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Kirby Dach: even injured, he does everything in his power to help Juraj Slafkovský

At the beginning of the year, there was a certain amount of optimism surrounding Juraj Slafkovský. In fact, the young Slovak had had a good training camp, and we felt that on the ice, placing him on Kirby Dach’s wing was a good way of putting him in a good frame of mind.

Not only is Dach excellent at making his trio mates look good, but the two guys are a bit alike in terms of size and speed.

The problem, however, is that Kirby Dach’s season unfortunately came to an end after just under four periods of play. The center forward tore ligaments in his knee and won’t be back until next year.

At the time, Slaf was frank: it was really terrible for the club.

And in reality, it was also terrible for the young Slovak’s personal development, as he had just lost the first player with whom he really seemed to have an obvious chemistry. And even if he hasn’t played “badly” since, he still only has one point in seven games, an assist collected alongside Dach in the first gameof the year.

The good news is that even though Dach is no longer playing, he’s still doing everything he can to help his young teammate. In fact, as Jean-François Chaumont reported yesterday, Dach continues to mentor Slafkovský on a daily basis, watching his games and giving him personalized advice.

And that’s something I really, really like to hear.

At a press conference this morning, Martin St-Louis talked about the importance of keeping Dach on the team, given that he’s an extremely bright youngster who can help the club even from the sidelines. The coach likes to talk to his young centre-forward to get his opinion on certain things, and he finds that it brings in interesting elements.

And when I hear this, I can’t help but think that he was possibly referring to what Dach does for his (even younger) teammate. Because if there’s anyone in Montreal who understands Slafkovský’s position, it’s Kirby Dach.

High draft picks with good size who’ve had a bit of trouble getting off the ground in their first few NHL moments, that kind of fits both guys, doesn’t it?

It’s obviously not an exact science, but I really like to see Dach take Slaf under his wing. He may not be able to help him on the ice, but he’s able to put himself in the kid ‘s shoes and understand how to help him find his bearings as much as possible.

And if Slafkovský ends up blossoming in the same way that Dach did, it’ll be great news for the Slovak.

Let’s hope that, unlike Dach, Slaf can blossom at his home club, though.

In gusts

– Tanner Pearson is indeed a nice surprise this season.

– Rafaël Harvey-Pinard is down on his luck this season. Perhaps that’s a bit influenced by his inordinately high success rate last year, though.

– Jeff Petry returns from injury.

– The goalies are starting to drop like flies in Buffalo. Good thing they’ve got three good ones and Devon Levi should be back soon.

– Really?

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