“I’ve never heard of a player arriving too late in the NHL. On the other hand, one player arriving too early, and that’s what I’ve heard already.” Dominique Ducharme has repeated this sentence on a few occasions since he was promoted to lead Canadians. Thursday, it was used to illustrate Ryan Boehling’s flight.
The Canadiens’ first-round selection in 2017 has gone through a string of emotions since a dream performance (a three-way win and a penalty shootout in the game) in his first match on Bettman’s Tour in April 2019.
A concussion victim during the next training camp, he flew between Montreal and Laval during the 2019-2020 campaign. He was called up from the playoffs, and was the only striker in the Toronto bubble who was not used.
Last winter, Habs preferred to have him spend the entire season with the Rocket rather than make him a spot at the big club, allowing Nick Suzuki and Jake Evans to overtake him in the team position hierarchy.
A sensitive attitude to a young player’s pride, but one that can be very formative if received the right way.
“Everyone has their own path to follow, although it can be frustrating when compared to the path of others. I realized I had to go and trust that path,” he said.
good for trust
Today, Poehling approaches his career in a philosophical manner. However, he admits that grumbling earned him more than once.
“It’s definitely awful. You’re at the top and all of a sudden you feel like everything is falling apart. You realize you have to let go of people’s expectations of you and focus on what makes you happy.”
Backtracking can be good for morale. In a lower caliber, Poehling had the opportunity to secure assignments and responsibilities that he would not have had had he played for the Canadian.
The calendar’s brilliant finish with practically Rocket allowed him to maintain an average of one point per game. The schedule of 28 matches ended with a harvest of 25 points, including 11 goals.
“It always seems a little overrated, but confidence is a very important component. I gained a lot of confidence last year, Poehling admitted. I also learned to play the right way. When we play with Joel Bouchard, we have no other choice. Otherwise, we don’t play.”
In the middle of a battle
However, nothing is taken for granted for Americans. And that, even if the Canadian midfield has undergone a few transformations over the summer.
“He is one of the players who will have to fight for a position and for a role,” Ducharme said. He did great things offensively at Laval. We want it to be effective on both sides of the ice.”
Evans, Cedric Paquette and possibly Mathieu Perrault will be his main rivals in this race.
“It is the players who dictate to them what will happen. The further we advance in the camp, the clearer the situation becomes,” Ducharme added.
After having surgery on his left wrist over the summer, Poehling worked hard to get to camp where the others were.
We were talking about a 10-week rehabilitation. He said that after four and a half weeks I was completely cured, so she gave me five and a half weeks to prepare properly. I also worked my lower body. During our tests yesterday [mercredi]I felt stronger.”
The answers in the games
The work done during the summer did not go unnoticed by Ducharme.
“He’s in good shape. We love the way he’s progressing. It shows in the way he moves. He’s also matured physically. He shows in the details in his game, during training, in individual situations with or without a disc. He’s been more efficient, stronger on the disc and better in protection.”
But we will have to wait before we can make a decision on what to expect for next season. In answering a question about his groups of defenders, Ducharme put forward a quote that could apply to all the young players present at camp, including Poehling.
“The answers come in the games. I have seen excellent players in training. Then the puck plays the game and it disappears. For others, the opposite is true.”
Specifically, the first preparatory match will be held on Saturday in Toronto.
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