Patrice Bergeron’s notoriety is well established. All over the NHL, young and old alike cite him as an example. For the Canadiens, this is the model on which Phillip Danault has been based for several seasons. We already knew that. What we did not know is that other skaters of the Habs are also watching his trends.
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Since the start of the season, the trio of Nick Suzuki has undoubtedly been the one that has shown the most consistency. Josh Anderson is second in scorers for the Montreal team with 9 goals, Suzuki is second in scorers with 12 points and no one has collected as many assists (10) as Jonathan Drouin.
He still finds himself questioning Drouin’s contribution, insisting that he has only scored one goal so far.
The principal concerned recognizes that it would perhaps be advantageous to draw more often at the net. He did so last Saturday, under the guidance of Claude Julien, putting Frederik Andersen to the test on four occasions. He had not reached that number since October 26, 2019.
“But I’m not going to shoot just to shoot. Hockey is a game of control. You want to have possession of the puck as often as possible, ”he said via video conference.
Several of the 10 assists Drouin collected are the result of turnovers created at the Canadiens’ blue line or in neutral territory. And when the puck does end up in the back of the opponent’s net, it usually only hit one or two other stick blades.
“On our trio, we still try to keep things as simple as possible. We don’t spend our time messing around. Watch the Bergeron trio in Boston. They don’t complicate their lives. They’re going straight to the net, compared Drouin. It’s something we want to implement: create a turnaround and strike at lightning speed. “
A true hockey student, Drouin spends much of his time watching videos. Dominique Ducharme, one of the assistant coaches at the Canadiens, has already said that Drouin engages in these types of sessions to see the corrections to be made to his game since his junior years in Halifax.
Now, Suzuki and Anderson regularly join him.
“When you do it with your trio mates, it keeps the three on the same page. We look at what the good lines in the NHL are doing. I come back to Bergeron’s again, Drouin insisted. Guys don’t waste time. When one of them creates a turnaround, there is no waste of time. A pass is made while another player rushes to the net. This is what we want to reproduce. “
Behind the locomotive
Julien argues it’s a matter of time before the goals come in Drouin’s case. But in this frantic start to the season, similar to the one he had experienced in the fall of 2019, this is the only thing he misses.
Yes, he could be more aggressive when he has the puck. His talent and skills would allow him to have the best of several opponents. But it would probably go against what his trio is trying to accomplish.
Nevertheless, he seems to have regained the passion that animated him when he started on the Bettman circuit, in the uniform of the Lightning. It must be said that with a 226-pound locomotive like Anderson leading the way, the way is easy to follow.
“You don’t want to be a passenger. When your teammate jumps on the ice and goes 100 miles an hour, you want to do like him, ”said the 25-year-old forward.
“He deals hits and rushes into corners. It’s fun playing with a teammate like him because you can get so many pucks just by following him around. “
And with an average run time of around 15 minutes, you can have enough gasoline in the tank to maintain the same pace for three periods.