Alexander Romanov handled his nervousness perfectly in his debut in the National League. Jeff Petry is the one who best described the young defenseman’s debut in the Canadiens’ uniform.
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“If you watched the game without knowing it, you couldn’t have known it was his first game in the NHL,” said Petry on Friday after CH practice in Edmonton. He’s calm, he moves with confidence, he’s fast, he’s tough, and he loves having the puck on the paddle of his stick. The more time passes, the more he will be a very good defender for our team. “
Romanov achieved another sort of first on the eve of a duel against Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and the Edmonton Oilers. For the first time since the start of training camp, the 21-year-old Russian met with Montreal journalists during a video conference.
Happy to leave
In the morning, Paul Wilson, CH’s senior vice-president of public affairs and communications, offered her some advice while sharing a lunch in a room at the luxurious JW Marriott in downtown Edmonton.
“When I told him he would talk to reporters, he looked at me with wide eyes,” Wilson said.
Once seated in his small chair and in front of a camera, number 27 of the CH had found another way to bury his nervousness. He was smiling and answered all questions in very respectable English.
He described his emotions just before hitting the ice at Toronto’s Scotiabank Arena.
“I was more excited than anything. It was my first game, so there was a bit of nervousness. I didn’t know what to expect from the NHL. But it was ok, it was good. ”
The choice of 2e tour du CH in 2018 also received the blessing of his parents.
“I spoke to my parents after the meeting. They were proud of me. They told me that I had played well. It’s a good start. “
Stanislav Romanov, the father, certainly liked the son of a pass that led to Tomas Tatar’s goal in the second period. It was great art.
Confident, not arrogant
On Wednesday night at Toronto’s Scotiabank Arena, Romanov played 21:30 against the Maple Leafs. Only captain Shea Weber (24:02) and Petry (23:43) spent more time on the ice.
He quickly won the trust of Claude Julien. In addition to his regular round with Brett Kulak five-on-five, he also played in the lead in the second wave on the power play and had a few shorthanded appearances.
“It was great to play big minutes,” said Romanov. I stayed in the game, I felt good. “
Before the meeting in Toronto, Julien had whispered a few words in his ear to remind him to have fun and to tell him that he would always remember his first game. Once behind the bench, the 60-year-old was not disappointed with his young player. He passed the test against Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, John Tavares and the rest of the Leafs.
” As coach, we identify confidence versus arrogance, explained Julien. He is confident, but he also wants to learn and improve. As has often been said, he seems ready and nothing bothers him. And there is ignorance. He knows the players, but he’s not afraid of them yet. On Saturday, when he goes to see McDavid use his speed, he’s going to realize he can’t get caught far against him. He will still learn things. “