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Punishments: Arber Xhekaj went to see the coaches this morning to apologize

Last night was Arber Xhekaj’s second game since being recalled from the Laval Rocket.

The result?

The young defenseman finished the game against Patrick Roy and his Islanders with a 0 record, two shots on net and just under 12 minutes of playing time (11:42).

But you know where I’m going with this.

The Sheriff also took two unnecessary penalties at times when his club was trying to preserve the lead.

After the duel, Martin St-Louis told reporters at the Bell Centre that he “didn’t love” his protégé’s decisions. The coach didn’t necessarily throw Xhekaj under the bus, but you could tell from his words and body language that he was (really) not happy.

St-Louis defended Gallagher more than Xhekaj, after all… Which says a lot.

All that to say, the Habs players jumped on the ice this morning and right off the bat, Xhekaj went to the coaching staff to apologize for his penalties.

Alexandre Pratt reported in La Presse:

I wanted to clear the air with the coaches. I know they were angry about my penalties and they were right. I disappointed my teammates too. I wanted to remind Martin that I care about this team. I felt I was hurting the team on Thursday night. – Arber Xhekaj

How did the coach react to all this?

Martin St-Louis confided after practice this morning that he understands Xhekaj’s desire to be tough to bring energy to his teammates, but it’s just a matter of finding the right balance.

It’s a fine line… because the young man loves to use his body to upset the opposition.

Arber Xhekaj shouldn’t be misrepresented, because we know he can be useful to an NHL team when he makes the right decisions.

That said, at some point Xhekaj will have to learn to be more disciplined because he’ll never earn his coach’s trust otherwise. If Martin St-Louis knows that his player is going to get him into trouble when he’s on the ice, he’ll simply stop using him.

Arber Xhekaj was obviously asked to comment on the situation, and he made it clear that the relationship with his coach is a good one.

He likes him a lot because St-Louis helps him with his game. There’s really no hatred in Xhekaj’s comments, which can be found at the end of Anthony Martineau’s (TVA Sports) next video:

I’m curious to see what all this will lead to tomorrow, when the Canadiens will be in Pittsburgh to face Sidney Crosby and his gang.

Will Xhekaj be left out in case Martin St-Louis decides to send him a message?

And if the defenseman is in uniform… will Martin St-Louis be comfortable using him?

Stay tuned.

Breaking news

– It’s just as crazy.

– Of note:

– Nick Bonino was not claimed in the waivers.

– A point for David Reinbacher today.

– Hehe.

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