By Allan Muir
Remember that great bit on Saturday Night Live a few years back for Bad Idea Jeans? Bunch of guys talking obviously about recent life decisions that maybe weren’t in their best interests?
Yeah, those guys have nothing on Alexei Emelin.
The Montreal defender blew out his knee in an ill-advised attempt to blow up Boston’s Milan Lucic on Saturday night and is out for the rest of the year.
Emelin earned his team-leading 108th (and final) hit of the season from a generous Montreal scorer after stepping in front of Lucic, who was speeding down the left boards midway through the first period of a 2-1 win for the Habs. The Bruin winger saw Emelin setting up, but he initiated the contact that sent the Canadiens defender crumpling to the ice.
In between periods, Don Cherry mentioned on Coach’s Corner that Lucic lifted his right knee — a la former Montreal enforcer John Ferguson — just prior to contact. It likely was that knee that caused the damage to Emelin.
Cheap shot? Definitely. But it’s the sort of thing players do to defend themselves at the last second…and to deter others from getting any big ideas. Gordie Howe can tell you all about how that works.
That said, Emelin is a huge loss for the Habs ahead of the playoffs. He was averaging nearly 20 minutes per game playing on Montreal’s second pair and brought a robust physical presence that nobody else on that back end can match.
The decision by GM Marc Bergevin to add Davis Drewiske at the deadline already looks pretty good. He’ll chew up some of those minutes. Look for Jarred Tinordi to get another look soon as well. His physical game might make him a better fit for the Habs moving forward than fellow rookie Nathan Beaulieu.
And no word yet if Montreal police are gearing up for another hard-hitting investigation to ensure Lucic pays for his crimes.