The Canadian camp may be nothing like any other camp, one fact remains: young people will want to take advantage of the next three weeks to make their way.
• Read also – An extraordinary camp
• Read also – Tomas Tatar: head to hockey
Moreover, Claude Julien, who spoke to the media for the first time since the start of phase 3, was very clear on the question.
“For the majority of players, decisions are made. But for the last trios and duos, there is flexibility, “said the Canadiens’ head coach.
Jake Evans is part of the group that will fight hard. Over the past two days, the 24-year-old Ontario boy has been in the fourth unit, along with Dale Weise and Jordan Weal.
“If we take away the fact that there will be practically no preparatory matches, the objective is similar. It’s a chance to show what I have, to build on the end of the last season, ”said Evans during a videoconference.
When the NHL paused, Evans was on a happy streak. The dismissals of Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Ryan Peohling in Laval, as well as the transactions involving Nate Thompson and Nick Cousins, had allowed him to benefit from a good opening in the center.
In the last week of activity, the young man had taken the gallon, getting his share of responsibilities in numerical inferiority. During the trip to Florida, Julien had used it profusely in numerical superiority. Only against the Lightning, he spent 3 min 40 s on the playing surface during the massive attack. A summit among the team’s attackers that evening.
“Gaining experience and playing my first NHL games was huge. As it progressed, I understood the games better, “said the former captain of the Fighting Irish at Notre Dame University.
In Julien’s good graces
This time, it is the possible package of Max Domi, because of the risks related to his diabetes, which could earn him a regular position. Besides, apart from Phillip Danault, the main candidates for the center position are all green: Nick Suzuki, Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Jake Evans and Ryan Poehling.
“We know what Suzuki can do, Kotkaniemi skates much better than at the start of the season and Evans has shown us that he is very intelligent,” said Julien, just to be reassuring. For now, we are giving them the opportunity and experience at the center. We will see what we do along the way. “
That Evans is already in the good graces of the Canadiens coach is a good thing. Unlike a normal camp, each team will play only one preparatory match before the start of the eliminatory tournament. The NHL has also confirmed the presentation of a meeting between the Canadiens and the Maple Leafs on July 28.
“By playing matches [préparatoires], you can see how you’re doing against opponents. These games are good for those who want to make room for themselves, to find out how they can integrate the training, said Evans. But here, we still have the opportunity to show what we can do. “
If he manages to carve out a place for himself in the squad, which will face the Penguins, Evans will have the opportunity, this time, to accelerate his pace of learning. Led by Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, the Penguins are betting on one of the most dangerous groups of attackers on the circuit.
“It will be a very good challenge to face experienced players, guys who have often played in the playoffs. I should play simple and make life difficult for them, ”he said.
At least he won’t be in unfamiliar territory. He had faced the Penguins in Pittsburgh on Feb. 14.
“What I remember most is that it’s a fast team, able to take advantage of any opportunity. Besides, you know when Crosby and Malkin are on the ice. Not because you’re impressed, but because you know how much they can hurt your team. “