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Filip Mesar’s new European coach: one of the reasons for his success?

We all know that Filip Mesar’s performances last year fell short of expectations. He didn’t have a disastrous season, with 51 points in 52 games, but for a first-round pick who played in junior, that’s pretty disappointing.

The current season, however, presents an entirely different story for the young player. In just 11 games, he has already scored 22 points, including eight goals, silencing his critics. His recent seven-point week even earned him second place on the Habs’ weekly prospect list.

This sudden domination raises questions about the reasons behind this turnaround. One plausible explanation could be the arrival of Jussi Ahokas, a 43-year-old Finnish head coach, in charge of the team.

According to Anthony Martineau in an article published on TVA Sports, this new dynamic has contributed significantly to Filip Mesar’s recent success.

Ahokas, in his 19th season as coach in Finland, attracted the attention of the Kitchener Rangers during the off-season. Despite the challenges associated with the decision to move from Europe to Canada, in a small Ontario town, he accepted the challenge.

And the decision paid off, as his team now ranks first in the OHL and third in the entire CHL.

He also revived Montreal project Filip Mesar. The Canadiens prospect leads his league in points per game (2.00), tied with Carson Rehkopf, who has played 11 more games, that said.

While it’s hard to attribute all of Mesar’s recent success to Ahokas, the European connection between the two could play a crucial role. If so, Kent Hughes would have to fire Martin St-Louis and hire a European pilot when Mesar is ready to make the jump to the NHL. Note my sarcasm here…

Still, it’s hard not to make connections between the coaching change and Mesar’s success when he struggled under the old regime. Chris Dennis, a Torontonian, was the former coach.

Dennis was fired by Kitchener before joining the Belleville Senators in the AHL.

But for Ahokas, he won it all in Finland and, looking back, it’s clear what a good hire he was. As a head coach, he won a silver medal in the now-defunct SM-liiga (U20) in 2013, another silver medal at the World U18 Championship in 2015 and a gold medal at the same World U18 Championship in 2016.

He even won gold at the 2019 World Junior Championship and was named “Coach of the Year” the following season in the Liiga. And presumably, it’s not just positive for Mesar…


– Nice read.

– Too hard.

– He’s got opportunities.

– Nice prize for him.

– Your questions answered here.

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