The transformation of Canadians’ defense over the past year has been no more or less exciting.
Posted at 11:35 a.m.
Updated at 2:52 pm.
If we recall that at this time in 2021 the Romanov star was visibly fading away, only Joel Edmondson, from the current squad, who played a key role at the end of the previous season and during the playoffs, was left. We could also mention Jeff Petrie’s name, but he’s injured, and we don’t know if he’ll play again this season or if he’ll play again someday for the Canadian.
Many are gone, as are those who have arrived. Some even appeared and disappeared in the meantime – a salute to Sami Nico.
However, there is one thing that has never changed, and it is an element of pride for Luke Richardson, the defense officer within the Canadians’ coaching staff: the “culture” of this group.
The latest Spring 2021 Top 4 – Shea Weber, Ben Shearot, Edmondson and Petrie – Lots of noise, of course. But beyond the on-ice performances, the team spirit that moved the CH defenders at this time was amazing. By the way, that included Richardson. “I think I speak on behalf of all defenders by saying, ‘We will break a wall for him, because we know he will do it for us,'” Chiaroot said in June.
Ten months later and multiple changes, the perception, from the outside anyway, is still the same. This is clearly not an illusion, although the defense has gotten a lot smaller since then.
It’s a sign of a good team,” Richardson said Wednesday during a conversation with members of the media.
“We did things last year, and I think the guys enjoyed what they went through. It’s not going away, it’s here to stay. There’s a strong culture here: we’re not happy with this season and we’ll do everything to get back. It might take some time, but we’ll be back.”
These days, only Jordan Harris and Justin Barron, who are new to the team, are in Montreal. The two are, more or less, though, the embodiment of change for supporters who desperately need hope.
Thus, the cultural ambassadors Richardson talks about are Joel Edmondson and David Savard, by far the most experienced skiers in the current defensive situation. Alexander Romanov is only in his second season in the NHL, and Corey Schoenemann, despite his 26 years, is playing the first.
The assistant coach couldn’t be happier with the way Eddie and Saffy welcome and guide newcomers.
“They play a big role,” Richardson said. They calm things down, on the ice and in the locker room. […] They spend quality time with the kids and make them feel like classmates, not recruits. Helps men find their directions. By extension, he added, “it helps the whole team.”
The two veterans lent a helping hand to the coaches, once again Richardson admitted. “When the guys are back on the bench, during the match, they can spend time with them; not to train them, but to give them a little advice, talk to them. Being good teammates, in short. It’s huge for us.”
Justin Barron, who scored his first National Hockey League goal on Tuesday night, welcomed the advice the two Deans gave him.
Recent visits to Sunrise, Raleigh and Tampa against three of the league’s top teams have not been easy challenges for inexperienced defenders. “It was a good thing to have older players, both on the bench and in training,” the youngster admitted.
Richardson said both Barron and Jordan Harris are good students, too. They both “absorb a lot of information” and seem excited about the opportunity to showcase themselves among the best.
He remembers: “In the juniors, in college and even in the MLS, you can sometimes be a little less severe and still be able to survive, he remembers. In the NHL, you can’t take anything lightly. Especially a defender, you don’t want to be caught. . »
However, he insists that Barron and Harris are “good.” Children “Who, moreover, ‘You don’t want to play only in defense.'” They skate well, we want to use their skills and energy in attack. When you defend well and smartly, even if you’re not the biggest player, you can generate a lot offensively. »
Tuesday, after the match against the Senators, coach Martin St. Louis praised Luke Richardson’s “calm” approach with the youngsters, which allows them to “feel confident” and “accept constructive criticism”.
To use a familiar expression, Barron, Harris, and even Scheunemann and Romanov are all there to learn. Everything suggests that they are in good hands.
Luke Richardson on…
“When he was first called up, during the holidays, it was very difficult for the team, but he showed that he could take his chance. On the next callback, his name was at the top of the list.”
“He’s mature and he skates effortlessly, which is good in this league, and even more so in the style of play that Martin St. Louis advocated.”
“It’s a nice surprise. He’s calm with the puck and has a good shot, which is why he plays hard. He has good instincts.”
The evolution of Alexander Romanov
“He skates well, does simple plays, can shoot, plays physically; he has all the attributes of a strong defender. […] Before, quickly get rid of the disk, while now it makes good use of the space in front of it to hold the disk. He’s not just a great defender looking for the big hit. »
Romanov’s absence in extra time
“He has a lot of energy, but his style of play is exhausting. When he’s tired, he throws out the disc more, and you can’t do that in overtime. Already we’re limiting his attendance at the end of the third period. He’s progressing well, and chances will come.”
“He always impressed me when he played in Columbus, and even last year in Tampa. He’s not the fastest guy, but he’s unpredictable for an opponent. Sometimes all it takes is a little trick with his head and shoulder. That’s a good title for him,” clever ” [en français : rusé, sensé]. He brings character to the locker room and has good authority with the referees. Young people learn from this. »
“He adapted perfectly last year, given the way we were playing. He strengthened our defense. He is also a great professional. During his recovery, when he came to train with us, we saw him talking to everyone, pushing the youngsters. [L’entraîneur adjoint] Trevor Litowski, who didn’t know him, was moved to see the difference a single player could make in a single training session. With all that happened and changes in staff, he took the lead. We even see him support the attack. He had been waiting for his chance to play a leading role for a long time; Grab it and make the most of it. The team and the youth benefit from it and benefit it. »
“Pop culture maven. Unapologetic student. Avid introvert. Gamer. Problem solver. Tv fanatic.”