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Rocket elimination: youngsters won’t benefit from playoff experience
Credit: Capture d'écran / Screenshot

Having seen the Montreal Canadiens’ season officially come to an end this week with the team’s end-of-season review on Wednesday, all eyes were now on the Laval Rocket and their playoff run.

Jean-François Houle’s team played their final two games of the season this weekend against the Belleville Senators.

To qualify for the playoffs, the Rocket absolutely had to win both games in regulation time.

Unfortunately, in the penultimate game of the season, Laval fell short, losing 3-2 in Belleville to end their playoff hopes.

Jean-François Houle tried his best to pull Jakub Dobes in the dying minutes of the game, when the score was tied 2-2, but in the end it was all for naught, as the Senators scored into the empty net to win the game.

In short, it’s a real shame to see the Laval Rocket knocked out of the playoff race, especially as we had such high hopes for this team full of young players.

Last night, in fact, the Rocket had ten rookies in its line-up, which is something of a rarity in the AHL, especially for a team that absolutely has to win to stay in the playoff hunt.

Personally, I think it’s the right thing to do to play the youngsters in such a situation, as they all represent the future potential of the Montreal Canadiens.

So getting them to play such crucial games is important for their development and will be beneficial in the long term.

Not everyone thinks like I do, though.

Just ask Rocket defenseman Tobie Bisson, who was quick to point out after the game that some of the veterans who were left out of the game could have made a big difference.

I understand the frustration of the 27-year-old veteran, who enjoyed a fine season (his best ever) with 27 points in 68 games, but the goal of the Montreal Canadiens organization is very clear right now, and that’s to develop young players first and foremost.

It’s clear that with more veterans in the lineup, both last night and throughout the season, the Rocket could have done better and surely qualified for the playoffs, but that wasn’t the primary goal this season.

As Anthony Marcotte explains, the majority of personnel management decisions came from the top, and Jean-François Houle simply followed orders.

Speaking of Houle, we wonder if he’ll be back next year, as he still doesn’t have a contract in place for next season. The dressing room was still rooting for him, and the players seem to like him, but will management decide to trust someone else?

To be continued.

All in all, it’s a real shame that the Rocket won’t be playing at least a few playoff games this season, as it would have really given the young players some great experience.

Joshua Roy, Emil Heineman, Sean Farrell, Riley Kidney, Luke Tuch, Florian Xhekaj, David Reinbacher, Justin Barron (only non-recruit), Logan Mailloux, Jayden Struble and Jakub Dobes would all have really benefited from a first playoff experience in North American professional hockey.

That’s life, and let’s hope that most of them will be able to live that experience next season, when they’ll all (except Barron, who should stay in Montreal as he’ll have to go through the waivers) have bigger roles next season.

That leaves us with no Habs players to follow, with the eliminated Rocket playing their final game of the season tonight in Laval against the Belleville Senators once again.

That leaves only the Trois-Rivières Lions to follow, who are in the first round of the ECHL playoffs against the Norfolk Admirals.

The series is tied 1-1, with the Lions winning 5-4 last night at home in the second game of the series.

In a flurry

– Game 3 of the Lions’ first-round series takes place today at 7pm in Trois-Rivières.

– Interesting.

– In my opinion, Patrick Roy’s Islanders will give the Hurricanes a run for their money.

– Read more.

– Him again.

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