NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 18, 2022
Jonathan Huberdeau talks about the pressure of playing in Montreal, Canadiens’ new captain Nick Suzuki hopes to improve his proficiency in French plus the latest on Shea Theodore and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Jonathan Huberdeau recently addressed the offseason rumors linking him to the Canadiens prior to his re-signing with the Calgary Flames. A native of Saint-Jerome, Quebec, the 29-year-old winger acknowledged that “a lot of people” were saying he should play one year with the Flames and then sign next summer with the Canadiens as a free agent.
“As much as I love Montreal, I dunno. I think it’s a tough city for a French-Canadian,” said Huberdeau. “Calgary traded for me. If Montreal wanted to trade for me, they would’ve traded for me. That’s how I see it. And I want to play for a team that wants me. Calgary wanted me, so that’s why I wanted to sign a big extension.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Huberdeau’s stating his own opinion but it appears to confirm the suspected reluctance of Quebec-born players to play in Montreal. The pressure of being a Canadien is intense for any NHL star regardless of nationality or background but the burden would be much heavier for a Francophone. They would be expected to become the next great French-Canadien star and follow in the footsteps of the legends who’ve donned the Habs sweater in the past.
It’s one thing to be drafted and developed by the Canadiens where you can be gradually prepared for what you’re about to face. It’s another to jump into that unique hockey hotbed as a free agent when you’ve never experienced anything like it before in your professional career.
Visiting players only get a small taste of it and then move on. Experiencing that fishbowl existence on a full-time basis can be daunting for players used to a less-stressful hockey market.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: New Canadiens captain Nick Suzuki is hoping to become more proficient in French. A native of London, Ontario, the 23-year-old center takes no issue with local and provincial politicians calling on him to improve his French language skills.
“A lot of the Quebec politicians want (players) to speak French and that’s fair,” said Suzuki. “French is more spoken in Quebec than English.” He admitted living and working in bilingual Montreal can be challenging as he doesn’t get to use it in that city as much as he could. The Habs captain felt Canadiens players should have some level of French.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This will become a non-issue for Suzuki if he becomes more fluent in French. However, it’s another factor that seems to make it difficult for the Canadiens to attract top free-agent talent to Montreal.
THE ATHLETIC: Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Shea Theodore recently announced another $50,000.00 donation to the Comprehensive Cancer Center of Las Vegas as part of his “Kay’s Power Play” fund launched in 2020.
The fund is named in memory of Theodore’s grandmother, Kay Darlington, who passed away in June 2020 due to breast cancer. “Kay’s Power Play” has already raised $250,000.00 to help women access breast cancer screening.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Yet another example of an NHL player giving their time and money for charitable causes. Well done, Shea Theodore.
DAILY FACEOFF: Mike McKenna on how a surprising number of NHL veterans are trying to earn contracts with professional tryout offers as teams invest more money in young stars.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The flattened salary cap since 2020-21 is also a contributing factor. It’ll be interesting to see how the number of PTOs are affected once cap increases rise by 2024 as projected.
LAS VEGAS SUN: Speaking of the Golden Knights, team owner Bill Foley is reportedly heading a potential takeover effort of Premier League soccer club AFC Bournemouth. It could cost approximately $172 million USD to purchase the club.
ESPN.COM: Greg Wyshynski addresses everything hockey fans need to know about NHL jersey advertisements.