Pierre Durocher of Le Journal de Montreal spoke to Steve Begin who thinks that the Canadiens are a greatly improved team compared to last season. He mentions the additions of Roman Hamrlik, Bryan Smolinski and even Patrice Brisebois as players who will help make the Habs a better team.
Begin states that Sheldon Souray will be missed on the powerplay and that the Canadiens will have to change their tactics on the PP but feels that Hamrlik is better defensively than Souray as he has played against Hamrlik ( he also states that Hamrlik is very physical and solid on his skates).
He also mentions how Bryan Smolinski will help the teams’ offense while at the same time being very good defensively and in the face-off circle. Begin states that Brisebois will add much needed experience to the defense. He doesn’t mention Tom Kostopoulos which I found odd but it could be that Begin knows that Kostopoulos is his main competition in training camp and doesn’t want to heap a lot of praise his way ( I don’t think that’s the case as Begin will make the Habs with Tom Kostopoulos most likely being one of his linemate).
He also mentions that the flu virus did not help the teams’ play in January and February. Begin also thinks that the young players will be better and help the team make the playoffs.
He also defends Koivu’s opinion that the Habs can make the playoffs but will probably not win the Stanley Cup and simply states that Koivu is being realistic in his views ( Begin states that the Habs don’t know where they will be in March and after the trade deadline).
I have always admired Steve Begin and the the way he plays the game of hockey: all-out hustle and determination. If every player gave the same energy level as Mr.Begin then we could be talking about a Stanley Cup championship with more confidence. If Begin had Alexei Kovalev’s pure talent to go with his heart then he would be challenging for the scoring race every year. I just hope Steve Begin can remain health for the entire season and provide the Habs with that grit and energy that the rest of the players can feed off.
I agree with everything he stated in the above article and truly believe that the Canadiens’ chances of making the playoff will depend on the further development and output of their young players.
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