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Canadiens fans are the best in the world

Auteur: Dose
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Canadiens fans are the best in the world
We were treated to a whole weekend of sports in Quebec, especially in Montreal.

The Carabins won the Dunsmore Cup on Saturday.

The Alouettes then delivered a historic defensive performance to overcome the mighty Argonauts at their home in Toronto. It was a seventh consecutive win for the Sparrows, who will have the chance to win the Grey Cup next Sunday night in Hamilton (against the dominant Blue Bombers).

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.

A goal disallowed due to an offside by Cole Caufield (again!?) possibly changed the game on its own. It was that kind of match.

But the player who has been the talk of the town since last night in Montreal is Juraj Slafkovsky. He was kept off the score sheet, finished the game at minus-2, he didn’t distribute any hits… but he got six shots on goal (and saw Canucks players block several others as well). Slafkovsky was named the third star of the game and thus, the best player of the CH against the ‘Nucks.

Martin St-Louis even said after the game that Slafkovsky had played his best game of the campaign.

Mike Matheson also had high praise for his young teammate after the game.

I think I agree with them. Slaf was also good in the first game of the season alongside Kirby Dach, but he was probably even better last night.

Many people also took to social media to praise Slafkovsky yesterday.

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 only has a differential of minus-6 in 2023-24.

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 is a first overall pick.

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?

What are we going to do when he scores three goals?

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…

2. The media are far from as negative and nitpicking as some people (including the coach himself) try to make you believe. They are often there to relay the words of the coach AND to support them. Especially since Martin St-Louis has been in office. He receives more positive than negative coverage, even if the team has lost more games than it has won. In short, everyone around the club is almost all tinted with steroid-boosted positivity.

3. It seems we all feel obliged to overemphasize our positive comments about Slafkovsky due to all the negative (or critical, should I say) comments that have been addressed to him for a year and a half.

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…

We thus strive not to confuse the decision of Hughes, Gorton, Bobrov, and Lapointe with the (young) person that is Slafkovsky.

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…

Jack Hughes had a season of 21 points in 61 games before becoming the player he is today (20 points in 10 games in 2023-24).

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

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

6. We all see Logan Cooley having success in Arizona and we try in our own way to help Juraj Slafkovsky bloom. Like we would with a child, we think that by encouraging him so much, he will eventually break through. We want to support him, not harm him, and help him.

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.

But the

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