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Canadian |  Philippe Mazar has found his bearings

Canadian | Philippe Mazar has found his bearings

(Arlington, Va.) A lot was gained last season from Juraj Slavkovski’s adjustment to North American rinks.

While the No. 1 pick of the 2022 draft has been learning the hard way in the NHL, his friend and compatriot Philippe Messar, who the Canadian also selected in the first round, has been doing the same learning. However, this happened far from the limelight, with the Kitchener Rangers in the Ontario Junior League.

Masar looked in good shape, scoring 51 points in 52 games during the season, as part of a mid-level team. Above all, he had the opportunity to fully adapt to his new environment, he explained to reporters on Tuesday, on the sidelines of the NHL Rookie Showcase, held in Arlington, a suburb of Washington.

“Kitchener was a good place to play,” he said. We had good players, I made good friends, my host family took care of me… Not everything was perfect for our team, but it was a great experience. Now I know what to expect. »

While many Europeans say they need time to adapt to the ice rinks here, which are smaller than those on the Old Continent, Messar says he has not faced any problems. He said that after the rookie tournament and Habs training camp last fall, he found his bearings. The striker also spent a few weeks skating in Montreal during the summer of 2022.

In Kitchener, he found the junior club schedule particularly challenging. A season containing approximately 70 matches, about twenty more than the European leagues. The Rangers also made two playoff runs. He said: But you get used to it.

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Laval, Gothenburg…

While most young players routinely talk about their desire to play in the NHL, Mazar is more circumspect about the subject. Although the coaches told him in the team’s recent development camp that they want him to play “in a big league” from now on, he does not deny that the next step for him will likely be through the American League, with the Laval Rocket.

I’m focusing on the main camp and then we’ll see. I must be well prepared.

Philippe Messar

Frankly, he admits that he would like to participate in his third and final World Junior Championships, after seeing his team perform so well during the last exhibition. On January 2, Slovakia came close to pulling off an almost historic upset, when a duel against Canada ended in overtime. But Connor Bedard’s goal ended Slovakia’s hopes.

At the next World Cup, which will be held in Gothenburg, Sweden, Philippe Mazar hopes to be a “good leader” for his club, which will “strive for the gold medal.” The National Team could rely on Simon Nemec and Dalibor Dvorski, two first-round picks in recent drafts.

“But I don’t think we’ll get a Slav,” he added with a half-smile.

This shouldn’t happen in reality. He found his eternal partner two weeks ago in Montreal. The two live and train together, and will likely be able to see each other more often during the season if, as planned, they both remain in the metro area.

However, Slavkovsky’s young career was over. That of Mesar is almost too. But we sense in his voice that he wants to put an end to it with a medal.

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