Posted on 17 September 2018 at 09:44 | Updated at 09:44
PHOTO ROBERT SKINNER, LA PRESSE
Yesterday’s intra-team match gave us a rare opportunity to evaluate 42 Canadian players in a match context. Who distinguished himself? Who came out less?
Forget the fact that he scored; this kind of game, where the goalkeeper (Charlie Lindgren) miscalculates his output, would not have occurred in a “real” match. But the sequence highlighted the speed of Peca. “There were three factors on this game,” said Lindgren. It was faster than I thought, I had a second hesitation and the rink slowed the puck. But the credit is his, he is really fast. I have often faced him in the American League, he was a player who made the difference. I watched him more closely in the second half of the game, when I was on the bench, and he’s been doing really well. “In addition to that goal, he excelled in puck recovery, setting the goal for Mike. Reilly. And he got a nice chance to score using his speed in tight space, between the corner and the front of the net. He looks like an NHL player.
He scored, and we saw him get and create his chances of scoring. His goal, he scored with a powerful shot on receipt, the kind of game on which he might have hesitated last year, when he was in a deficit of confidence. Lehkonen scored 18 goals in his first season in the NHL, before falling off last year due to injury. If he regains his resources and keeps his health, he has the resources to score 25 goals.
You read correctly. He distinguished himself offensively by preparing Lehkonen’s goal, but also defensively by blocking a few dangerous games and stopping the mistakes that made him so bad last year. If he stays healthy (it’s a big “if”, we agree), it will be interesting to see what he can accomplish early in the season. Last year, let us remember, he had been injured on the first day of the camp, and had never seemed to be able to “catch up” with the group.
Honorable Mentions: Josh Brook, Tomas Tatar, William Bitten
Less good job
His star was pitifully pale last year, and it went off in a messy way for him yesterday. If his mistakes come up in intra-team matches against trios made up of rookies and AHL players, imagine when he will face the Maple Leafs on October 3rd … The young Josh Brook continues to make a great impression, Simon Despres is fighting for a contract and Brett Lernout will try to stay in the NHL after spending the last weeks of the season in March. That’s a lot of solutions if Benn does not get started …
Jacob de la Rose
We were talking about Peca standing out from the crowd. This kind of performance from another center will only weaken the status of De La Rose. However, the great Swede had supported, at the end of the season, a certain offensive pace. He has lost nothing of his skate fluid, but he will have to stand out more offensively, otherwise Peca will impose as a solution with Plekanec to drive the third and fourth lines.
It’s kind of the last chance camp for him. He showed some beautiful flashes during training in recent days, but in a match situation yesterday, we hardly saw it, with the exception of one or two shoulder shots. McCarron will have to go ballot if the Canadian wants to send him back to Laval this season. Seeing him play with Jeremiah Addison and William Bitten, who play in the American Hockey League this season, we sometimes have the impression that the cause is already heard …