Montreal Canadiens Hit With Injury Bug Again

Matt EichelSenior Writer IDecember 10, 2008

Is it me or do the Montreal Canadiens always seem to get hurt around this time of year?

Already without punishing defenseman Mike Komisarek, the Canadiens will be without defensive replacement Mathieu Dandenault indefinitely and Chris Higgins will be out for awhile as well.

But if we flashback to the last ten seasons, this always occurs to the Canadiens.

During the mundane and disappointing 1998-99 NHL campaign when the Canadiens leading scorers were Saku Koivu with 44 points and Martin Rucinsky with only 17 goals, the Canadiens only had one player that played in all 82 games - Stephane Quintal.

That season, the Canadiens lost a staggering 500+ man games due to injury.

The injury bug must love le bleu, blanc, et rogue because over the last 10 seasons, it has hit and hit hard.  Then up-and-coming star Brian Savage's spinal cord injury that he never fully recovered from to Saku Koivu's bout with cancer, the Canadiens lack of luck against the injury bug has hindered their progress along their storied history.

In the past, many of their main players were able to stay healthy - Larry Robinson, Serge Savard, Henri Richard, Jean Beliveau, and Ken Dryden.  However, even the greatest Canadiens suffered injuries at the expense of the team's success such as Maurice Rocket Richard and Patrick Roy.

The injury bug may be the only obstacle between the Canadiens and a 25th Stanley Cup championship.  Being injured for short periods of time can throw off any hockey players play, both mentally and physically.  

During the playoffs, it is the norm for hockey players to play through injury.  For the Canadiens, to capture another Stanley Cup, that might be the solution - play through all the pain.

Patrick Roy's injury during the 1994 Eastern Conference Quarter-Finals against the Boston Bruins when he was frozen up to play the game - a game in which he delivered a hard-earned victory in the Boston Gardens - is an example of playing no matter what.

With the injury bug jamming adversity down the throats of the Canadiens lineup in 2008-09, we will see the true colours of le bleu, blanc, et rogue.  Can they deliver through the injuries unlike the teams of the past?

Now with Komisarek, Higgins, and Dandenault all out of the lineup coming into play Thursday against the Tampa Bay Lightning, we'll see if the Canadiens can play through the pain and succeed.