Molson on Suzuki: « I know he’s ready to be captain »


LAVAL-SUR-LE-LAC – Owner, President and CEO Geoff Molson, Executive Vice-President of Hockey Operations Jeff Gorton, General Manager Kent Hughes and Head Coach Martin St-Louis met with journalists Monday.

Here are some excerpts from their respective press briefings:


Molson on Canadiens season ticket sales:

I’m proud of our fans and our season ticket holders because we didn’t have a great season last year. We finished last. But, we made a lot of changes. The last time I saw a fan base like that was a young group of players joined the team in 2009, 2010 and 2011 and people were very excited. The level of excitement from fans and season ticket holders is very high and the support we are getting has not changed.


Molson on why Suzuki is ready to be captain:

I have known him for a few years now. He’s calm, he’s a gentleman, his teammates love him, his coaches love him, and all of that is a statement in itself. He’s young, but I think he’s very mature for his age and I have no doubt he’s ready to captain the Montreal Canadiens.


Gorton on Suzuki’s appointment as Captain:

What you notice about Nick is, when you’re talking to a 23-year-old, sometimes you’re talking to a 23-year-old and you think they’re 18, but with Nick it’s the opposite. He’s a very down to earth guy. When I talk to him, I feel like he’s 30 years old and he’s been in the League for a long time, even if he isn’t. As a group, we are really confident in our choice. We’ve spent a lot of time chatting, and I think it fits perfectly with where we’re at and where we’re headed.


Gorton about the fact that Carey Price is still around the team, even though he is on the long-term injured list:

Players love it. He’s a very popular player, for obvious reasons. He’s one of the best goalies we’ve had in the League in a long time, so having a guy like that is really helpful. Nick mentioned several times in our meetings that it would be nice to have Price around the team. There is something about him. He’s a good person. Guys want to be around him. He has a personality similar to Nick’s. They are friends and have been together for several years. I think having Carey stay around the team can help the organization in a number of ways.


Hughes about making a decision on where to play Juraj Slafkovsky this season :

I expect it to be kind of a dynamic process with him, and I think we’re going to talk to a lot of our young players. Having been an agent, my experience with kids who start in the NHL and then move on to the American Hockey League, they assume it’s because they did something wrong or their game isn’t progressing. We can decide to take someone down, be it an attacker or a defender, for different reasons. If we have a defenseman who plays 15 or 16 minutes in the NHL and is doing well, but now we want him to run a power play and play 25 or 26 minutes, we can relegate him for a month and bring someone up. We have the flexibility to do that, and we’re going to rely on our coaching staff, our development group, and our observations to make those decisions. Ultimately, whether it’s the first or fifth choice, we’re concerned about what it will become, not what it is today. So the decision will be based on what we think is best for Juraj to become the best player, not what he does at 18.


St-Louis on the process for selecting Suzuki as captain:

I had a meeting with Nick in July and mentioned the idea and shared my opinion. I wanted him to think about it and reach out to his family and close friends to tell them about it. It’s a big decision. You must be ready. While he was doing that, I had discussions with Kent and Jeff and other players. We came back, we discussed more and we made the decision.


St-Louis about talking with Brendan Gallagher during the decision process to determine the next captain:

Gally has been there for a while. He’s a guy I respected a lot when I played against him, and now that I’m a coach I probably respect him even more. He was part of the process, and he’s a guy Suzy can lean on. He is an integral part of the leadership group.

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