Call Of The Wilde: The Washington Capitals managed the Montreal Canadiens – Montreal

The story of two teams to start the season of the Montreal Canadiens. Night one was about perfect as the Canadiens beat the Toronto Maple Leafs, but night two was about as bad as it gets, with Montreal barely having a chance to score in Detroit.

Usually by Game 3 you start to get a better sense of who the real team is, and the answer isn’t rosy. The Capitals were challenged for the first period, but in the third they were clearly the better team, posting a 3-1 victory.

Wild horses

Juraj Slafkovsky’s draft pick is starting to look better. Logan Cooley was the top three pick at COTW, but it’s impossible to put him in the comparison crosshairs given that he plays at the University of Minnesota. Between the two choices in the NHL, it’s a very early advantage for the Canadian.

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Shane Wright had six minutes in his first game, struggling so much that in his second game he was in the press box. He was also relegated to the press box for the Kraken’s third game on Saturday night in their home opener. Slafkovsky also saw his ice time go down in his games, but if you look at the individual moments, the first choice overall is to make good plays. In this one, in his 13 minutes of play, he does not look out of place.

He made good passes on the ice to free up his teammates. He sees the ice well, playing at a higher speed than he saw in Finland. Slafkovsky got into the slot to receive a pass and should have scored his first goal of the season, but he didn’t hit the shot as he had hoped. In the third, he carried it through the neutral zone confidently and won the zone.

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The big positive is that the game does not exceed Slafkovsky so far. He is involved in the game and gets his keys. It’s everything you hope for in the early stages of an NHL career at age 18. It’s extremely unrealistic to think that such a young player would just come in and shine.

That only happens if it’s Connor McDavid. Even Leon Draisaitl returned to juniors after struggling, and now he’s one of the smoothest players in all of hockey.

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Slafkovsky should eventually be sent to Laval to really get a good look at the puck with a ton of touches and on the power play as well.

However, for now, it’s fine. It tastes. He learns what it will take. Nor is he going to be demoralized by these results. When he comes down, he’ll be glad to find it easier – not easy, but easier. The idea of ​​development is to go where you improve the most. You get better with lots of ice, a ton of touches, and playing in all situations.

We’ll debate who should have been number one for the next five years, but right now, on page three of this 400-page book, Slafkovsky could very well be the answer in that debate. For the first times at 18, these are good times.

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wild goats

There are clearly defensive liabilities with the Canadiens, but they are not what one would expect. The errors that are numerous are, for the most part, not really errors of talent of the defenders. They are mostly due to a lack of hard work by the supporting attackers.

Take the first goal that was scored by Washington where Josh Anderson just didn’t work hard enough to neutralize the Capitals forward with better positioning on the cross pass.

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The club is not rushed as if the defenders are not skating well enough to handle their missions. Defenders are also not beaten for strength in the tight or in the corners.

The big problem isn’t really the four young defenders. Take the second goal against where it was the same problem. This time it was Cole Caufield who didn’t cover his check enough to allow a tight shot.

That’s not to say young defenders don’t have their challenges, but the most important breakdowns that lead to goals are missing forwards.

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It’s actually a good thing. These young defenders are doing well. They will make mistakes, of course, but if they can get help for more diligent and responsible work from forwards, there’s no reason to believe it’s going to go off the rails with this corps of four rookies. .

They will naturally benefit from the return of Mike Matheson and Joel Edmundson, but the ice time the rookies get is beneficial in the long journey to a much better club for the Canadiens.

Patience. It’ll be OK.

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wild cards

The comparison between Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin is impossible not to make, and if you’re a Habs fan, lament yourself.

Both were stars for the Halifax Mooseheads in junior hockey, propelling that team to some of the best hockey QMJHL fans have ever seen. Both were destined to be go-to stars. They would both go on to greatness was everyone’s prediction.

MacKinnon has just skated on the ice with the Stanley Cup above his head. Drouin watched his team’s first two games from the press box, not enough to make the roster for a team that finished last the previous season.

So what happened?

For me, it’s mental. Drouin has lost the belief that he is the player he was in juniors. He’s lost the confidence that he can make a difference in a game – the belief a player has that if he has the puck, he can do it.

Lots of talk about wrist injuries affecting shooting, and that’s a good idea, except we don’t even know how many miles per hour the shooting has lost when he’s not even shooting in a game because he’s so rarely involved in the game.

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He’s the weirdest fallen-star superstar that’s ever existed. Usually you see the hands of time influencing a sharp drop in production. Here, Drouin is still young. The cliff is not supposed to come so soon.

The COTW gave Drouin a very long leash and remained optimistic that he could find his game, but it doesn’t look like that will ever happen. If it has to do with the anxiety or mental anguish that forced him away from the game, then my deepest condolences, because that struggle is real and ever-present.

However, it is also a business, and Canadians must also lead theirs. That means this is most likely Drouin’s last season in Montreal, and the organization will have a hard time getting an asset in exchange for his services at the trade deadline.

This is also most likely his last season in the league.

It’s all a hell of a shame. When he was on he was just a nice player to watch. I hope he can still reconnect with all the childhood dreams he had, because it’s not that hard to believe that if his heart wanted it, his body would surely follow.

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Montreal-based sportswriter Brian Wilde brings you Call of the Wilde on after every Canadiens game.


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