Skip to content
SLBAM: Matvei Michkov is no problem

What’s up gang. Here’s this week’s article. Thanks again to all of you.

No, but could we see this kind of regulation in North America if everything works well in the CHL? I sincerely hope so. Why should we? Because the three new rules have a direct impact on the game.

The first rule, which is to have the full two-minute penalty, has been requested or discussed for so long. Why stop a penalty on a goal and not continue the two-minute period?

Obviously, this will create a lot more goals and a lot more offense.

The second rule isn’t something that happens regularly, but when a referee has his arm in the air, you take off your goalie and count a goal, why not keep the penalty and go on the power play?

Imagine the scene. 6-on-5, the team scores a goal and still takes advantage of the delayed penalty. Then, imagine if they scored two goals within the two-minute penalty period. The penalty just hurt, but it hurt a lot because, in total, it will have given the opponent three goals. Outch.

And to top it all off, more and more teams are going on the attack as soon as possible in the numerical disadvantage. Why not reward them?

On a shorthanded goal, the penalty is cancelled out. I love it, I really do.

Imagine the scene here a little surreal, but still. Montreal versus Toronto. Toronto takes a late penalty and the Habs score a goal. On the immediate face-off, the CH scores a goal and goes for the center face-off.

With a minute left on the penalty, the CH score again, bringing their total to three goals on the same power play.

Moments later, however, Toronto got on the scoreboard on the power play with just under 45 seconds left. This means that Toronto is no longer short-handed and will return to 5-on-5, which would be a total of four goals on both sides under the new rules.

Believe me, I’ll be watching this closely next season and asking a lot of questions.

Normally, both teams will make changes. In the KHL, it was even more blatant when I was there because sometimes there was only one player left on the ice and he was waiting behind the net for both teams to finish their changes.

It’s also a question of mentality that the systems of play against a control breakout are a little more passive and let the defender go out with the puck and close off as many options as possible or follow player X or Y.

As a result, control breakout teams rarely put pressure behind the goal to avoid being beaten and caught further out.

If you look at Vermont in the NCAA, for example, on the other hand, they don’t want their players to stop behind the net to settle in and make a “control breakout”. But there’s a philosophy of getting the puck to 200 feet from the net as quickly as possible (play fast).

Teams also analyze other teams. So, if a team is putting a lot of pressure on the net. They’ll adjust and do everything they can to avoid getting caught. Also, don’t think that this happens 100 times a game as a normal zone exit.

For my part, there have been years when I’ve said to myself, we’re better off not having a controlled zone exit, because we don’t control much in the end, and other years, the zone exit has given us a few goals over the course of the season.

The question could also be, how should we build: draft, trade or free agent? To answer the question, it all depends on what you have on your pro team, what you have underneath and the future.

There’s no better saying in field hockey than, name me a good goalie and I’ll name you a good coach.

On the other hand, I’d put a little asterisk in this sentence: name me a goalie on fire in the playoffs and I’ll name you a good team in the playoffs.

In the sense that sometimes, goalies who come out of nowhere, or aren’t number 1s with good stats or whatever, make it to the playoffs, make the key saves, have a say night after night and make it to the finals (Dallas a few years ago, for example).

So you have no choice but to get a good goalie.

Then you need dominant forwards, all-stars who can make the difference, clutch players. If I look at Florida versus Carolina, I sincerely believe that this is what made the difference for Carolina, this lack, compared to Florida.

Having a true #1 and #2 up front is essential. For defensemen, a mix is important, but above all, a defenseman, a real defenseman who will roll your first power-play unit. What happens with defensemen too: it takes longer than a forward to develop in the NHL. So you have to be patient.

So, as far as I’m concerned, goalie, forward, defenseman. But in the end, you owe it to yourself to take the best player you can, especially if we’re talking about a top 6 forward, top 4 back.

I don’t hate the idea, sincerely. It all depends on the goal. In the sense that for me, if a team wants to buy out a contract, it’s because it didn’t do its homework by giving players a big contract.

So why not make it so that the team can buy out the contract, but at 100% and it counts for 100%, or even more, of the payroll? Summer free agents would become a better negotiating game, as there might be less overbidding.

Alternatively, if you allow the buyout, but the player has signed his contract with, say, Montreal, but is traded to Toronto and Toronto wants to buy him out.

Why not make it so that since Montreal signed him at too high a price, they have a penalty on their mass or have to pay him back too? We’re just talking here, of course.

For a pick, I find it difficult, especially if there’s new management in place that has nothing to do with the moves before. Depriving them of a good pick is pretty cruel, but also, at the league level, it complicates everything with the draft, marketing and so on.

But if a team wants to buy him out, there won’t be 20 dancers either, as most teams are very close to the cap. It would be similar to what he’s already doing. Instead, we’d have to remove players who haven’t been in the league for several years, but who still count on certain payrolls.

I told you a while ago about Michkov and how he’s a born competitor. I’m glad that people, after the smear campaign, are starting to ask the right people.

I’ve been lucky enough to know Daniel Bochner for several years. I was in Calgary with him in 2016 from memory for Hockey Canada. We’ve kept in touch ever since, and of course our paths have crossed in the KHL.

Incredible to think that two Canadians, who are training in Calgary for Hockey Canada, meet a few years later coaching against each other in Russia in the KHL.

I’m lucky enough to know a lot of the players in Sochi, as well as the field hockey staff who were there that season. They all said the same thing, and I say the same thing to everyone who came to ask me the question: Michkov is a born competitor and he wants to win.

For those lucky enough to have seen Nathan MacKinnon in practice with Colorado, Michkov is the closest thing to him in desire, determination, work ethic, wanting to make a difference with every skate and never wanting to get off the ice.

Not to mention that he pushes the other players to be better and challenges them regularly. There isn’t a player in the room who doesn’t like him or who will say something bad about him. It’s the same everywhere he’s been.

I called some of my team-mates this week, because I’m keeping up to date with the contacts I’ve made in Russia, and when I talk about him, it’s always the same story.

The bad rumors really started when he was on loan in the VHL.

I can’t go into details, but with a Google search and a good translator, you’ll be able to understand what really happened and you’ll understand better.

And in the end, for my part, it shows character and not a bad attitude, far from it. Now, will it be available at number five? I can’t wait to see, and especially if the decision to take him or not comes back to haunt the Habs. Stay tuned.

For the first question. I’ve never dwelt on that, to be very honest. My aspirations are other, so I’d tell you no, I have no interest.

I don’t even know if I’m going to be a coach in a year’s time.

The second question, it takes a mixture of both, you have no choice. The same goes for a team: it takes a mix of different players to make the recipe work. You can have calm, disciplined players, but having people with no character isn’t necessarily better either.

Conversely, having too many problem players doesn’t help a team either. A lot of coaches don’t like to try to work with a difficult player, but one who’s good, so they often get pushed around?

I’m not saying you should take them all, but sometimes you have to find out why they are the way they are and try to work with them.

Sometimes, he just needs some coaching. Personally, I take Kane for what he can bring when he’s not on the scoreboard. He’s a problem off the ice, but from what we can hear, on the ice and in the room, he’s appreciated.

The news came out this week. Matthews isn’t aiming for a long-term contract so he can sign a new one when he’s 30, at the top of his game.

That, to me, is how to handle things well for a star player of his aspen.

Is this a good thing for Toronto? It’s hard to say, but we’ll soon find out with the new general manager’s moves. No one yet knows what direction the Maple Leafs will take and what they’ll have on the ice at the next training camp.

When he signs his new contract at the age of 30, the advantage he’ll have at that point is that several teams will be interested, but more importantly, will be able to sign him, given the increase in the payroll that’s now in place.

But how many of the big players who have signed big contracts as free agents in recent years have really made a big impact with their teams? It will be interesting to see where Matthews will be at age 30 in terms of on-ice field hockey.

Otherwise, rotten apple.

I’m not ready to say it, but I don’t think he’s fully appreciated in Toronto, and he’s getting tired of it. We still don’t hear anything about him though. I don’t think he’s a nuisance either.

I still wonder about him, but for the time being,I’lltake him on my team with my eyes closed.

Player promotion and the level of marketing. I sincerely believe that field hockey is the sport with the least marketing. It’s not normal that McDavid isn’t talked about more than that. The guy is literally God on the ice and apart from the BioSteel ads, we don’t see him.

It’s a real shame not only for him, but for the NHL.

Otherwise, markets that don’t work, you have no choice but to move them. I’m not saying you need a team in Quebec City, but you have to move teams from one place to another. Especially now that more and more players are coming out publicly to talk about it. It’s a shame.

Otherwise, all that refereeing on the ice and the disciplinary committee. You need to review the whole thing.

I don’t have a solution, but it’s unthinkable to me that in 2023 and with today’s technology, you can’t make the right decision in video replay or that so many flagrant penalties aren’t called.

Why the Disciplinary Committee? Could the whole thing be any more ridiculous than it is right now?

You have no choice but to be too severe, to send a clear message, but to stick to it. A $5,000 fine… would you please laugh in my face, but more discreetly?

Thanks 1000x. See you next week. Follow me on social networks @Mitch_Giguere.

More Content