St-Louis: “It’s the game where Slafkovsky looked the most comfortable this season.”
— Marc Antoine Godin (@MAGodin) November 13, 2023
We see what an involved owner and a coach close to his players (and respected by them) can do for a club…
Saturday night, the Canadiens surprised the top team in their conference – and age-old enemy – in front of their fans at the Bell Centre. It was Cole Caufield Kaiden Guhle who decided the game in overtime, after Samuel Montembeault made spectacular saves for over 60 minutes. The people there paid a hefty price for their ticket, but they got their money’s worth!
Unfortunately, Montreal’s fairytale ended on Sunday night as Casey DeSmith and the Canucks spoiled the party at the Bell Centre. Still, the final score (5 to 2) doesn’t represent the pace of the game: Jake Allen was as solid as Casey DeSmith, the Canucks scored two empty-net goals, and they only had five more shots than the Montrealers. The game could have gone either way, to quote Martin St-Louis.
Matheson on Slafkovsky: “he was incredible tonight. He was everywhere on the ice.”
— Anthony Martineau (@Antho_Martineau) November 13, 2023
It’s certain that if you look at his HockeyDB profile, you’re disappointed with Slafkovsky’s stats, especially for a first overall pick.
— Marc-Olivier Beaudoin (@MOBeaudoin1) November 13, 2023
— Luc Gelinas (@LucGelinasRDS) November 13, 2023
Still, in the end, Slafkovsky has only two points – including just one goal – in 15 games since the start of the season. He has the worst points per game ratio on the team.
He has the chance to play on the first line alongside someone like Nick Suzuki, the team’s captain, or on the second unit with Cole Caufield on the other side.
He misses several scoring chances – which he gets, at least -, having notably been unable to pass OR shoot early in the game yesterday, when he was on a two on one with Nick Suzuki I think…
I wonder one thing: why are fans – and journalists/columnists – so “nice” with Juraj Slafkovsky? Why do we all keep a little shyness before daring to criticize the play of the tall Slovak? Are we too easy-going with flowers when it comes to the young forwards of the Tricolore?
I read all the positive stuff that’s been written about Juraj Slafkovsky for a few hours and I tell myself:
Imagine if he had more than 2 points in 15 matches. It would be just CRAZY.
(People encourage him a lot despite his difficulties. The CH fans are the best in the world)
— Maxime Truman (@MaximeTruman) November 13, 2023
Watch out! I’m not saying we should necessarily throw bigger rocks at him more often. I’m just thinking out loud about why we get such a “nice” treatment that I also participate in as a columnist and sports writer?
I have several lines of thought. Sorry for the long text below; this is not the kind of subject that can be summed up in three paragraphs… or even worse, with a catchy headline that everyone likes to comment on without having read the attached text.
1. Canadiens fans are the best in the world. They encourage their team – even when it is going nowhere like last year – and they buy into the Kent Hughes/Jeff Gorton reconstruction without flinching. They are not afraid to support their club and to be more subjective than objective. After all, that’s what loving a team is about.
Even though many try to tell you that Montreal fans are too negative and borderline toxic/unhealthy, that’s not the case. Look at other sports, elsewhere in the world, and dare to compare…
Average performance becomes a good performance…
A good performance becomes an extraordinary performance…
We want to rebalance things… bring the pendulum back the other way
However, we forget that with only two points in 15 games, the balance of Slaf’s performance is still in the negative. The glass is not yet half full, to use a popular expression.
Why do people feel so much invested in a mission to balance public opinion? It’s special, don’t you think?
We didn’t have this mentality with Jonathan Drouin in recent years…
4. We saw Slafkovsky get booed from his very first pick and we feel bad for him. Even today…
5. We are rational and we are aware that we need to be patient with a kid of only 19 years old. The NHL has become a league where it is difficult to succeed before the age of 21 or 22. Guys are not all Connor Bedards…
Quinton Byfield, Alexis Lafrenière (what a goal he scored yesterday!) and Jesperi Kotkaniemi all had difficult moments before producing in the best league in the world. We maybe think we should have been more patient with McCarron KK… forgetting willingly that top draft picks have also become “busts” over the past few decades. #Pouliot #Yakupov #Etc
This season’s stats for…
Quinton Byfield: 2G+11A=13PTS in 14 games
Alexis Lafrenière: 7G+4A=11PTS in 14 games
Jesperi Kotkaniemi: 6G+7A=13PTS in 15 games
3 young players who didn’t produce quickly and some called “busts”.
— Marc-Olivier Beaudoin (@MOBeaudoin1) November 13, 2023
Still, as we are often told by people in the organization, the NHL is not a development league. It is a league of results. Its athletes – if they play there, rather than being in the American League, junior or Europe – shouldn’t they be judged on their results? I ask the question.
And… why don’t we have the same restraint when it comes to commenting on Shane Wright’s (non-) performances? Because people in Montreal are not fans of Wright, but rather of the Canadiens (and Slafkovsky). #Emotions #NotRational
We all want to see him succeed… and we all hope that those who send him to Laval in their fantasies won’t be right. If Slafkovsky is praised from all sides and he manages to finally collect points consistently, we will all forget about this idea of sending him to Laval (and to the WJC). That’s what we want to happen.