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Martin St-Louis on Arber Xhekaj: “Nobody calls him the Sheriff in the vestry”.
Credit: Capture d'écran / Screenshot
Yesterday, stalwart Arber Xhekaj had an excellent game. I mentioned him in my first text of the morning, but I wanted to take a closer look at his case.

What made him so good?

His second goal in as many games, of course. He’s becoming more and more confident with his shot, which is great news for the future in his case.

Honorable mention must go to Joshua Roy for his big play on WiFi’s goal.

But it was his play in general that was good. He was able to make big, physical plays without getting his club into trouble. That’s exactly what the Habs want from him.

The main man loved his game. Captain Nick Suzuki also loved what his teammate brought to the table in the 18 minutes and 52 seconds he spent on the ice.

And Martin St-Louis? He loved it.

It was probably the most complete game he’s played with all the assets he has. He’s a physical player and you saw that tonight.

He has good offensive instincts. – Martin St-Louis

Having said that, it seems that for Martin St-Louis, it’s never easy to simply speak well of a defenseman. There are times when a less “complimentary” comment comes along.

And it happened in a press conference.

While Stu Cowan referred to Xhekaj as the Sheriff, St-Louis took the trouble to mention that the Sheriff was the popular nickname given to him in the media. It dates back to his junior years, basically.

The coach reports that everyone in the dressing room understands his importance, but nobody calls him that.

It’s a bit of a flat comment from a coach who many suspect doesn’t like it all that much. Certainly not as much as the fans, anyway.

Remember that when he arrived in the NHL, it was the nickname WiFi that was given to him. Why was that? Because his last name sounds like a WiFi code generated automatically by mixing letters.

But clearly, he’d rather be called the Sheriff, the nickname of his junior years and the one fans use most when referring to the Ontario defenseman.

That said, a nickname like that in the NHL has to be earned… and clearly, he hasn’t.

Remember that Xhekaj, who was signed by Marc Bergevin without being drafted, isn’t having the season of his life. He was sent back to the Laval Rocket earlier in the season due to a surplus of defensemen. #InternalWrestling

But if we’re playing remember the past, it’s worth remembering that the Sheriff’s nickname came to prominence earlier in the season, when Xhekaj launched his burger with La Chambre restaurants.

Did Martin St-Louis take the opportunity to throw a jab at Xhekaj’s ad campaign, which may not have gone over well with Habs management?

Maybe not. Who knows?

Let’s not forget that the Habs are associated with La Cage Aux Sports Brasserie Sportive, and that seeing a (depth) player advertise at a competing restaurant may not have made the Habs very happy.

Maybe St-Louis was just dotting the “i “s last night… but maybe he really does want Xhekaj to settle for “being a star on the ice” and not off the ice, as the pilot once said.

In gusto

– The Habs are in the top-100 most valuable franchises in the world.

– David Savard doesn’t want to leave.

– One to watch.

– Well said.

– Eight years?

– What do you think?

– He’s often the talk of the town.

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