While what happens in Vegas tends to stay in Vegas for most, that likely won’t be the case for Montreal Canadiens center Nick Suzuki.
The 22-year-old budding superstar seemed to be soaking in every moment, advice, and lessons he could during his first experience as an NHL All-Star in Las Vegas this weekend.
“It was a lot of fun. Just being around the guys and getting to experience this for the first time was pretty cool. I just tried to have fun and not stress about it too much,” Suzuki said after he and his Atlantic Division teammates fell 8-5 to the Central Division in the semifinal of the 3-on-3 tournament that the Metro Division eventually won. “Vegas did a great job of hosting us. All the events and things behind the scenes have been great. It’s been really smooth, and they’ve really set us up for success here.”
Suzuki finished the game with one shot, no points, and was a minus 1 in 6:06 TOI. In Friday’s NHL Skills competition, Suzuki scored a goal on Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Tristan Jarry in the Saves Streak contest. The Montreal Canadiens forward then took part in the inaugural Fountain Faceoff at the famed Bellagio Waterfalls and almost made it to the final. His 22.155 timing fell just short though as Zach Werenski and Roman Josi advanced to the final, with Werenski winning at 25.634.
Suzuki, a 2017 first round pick (13th overall) for the Vegas Golden Knights, was playing in the arena that would’ve been his home barn if he hadn’t been traded – along with Tomas Tatar and a 2019 second round draft pick – by the Knights to the Montreal Canadiens back on September 10, 2018. It was clear throughout the weekend though where Suzuki’s most valuable learning experience was coming from and it wasn’t competing in a skills event or the NHL All-Star game.
A week before Suzuki and the Montreal Canadiens public relations and business staff took off for Vegas, the Habs center was asked about the potential of Boston Bruins captain signing with the Habs as an unrestricted free agent next summer. Bergeron’s former agent Kent Hughes is the new Montreal general manager and Suzuki joked that he may get a head start on the recruiting process with Bergeron in Vegas.
“I don’t know, we’ll see what happens,” the lone all-star for the Montreal Canadiens replied. “He’s been a Bruin for his whole career so. …I don’t know what the chances are that we get him but obviously, it would be cool to play with him. We’re on the same team for the all-star game so maybe I’ll chat with him there.”
Obviously, Suzuki wasn’t going to risk any potential of tampering but the camera caught him frequently chatting it up with his boyhood idol.
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Regardless of whether or not Suzuki and Hughes can eventually lure the future hall of famer, that many are already comparing Suzuki to, it was clear this was another experience that will help mold Suzuki into the star he’s already becoming.