Pat Rice: Is it important during the summer to do something other than field hockey, even if the player is literally passionate about it?
– Mitch Giguere (@Mitch_Giguere) July 9, 2023
What’s up gang. How are your vacations going? For me, the vacations have started. We’re off to the four corners of Quebec to enjoy Cime Aventure and the beautiful region. We’re more than excited.
This weekend was my introduction to paddle boarding. The kids and my wife have been doing it for over a year, but I wasn’t attracted to it. After my first experience, I’ll give it another go and see what happens. Now for your questions of the week.
Yes, it’s important, just to get away from it all, do other things and make new friends. Being in a non-hockey context is also important, because at some point, the youngster may be fed up and want to do something else.
On the other hand, there’s nothing wrong with taking part in summer practices or improvement courses, or even playing in a friendly league.
There are many other sports that young people do to avoid playing the same sport 12 months a year, and nobody talks about them. I don’t think people who dance in the winter are going to play tennis in the summer.
I don’t think the vast majority of people who play tennis are going to play field hockey in the winter. You get my point.
In my day, I always wanted a stick in my hands. When we’d go to our friends’ houses, we’d open the skillet and heat up our mini-stick paddles. We’d do a curve that would make Ovechkin jealous and play field hockey on our knees.
In the summer, we’d gather in the street and continue playing field hockey. Even with my soccer gang, once we got back to my friend Raphaël Doucet’s place, we’d play field hockey.
Being able to play other sports (and there’s plenty of science to back this up) can improve a player’s athleticism, something that’s lacking now. So moderation tastes much better.
Which of the following goalies do you think will be the Canadiens’ two goalies in October 2025?
– Samuel Montembeault
– Jake Allen
– Jakub Dobes
– Joe Vrbetic
– Jacob Fowler
– Quentin Miller
– Yevgeni Volokhin
– Emmett Croteau
– Goalie via transaction
– Martin Blanchette (@mblanchette1966) July 8, 2023
I’m often asked this question in my column, and every time, I never know which way to turn. Eventually, Fowler will be there, but not for a long time.
I don’t think Primeau will make it to the NHL, or at least not as a backup.
For the rest of the goalies, there won’t be anyone. As far as I’m concerned, if Montembeault does well and is a true #1, I think they’ll keep Allen as a “mentor” and let him go after his contract and bring in a youngster.
Montembeault will be 27 in October, and 28 next year. You don’t need someone to support him at a big salary if he’s #1 and at that age.
So here’s my double answer. If Montembeault is a true #1. We’ll see Montembeault and Allen as a duo. If Montembeault is not a #1. I have a feeling that the CH will trade for a #1 goalie and keep Montembeault.
@Mitch_Giguere The last 4 Memorial Cups (6 years) have been won by the QMJHL. Yet the QMJHL seems to be shunned by the NHL in the draft. Why? 16 1st-round QMJHL players in 6 1st-round drafts (180 players). Still said to be weaker than the OHL and WHL.
– Alexander McGreggor 🇲🇽 (@McGreggorAlexa1) July 7, 2023
It also doesn’t mean that because you win the big trophy at the end, that normally you should have every player drafted in the NHL or have the 20 best players in the league.
There’s a big part that goes to the coaches in the last four wins too. The adjustments they’ve been able to make have been phenomenal, and they’ve relied on a lot of rigor, which has paid off.
Now it’s clear that we need to find solutions for Quebec, which is unfortunately releasing fewer and fewer players for the draft. The Legault plan is completely useless and we need to let real field hockey people get involved and give them carte blanche.
At some point, it just doesn’t seem to work anymore, so change couldn’t be worse.
As far as I’m concerned, there are far too many 16-year-olds in the QMJHL. They don’t have the right coaching or the right ice time. There have even been years when we’ve asked for a waiver to dress more than the limit, but at Christmas, 16-year-old players are traded?
Why not go back to the Midget Espoir system? The majority of 15-year-old players are in Midget Espoir. Then, the gifted 15-year-olds in midget AAA. We’re not talking about 40 players here.
@Mitch_Giguere Who do you pick for the CH’s future top 4? Left: Guhle, Hutson, Engstrom. Right: Mailloux, Reinbacher, Barron. In my amateur opinion, I think these 6 def have the potential to be top 4 for the CH. Your opinion on Engstrom…
– Alexander McGreggor 🇲🇽 (@McGreggorAlexa1) July 2, 2023
Oh good question, once again. It’s a question that’s very hard to answer in reality, since many are still young and only time will tell.
If we’re talking about top-4 defense, I sincerely believe that on the left, we’ll have Guhle and Hutson with no problem. I think we need to watch Engstrom’s progress carefully, because he was good in the SHL last year. The fact that he’s a good skater helps a lot.
Harris could complete the picture, but I’m not high on him, I’m not sure why. But don’t forget Xhekaj, his presence will be much more important in the years to come than we think. Especially if he can stay healthy and keep the same style of play.
On the right, it’s not as if there’s much to choose from. When you look at the CH defense, you know they’ll be good. But when you break it down by position, you quickly understand Reinbacher’s selection.
The top-3 on the right will be Reinbacher, Barron, Mailloux. There’s no one else in the short term either. So we shouldn’t be surprised to see a trade eventually, or even another selection in the next draft of a right-handed defenseman in the first or second round.
But I’m going to ask you again: do you think all the players named can be top-4? Reinbacher and Guhle no problem. But in the long term, could the others become so too?
Rafaël Harvey-Pinard speaks to the media after signing a two-year contract extension on Monday.
– Montreal Canadiens (@CanadiensMTL) July 6, 2023
– Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) July 4, 2023
I can’t end this week’s article without mentioning two excellent pieces of news. Two players I was lucky enough to coach during their midget espoir years.
Olivier, who was outclassed, and Rafaël, who just wanted a year to develop. Both signed professional contracts in the same week. Rafaël at one level and Olivier at 2 levels.
I’m lucky enough to still be in contact with both of them, and I sincerely believe I was happier than they were. Even my wife shed a tear, which says a lot. Both have completely different backgrounds, but the same goal. Funnily enough, I’m not at all surprised by their success.
On that note, I’ll see you next week and thanks again. Follow me on social networks @Mitch_Giguere.