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Mike Matheson, Al-Kindi’s new assistant captain: “It’s a great honour”

Mike Matheson, Al-Kindi’s new assistant captain: “It’s a great honour”

No, there was no big promise or exaggerated optimism at the Canadian Golf Tournament. However, news was waiting for journalists when they arrived at Laval-sur-le-Lac Golf Club. At the dawn of his second season in a Canadiens uniform, Mike Matheson was named co-captain.

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The 29-year-old veteran will join Brendan Gallagher in the role. At the same time, he succeeds Joel Edmundson, who was traded to the Washington Capitals over the summer.

“It’s a great honor for me and my family,” said the Pointe-Claire defender. The Canadian was my childhood team. To get the chance to play for this team was really special. “So when I got that call, I had to pinch myself again.”

This call is the Martin St. Louis call. The Canadiens coach broke the news to the veteran after consulting with Kent Hughes, Brendan Gallagher and captain Nick Suzuki.

“It’s a process that stretched over a few months. We took this decision very seriously, but it was an easy decision,” St. Louis said. “I’ve had conversations with many players. He’s a leader who meets all the criteria. He shows up every day, helps the young guys, He is more than playing.

Same guy

Having grown up cherishing the Hab, Matheson became aware of what such a message represented. However, there is no doubt that he will put additional pressure on himself.

“So many players in this locker room were deserving of this honor. So, this is not a role I will take on lightly,” Matheson said. Yes, it means more responsibility, but it won’t change who I am. Neither on the ice nor off.

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“I don’t want to be the guy who always picks on the guys. It’s not going to help them,” he continued. “But when you’re there for them when things go wrong, that’s important.”

For two seasons a few years ago, Matheson had the opportunity to share the same locker room with Sidney Crosby. Maybe the top of the leader. He admits that the Penguins’ captain could serve as an inspiration.

“It was really special to be around him every day. The way he carries himself, the level of work he puts into his game, it’s all on another level.”

Finally his chance

The other level is in terms of statistics that Matheson reached last winter. Although he missed nearly half the season with an abdominal injury, the former Florida Panthers’ first-round pick had the most productive season of his career (34 points). It has to be said that he got over 24 minutes of playing time, on average, per game and that he played an important role in the first wave of the Canadiens’ massive attack.

“It was the first time I had the opportunity to show what I could do in many aspects of the game,” he recalls explaining this goal-scoring breakthrough. This year, I’m going to get a little used to all of that. I hope I can take another step.”

If he continues like this and can stay healthy throughout the winter, he can hope to approach the 60-point plateau.