BUFFALO | Juraj Slafkovsky has a critical mind. Surrounded by a dozen journalists in a corner of the LECOM Harborcenter, the top of the 2022 draft class had not yet wiped the drops on his forehead that he had to take stock of his first steps at rookie camp.
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“I was not very happy, told the Slovak, yesterday. But it was a first game, it’s always difficult. There will be other meetings. Tomorrow will be a new day and I will have time to concentrate. I made a few turnovers, but mistakes are part of the game.”
“I found the pace high for a first game and I expect to see the level getting higher and higher,” he continued. It was just a first game. I did not do anything wrong. But I know myself and I know that the more I have the chance to play, the better I become. »
Slafkovsky criticized his game even though there was nothing tragic about it. The colossus left winger got an assist, he charged to the net, he beat several rivals with force and he formed a good line alongside Filip Mesar and Riley Kidney.
But that wasn’t enough for him. He had on his heart this 4-3 loss against the Sabers in this first game of the rookie tournament, in Buffalo.
“I like to win and I always want to do more, mentioned the number 20. Even if I had done nothing in this game, but our team had found a way to win, I would have been happier . »
Slafkovsky orchestrated his second shorthanded goal by spotting his compatriot Mesar in front of the opposing net.
“I know him and he knows me, I like playing with him,” he replied. But there are still things to improve. »
Mesar, also selected in the first round by the Canadian, at 26e rank, is a very close friend of Slafkovsky.
Photo Micheline Veluvolu
Quebec defender Miguël Tourigny served a good check to Matthew Savoie, the ninth choice in the last draft, during the Canadian’s first game in the rookie tournament.
The same assessment
Slafkovsky’s words did not clash with those of Jean-François Houle.
“He’s a good skater. He played a very good game on the second goal. Sometimes he tried to do a little too much. It’s normal. It will come with time. He tries to demonstrate what he can do. It’s correct. Now is the right time to do it. »
“In a rookie tournament, guys want to show off,” continued the Laval Rocket coach. They want to demonstrate what they can do. They will make mistakes. All young players do. »
Photo Micheline Veluvolu
Ontarian Owen Beck, selected in the second round by the CH this summer, was overjoyed when he hit the target against the hopes of the Sabers.
Nick Bobrov and Martin Lapointe described Owen Beck, the first named in the second round, 33e overall, in the last draft, as a very smart and competitive center. Beck lived up to that description last night.
The Ontarian scored a goal and collected an assist by causing a turnover in the neutral zone. He made the happiness of his family who was well represented in the stands of the Sabers training center.
“He’s a very responsible player,” Houle said. We saw it at the end, he won the last two face-offs. He showed great speed on the goal he scored. »
Photo Micheline Veluvolu
Forward Lucas Condotta threw away the gloves last night in Buffalo.
The Habs will play their next game tonight against Simon Nemec, the second pick at the last auction, and the New Jersey Devils.
What we noticed…
FROM THE WORLD TO MASS
Jean-François Houle, head coach of the Laval Rocket, finds himself behind the CH hopefuls bench. But there are also several other eyes in the stands to spy on the next generation. Kent Hughes, Jeff Gorton, Martin Lapointe, Nick Bobrov, John Sedgwick, Rob Ramage, Francis Bouillon, Martin St-Louis, Alex Burrows, Stéphane Robidas, Trevor Letowski and Éric Raymond all made the trip to Buffalo. Among the team’s professional recruiters, we also met Eric Crawford, Nick Carrière and Vincent Riendeau. “It’s not just the games to watch, we also take the opportunity to meet the whole team,” said Robidas.
GUHLE AT REST
First round pick in 2020 and considered one of the most beautiful jewels of the organization, Kaiden Guhle did not wear the uniform for this first match against the hopes of the Sabers. Houle said the team wanted to give him a few practices before sending him into action. The big defender is recovering from a lower-body injury.
CHOICES BY THE TON
The Sabres, a team in eternal reconstruction, have spoken five times in the first round in the last two drafts. Of the five, only Matthew Savoie (ninth choice in 2022) and Isak Rosen (14e choice in 2021) participate in this tournament. Injured, the Czech Jiri Kulich withdrew, while the Swede Noah Ostlund remained at Djurgardens. Owen Power, the top of the class in the 2021 auction, will keep his energies for the team’s big camp.
They illustrated themselves
Left winger | The most complete player on the ice, he demonstrated his know-how through his physique and his speed. Accomplice of a goal scored in numerical inferiority, he was everywhere on the ice.
Right winger | He is in the shadow of Slafkovsky, but deserves to be known. His vision of the game and the way he has to sneak into enemy zones are clearly above average.
Center | A solid worker with a good acceleration force (we saw it on his net). One of his defensive folds was at the origin of the first goal of the match.
Defender | Reliable defensively, he blocked access to the net and made sure to win his fights in the corners of the rink. He remains calm with the puck, even under pressure.
Left winger | Author of the first goal of the match, he was constantly visible offensively. He has imagination in the opposing zone.
They will have to do more
Defender | The Swede certainly has great attacking potential, but his nonchalance is somewhat irritating. It got him in trouble on a few occasions.
Defender | He loves to go on the attack. He will have to choose his moments a little better. Yesterday he was running too much. Physically it was a bit difficult.
Defender | No doubt, it is solid. A real piece of wall, difficult to move. Yesterday, he was looking too much for the check, sometimes putting himself out of position.
Guardian | He has a superb size, but shows gaps in the tracing of the puck.
Center | He was too inconspicuous. We expect a little more from a player who played 22 games in Laval last season.
Texts: Jonathan Bernier
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