TERREBONNE – The fiercest supporters of the Canadian had better get used to it: the 2022-2023 season of their favorites will be very far from being the best in the history of the concession and they will will have to be patient in the months, if not years, to come.
This is the opinion of certain hockey personalities met Tuesday morning at Le Mirage golf club, during the Serge Savard Invitational. Like many fans and journalists following the actions of the Habs, they are well aware that most teams in the Atlantic section have made major hires or maintained their main assets. In Montreal, head coach Martin St-Louis will rely mainly on the ardor of his youngsters.
For the Sainte-Flanelle faithful, it is to be hoped that this is the case, as the defense is even more porous with the departure of Alexander Romanov, while the portrait in net remains unclear due to the continued uncertainty surrounding Carey Price.
“It's a training in transition. There are good young people, with the [Nick] Suzuki and [Cole] Caufield, they will take a step in the right direction. And I'm happy with their first choice [Juraj Slafkovsky]. Except that the competition in the league is so strong. There is no guarantee and it is not easy. Clubs have been trying to win for 50 years; look at Toronto. They have the tools, but they haven't won the Stanley Cup since 1967, assessed former Canadiens forward Pierre Mondou, also a former recruiting officer for the organization. Colorado is an example showing that with the right development, you can win in today's hockey.”
“The Canadian should improve, but you have to let the young people develop. With a few changes, it could be a little better, especially if Price is there,” said ex-defender Guy Lapointe.
Forget the playoffs!
For Gilbert Delorme, also in Terrebonne, the miseries of the Habs are not about to end.
“The series, we forget that next year. The process will be long. We must make room and trust young people. Let's give ice cream to Suzuki and Caufield. If we succeed in this, the team will be competitive again in a few years, he mentioned, while saying he expected the comeback of Jonathan Drouin. On the other hand, I did not like the Romanov transaction. He was a guy who skated and hit. On the other hand, it will give the opportunity to Jordan Harris, Kaiden Guhle, Justin Barron and others [young defenders] to show their know-how.
“If the players give themselves and work, people will be proud of the Canadian. Fans here know their hockey and know who is striving and who is 'punching the donut.'”
The story is similar with former referee and radio host Ron Fournier, who challenged the course of the Mirage. In his eyes, comparisons with the glorious era of Bleu-Blanc-Rouge should be avoided. The context has changed, the faces too. And, the reality is impossible to deny: Montreal ended up in the cellar of the general classification in 2021-2022.
“We know Suzuki and Caufield, but the rest, well, we wonder where they come from. are coming. This is a question that the coach must ask himself. What are they made of? Are we talking about warriors? How long will it take to find a competitive team? If I have a qualifier to describe my thinking, it is patience. It could take 3-4-5 years, he said. We can use all the possible terms, but there will be beautiful evenings when Caufield will get us out of our seats and others, disappointing ones.