Alex Belzile’s season ended before its time, but the main interested party is certain that there will be a sequel. A nice sequel.
“I think I’ve taken part in enough games to have been able to show what I’m capable of,” the Quebec player explained Monday in Brossard.
“It’s not like I only played seven or eight games. It gets tough in the NHL when you get through the first few games, and you get to a point where you have to keep your level of competition high. I think that’s been one of my qualities: I’ve been very consistent, I haven’t had so many bad games. »
It remains to be seen whether the management of the Canadian will agree with this observation. For the time being, no discussion has been initiated between Belzile and management, according to the Quebec player, who remains without a contract for the next season.
“I don’t think that’s a priority,” he added humbly. Belzile may not be in the priority category, indeed, but in a difficult and complicated Montreal season, his story was one of the few rays of sunshine in the very often gray skies of the Canadian.
Because the 31-year-old forward, a player in the minor ranks for most of his career, arrived at the Bell Center on January 21. In 31 games, he was able to surprise everyone a bit, collecting 6 goals and 8 assists. This unexpected chapter in the Canadiens’ book this season led straight to his nomination for the Bill-Masterton Trophy, awarded annually to the player who best embodies perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication.
“I was very surprised by this nomination, I did not expect that, he admitted. I know what this trophy is, but I never thought I would be nominated. There have been great players who have been nominated over time, I’m very moved, very grateful… It’s funny to be nominated a year after Carey Price, but I’ll take it! »
“It all happened very quickly this season. This is the season where I came out of my shell a bit. I see this as a start. Until now, all my seasons, my last 10 seasons or so, I always thought that was my best… and I still think it was this year. »
His story ended as we know, when he blocked a shot at the Bell Center on April 1, during a game against the Carolina Hurricanes. He had been able to finish the encounter, almost heroically, after being seen wincing in pain on the ice rink. It was with a protective boot on his right foot that Belzile showed up in Brossard on Monday, while the rest of the team was training on the ice, a little further.
“You never want to get hurt, that’s for sure, but we had five games left on our schedule, and I wish I could have played those five games,” he admitted. But I tell myself that it did not happen in the middle of the season, where I would have had to miss more games than that. “Alex Belzile will now have to think about his future, his own. Unsurprisingly, he argues that this future, he would like to be able to live it here, in this same blue, white and red jersey, for this same team which has made him dream since his childhood.
But he does not know if this dream will be able to continue. “I have no control over it…but I did everything I could on the ice. My sample is quite large, I think I have proven that I am an NHL player. Of course, I am very open to coming back here. I have been part of the organization for years. As a Quebecer, the motivation to be able to wear this vest is the dream. But one thing at a time… “