Awani Review

Complete News World

Canadian |  In the notebook: Xhekaj wore bad shoes

Canadian | In the notebook: Xhekaj wore bad shoes

Arber Xhekaj has been playing with more confidence since scoring in back-to-back matches on February 17 and 21. Incidentally, the Giant turned heads by sending the puck at 107.2 mph at the Canadian Skills Contest on Sunday.

However, things started less well on Tuesday, with the initial throw-in, won by Jake Evans. Evans headed the ball towards Xhekaj who immediately lost it. Xhekaj and his teammates spent the rest of the match trapped in their own box.

Nine minutes later, No. 72 was again forced to defend its own zone while in full possession, as the Coyotes fired three times in nine seconds on Samuel Montembault.

Xhekaj looked amused when asked about his start in the match the day before. His closet neighbors too, who brought out a few snickers. We understood that the beginning of the match was ultimately eventful.

“I was wearing new skates and it got distracting,” the young defenseman said. Journalism, Wednesday. It felt weird, and I thought: Maybe I shouldn't wear it. I don't know why I still decided to wear it. I made some funny turns, and I told myself it was the skis' fault! I was really stuck in my head. »

Xhekaj had seen enough. There he was, midway through the first half, disappearing down the tunnel to the locker room during a commercial break.

Since then, we have seen Xhekaj in recent days again, taking possession of the ball, sometimes too much, but generally in the right amount. The Hamiltonian finished the game with two shots on goal, another blocked attempt, two hits and several possessions of the puck. We also see a +1 difference, but he was on the ice for three seconds when Tanner Pearson scored, so the stats skew the data a bit.

Photography by Martin Chamberland, Press

Arbor Shekaj

Sometimes we hear about players who often change pairs of skates during the season, sometimes every two or three games. Sometimes, a player changes during a break. But during a match during a commercial break, it's rare! And Xhekaj is not the type to change his skis every week.

“These are still the same skates I was wearing when I started rehabbing with my injury last season. They were fine, so I never changed them. I recently tried a new pair in training, and they felt good. But when the match started, I think about it a lot.”

It remains to be seen whether he will dare to change again this season, or whether he will wear his skates like old slippers.

If a player is training alone, but journalists can't see him, is he really training?

We'll ponder that question another day, but in the meantime, we know that Kirby Dutch skated in full uniform on Wednesday, information we know because Radio-Canada colleague Alexandre Gascón documented it. This will be, at least in the presence of a camera, the first session in full uniform for Ladakh, who has been seen skating in a tracksuit in recent days.

Dach is recovering from knee surgery and should theoretically miss time to return to action before the end of the season.

Rafael Harvey Benard, who was injured on February 10, also took to his skates in full uniform to practice on his own. Al-Kindi had been declared absent for a period of between four and six weeks in his case.

Samuel Montembault will get his second straight start Thursday at sunrise.

Photo by Josie Desmarais, Press

Samuel Montembault

Montembault would play Game 6 against the only other organization he had ever known in the NHL. With his 5.61 average and 0.863 efficiency, you'll know he's still searching for his first win against the Panthers.

Furthermore, Jake Evans and Jayden Strobel, who missed practice Wednesday before leaving for Florida, were nonetheless expected to accompany their teammates on the four-game trip.