(Chicago, Illinois) “I’m tripping right now. » If his smile didn’t say enough, Louis Crevier made sure to put it into words.

The Quebec defender will face the Canadian on Friday during the Montrealers’ visit to the United Center. This will obviously be his first match against the Habs, his ninth in the National League.

“I’m tripping right now. I don’t know what’s going to happen, we have a lot of injuries, so it allows me to play against good players. When you play against McDavid, MacKinnon, Ovechkin… We face really good teams, good players, so it’s special,” said Crevier, surrounded by Quebec journalists in front of his locker, after the Blackhawks’ morning practice.

There won’t be any McDavid against him Friday night, but who cares: Few people saw this 2020 7th-round pick, 188th overall, reaching the NHL after barely more than one season in the American League. But the numerous injuries on the blue line allowed him to do so.

“There’s a question of timing. I was playing well and maybe they wanted to give me a chance, so it worked out well, believes the former Saguenéens and Remparts. But I still worked hard in Rockford. I had to make the transition from junior to pro, even though I have a good physique to play against big guys. »

On this subject, Connor Murphy, the veteran on the Blackhawks blue line, is impressed. “His progress in two years is impressive. At the camp, we do several physical tests, our physical trainer makes a general ranking which includes all the events and he is the one who won, says Murphy. He got in shape to be a good pro. And on the ice, he knows his role, his identity, and is able to hold his own against talented small forwards. »

Advanced stats don’t necessarily make him look good so far. When on the ice at 5-on-5, Chicago is down 1-7 in goals scored, 37-59 in shots on goal and 11-35 in scoring chances, according to Natural Stat Trick.

That said, the young man hasn’t exactly been protected. In Edmonton, in what was only his fifth game in the NHL, the Oilers constantly sent a certain Connor McDavid into his path. Against the Canucks, even at home, Elias Pettersson is the attacker he faced the most.

“As fast as McDavid is, I don’t know if he can get around a 6-foot-8 guy playing with an 8-foot stick, or whatever he’s using,” Blackhawks head coach Luke joked. Richardson. In the last game, we tried to control the duels, but he found himself on the ice against MacKinnon and he did the job. »

If Crevier’s story was the most promising subject for Quebec journalists, this team remains – already – that of Connor Bedard, despite his 18 years.

The young prodigy is living up to expectations so far. In the absence of Taylor Hall, he finds himself playing with wingers who find themselves by default in a first line in the NHL. Lukas Reichel shows great potential, but he only has 7 points in 30 games, and Ryan Donato has never had more than 31 points in a season.

But Bedard still has 28 points in 31 games, a high among NHL rookies.

His dedication to the job impresses Richardson. “He may have all the talent, but his special quality is his determination. He arrives at the gym early to prepare. Yesterday I almost had to give the zamboni guy $50 to force Connor into the locker room after practice! »

Bedard therefore monopolizes the attention while the other young people on the team try to find their niche in the NHL. Crevier, for example, without being an offensive defenseman, is still looking for his first professional goal, after 78 games in the American League and 8 games in the NHL.

“I’ve been so lucky, I’m a little surprised. I even scored in exhibition games, it felt good.

“I don’t think about it too much, they don’t evaluate me on that. It would be nice to score, it’s starting to get heavy, but I know they won’t like me more if I score goals. I’ll leave that to Connor! »

Among the Canadians, only the reservists put on the skates. Michael Pezzetta, Gustav Lindström and the injured Jordan Harris were there, which suggests that Martin St-Louis will deploy the same formation as Thursday in Minnesota. Cayden Primeau should theoretically defend the Montreal net.