Calling it a “mistake,” Montreal Canadiens owner Geoff Molson on Wednesday addressed the ongoing controversy surrounding the team’s decision to draft defenceman Logan Mailloux in the NHL draft.
Molson released a statement Wednesday saying he understands the concerns of those impacted by the decision.
“I understand that you expect more from us and we let you down,” Molson said in a statement. “The Montreal Canadiens are more than a hockey team. Logan’s actions do not reflect the values of our organization and I apologize for the pain this selection has caused.”
Mailloux, 18, was fined by a Swedish court for “offensive photography that violates privacy” and “defamation.” By his own admission, during a sexual encounter with a young woman last year, he took a photo without her knowledge and “shared it with teammates without her consent to impress them.” He was a minor at the time.
In a press conference, which was not open to all reporters, but only to a few pre-selected media, Molson took “full responsibility for the error in judgment” that led him to draft Logan Mailloux.
“Shame on me for not considering the victim, and shame on me for not considering the number of people who were affected by my decision,” he said.
The Habs are not dropping the young player, but Molson outlined measures the team is set to take.
He said that over the course of the next few months, the team will work with local experts to develop a plan to raise awareness and educate young men and young women about this serious issue of consent.
Responding to questions from reporters Thursday afternoon, the Habs’ general manager, Marc Bergevin, said the team’s vice-president of community engagement, Genevieve Paquette, will be involved in the plan.
When asked about the Mailloux controversy, Bergevin said he stands by the letter Molson issued on Thursday.
“I think everything was said and now we have to look ahead and what we can do to make the situation better for everybody,” he said.
Molson’s letter said the organization will use its platform to “turn a decision that hurt many people into one that brings meaningful and impactful change.”
“We will support and oversee Logan’s commitment to becoming a better person.”
Molson said the team has also asked Mailloux not to participate in training camps this fall.
“Being a player in the NHL is a privilege that is earned – not a right that is granted,” he said. “As the year progresses, we will reassess Logan’s readiness to be part of our organization.”
Molson added that the team “failed to properly assess the impact of our decision on the victim and on anyone who have suffered in similar circumstances.”
Molson offered his sympathy to the 18-year-old woman victim and her family in his statement.
“No one, especially not an 18-year-old, should have to suffer through a traumatic experience like this. We are there to support her and her family and respect their privacy,” wrote Molson. “Our selection of Logan was never intended to be disrespectful towards her or her family, or more generally towards women or other victims of similar situations. Our decision was not intended, in any shape or form, to be an endorsement of the culture of violence against women.”
In Canada, “non-consensual publication of an intimate image” is, in the most serious cases, “an indictable offence punishable by up to five years imprisonment.”
Mailloux was playing in Sweden on loan from the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League at the time of the incident.
As a result of this case, the London Knights asked NHL teams not to draft him this season, to give him time to “develop enough maturity” and “earn the trust of society.”
The draft choice has drawn criticism from across the hockey world and beyond.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday that he was “deeply disappointed” that the Habs would choose Mailloux, and many sponsors have gone public saying they are reviewing their relationships with the team.
— With files from The Canadian Press and CTV Montreal’s Joe Lofaro
Training camp questions: Edmonton Oilers – TSN
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.
Jim Hughson retiring after 42-year broadcasting career – Sportsnet.ca
Sportsnet’s Jim Hughson is stepping away from the mic.
After 42 years, Hall of Fame PxP commentator Jim Hughson has announced his retirement from broadcasting.
As one of Canada’s iconic hockey voices, Jim leaves a lasting legacy at @Sportsnet & across the entire broadcasting industry.
Thank you Jim!
— Sportsnet PR (@SportsnetPR) September 21, 2021
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.
Jonathan Drouin's absence from Canadiens late last season, in playoffs due to anxiety – CBC.ca
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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