The Canadiens are now among the top 10 teams in the NHL, at least on paper, and the first star of the pandemic, on the hockey side, goes to general manager, Marc Bergevin. Winning the Stanley Cup is now possible on condition that the young talents of the CH take it to the next level.
The progression of young people will largely dictate the fate of the Habs. Young people pushing is the hallmark of champion teams. Bergevin closed the gaps and added weight and experience with the acquisition of forwards Josh Anderson, Tyler Toffoli, Corey Perry and Michael Frolik, as well as rugged defenseman Joel Edmunson and goaltender Jake Allen. All this by ceding only Max Domi.
We know what to expect from Carey Price, Shea Weber, Jeff Petry, Ben Chiarot, Brendan Gallagher, Phillip Danault, Tomas Tatar and other veterans. The unknown variable remains the level of play of young people Nick Suzuki, Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Alexander Romanov and … Jonathan Drouin.
Well, at 25, Drouin is not leaving junior, but we are still waiting for the full bloom of his immense talent. We thought he “arrived” at the start of the season last year, but injuries changed everything.
Which Drouin will we see?
Difficult to predict which Jonathan Drouin we will see this season, but, if he shifts into high gear, Claude Julien will be the first to rejoice. As for Suzuki, he will be a star, hoping he doesn’t fall victim to the second-year bad luck.
Kotkaniemi showed great things in the playoffs after being demoted to the Laval Rocket, and Alexander Romanov should not be long in becoming a of the four best defenders of the CH.
In short, if the Drouin, Suzuki, Kotkaniemi and Romanov are having a good season, we can expect the Canadian to be among the best teams in the NHL, not to mention that Jake Allen should collect his share of victories.
A first for Price
For the first time in moons, Price can bank on a top assistant and it will be good for him, especially since Allen is a real team guy. Playing two out of three games, Price should be at his best.
Price will finally be able to tackle the games without the pressure of being the first star to hope to win. He can win a few games with scores of 4 to 3 or 5 to 4, rather than losing 3 to 2 or 4 to 3. He will play more often with the lead rather than thinking that the next goal would confirm a loss. He can enjoy days off knowing Allen can save the team. Mentally, it will be easier for him.
Create chemistry quickly
My main concern at the start of the season is a great problem. Sometimes when a team makes a lot of changes, it takes a while for the chemistry to set in. Everyone will have to learn quickly to work together, especially in a season shortened to 56 games. A bad start would add a tremendous amount of pressure due to the increased expectations.
Starting a season with six away games isn’t the ideal situation, but, at least, it won’t be the local crowds that will intimidate players in this time of a pandemic.
We currently live in a different world, but there is a new reality with the Canadiens. Usually, players would say they hoped to make the playoffs and once they qualified, anything was possible. They didn’t really believe it, but here we are elsewhere.
The players know that they have to make the playoffs and that at last they have a chance to win. I feel they believe in it and it’s refreshing. It promises, and all this in a Canadian division. A whole season in perspective and one thing is certain, it will spice up our lives. Let’s enjoy it.
– Interview by Gilles Moffet
Disappointed with the Danault file
Despite the good work of Marc Bergevin, I am very disappointed with the Phillip danault. Here is a guy who has devoted himself body and soul to the Canadiens for more than five years and he has not received the contract he deserves. No matter who the GM in Montreal is, the mentality is always the same. We offer automatic contract renewals to many players, but when he’s a Quebecker, we seem to think he’s happy to play in Montreal and we try to get it at a discount. Result, Danault could become a free agent at the end of the season.
Pressure on Bergevin and Julien
Marc Bergevin has bet all his chips and his situation reminds me of Dale Tallon’s last year with the Florida Panthers. In his case, it passes or it breaks. This time it takes results and his trainer, Claude Julien, must be up to the task. Tallon had played it all in going for goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky and coach Joel Quenneville, and it didn’t work out. Speaking of the Panthers, Anthony Duclair has a great opportunity to prove his worth and get a better deal next season.
The announcement of the retirement of Corey Crawford took me by surprise. I expected him to be the New Jersey Devils’ first goaltender this season, but he didn’t feel he was able to continue. Leaving two years of contract on the table is to his credit and he didn’t want to play for the wrong reasons. He didn’t have it easy in his early days, but he had a career, winning two Stanley Cups. At least he will have played his entire career with the Blackhawks, the team that drafted him. It has become very rare to see this.
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