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St. Louis, Canadiens Won’t Force Suzuki To Be A Better Leader



Montreal Canadiens

New Montreal Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes is already on record as saying that there will be a new Canadiens captain next season and that 22-year-old All-Star center Nick Suzuki is a candidate. On Thursday, new Habs interim head coach Martin St. Louis was asked for his assessment of Suzuki as a leader and while he can see the captain potential in the team’s top pivot, he’s not ready to slap on the C on him just yet and make him Shea Weber’s successor as captain of the Montreal Canadiens.

“Usually, young guys are mostly leaders by example. Suzy (Nick Suzuki) is probably in that department,” St. Louis pointed out. “I think he tries to do everything right on the ice. I think he tries to absorb the information the coaching and tries to go apply it. I think as he gets older, I am sure there will be more of a responsibility, probably be a little more of a vocal leader, having more of a pulse of everybody in the room, not just him. I think as a young player, that’s really hard to ask. I think you grow into that.

From my own experience, I think as players you grow into that role. When you are young, you are probably leading by example. I know where we are right now; maybe, he is going to have to speed that part up a little bit, be a little more vocal.”

It is clear that St. Louis expects Suzuki to continue grinding every day in order to grow as the Habs leader and earn the C on his chest for next season. For now, though, the new Montreal Canadiens bench boss and his staff will allow Suzuki to morph into a leadership role he feels comfortable in and not what the team or anyone else tries to dictate. Being a leader on any team is a huge task and role but on the storied Montreal Canadiens even more monumental.

“This is something you can’t force on somebody,” St. Louis said. “Leadership is something acquired. I believe that people are born with leadership qualities and I think they have examples of leaders in their life, whether it’s a coach or a parent, an uncle. …and I think when they get into a place or a stage in their life where they’re put in a leadership position, they’ve learned how to lead from example but not everybody has those leadership qualities – and I’m not saying Nick doesn’t have that – I don’t know him enough, but you can’t just force people to lead, and I think until you identify that, have a conversation with them, they’re probably going to lead by example and I think that’s something Nick has to do every day.”


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