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Pascal Vincent: his management of young players’ playing time comes in for criticism

The Columbus Blue Jackets have had quite an eventful start to the season. After all, Mike Babcock’s situation behind the bench has put a lot of pressure on Pascal Vincent.

The Quebecer had a difficult mandate, and right now, that’s reflected in the standings. Only Jacques Martin’s Senators are doing worse.

I think it’s been a while since the Blue Jackets realized that they don’t have the team to qualify for the playoffs. But that doesn’t mean Vincent will give up just yet.

The pilot of the Ohio club is a man who walks straight and leads his troops according to his way of thinking. That’s one of the reasons Patrik Laine skipped his turn recently: he wasn’t playing up to expectations.

But sometimes, that style can be challenged.

Such was the case in yesterday’s game against the Los Angeles Kings. Youngsters like David Jiricek, Adam Fantilli and Kent Johnson didn’t play much, which opened the door to questions.

Aaron Portzline, who covers the club, stressed that this lost season must belong to the youngsters, who often play better than the veterans. So they deserve more playing time. Frank Seravalli also agrees with the journalist’s comments.

Giving playing time on merit is important in the NHL. The Habs know something about that… or not. #Gardiens

Trusting his veterans is a concept Vincent seems to really appreciate. It was the same in Montreal for Dominique Ducharme, a former colleague of Vincent’s in junior.

Both guys were an assistant with their club before making the leap to head coach… and in both cases, it obviously wasn’t perfect.

It’s important to understand that playing a young player is rarely a good thing publicly. That was the case with Leo Carlsson in Anaheim, and it’s the case with Jiricek (13:42 average this season), Fantilli (15:20 average, 10:20 yesterday) and Johnson (12:13 average) right now.

More and more, rest is a weapon that teams are trying to master. And yesterday, Vincent felt that the matchup against the mighty Kings was worth some in-game adjustments, especially for Fantilli. That’s what justified his decision to “rest” his young wolves.

Will Vincent, who doesn’t want to give his young guys too much, have to adjust his aim at some point? That remains to be seen, but let’s just say the public pressure is on in this situation.

I wonder what his CEO thinks, though…

Breaking news

– Excellent news in Montreal.

– Logical. Too bad, but logical.

– Renaissance for Gustav Lindstrom. [La Presse]

– What do you think?

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