The Canadian lived “an experience that is priceless”, believes Bergevin

The Canadian lived

Marc Bergevin

Share August 22, 2020 5:31 p.m. Updated at 10:46 p.m. Share The Canadian lived “an experience that is priceless”, believes Bergevin Alexis Bélanger-Champagne The Canadian Press The Montreal Canadiens players demonstrated during the relaunch tournament of the NHL what general manager Marc Bergevin has been saying for a few weeks now: this unexpected adventure will have a positive impact on the team's progress.

In the aftermath of the Canadiens' elimination in six games at the hands of the Philadelphia Flyers in the Eastern Conference quarter-finals, Bergevin said his troop had “an experience that is priceless” at during the last month.

Crosses Nick Suzuki and Jesperi Kotkaniemi confirmed their potential, while Carey Price reminded everyone why he is still considered one of the best goalkeepers on the tour.

Bergevin admitted his end-of-season record would have been much different if NHL activities had not been halted on March 12 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Habs were ranked 24th overall. He was heading towards a playoff exclusion for a third straight season for only the third time in his NHL history.

Finally, the last team invited into the Toronto bubble for the restart, the Canadian caused a big surprise by eliminating the Pittsburgh Penguins in the qualifying round. He also gave the Flyers a hard time before he surrendered.

“Today we see a team that is moving in the right direction, of which the fans can be proud,” said Bergevin. We have two young centers (Suzuki and Kotkaniemi) which have a 10-15 year future in the organization and which will allow us to build around them. ”

“Today we see a team that is heading in the right direction, of which the fans can be proud” – Marc Bergevin, General Manager of the Montreal Canadiens

Bergevin had hammered before the start of the tournament that his youngsters would benefit from this experience and that he was therefore not disappointed to lose a chance to win the lottery for the first choice in the draft.

The Canadian will eventually drop seven places in the draft, moving from ninth to 16th.

“The price is really small to pay. What we've been through over the past month will help the organization move forward, ”said Bergevin.

“We even believe that it is possible to have the same player in ninth place as in 16th place,” he added.

And when it comes to playoff experience, Bergevin is confident his squad will learn valuable lessons from the 10 games played in recent weeks.

“In the playoffs, the intensity reaches another level. You don't know it until you've experienced it, he insisted. The physical aspect, the pressure to face elimination, it does not appear in the statistics, but it is felt. What the young people went through during the last month will help the organization for many years to come. ”

Bergevin also recalled the importance of veteran leadership. He praised Price and Captain Shea Weber, two players who hope to have the opportunity to win the Stanley Cup as soon as possible. They celebrated their 33rd and 35th birthdays respectively during the tournament.

“We have always believed in Weber and Carey. They are leaders who help build an organizational culture. Eventually, these players will leave, but what they gave to the organization, to our young people, will stay forever. ”

Bergevin also indicated that his troop's play over the past few weeks will help him make more informed decisions in the coming weeks and months.

The Canadian lived

Bergevin praised the performances of Carey Price and Shea Weber. PC, Nathan Denette

This aspect is perhaps less encouraging for those who have had more difficult series, notably Max Domi and Tomas Tatar. Domi was limited to three assists, all in the same game, and settled for a supporting role. Tatar was also quiet with two goals, also in the same meeting.

While Bergevin said he expects Tatar to come back in full force next season, his comments were less optimistic about Domi.

“Let's say we expected a little more from Max,” he said. The player must take charge and deliver the goods. He had a tough tournament. But Max has a lot of potential, as we saw in his first season with the Canadiens. ”

Domi can become a free agent with compensation this fall, while Tatar could become a free agent without compensation at the conclusion of the next campaign.

Julien's return?

Moreover, Bergevin did not commit to the return of Claude Julien behind the bench. The Habs head coach had to have a stent in his coronary artery to relieve his chest pain. Associate coach Kirk Muller has coached the last five meetings.

“Last I heard, Claude's health is good, but it's still early days,” he said. A cardiac arrest, a malaise in the heart, it is not obvious. We will take the time to assess his state of health ”.

In an email to The Canadian Press , the senior vice-president, public affairs and communications of Groupe CH, Paul Wilson, clarified that we were still talking about heart disease in Julien's case, not cardiac arrest. Bergevin would have simply used the wrong term.

In bulk

Brendan Gallagher underwent successful jaw surgery on Friday night. Bergevin revealed he also played despite a tear to his hip suffered in the qualifying round.

Ryan Poehling is the only Canadiens striker in the bubble who hasn't played. Bergevin said he “didn't throw the towel” in her case. “We believe in him and we expect a very good camp from him when hockey starts again.”

Bergevin recalled the delicate situation in which the 31 NHL teams find themselves since the salary cap has been frozen for the moment due to the economic impacts of the pandemic. He continues to want to play it safe in his management of the team's payroll.

One of Bergevin's priorities during the offseason will be to find a good reserve in Price, so that the star goalkeeper can be less tired at the end of the campaign.

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