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Canadian |  A leader looking for himself

Canadian | A leader looking for himself

(Washington) Sense of humor. It is the motto of a certain suburban town, also named after Michel Louvain. It is important in life, but also in hockey. “You can’t go anywhere without enthusiasm,” Martin St. Louis recalled after training with the Canadians on Friday.

To hear the Habs players scream with joy during training, the good mood was undoubtedly present. To motivate her, St-Louis staged one of their classic indoor competitions, between the white jerseys and the red jerseys. The Whites eventually equalized, in controversy if the Reds’ protests about the coach are to be believed.

Brendan Gallagher, who was still angry in the locker room, explained, “They sent Anderson in as the sixth player, and they said they took the goalkeeper out.”

So it took a penalty shootout to determine the winner, and only Joel Edmondson (!) Gave the victory to the Reds. Wyatt had to undergo periods as a result, while Gallagher mocked them.

Therefore, enthusiasm and humor are not lacking. The rest has been more complicated lately. The team’s schedule became tougher, after the first two months of playing against many weaker opponents.

Then injuries to Sean Monahan, David Savard and Mike Matheson ramped up the difficulty, so Lockdown’s team is 1-6-1 in their last eight matches.

And as is often the case in struggling teams, the best players suffer. This is especially true of Nick Suzuki. “I know I have to fix things and play better,” he admitted.

Tough game in Florida

On Thursday, Alexander Barkov devoured him all-round in Florida. The Panthers star center has won 7 out of 10 encounters against Suzuki, including one that led directly to the game’s first goal in the third minute. Barkov finished the night with five points, and Suzuki with -3.

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It was a match like the last two weeks for the Canadian captain. In fact, it’s been quite the night and day since Montreal’s 2-1 win over the Flames on Dec. 12.

Nick Suzuki scored (goals, assists, points)

  • Through Dec. 12: 14-15-29 in 28 games, 56 shots fired, odds 0
  • Since Dec. 13: 1-1-2 in 8 games, 10 shots put, -7 putt

We also see a little bit of his friend, Cole Coffield, but he still scores three goals during this series.

Except Suzuki’s problems are particularly noticeable, because as a first line center who aspires to be trusted in all aspects of the game, he should be able to help his team even without marring the score sheet.

I always wanted to stir up the offense and help the team win. I can do this in several ways. But I don’t play defensively as well as I can. When you are not operating offensively, there can be a domino effect on your game in other aspects of your game.

Nick Suzuki

Is the dynamic duo of Suzuki and Caufield more covered by opponents? “They’ve been playing against the other team’s best players for a long time. Nothing new. On this trip, it wasn’t any different,” said Canadian coach Martin St. Louis.

Did Suzuki get injured? Many CH players are mortgaged, but Suzuki participates in all of his team’s full training sessions.

The crippling force play

However, Monahan’s absence may have something to do with that. The veteran center has been missing since December 6. He and Suzuki were never going to play five-on-five together, but the numbers suggested Monahan was key in the power play. When he was on the ice in this state, the striker scored 7.61 goals every 60 minutes. This is the peak among the team’s forwards, far ahead of Mike Hoffman (5.63).

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“When your power play doesn’t work out, it becomes difficult for your offensive players,” St. Louis said. When your power play rolls around, you produce chances to score, touch the puck and build your confidence. All things five against five help. »

Suzuki and his teammates will at least have a good source of motivation for Saturday’s duel against Alexander Ovechkin, as the Canadian players’ mothers will be attending the game. “My mother is waiting for me at the hotel. We are going to do some things together this afternoon and eat,” said Suzuki.

More reasons to stay in a good mood. We’ll have to see if the rest follows.