As the 2021 season begins, fans are placing a lot of hope on Nick Suzuki’s shoulders. Without a #1 center for a long time, the Montreal Canadiens finally seems to have found one. In an interview earlier today at the Brossard Sports Complex, the young forward answered journalists’ questions for about twelve minutes.
More at ease
Hockey being almost a religion in Montreal, the pressure is crushing many players. According to his words, this is not the case with Suzuki. When asked about the expectations placed on Kotkaniemi and himself, he replied :
« We talked about it a little bit. We want to be important players for the future of this franchise and we talked about developing our game with the goal of winning a Stanley Cup. We definitely talked about our objectives. But I would say I feel a lot more comfortable this year than I did last year. Even at the camp in the bubble before the playoffs, I felt more prepared and comfortable with the guys, so the transition was pretty easy. »
He confessed later that at his first camp in Montreal last year, he was not very confident, rather shy and reserved. A lot has changed since then, as he describes himself now as « more confident, both with the guys and on the ice.
From a collective point of view, he likes what he sees: « When we watch our team practice, it’s exciting to see all the talent there is. As for his individual goals for the season, he hopes to improve his +-differential which was particularly bad (last in the roster with -15).
The trust of his coach
His coach, Claude Julien, definitely believes in a promising future for the 21-year-old center. In response to a question about Suzuki’s status as an impact player, he said :
« He has the potential to become an impactful player. He’s a guy with good maturity and confidence, but he’s far from arrogant. He’s very humble. He knows his strengths and confidence. Since he’s been with us, they say he’s a very smart player on the rink. He reads the game well. These things make him a very strong player right from this year. »
Such praise at training camp confirms that Suzuki will be used in every situation this season. His time of 15:59 last season was up to 19:11 in the playoffs. Let’s bet it will be much closer to 19 minutes per game this shortened year than 16.