordan Harris plays on. He will go to the 16-team nationals next weekend with a chance to make it to the Frozen Four the weekend after that.

Montreal hockey fans will have to wait just a little bit longer to find out if Harris wants to become a Canadiens player or take the freedom that is coming to him this summer and choose another club to begin his NHL career.

Brian Wilde, a Montreal-based sports writer, brings you Call of the Wilde on globalnews.ca after each Canadiens game.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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