Suzuki in a habs jersey
Photo credit: NHLPA

Juraj Slafkovsky Demoted: Nick Suzuki is Furious

Published January 24, 2024 at 12:47

For a third consecutive game, the Montreal Canadiens put on a very poor performance, being outclassed once again against the 28th ranked team in the NHL, the Ottawa Senators. In fact, for the first time this season, the head coach of the Canadiens, Martin St-Louis, lined up only three centers in his formation.

Although Rafaël Harvey-Pinard was, theoretically, used as the center of the 4th line in the lineup revealed by the organization, the reality was quite different. Indeed, the Quebecer kept his position on the wing, while Nick Suzuki, Sean Monahan, and Jake Evans took care of faceoffs on the fourth line.

However, in a post-game report on RDS, Patrick Friolet admitted that the team's captain was visibly unhappy with his usage, wishing to play more, considering the situation.

«Martin St-Louis relied on only three centers. Nick Suzuki, Sean Monahan, and Jake Evans shared the task, a strategy that did not sit well with the captain, who for a very rare time, did not seem to see eye to eye with his coach.» - Patrick Friolet

Moreover, following the game against the Senators, Nick Suzuki did not mince words during his interview with journalists. He clearly stated that his head coach's decision was strange, clearly not agreeing with his playing time.

«I think Jake [Evans] and Mony [Sean Monahan] were double-shifted a bit more than me, but it's obviously a strange and interesting situation... but we were ready to play a lot of minutes...» - Nick Suzuki

Honestly, even if the Canadiens had only three centers in their lineup, it's simply incomprehensible that a player like Jake Evans was the third most-used forward on the team with 20 minutes and 25 seconds of ice time.

The seventh-round pick in 2014 has served the organization proudly since his arrival with the Montreal Canadiens, but he is, at best, a fourth-line center. There is no valid reason why he should play only one minute less than Nick Suzuki, who was on the ice more often than forwards Cole Caufield and Juraj Slafkovsky.

Certainly, Kent Hughes will have to remedy the situation and bring reinforcements to the center position quickly, as Nick Suzuki, Sean Monahan, and Jake Evans will not be able to play more than 20 minutes per game, game after game.

Could the 7th overall pick in 2017, Lias Andersson, be an interesting option? The 25-year-old center has accumulated 11 goals and 7 assists (18 points) in 20 games with the Laval Rocket in the AHL this season.


January 24   |   492 answers
Juraj Slafkovsky Demoted: Nick Suzuki is Furious

Do you believe that Kent Hughes' decision to use only three centers was the right one?

Yes8617.5 %
No40682.5 %
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