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Martin St-Louis’ absence: training is less intense and players know what to do
Credit: Capture d'écran / Screenshot

It’s been a few days now since Martin St-Louis left to rejoin his family. So Trevor Letowski is taking over to keep the ship afloat in the club pilot’s absence.

The club is out West, and the club’s DG is in Florida for the DG meeting, but life goes on. Letowski continues to talk to St-Louis to get on the right track, but…

But at the same time, Letowski is a big boy who’s not at his first barbecue. He’s never coached in the NHL (as a head coach, I mean), but he still has experience.

Trevor was already helping Martin a lot. He’s a smart, calm guy. He knows how to run a bench.

He really does.

This sentence comes from Nick Suzuki. It was reported by Jonathan Bernier (Journal de Montréal) in connection with the change currently taking place behind the Habs bench.

It’s interesting, because even though everyone has noted how much calmer Letowski is than St-Louis when he’s working (it showed yesterday at practice, when it was calmer), the fact remains that it’s not just up to the coach to fill the void created by MSL’s absence.

A guy like Nick Suzuki, who’s having a superb season, also has to shoulder the burden.

If the captain takes some responsibility on his shoulders, it will compensate for the leadership that St-Louis brings to the Montreal team every day.

Suzuki knows Letowski from his junior days (OHL vs. Russia, Team Canada camp, etc.), but he knows him mainly because he’s been an assistant in town for the past three years.

Suzuki also knows how to react in such a situation. After all, he was with the Habs when Claude Julien and Dominique Ducharme made way for Kirk Muller and Luke Richardson in 2020 and 2021. This isn’t his first barbecue either.

So to see that it was his trio that, as Dany Dubé mentioned, was at the heart of about half the turnovers in Saturday’s game, that can’t happen often.

Of course, Saturday’s game was different. The club had just arrived in Alberta when they learned that the journey would continue without their coach, and clearly, Saturday’s game couldn’t be perfect. I’m not throwing the first stone at anyone here.

But for tonight in Edmonton, the guys know what to do. They’ll need to feed off something other than the coach’s intensity to move forward. After all, who knows how many games the coach will miss…

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