Funny day in the land of values and diversity.
In the morning, the Buffalo Sabers players defended in every possible way Ilya Lyubushkin’s decision to skip Pride Night, organized in support of the LGBTQ community. And in the evening, an exuberant celebration by Michael Pezzetta created obvious discomfort among his Canadian teammates. Go figure.
If there is not much to say about the first 60 minutes of the duel between the Canadiens and the Sabers, the overtime and, even more, the shootout session brought the spectators out of their sleep. Exactly as everyone had predicted, it was Pezzetta who put an end to hostilities by giving the victory to his team at the count of 4-3. He mostly grabbed attention by giving himself a Tiger Williams-esque celebration, using his stick as if it were a horse.
SEE the celebration:
If number 55 was euphoric afterwards, the same cannot be said of his teammates.
“That’s a lot to digest!” said Nick Suzuki, smirking, calling the celebration “unexpected” – no one will argue with that.
“It was funny, I had never seen that before… You don’t see that often anymore, I’m sure our fans loved it.” Those of the Sabers, probably less,” he added politely.
Brendan Gallagher, who as we know only has friends across the NHL, was otherwise less enthusiastic.
“I’m not sure we’re going to see that again,” he said. I know they [the Sabers players] will probably be frustrated, we would be too in the opposite situation. I understand both sides. »
Alex Belzile arguably offered the most eloquent answer.
“Do you like it?” asked a reporter. ” It’s different ! “, he retorted, in the same way that one would qualify the questionable clothing choices of a friend that one does not want to offend.
“30 years ago, we might still be here!” added Martin St-Louis, a good half hour after the final whistle. As well to say that the benches would have emptied and that we would have collectively meant that it is not done by exchanging generous punches in the rack – because that, yes, it is done. The head coach, however, did not seem outraged by what had just happened.
Obviously, Michael Pezzetta did not have a great appetite to discuss the matter. It was indeed a tribute to Tiger Williams that he offered, without having really planned it.
“I thought to myself, maybe I’ll never get the chance to do this again,” he admitted. A realistic observation: during the meeting, he was entitled to nine attendances totaling 6 min 25 s It is very little, even for him, but it is nevertheless representative of his place in the organization chart of the Habs. Even if he stands out in shootouts in training, he will never be called, if only rarely, among the first three shooters of his team. He was also the sixth to comply on Monday. He didn’t want to miss his chance.
His celebration was “maybe a lot.” “But it’s funny, and I’ll remember it,” he added, beaming. It was pure adrenaline. I thought, come on, I’m doing it. »
This “big goal”, according to Alex Belzile, came at the end of a “so-so” match – his words, not ours. That is to say how timely it was.
It crowned a comeback made possible by Brendan Gallagher’s equalizing goal midway through the third period.
The choice of Pezzetta was not hard to defend, according to Martin St-Louis. “Pezz, he’s capable!” Many players know he has this move. I’m glad he went for the point. »
Since playing hockey, Michael Pezzetta has never taken anything for granted. Neither in the juniors, nor in the American League, even less in the NHL. His talent may be limited, but he is a full member of this team. From a weak and crippled team, of course. But it is he who is in his chair, not another.
“I feel that I have shown that I am a regular NHL player, that I can compete, he said again at the end of the evening. I am not a sideshow. I’m proud of myself and I want to keep building on that. »
At a time when we are talking to the fullest about organizational culture and team identity, this frankly seems to us more constructive than a malaise invented from scratch.
He and Jordan Harris saw plenty of action, and both did well against the Sabres’ top forwards. Kovacevic also had his turn in the shootout.
He got away with the victory, his first at least in March – the 27th, all the same – but he would probably like to see at least two of the goals he allowed again.
Czech Lukas Rousek scored the first goal of his career on his first-ever NHL shot and appearance. He also got an assist. Not an ugly baptism!
The Canadiens recalled Cayden Primeau from the Laval Rocket. The goaltender touched down in Philadelphia on Monday and will face the Flyers on Tuesday night. With the Habs officially out of the NHL playoff race, the organization clearly wants to see the young man in action in the big league. In his last 9 games in Laval, he has posted a 2.33 goals-against average and a .924 save percentage. Sean Farrell will get to know his new teammates in the city of brotherly love. The freshly debauched attacker from the university ranks, however, should not play against the Flyers, while he has not yet taken part in any training in the blue-white-red uniform. Farrell signed a three-year deal with the CH on Sunday, his first contract in the NHL. He has been dominant this season in the NCAA with Harvard University.
Mathematically, the Sabers’ chances of reaching the playoffs still exist, albeit slim. Despite Monday’s point, they have just nine games to reach and pass the Florida Panthers, Pittsburgh Penguins or New York Islanders. Their task was complicated as Tage Thompson fell in battle. With an “upper body” injury, the powerful forward didn’t face the Habs, and despite his team’s diverse resources up front, his absence was glaring. It was especially evident at five-on-four when Rasmus Dahlin, who was in possession of the puck at the blue line, had to signal Alex Tuch to charge to the net so nothing was happening. Qualitatively either, it does not smell strongly of the playoffs in Buffalo. Thousands of seats in the KeyBank Center were empty, despite strong representation from CH supporters. In the first period, during a Sabers power play, we heard a pin drop. Nothing like a springtime frenzy, after all.
The series of hiccups continues around Pride nights across the NHL. As the Buffalo Sabers highlighted their solidarity with the LGBTQ community on Monday night, Ilya Lyubushkin did not take part in the warm-up, during which his teammates wore a rainbow-colored jersey. sky. The organization, on its behalf, invoked security reasons. Information has been circulating for a few weeks now to the effect that Russian players, fearing reprisals, are reluctant to show their support for the LGBTQ cause. A law enacted in Russia provides for the prohibition of all “propaganda” on “non-traditional sexual relations”. However, it is not clear what real consequences those who engage in this “propaganda” face, or how it is defined.