Martin St-Louis is not the type to publicly insult his players. That’s why, when he criticized his troops for being “soft” in Boston, we told ourselves that the coach’s patience might have reached a certain limit.
Two days later, the Laval resident called his flock to work before the team left for three games on California soil. Yes, the Canadiens players had to end practice with a good old rink walk. But St-Louis wasn’t like Herb Brooks who wants to punish his players.
Photo author: Photo agency QMI, JOEL LEMAY
“It was not a punishment. It’s a question of responsibility,” St-Louis claimed after practice.
“We had to realize that the effort we put in against the Bruins was not enough. We had to respond and show that we understand and that we will be ready to work,” said Mike Matheson.
The penalty would require players not to touch a single puck during practice (are we still allowed to do that in 2023?). However, this did not happen.
St-Louis led an intense training session, but made sure to keep it constructive. Effective forecheck, fight for the puck; these two missing elements were on the agenda on Saturday.
“We skated working on the aspects of the game that we need to improve. We killed two birds with one stone,” said the coach.
Let’s hope that St-Louis knew how to use the right medicine, because their team is going through a more than difficult period. She won only two of the nine matches she played in November. Two overtime wins.
“We just lost four in a row. We played good hockey in the first two. Well, it’s been two matches since we don’t look the same anymore,” said the pilot.
“We are passing through the trough. It’s part of the season. It’s how you correct yourself that matters,” he continued.
Which aspects are most important?
“There are a few,” Sean Monahan noted. We played well for a long time. When you get too comfortable and think it will always be like this, then it slips away. And that’s where we are right now. »
A disaster to be avoided
The trip of three meetings in California and the one that will follow, in Columbus, therefore come at the right time. St-Louis and his troops will have 10 days to regroup and try to bring the ship back to the surface.
“The way we played against the Bruins was unacceptable,” Nick Suzuki said. This is an important journey ahead of us. We cannot continue to accumulate defeats. »
Experiencing a disastrous trip would be quite unpleasant. Along with the Kings, who started the season very well, the Habs will face the Ducks, who have collected only two points more than them, the Sharks, who are languishing at the bottom of the table. in the standings with only seven points, and the Blue Jackets, who have won only one of their last 10 games.
“This is a great opportunity for us because we will face teams that are within reach. We have to get back to the team we were a few weeks ago,” said the captain.
It is clearly an easy prey. Except these opponents probably say the same thing about the Canadian.