When Michael Cammalleri arrived on the scene, spirits were high in Montreal as the Canadiens had acquired a top-level sniper long term.
He got off to a slow start, but quickly found his mark and went into Saturday’s game with a team leading 26 goals in 55 games.
We all saw what happened Saturday afternoon, after Cammalleri took a hit into the boards from Anton Volchenkov, but in case you missed it, here it is.
The collision sent chills through viewers of the game, whether they were Canadiens fans or not.
Cammalleri was expected to have an MRI either later Saturday or sometime on Sunday and results are expected to be announced on Monday.
But it doesn’t take a medical degree to know that this is not a short term injury.
Late January seems to be bad time to get injured as a Canadiens player. Just short of a year ago, on Feb 1, Robert Lang sliced his Achilles tendon, ending his short period with the Canadiens.
The most tragic of all fell on January 28, 1937, when Howie Morenz’s career, and ultimately his life, was over after getting his skate caught in a rut after receiving a body check against the Chicago Blackhawks.
Fortunately for Lang and Cammalleri, today’s modern medicine is far more advanced that that of 1937. Lang is back playing with the Phoenix Coyotes, and Cammalleri will return the the ice. But will it be this season?
Through 56 games in the 2009-10 NHL season, the Canadiens have managed to stay at .500 amidst all their other injuries past and current.
The team is still holding on to seventh position in the Eastern Conference, amongst a pack of eight teams battling for the last four playoff spots.
While the earlier loss of Andrei Markov crippled the Montreal power play, Cammalleri’s injury is different in a very big way.
The Canadiens have a combined 139 goals, and rank 29th in the league as of the time this is published.
Cammalleri has 26 of those goals (eighth best in the league), or 18.7 per cent of them, and has been in on the scoring for 48 goals in total (34.5 %).
Further breaking down the goal scoring, he has scored four of the Canadiens 43 power play goals, and has eleven power play assists (34.8 %). He has also logged the most power play time on ice of all Montreal forwards.
The key abilities of Cammalleri, that have truly benefited the Canadiens’ offense, are his numbers playing even strength.
Montreal ranks dead last in five-one five-goals (81), despite being tied for first with ten four-on-four tallies.
Cammalleri’s numbers, playing even strength, are 22 goals and 11 assists. Otherwise said, he’s on for 36.3 percent of the team’s even strength goals, not to mention his plus-10 rating that leads the team.
If the team is already last in five-on-five with him in the lineup,imagine how bad it will be without him.
Another key area where the Canadiens will be hurt is in the shot department, where the Canadiens again sit neat the bottom of the barrel.
Cammalleri’s 191 shots on goal are just in the top-ten league wide and makes up for over twelve percent of the pucks that reach the Canadiens’ opposing goals. His 13.6 shooting percentage is comparable to that of Alexander Ovechin’s.
The bottom line in any game though is the end result, so here they are.
When Cammalleri scores a goal for the Canadiens, the team is 12-6-2, and is 3-0-1 in his four multi-goal games.
When he doesn’t score a goal, they are 13-19-4.
What happens when he’s not on the ice at all???
Malone’s Seven-Goal Night: The Hockey News looks back at Joe Malone’s seven-goal game on this day in 1920. The record to this day remains unbroken.