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SLBAM: Several teams missed the boat with Patrick Roy
Credit: Capture d'écran / Screenshot

What’s up gang. I know, I know: Mitch, where’s your article from last week?

We agreed that for the next two months at least, one article every two weeks would be better for everyone. Just to give you an idea, we’re currently in the middle of 10 games in 17 days, 6 in 10, 5 in 7. So we’re a little short of time.

But I’ve been here, present and touching on a bit of everything for the past two weeks.

It’s obvious that the number of Quebecers in the NHL has been declining for several years and we can also see it with the national championships, sometimes. I still think what Hockey Québec is doing with sports-study is excellent.

If you look at the CSSHL in Western Canada, which I think is the best league in the country, we’re talking about the same thing in terms of sport-study.

But there are coaches with better salaries, full-time trainers (skills, skating, goalie) with them, not to mention physical trainers and so on. This changes the game enormously.

Yes, the amount you have to pay is not the same as in Quebec. It’s all very well to complain that hockey in Quebec is expensive, but in the CSSHL… it’s twice as expensive as in Quebec, yet most of the best players are there.

The biggest difference for me is the new generation of young players, but I don’t want to talk about that. But the other reason is that a lot of players aren’t in the right chairs or in the right calibre.

Why should a QMJHL team have the right to ask for a waiver to have more than 16-year-olds and then trade them at Christmas, because it doesn’t work? Why have so many 16-year-olds in the QMJHL?

Same thing at midget AAA level. Why have so many 15-year-olds who could be better off, getting more ice time by playing a year at midget Espoirs level, and playing midget AAA at 16 instead?

That way, instead of playing 5-10 minutes a game, he’ll play 20.

We’ve done a head-to-head search here in the ECHL between a player who should have played in the ECHL with us instead of the AHL. We have to calculate the difference in playing time, shots on goal, puck touches and so on.

It’s the way we “sell” players when they’re cut from the AHL, to tell them how important their development with us is and how much they’ll improve, and so far, it seems to be working.

As for the level of coaches, yes, a lot at the high level, but you also have to look at the low level and have good people who are there full time. Just that would change the dynamic enormously.

What the master trainers are doing is excellent, but it takes more initiative. And please don’t talk to me about having a Quebec team.

I’ve talked about this before. I’d like to see the return of the 1 against the 16th,2nd against the 15th and so on. I no longer find the division rivalry the NHL is trying to sell us.

If we had done this in the 80s, 90s or even the 2000s. Then there would have been a lot of rivalry. But now, not so much.

I’d go even further. As much as I wasn’t originally a fan, why not a play-in tournament like we saw with the NHL not so long ago or like the NBA is doing now.

This would make for an intense rivalry, with the winner advancing to the playoffs and the other not.

We’re already in week2 of the Patrick Roy era. He’s starting to put his ideas into place and I love it. I’d just like to clarify something right now after watching the social networks.

I don’t know Benoît Desrosiers personally. I’ve chatted to him maybe twice in my life. He has over 11 years of coaching experience at the QMJHL level, a President’s Cup and a Memorial Cup.

Most QMJHL coaches call him during the season for help with video or whatever… that says a lot about his skills.

So for those who say, he’s in the NHL because he knows Patrick Roy. At the professional level, the skills are there, but it takes a connection with the hockey staff knowing that you spend more time with them than your kids or your wife.

So it’s a totally normal move for Patrick. And to think that he no longer talks to those he worked with in the past would be a mistake. Benoît is competent, has made his mark and deserves it.

Few coaches are capable of making the leap to the professional level without knowing anyone. As for me, I’m probably the only one who’s done it twice.

Getting back to Patrick, I think Ottawa missed the boat and I think the Kings should have called it before too.

In terms of on-ice, I love what he brings and that’s kind of why coaches get fired. You forget the essentials and the guys don’t “work” as hard. That was the first thing Peter Laviolette did with the Rangers, raise the level of competition internally.

He always has two teams in practice and calculates all the points. So he always has a loser and a winner. You can see it with Patrick and his famous whistle with his tongue (I’m jealous).

Talking to former pros, including Jason Spezza who was with us on Friday for the day, he doesn’t hate taking time off after practice if it’s all planned and there’s a real disconnect between the players. The whole thing has been thought through and adjusted accordingly. For me, I love it.

Well, easy to say now since it’s Sunday and the trade was made this Friday. But as far as I’m concerned, Monahan and Allen would be the two who should/should leave.

As far as I’m concerned, before the trade, I was thinking that if we get a first-round pick for Monahan, I’ll be more than happy, and if we get more, all the better. Let’s not forget that we got Monahan and a first-round pick for absolutely nothing.

And now we’ve received a2nd first-round pick for… nothing.

As much as I love Monahan, he wasn’t part of the organization’s future, and the Habs need to find star players, and at some point that will come with luck at the draft.

I could come back to the Lindholm trade later, but Vancouver didn’t give anything away in terms of a “big” prospect in the deal. Picks have great value before the draft, but afterwards, they can lose them quickly. The longer you wait, there’s always a chance the value will drop too.

For Allen, he can easily help a team as a second goalie, and that would stop the three-goalie rotation.


– A huge thank you for your questions and we’ll see you next week. @Mitch_Giguere.

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