Canadiens Defenceman Mike Matheson Deserves A Letter
The Montreal Canadiens were embarrassed by the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night, a clear juxtaposition between one team preparing for the playoffs and another limping to the regular-season finish line.
And while it’s certainly understandable that emotions can run high for every player involved in the frustrating Canadiens season, there are still lessons to absorb, regardless of the opponent.
As has been the case throughout the season, Mike Matheson refused to give up during a lopsided loss.
And perhaps even more importantly, he also showed fantastic leadership off the ice when he addressed the media following the game.
Mike Matheson doing his thing, and Johnny Kovacevic RIPS one to get the #Habs back in the game. pic.twitter.com/DYiQuz57nx
— Matt Drake (@DrakeMT) April 9, 2023
“Obviously, losing like that is frustrating,” said Matheson. “And it’s difficult to accept. We have two games left to end the season on the right foot.”
Not only was the loss frustrating, but it also gave the Leafs several opportunities to hone their craft before they embark on their playoff journey.
Consequently, Toronto did not hold back when it came to its many powerplay opportunities, including a late-game man advantage that featured their first powerplay unit.
A strategy that did not bother Matheson in the least.
“I think you’re a sore loser if you look at that and go ‘Oh why are you putting that unit out?’ They’re getting ready for the playoffs and they want to give those guys as many touches as they can.
Once again, Matheson gets it.
He even went out of his way to appreciate the human approach to allowing Leafs emergency backup goalie Jett Alexander an opportunity to officially take part in an NHL game, a dream come true for any young Canadian.
“It was a cool opportunity for the backup to get in there; a once-in-a-lifetime situation.”
Of course, the headlines will revolve around Chris Wideman’s’ questionable interpretation of the emergency backup situation, but the main takeaway for the Canadiens is that Matheson not only addressed the frustrating nature of the loss, he quickly dispelled any notion that the Leafs should be criticized for putting on a dominant show.
It’s a healthy approach and one that will serve the Canadiens well once they start to unlock the shackles of the rebuild and aim for bigger and better things.
It’s one thing to lose in a one-sided affair, but it’s another thing entirely to have the presence of mind to avoid blaming others for your misfortunes.
It’s that type of presence of mind that makes Matheson the perfect candidate for a supporting leadership role within the team.
An official role.
One that comes with the letter ‘A’ stitched to his jersey.
Nick Suzuki has guided his team through a tumultuous first year of the rebuild, and though it would be foolish to question his leadership at this point in his career he’ll need players such as Matheson to alleviate the pressure once the going gets tough.
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So, were the Leafs upset about Wideman being in the lineup? He’s kinda sorta the eleventh defenseman on a team with five rookies on the blueline…
More than likely. Matheson is a joy to watch play this game.
Habs let them empty most of their tank as they lose in 4-6 games to Tampa. I think they have enough left to help eliminate Florida to at least get the habs another lottery ball which could jump 10 spots(no matter how unlikely). Hopefully Buffalo also is able to pass Florida.