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Three Things: Will Georges Laraque call Slafkovsky? Will Tij Iginla call the Habs? Will Justin Poirier call the Jets?
Credit: Capture d'écran / Screenshot

As the end of the season draws to a close and the Habs have little to say for themselves, but the season is full of interesting topics, the little “Three Things” columns are back in action on a “part-time” basis!

Today, we’re analyzing a few topics: Sla and sturdiness, as well as Tij Iginla and Justin Poirier as potential first-round targets for the Habs!

Here we go!

Hello Juraj! It’s Georges!

According to our clever calculations, Jesus-the-Christ-our-Savior was resurrected for the 1991st time last week (2024 – 33 = 1991). One of the most important legacies of this extraordinary man was to teach us (with mixed success) to “turn the other cheek”.

If, in general, this fine piece of wisdom helps to make human relations a little more harmonious by helping us to avoid escalating conflicts, it doesn’t apply very well to hockey.

Professional NHL hockey is a war on skates, a big cr… of conflict!

“Turning the other cheek” just means not accompanying the instigator of aggression to the penalty box for the finicky ones.

So it’s the ” war is war ” mentality that often takes precedence over the pleas of the son of Mary.

In this parallel universe of the NHL – which in no way obeys the rules of civility of ordinary life – a stinging retort and an uncompromising fight for space are often necessary for victory.

Somewhere along the line, you have to be “mean” if you want to win. You just can’t let someone walk all over you.

That’s the last thing Juraj Slafkovsky has learned in his spectacular development as an NHL field hockey player.

In this regard, I had the chance a few weeks ago to meet Georges Laraque during the recording of the Stanley25 podcast with Max Truman and Jean Trudel. #merciboss

A brilliant, likeable, funny and generous man, Laraque. A real swell guy.

I already knew that Big Georges had given a few pugilistic lessons to Pezzetta and Xhekaj in the past year, but I was surprised to learn that he also plans to offer his advice to the Rangers’ “new sensation/circus animal”, Matt Rempe, in the coming months.

So, while watching Slaf, another “big man”, play against the Panthers this week, particularly his altercation with Aaron Ekblad, the idea occurred to me that he too could benefit from some basic advice from the good Georges.

Before you start messing around on Facebook, don’t get me wrong, I don’t want Slaf to mess with everyone on the ice and start taking on NHL bullies for the fun of it.


What I do want is for him to know how to protect himself and put himself in the best possible position so as not to get stupidly hurt in a fight or a simple tussle.

And since it seems that the style of play he’s ready to adopt will lend itself more frequently to muscular confrontations, he might as well prepare for war.

As Laraque said on the podcast, the point of hockey fights isn’t so much to throw punches; it’s mostly to avoid getting hit and getting hurt.

That’s why good Georges never suffered a concussion. And yoga…

Come on, guys, give each other a call!

Tricolore interested in Tij Iginla

The season of speculation and info leaked here and there about the next NHL draft is officially underway!

But we’re still a good month away from the lottery, aren’t we?

No matter!

So, as Stéphane Gonzalez reported earlier this week, the Habs are reportedly very interested in Tij Iginla, son of the famous Jarome, and hold him in the highest regard, having already met with him four times since the start of the season.

Watch out! We’re talking about meetings with Hughes and Gorton, no less.

And they’re not the only ones who hold him in high esteem; the Calgary Flames are also being talked about a lot, for obvious reasons.

We’ve discussed it ourselves a few times on this site over the winter.

My colleague Marc-Olivier Cook has liked him for some time.

For my part, he was my favorite player at the CHL Top Prospects game and moved up to 9thin my mid-season rankings for the upcoming draft.

Iginla, 17, one of the youngest players in the next draft (born in August) is a sure bet, no doubt about it.

Author of 47 regular-season goals for Kelowna and on fire during the current playoffs (7 goals, 1 assist in 5 games!), if the Canadiens don’t win the lottery and intend to draft a forward early in the first round, between ranks 5 and 9, there would be absolutely nothing wrong with ” selecting ” him, as the other guy said. Unless Cayden Lindstrom or Ivan Demidov are still available…

In February, I had a slight preference for Norwegian right-winger Michael Brandsegg-Nygard (MBN), a late, slightly stronger and, in my eyes, more complete player. It was a less popular and consensual choice than some of the other names at No. 6, but as mentioned, nothing was set in stone. Everything will have to be reassessed in the coming weeks.

For now, from where we stand, MBN and Iginla are two dominant, powerful, talented and highly competitive wingers who would perfectly complement the kind of top-6 the Habs want to put in place in the near future.

One is left-handed, the other right-handed. I’d be happy with both.

And no, I’m still not a big fan of Eiserman, Catton and Helenius…

But then again, whether we’re talking about Iginla, MBN or anyone else the Habs brass might like, it’s often the personality and character of the player they’ll analyze in their multiple private meetings that will tip the balance one way or the other.

They’ll go with the one who leaves the best impression, the one who inspires the most confidence, a bit like interviewing for a job in a company.

Seen from the outside, I don’t think they could go far wrong in choosing one or the other. That said, because of his genetics and intimate knowledge of the NHL’s rigors, son Iginla may have a slight edge and be an even safer choice.

At least on the surface.

But, as the Slafkovsky-Wright dilemma has shown us, as observers and analysts, we must be wary of appearances and consensus ideas.

In the end, it was Slafkovsky’s character traits that convinced Bobrov, Lapointe, Hughes and Gorton.

The same could probably be said of Reinbacher-Michkov last summer…

So suirrrrrrrrrrrrrrre!

Justin Poirier with the “Jets’ pick”?

It’s odd that so little is being said about a 17-year-old Quebecer who just had a 51-goal (!) season in his draft year! Poirier, brother of recent Flames1st-round pick Jérémie, is the first 17-year-old QMJHL player to achieve the feat since a certain Sidney Crosby.

What a feat!

As luck would have it, our former TVA Sports colleague, the excellent Nicolas Cloutier, wrote about it at the end of February. Cloutier told us that Poirier had also met with Canadiens scouts a few times since the beginning of the year.

We’re talking about a small but very big winger (5’8, 190 lbs!) – built like a pit bull – who throws from the right and has an absolutely incredible wrist shot.

A real nightmare for goalkeepers.

A true ” quick release ” of elite caliber.

Simon “Snake” Boisvert claimed in a recent episode of Processus that he had a better wrist shot than Cole Caufield.

From what I’ve seen, he’s not wrong! It’s truly impressive. See for yourself!

Poirier, who says he’s inspired by Caufield, is also surprisingly reminiscent of a young Donald Audette, now a Canadiens scout assigned to cover QMJHL prospects…

If he really likes Poirier, will Audette be able to sell him to his bosses?

Personally, I don’t know yet if I’d draft him at the end of the first round with the Jets’ pick. There are so many options for Kent Hughes with this pick: a trade in a Newhook-style scenario, other interesting players still available, and so on.

But even though he’s often found around the end of the second and beginning of the third round on the various pre-draft lists, I doubt very much that Poirier will still be available to the Habs at 60with the Avalanche’s2nd-round pick from the Lehkonen trade…

A gamble that will perhaps remind us a little of the (unfortunate) one in 2006, when we hoped that Claude Giroux would still be available in the 2nd round…

We’ll be back next week!

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