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Montreal Canadiens

Nick Suzuki Enjoyed Another First Round Exit For Leafs

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Montreal Canadiens

Almost a year after having his heart crushed when the Tampa Bay Lightning eliminated him and his Montreal Canadiens teammates in five games of the 2021 Stanley Cup Final, Canadiens centre Nick Suzuki found himself cheering for the Lightning when they handed the Toronto Maple Leafs another first round exit. Appearing with his Mom Amanda on the ‘Habs Tonight’ podcast recently, Suzuki admitted that he took great pleasure in seeing the then back-to-back Stanley Cup champions prevent the Leafs from reaching the second round for the first time since 2004.

“The Leafs? Uhhh. …it was the first time I was cheering for Tampa so. …” Suzuki said with a smirk when asked if he was surprised the Leafs choked again. “It was weird cheering for the team that beat you last year but it turned out pretty good.”

Speaking of the Stanley Cup Final, after finishing dead last in the NHL last season, the Montreal Canadiens are clearly a lot further away from returning to the Final than they were in the spring and summer of 2021. Nick Suzuki was asked how he’s handling being in what many are calling a rebuild for the Montreal Canadiens and the reality that it could be a while before he and his teammates are playing for Lord Stanley again. Suzuki didn’t seem to see it that way and he made it clear that he and his Canadiens teammates have no plans of tanking for the chance to take top 2023 NHL Draft prospect Connor Bedard first overall.

“I think as players, it’s our job to make sure that the rebuild’s not five years,” Suzuki replied. “I think we got a ton of great young pieces; good leaders to learn from that want to be a part of it. I think that we can be pretty competitive next year even with the style that we play. I think we can surprise a lot of teams and maybe the year after, we can add a few pieces and try and make the playoffs. So that’s kind of my vision; I don’t know what management has in store for us but I think as players, it’s our job to go out there and win games. I’m not really worried about where we finish and trying to get a high pick; that’s not really what we’re worried about, we just want to go out and win.”

Suzuki admitted how difficult last season was until the Montreal Canadiens made major changes in their hockey ops department hiring Jeff Gorton as executive vice president of hockey operations, Kent Hughes as their new general manager and then Martin St. Louis as their head coach on Feb. 9.

“It was definitely, you could say, a tale of three seasons,” Suzuki said of the 2021-22 season. “Just the way we started, there was a lot of hope and excitement around the team but obviously started the season without ‘Pricey’ and ‘Webby’ and ‘Eddie’ and all these guys that we relied on throughout the playoffs. It definitely kind of set us back; short summer, kind of a quick training camp, so I don’t know if we were prepared the best to start the season. You could kind of see that because we didn’t start very well.

Then it was pretty dark times through a bunch of losing streaks and not winning a ton of games, but then we switched a ton up – management, coaches – everything like that and the turn, everyone could see the turn and especially the players, we started playing a lot better and having fun again.”

Like so many fans and media, Suzuki said he and his teammates were surprised when the Montreal Canadiens hired St. Louis but as everyone could see, the move paid off.

“There was a bunch of rumours on who we were going to hire. …some guys with experience, some guys withe maybe less,” Suzuki recalled. “Marty kind of came out of nowhere. No one was really talking about him for the head coach job and right away, I was super pumped just to learn from the legend himself. He’s such a smart guy; amazing coach and we’re lucky to have him right now.”

 

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habbernack

I remember a quote from MB saying training camp was disorganized from day 1 and watching the exhibition games and how they were playing, it carried through to the regular season.

habbernack

How happy is CC that he dropped down in the draft

chuck

never mind chasing free agents,just keep building on the young players

Guest

Shows Montreal’s inferiority complex. Worry about making the playoffs nick.

Mind the gap

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