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Former Canadiens Goalie Coach’s Lack Of Respect For Suzuki



Montreal Canadiens captain Nick Suzuki

The Montreal Canadiens hosted their yearly golf tournament on Monday, an event that serves as the notice that the NHL season is on the horizon.

Former goaltender coach Stephane Waite was on an RDS panel discussing the Canadiens’ goalie situation, which is in a state of flux, to say the least.

He offered solid analysis regarding the potential use of Samuel Montembeault, Jake Allen, Casey DeSmith, and even Cayden Primeau. He suggests that Montembeault should be the starting goaltender, which should allow the Canadiens to gauge his value prior to signing him to a contract extension.

As it stands, the Canadiens have indicated they’re in no rush to re-sign the 26-year-old goaltender. It’s the right approach given Montembeault’s lack of results before last season.

He also thinks the Habs should accept any sort of return for goaltender Jake Allen. Whether it is a prospect or a fourth-round pick, Waite points to Allen’s declining stats to suggest a trade would be the best way forward. It would also allow the Canadiens to give Cayden Primeau a legitimate shot at becoming an NHL goaltender, which certainly has not been the case in his few opportunities with the team since signing his entry-level contract in 2019.

Former general manager Marc Bergevin had told Primeau he would be in the running for a job in the NHL as early as 2020, therefore you can imagine how frustrating Primeau’s lack of opportunities has been for the young netminder.

It’s a strong argument, however, Allen is in the first year of a two-year contract extension that pays him $3.85 million per season. The contract also contains a modified no-trade clause that allows Allen to list a seven-team no-trade list, which makes the prospect of trading him rather complicated.

The same can be said for DeSmith, legitimate options for trades in his case are few and far between.

A Lack Of Respect

Shortly after, the RDS Twitter account posted a quote from Waite, who, to his credit, made a lot of sense in the segment that discussed goaltenders.

Unfortunately, the quote itself made little to no sense. He is not worried about Brendan Gallagher’s $6.5 million contract, a notion shared by many members of the Habs media.

But the manner in which he expressed it was unreasonable.

“Every team has bad contracts,” said Waite. “But Gallagher doesn’t bother me, because he’s the real captain of the Montreal Canadiens.”


To be perfectly fair, the quote did not seem to stem from any of the discussions that RDS put on their website, nor could I track down the segment in which Waite discussed Gallagher, therefore, there’s a chance it was taken out of context.

But if we take the quote at face value, there’s one word that comes to mind: disrespect.

Waite has not been with the team since 2021, well before Nick Suzuki was named as the 31st captain of the Canadiens, which means he has zero insight into Suzuki’s work as captain of the team.

It seems clear that Waite was trying to focus on Gallagher’s effort level throughout the years, and he’s right to point it out, but that’s rather easy to do without throwing Suzuki under the bus.

Not only was Suzuki the only player to feature in all 82 games last year (while dealing with injuries of his own), but he also tackled the responsibility that comes with being the captain of the most illustrious franchise in hockey with aplomb.

We must keep in mind that Suzuki was also the youngest captain in team history.

Whether it was the Pierre Gervais controversy to start the season or the endless stream of injuries and losses throughout the year, Suzuki gave clear and concise answers to the media, all the while maintaining a healthy locker room vibe in a situation that was certainly not conducive to building chemistry.

It was a learning season for all, including Suzuki, but you’d be hard-pressed to say he did not rise to the challenge when problems occurred.

On top of it, he never put the team in a tough situation by arguing with referees, and he also managed to set career highs in goals and points despite the lack of offensive support in the lineup.

It was a baptism by fire, and Suzuki emerged at the other end as a more complete player, as well as a better leader.

Of course, Brendan Gallagher has been a very important member of the organization for a very long time, and no one can take that away from him.

He literally put his body on the line for the Habs, but that has absolutely no bearing on Suzuki’s role as the undisputed team leader.

Nick Suzuki has received all sorts of unreasonable criticism since becoming the captain of the Montreal Canadiens, but if you ask the players on the current roster, they’d surely tell you that Waite’s comments are the furthest thing from the truth.

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Janet Drennan

Sure, he lacks recent insight, so I took that as Gally Love, as opposed to a slight..


Obviously they are both worthy captains. But his biase would be for the guy he knows. I don’t see it as a dig at Suzuki.


Jake Allen plays great as long as it is not more than 25 games, there is a huge drop-off when he plays more than that.Primeau can do much better if he isn’t constantly going back and forth each game between the Habs and Laval, he has shown especially in the playoffs he can carry the team on his back.


He can do 35 easy.

Albert Vanular

Good article.Well said… I agree with everything you wrote


Pretty sure he meant no disrespect to Suzuki but more trying to support Gallagher


He Said “Leader”
it was part of a larger point about Gally absorbs a lot of responsibility especially with the Media that see’s Suzuki avoiding situations that others faced.

Thats his contract serves a purpose
It was also taken from a quote from Waite from when Suzuki was made Captain.


Unlike some of these contracts in the league, respect is earned. However, pay me millions of dollars a year and you can say anything you like about me.


Much ado…
Waite is now in the media and needs to generate talk
remember the only thing worse than people talking about you is people NOT talking about you and this is exponentially higher in the media.

His comments ARE dated.
Gally might have been a better choice than PAX as captain/leader but today Nuke is the capt and becoming the heart/motor of this team.

This is no slight on gally. He has been a PLAYER for the habs.
I always loved the subban quote when he said if everyone on the team played as hard as gallagher they would win every night.

Pax/chucky to name a few could have taken that to heart.

Mike Stafford

I fully agree with Waite. He should have probably preceded his quote with “No disrespect to Suzuki but…..” but that doesn’t make his comment less true. No player, Suzuki included, currently wearing the CH has poured more heart and soul onto the ice than Gally. None of the players in that locker room would have taken issue with Gally as captain cause he leads by example on every shift. He’s the only guy willing to pay the price in front of the net and his passion is unmatched. Suzuki is the future but why put that much pressure on a young kid still proving him self and coming into his own? He was given the C way too soon and I think you’re going to see it in his stats. His numbers are good but how much better would they have been last year without the C? We’ll never know but I firmly believe Gally should be captain now and as long as he’s on the roster he is the real captain of the Montreal Canadiens.

The Habs have messed up the captaincy before…… they made Patches captain at a dumb time too and look how that turned out. When Suzuki was given the C, Gally had every reason to be pissed but publicly he threw his full support behind Suzuki because he’s a team first guy and a class act. That says a lot about Gally. No one would refuse to be the captain of the Montreal Canadiens so this is no slight to Suzuki but I think it was too soon and Gally was definitely deserving of it.

Arthur chilli

Suzuki is and will be a much better captain than gally, gally doesn’t have the head for it if we’re being honest. Suzuki is a real captain


This concept of desire or “heart” is kinda so subjective that it’s near pointless to talk about it. Gally has been a great inspiration at times but his value has diminished greatly since that time. Not to say his time is up but right now and results based Suzuki is the Captain of the team. Was Waite out of line? Not really as he is paid to say the silly now and we’re talking about big boys wearing their big boy pants. The whole issue with the media and social media in general is this type of story.


He is a “former” goalie coach for a reason…..


Primeau has been horrid in every opportunity he’s gotten. How much more pressure do you think that puts on him? He can’t just be given every opportunity in the world and be awful every time. And it’s not like he’s been setting the AHL on fire either. One PO run with a really good team in front of him isn’t gonna change my view either. I really don’t get why this guy is still being touted as a possible NHL goalie.


The team has been absolute trash almost every time they called him up. We are rebuilding. Need to give him a longer leash with nhl games.