Galvanized by the acquisitions made by Marc Bergevin during the offseason, the Canadiens’ players started training camp with the level of hope stuck to the ceiling.
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Even Claude Julien has never seemed so enthusiastic at the dawn of a season. Like his general manager, the day before, Julien set the bar high for his troop.
“I have high expectations for this team. There is no reason not to think that we can go to the end, ”he maintained, by videoconference.
There is a lease that we have not seen such a confident coach behind the Canadian bench. When we know the pressure of the Montreal market, we can think that it is a little risky to get wet like this. Julien, Stanley Cup champion with the Bruins in 2011, doesn’t mind.
“When you’re in a situation like this, with a good team, you have to be excited. It should be seen as an opportunity and not as a pressure. Marc did a good job this summer in hiring players who will help us be more competitive. It’s up to us to take advantage of it, ”he said.
That said, Julien is aware that the Canadian division will be relieved. Not to mention that the many trips could become exhausting in the long run.
“No team should be taken lightly in our division. They can all qualify for the playoffs, insisted the driver. People often talk about Ottawa. Yes, it’s a young team, but they went looking for several veterans to solidify their training. ”
An expeditious camp
In a schedule cut from 26 games and condensed like the one the 31 teams of the Bettman circuit are about to cross, we will have more the impression of attending a sprint rather than a marathon. And as is done in such a situation, the start will be important.
The Franco-Ontarian therefore has eight days to prepare his troops for the opening game they will play against the Maple Leafs on January 13. The time to experiment will be practically non-existent. Which is not necessarily ideal when you welcome a host of new players, as is the case with the Habs.
“The majority of players know the system. For the others, we acquired intelligent players, guys capable of integrating and learning quickly, ”said Julien, not very worried.
“Guys like [Tyler] Toffoli and [Joel] Edmundson are good veterans. They will integrate into the group of leaders. [Joel] Anderson has been in the league for a long time. [Corey] Perry and [Michael] Frolik also have lived experience. It will help us with the integration and the adjustments, ”he continued.
Moreover, the Habs driver did not take long to reveal his game. Within his group of regular players, he dispatched the following units to the ice surface of Brossard: Tatar-Danault-Gallagher, Drouin- Suzuki-Anderson, Toffoli-Kotkaniemi-Armia and Lehkonen-Evans-Byron.
For their part, Ryan Poehling, Jordan Weal and Frolik made up the fifth unit. Since Perry was passing his last day of quarantine, it can be assumed that Poehling will be moved to the second group starting Tuesday.
Bigger, but still mobile
The Canadian will present a much heavier formation this year. It was visible to the naked eye in Brossard. Even Alexander Romanov showed up 25 pounds more than he weighed last season in Moscow.
“At times last year, we had difficulty along the ramps and we struggled to enter the enclave. The acquisitions of the summer will help us offensively, but also defensively, ”said Julien.
However, no question of changing the style of his team. The Habs have always been known to be a fast team. This will be the case again this season.
“I don’t think we’ve lost mobility by bringing in bigger players. Romanov and Edmundson are good skaters. Marc has brought in players who will fit in well with our style, ”said Julien.
“We will continue to deploy a fast game. But, with this added size and strength, I hope that we will have improved in the fights and that we will find a way to come to the net, ”he continued.
In perfect health
Moreover, the coach of the Canadian adopted the opposite philosophy. Alerted by the heart problems that forced the doctors to install a stent, Julien took the message. He hopped on the ice with a much slimmer figure.
“Things are going well. It’s as if nothing had happened. I even feel better, he assured. I’m ready to start over. “
And he only has one week left to make sure those players are too.
Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Bobr Times, Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my firstname.lastname@example.org 1-800-268-7116