Poulin’s absence felt as Montreal falls short of the Clarkson Cup

The Les Canadiennes de Montreal captain missed women's hockey championship tilt with Calgary

Les Canadiennes captain Marie-Philip Poulin was unable to play in Sunday's Clarkson Cup final due to an injury. Poulin is hoping to back April 4th for the IIHF Ice Hockey Women's World Championship in Espoo, Finland.  COURTESY LES CANADIENNES DE MONTREAL

A championship game presents the opportunity for a superstar to shine, but Sunday’s Clarkson Cup final in Toronto missed that, and it was felt.

As the final horn went off and equipment thrown into the air, the Calgary Inferno celebrated their second Clarkson Cup in four years, with a 5-2 victory over Les Canadiennes de Montreal, crowning them Canadian Women’s Hockey League champions.

Montreal captain Marie-Philip Poulin just as she did throughout the game, could only watch.

Poulin, arguably the game’s best player, suffered what the team called a “lower body injury” in the regular season finale against the Markham Thunder on February 24, and had not made an appearance in the team’s three game semi-final series against the Thunder.

Her status for the final was listed as a game-time decision; she participated in the pre-game warm up drills and appeared to be playing when she placed her helmet on the bench following the warm up.

When the game started, she occupied the bench without a stick where she’d spend the entire game as she cheered, supported and even coached her team as they fell short.

For the two-time Olympic gold medalist that was the plan all along.

“She (Poulin) did everything she could to give herself a chance to play, she really wanted to [play] but in the end it was just too soon for that type of injury, and we couldn’t compromise her career for that one moment,” said Caroline Ouellette, associate coach of Les Canadiennes.

“She wanted to play but the doctors agreed it was not possible considering her condition.”

The Canadian forward’s injury has not been disclosed yet and likely won’t be, as the IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship in Espoo, Finland takes place April 4-14.

In a game that featured nine Canadian Olympians, Poulin’s line mate for the upcoming international event, is definitely hoping she’s there and was hoping to compete against her this afternoon in Toronto.

“I want her back, she’ll be my centre man [for Team Canada], I want her to be 100 percent, and I wanted to play against her today,” said Rebecca Johnston, Calgary Inferno captain and a teammate of Poulin’s in the 2018 Olympic Winter Games from Pyeong Chang.

It wasn’t all friendly though between Canadians out there who are now looking to win their first world championship since 2012, while Team USA has won eight out of the last 10.

“There’s definitely a rivalry there (Calgary and Montreal), in a couple days a few of them will be my teammates and it will all be smiles but it feels pretty good that Calgary got this one,” said Inferno forward Brianne Jenner.

Much like the Canada—USA rivalry, Montreal and Calgary have dominated the CWHL the past four seasons alternating as Chairman’s Trophy winners leading the league in points during the regular season with Montreal winning in 2016 and Calgary this season.

The two teams have now also met three out of the last four seasons in the Clarkson Cup final after splitting the first two meetings.

In 2016 it was the Inferno beating Les Canadiennes 8-3, the next season Montreal triumphed with a 3-1 win over Calgary.

When asked about the difference on the ice without Poulin, Jenner said, “Obviously it’s different when she’s not in the game, you never want to see a player injured and you want to see them out there.

“Hockey’s a team game and I thought our team was probably the stronger team tonight they gave us a good fight but I’m pretty proud of what we did up and down our line up.”

About this article

Posted: Mar 25 2019 7:08 am
Filed under: Hockey Sports