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Montreal Canadiens' Selection of Logan Mailloux Is Callous and Ignorant – Bleacher Report

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John Locher/Associated Press

Marc Bergevin made a hockey decision Friday night. The Montreal Canadiens general manager got up in a room full of his employees during the NHL‘s virtual draft and announced the club’s first-round pick at No. 31: defenseman Logan Mailloux.

I’m not sure what the mood was like in Montreal, but those of us watching the broadcast watched in horror as Bergevin chose a player who was fined for a crime of a sexual nature and asked teams not to pick him as a result.

Mailloux, at 17 years old, took a photo of a woman he was engaged in a consensual sexual act with in Sweden without her consent and showed his teammates on Snapchat without her knowledge. He was not arrested but fined for offensive photography constituting an invasion of privacy and defamation.

There was quite a bit of consternation about it in the NHL, and Mailloux was asked about it in his predraft interviews. He received backlash in the Swedish press and eventually decided to renounce his draft rights.

“The NHL draft should be one of the most exciting landmark moments in a player’s career, and given the circumstances, I don’t feel I have demonstrated strong enough maturity or character to earn that privilege in the 2021 draft,” he wrote in a statement on Twitter. “I know it will take time for society to build back the trust I have lost, and that is why I think it is best that I renounce myself from the 2021 NHL draft and ask that no one select me this upcoming weekend.”

There is no formal mechanism in place to withdraw from consideration in the NHL draft. Once the paperwork is submitted to the NHL’s central registry, he is free to be drafted, so the Habs were always free to make this pick.

“You cannot remove yourself from the draft,” Bergevin said after selecting Mailloux. “Even if he said so, you’re eligible to be drafted, so that was clear with the league.”

But there is an easy way to get around that: Take him off your draft board, as 11 teams did, according to The Athletic.

Instead, Bergevin and his director of amateur scouting, Martin Lapointe, chose to do the opposite. It was more than just tone-deaf, it was an insult to every woman in the organization, every woman in Montreal and every female NHL fan who has ever experienced sexual assault or harassment. The Habs made a calculated decision that Mailloux was worth the backlash, indicating they don’t really care about his behavior off the ice and what kind of message that sends to their fans and their community.

The club quickly released a statement after the selection. The statement said the club will not minimize Mailloux’s actions and that he had admitted to a serious mistake. Bergevin doubled down on this “mistake” narrative in his press conference following the draft.

Canadiens Montréal @CanadiensMTL

Canadiens statement on selecting Logan Mailloux.

https://t.co/g04PZd2sF8

“We understand, and we’re fully aware and we as an organization think it’s very unacceptable,” Bergevin said. “But also, it’s a young man that made a terrible mistake. He’s 17 years old and he’s willing and he understands and he’s remorseful and he has a lot of work to do, but he already started to put it behind him and have a hockey career.”

Really, if you have to release a statement like this, then you should probably realize it’s the wrong pick. The Canadiens seem to think this is just a mistake that can be undone if Mailloux just gets a chance to get on with his life and play some hockey. But it can never be undone for the woman in Sweden, who told The Athletic she doesn’t “think that Logan has understood the seriousness of his behavior” and that all she has “wanted is to get justice for the actions he has taken against me.”

“I know I caused a lot of harm to this person and their family, and I regret doing this stupid and egotistical act,” Mailloux told reporters Saturday morning. “I deeply regret it. What I did now is unfortunately a part of both her life and mine. I’ve apologized to her but, nonetheless, this will follow her for the rest of her life. And for that, I deeply and sincerely regret it.”

Mailloux said he is attending counseling, and he expressed remorse. But this entire incident further exposes how broken this culture is.

It’s not just hockey culture that is broken, it’s sports culture in general. For too long the men in charge of sports have been willing to overlook these things as long as elite athletes remain elite.

In one example among many, Trevor Bauer is under criminal investigation after a woman filed a restraining order against him. The Los Angeles Dodgers right-hander, who won the National League Cy Young Award with the Cincinnati Reds last season, has been accused of choking the woman until she lost consciousness on multiple occasions, punching her in several areas and injuring her to the point of hospitalization over the course of two sexual encounters earlier this year.

Bauer’s co-agents, Jon Fetterolf and Rachel Luba, have refuted the allegations and deny the woman’s account of what happened.

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred acted slowly in placing Bauer on administrative leave. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said the league recommended the team let Bauer make his regularly scheduled start on July 4 against the Washington Nationals. The Dodgers, not wanting to get slapped with a grievance from the MLBPA, complied and said they would not skip his start.

After Roberts told reporters the issue was “out of [the Dodgers’] hands,” the wife of an MLB player messaged me. Being a victim of sexual assault herself, she asked how she was supposed to feel going to her husband’s games. The issue itself was triggering, and she felt as if MLB were giving a big middle finger to all of the women who had experienced similar atrocities and was essentially saying “it’s not our problem.”

What can they do about serious allegations against their players? It’s out of their hands!

Bergevin is sending a similar message. But if you look at his track record, he always has.

This is the general manager of a team that was reportedly interested in Slava Voynov after he was suspended indefinitely after pleading no-contest to misdemeanor corporal injury to a spouse in 2015. His wife told police that Voynov choked her, pushed her to the ground and kicked her multiple times, and shoved her into a television screen on Halloween in 2014.

This is the general manager of a team that reportedly had an interest in signing problematic defenseman Tony DeAngelo a few months ago. Among other issues, in 2014, DeAngelo was suspended in the OHL for directing slurs at a teammate.

This is the same general manager who recently hired Sean Burke, who pleaded guilty to assaulting his wife in 1997, as the Habs’ director of goaltending.

It wouldn’t have been hard to pass on Mailloux. A lot of other teams did it.

There were rumors that Mailloux might be taken in a later round, and Bergevin was likely worried he would lose his guy. By selecting him in the first round and being “proud” to do so, Bergevin might as well have gotten on Zoom and told all of the women on the call that they don’t matter and that he doesn’t care if he’s alienating an important part of the fanbase.

Hockey is not safer with Bergevin in it, and the sad thing is, he isn’t alone. It’s the culture. Look at the lawsuits against the Chicago Blackhawks, the team he previously worked for.

Their former skills coach, Paul Vincent, told TSN that in a 2010 meeting, he shared with then-president John McDonough, vice president of hockey operations Al MacIsaac, general manager Stan Bowman and team sports psychologist James Gary that two players had told him then-video coach Bradley Aldrich had sexually assaulted them. Vincent said the executives chose not to go to the police.

Bergevin, the Blackhawks’ director of player personnel at the time, has said he was unaware of the allegations and will participate in the independent investigation.

Mailloux said publicly the right things, but Montreal did the wrong thing. The hockey rationale that he was the best player available doesn’t hold up in this instance. There were other defensemen they could have taken at No. 31. Lots of them. Bergevin and the Habs gave Mailloux a free pass, excused his actions and showed others that they too can behave badly and still be chosen in the first round of the NHL draft.

This was never just a simple hockey decision because it’s not simple for the victim on the other end of this. It’s incredibly complex. It’s a mess, but it’s a mess of hockey’s own creation.

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Training camp questions: Edmonton Oilers – TSN

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With summer officially coming to an end and training camps set to open across the National Hockey League this week, TSN gets ready for the preseason by looking at the three biggest questions facing each of the seven Canadian franchises.

On tap for today are the Edmonton Oilers, who finished with their highest points percentage in over 30 years (.643) but were swept away by the Winnipeg Jets in the opening round of the playoffs.

1. Is the defence better or worse than last year?

The Edmonton Oilers made massive changes to their defensive corps over the summer.

Gone are Adam Larsson, Caleb Jones, Ethan Bear and Oscar Klefbom, with Duncan Keith and Cody Ceci as the primary replacements. We know the Oilers won’t have much of an issue scoring goals, but did they do enough over the summer to prevent giving them up?

Like most off-season overhauls, that answer will likely depend on a few different things.

For starters, what does Keith have left in the tank? Keith is a three-time Stanley Cup winner, a three-time All-Star and a two-time Norris Trophy winner. He won the Conn Smythe Trophy in 2015 and has 625 points in 1,192 career NHL regular-season games.

But Keith is 38 now and as TSN’s Travis Yost points out, no Chicago Blackhawks skater conceded more goals or expected goals against – goaltender neutral – over the past two seasons. Chicago allowed the seventh-most goals last season and Keith was second-worst on the team at minus-13.
The 27-year-old Ceci was signed to a four-year, $13 million contract by the Oilers in free agency but will join his fourth team in the last four seasons. As things stand right now, it’s likely he’ll play with Keith on the second pairing.

Edmonton locked in their top pairing with contract extensions for Darnell Nurse and Tyson Barrie. Nurse had a career-best 16 goals last season and Barrie recorded 48 points in 56 games.

Considering the firepower the Oilers have up front, this team shouldn’t have any trouble scoring, especially with their defenceman contributing at that level.

Another intriguing option for head coach Dave Tippett is 21-year-old Evan Bouchard. The No. 10 selection from the 2018 draft, Bouchard only has 21 NHL games under his belt and might be asked to take on a much bigger role than in years past.

2. How will major free agent signee Zach Hyman fit in?

As the clock ticked toward free agency last season, Hyman told reporters he would like to remain with the Toronto Maple Leafs if it made sense. But given the Leafs’ cap situation and Hyman’s desire for a long-term deal, what made sense to one side didn’t to the other.

In swooped the Oilers, who signed Hyman to a seven-year, $38.5 million deal in one of the most debated signings of the off-season.

Hyman’s offensive numbers – 15 goals and 18 assists last season – aren’t necessarily eye-popping considering the kind of dollar value and term he got, but the Toronto native brings a lot more to the table than just points. A skilled two-way player with or without the puck, Hyman is a combined plus-70 the past four seasons. Sure, playing alongside Toronto’s other elite forwards helps that, but it’s not like there’s going to be much of a drop-off with the Oilers.

Hyman is expected to slide in beside Connor McDavid – the same Connor McDavid who had 72 assists in 56 games in 2020-21 – on the top line and should have an instant impact for the Oilers on both ends of the ice in the short term.

Time will tell if that holds up as the years go by. History hasn’t been kind to seven-year deals for 29-year-old forwards like Hyman, especially ones with a documented history of knee injuries. But finding a player like Hyman on the open market isn’t easy and is never cheap.

3. Is Jesse Puljujarvi poised to take the next step?

Two years ago, Puljujarvi appeared to have moved on from the Edmonton Oilers.

He was drafted fourth overall in 2016 but bounced between the Oilers and American Hockey League affiliate Bakersfield Condors during his first three seasons. Things didn’t exactly go smoothly, and he signed with Karpat of the SM-liiga in Finland in July of 2019 and elected to re-sign last summer with an opt-out in time for the 2020-21 NHL season.

Since he left as a restricted free agent, the Oilers retained Puljujarvi’s NHL rights. General manager Ken Holland and Tippett promised the youngster a clean slate if he ever decided to return to the NHL.

That might have been exactly what he needed.

Puljujarvi recorded career highs in both goals (15) and assists (10) and was a plus-6, far outpacing his four goal and five assist tally with a minus-14 goal differential in 2018-19, his last NHL campaign before departing for Finland.

Puljujarvi spent much of last season playing on McDavid’s right side and the duo outscored opponents 42 to 33 at even strength. His goal total from 2020-21 isn’t especially impressive alongside McDavid but when you consider that he saw limited power-play time and 13 of his 15 markers came at even strength, it makes more sense. If Hyman slides in on the left side as expected, there could be plenty more opportunity for the 23-year-old to put up some numbers heading into restricted free agency.

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Jim Hughson retiring after 42-year broadcasting career – Sportsnet.ca

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Sportsnet’s Jim Hughson is stepping away from the mic.

The Hall of Fame play-by-play commentator announced his retirement from sports broadcasting on Tuesday, ending a 42-year career.

“It’s been a fantastic run and I’d like to thank Sportsnet, Hockey Night in Canada and all my friends and colleagues over the years for the tremendous support and countless memories,” said Hughson. “This is a decision I made in consultation with my family and I’m very much at peace with it. My only goal in this industry was to work at the highest level and on the last day of the season. I’ve had that opportunity a number of times and will always be grateful for it.”

Hughson called his first game on radio in 1979. He has been the voice of the Vancouver Canucks, Toronto Maple Leafs and national broadcasts on Hockey Night in Canada.

Hughson has called a dozen Stanley Cup Finals along with the men’s hockey tournament at both the 2006 and 2014 Olympic Winter Games.

“Jim is one of the best this business has ever seen,” said Rob Corte, VP of Sportsnet and NHL Production. “Whether on TV, radio or in video games, for many he has been their soundtrack of hockey. He’s set the gold standard for broadcasting in this country and has accomplished pretty much everything any broadcaster would set out to do in their career. On top of that, he’s a tremendous teammate and an even better person.”

Hughson also was part of the Toronto Blue Jays’ broadcast crew during their World Series runs in 1992 and 1993.

In 2019, the Hockey Hall of Fame awarded Hughson the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award to honour his outstanding contributions as a hockey broadcaster. He is also a four-time Canadian Screen Awards winner for Best Sports Play-by-Play Announcer.

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Jonathan Drouin's absence from Canadiens late last season, in playoffs due to anxiety – CBC.ca

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Montreal Canadiens forward Jonathan Drouin has opened up on the reasons why he took a break from hockey last spring during his club’s push for the playoffs.

In interviews aired Monday night on RDS and TVA Sports, Drouin revealed that he was suffering from anxiety and insomnia last season, problems that have afflicted him for years.

The 26-year-old said his problems reached a peak as the team was warming up for its April 23 game in Calgary against the Flames. Drouin was caught on camera looking pale and suddenly leaving the ice to return to the dressing room.

“That week was difficult for me,” Drouin told RDS. “I had fallen ill to the point where I was no longer controlling my body. That was really the moment when I realized that I needed to take a break from hockey, to take a step back.”

He has not played for the Canadiens since, even though the team went all the way to the Stanley Cup final before falling in five games to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

“I had made the decision to take care of myself. I was happy with my decision. I respected my decision,” Drouin said. “For me, it was just being able to watch them, to give my support to my teammates and coaches. I was so happy with every game we won. The passion never left me.”

Expected on ice to open camp

The athlete from Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts, Que., says he has since restored his mental health, and last week he skated with his teammates at the Canadiens’ practice facility.

“I went to find help, I went to find people to be around me,” Drouin recounted to RDS. “Now I understand how it happens, I understand the little moments when I feel anxiety. I am now better equipped than I was before.”

He addressed rumours that he had entered rehab, saying they were false.

“I have never had a drug or alcohol problem,” he said.

He is expected to be on the ice for the Habs’ training camp, which officially kicks off Wednesday, and he commented on his hopes for the upcoming season.

“I am really happy to be back. I just want to have fun and get better every day,” Drouin told RDS. “I know it’s a cliche, but just having fun playing hockey is going to be the best thing for me.”

In 229 regular-season games with the Canadiens, Drouin has 40 goals and 137 points.

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