There will be improvement, says St-Louis

There will be improvement, says St-Louis

BETTING À DAY

Martin St-Louis always made a point of arriving at training camp physically prepared when he played. “You feel a lot less stress than if you show up in bad shape,” he still explains today. 

The same feeling drives him as he approaches his first camp as a coach. No question of doing improvisation even though he still has things to assimilate in this role which remains relatively new for him.

“A camp is a bit like a coach, says -he.

“I got ready. I'll see what works and what doesn't as the camp moves forward.

“Everything is in place for the players. I feel very confident. »

In the box on Monday

St. Louis went to lead his eldest and youngest sons Ryan and Mason to Iowa State this week. Both will play with the Dubuque Fighting Saints, a USHL junior team.

The youngest, Lucas, will stay at home in Connecticut, where he will play with his high school team.

St-Louis will arrive in Montreal tomorrow for the Canadiens golf tournament, to be held Monday at Club Laval-sur-le-Lac. The course is no stranger to him since he has already played there with Vincent Lecavalier.

His playmates will find that he does very well on a golf course. But St-Louis remains modest.

“I won't start talking about my results in order to have them published in Le Journal de Montréal! he laughed. Either way, reporters won't be around to tell him about his golf performance when he meets them for the first time this season.

Getting off to a good start< /p>

The golf tournament kicks off the new hockey season. With the difference that, this year, the context is completely different.

The Canadian is in reconstruction. St-Louis hears pessimistic predictions. Expectations are non-existent.

“I don't stop there, he continued.

“The important thing for me is that we be ready for the start of the season and get off to a good start. Expectations may gradually change if the results are interesting.

“But for sure we will improve. However, I cannot say to what extent. Are we going to take a big or a small step forward? We'll see. »

Impossible to go lower

One thing is certain, the Habs cannot go lower than last year in the general classification, he who is became the first NHL team to finish last in a 32-club league.

Its 55 points were the lowest production in a normal 82-game schedule since the 2016-2017 season.

And which team finished 30th and last that season?

The current defending Stanley Cup champions, the Colorado Avalanche, who had just 48 points.

< p>No numbers in mind

While St-Louis says he is confident that his team will improve next season, he does not want to come forward in terms of numbers.

“I don’t want to comment on that,” he continued.

“It is the performance of the players that will dictate our position in the standings. We will have to go there day by day. It will go according to the results.

St-Louis speaks the same language when it comes to Juraj Slafkovsky's chances of earning a job with the big club. “We will follow his development, he resumed.

“Physically, he is ready for the National League. As to whether he will play in Montreal this year, we will make a decision that will serve his interests and those of the Canadiens. »

When I told St-Louis that it had been a long time since we had seen such an imposing winger with the Habs, he immediately threw out the name of John LeClair.

“Except that he was 21 when he arrived in Montreal and Slafkovsky is only 18,” he pointed out.

St-Louis has a good memory. 

THE IMPORTANCE OF A CAPTAIN 

The Canadiens will have a captain this season. Kent Hughes said so shortly after his appointment as CEO last January.

“It's important to have leadership in the chamber,” says St-Louis.

As for who will succeed Shea Weber, St-Louis avoids mentioning names.

< p>The name of defender Joel Edmundson is circulating in the media. His contract is still valid for the next two seasons, some believe that he would make a good transition captain, to give Nick Suzuki more time.

The latter will already have a lot on his shoulders this season with the extension of his contract which comes into effect.

And Gallagher?

Brendan Gallagher can- he be ignored even if his career is on a downward slope?

No player on the team has given as much as him since his debut in Montreal.

“A captain isn't necessarily the best player on the team, replies St-Louis.

“We're going to make the best decision possible. »

Sorry for Price

The Habs coach also said he was sorry for Carey Price, whose career is obviously over.

“We're talking about a guy who had a big impact not only with the Canadiens, but in the whole National League, said St-Louis.

“It's difficult for him. I understand what he is going through. I went through that.

With the difference that St. Louis' career did not end prematurely due to injury.

“I was lucky in that regard”, he corroborates.

But it's never easy for an athlete to bow out.

St-Louis was 40 years old when he hung up his skates. He confided to my former colleague Pierre Durocher that he had fully matured his decision and that his heart was no longer in it.

He felt that the time had come to be a full-time father for his three boys. He has never regretted his decision.

There will be improvement , says St-Louis