It’s starting to get a little scary. Juraj Slafkovský, last year’s number one draft pick, is definitely not living up to expectations yet. He got off to a tepid start last year, then lost a chunk of the season to injury. Another cautious start this year. Canadiens coach Martin St. However, Louis encourages and trusts the young Slovak.
He is said to be a bit late on his route, but heading in the right direction. “You can be stuck in traffic, but what do you do? Do you want to continue. If you miss the convention, what do you do? Are you going to get mad and go home? Or do you recalculate the route and still try to reach the destination?” coach Slafkovski put into the context of navigation programs.
“Slaf is heading for the right destination. We don’t know exactly how long it will take him and how many more times he will encounter constipation, but he mustn’t get angry, he mustn’t let himself get disgusted,” exclaims St. Louis.
The Slovakian striker has 2 points (1+1) after eleven matches. I.e. eleventh position in the team. He is averaging 14 minutes and 40 seconds per night, which is fourteenth on the team.
Being the No. 1 draft pick in Montreal isn’t easy, St. Louis knows this well. The pressure here is huge. “It’s not easy for a nineteen-year-old boy not to notice it. You can’t hide from the journalists in Montreal. Everyone writes that they should go faster. We are trying to help him with that.”
There was a long discussion about whether the Canadiens should have sent the talented Slovak to Europe or the AHL last year. The coach cannot be denied the effort. On Saturday, he even tested Slafkovski in the first line alongside Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield. The Habs lost 3-6, but at least Slafkovský scored his first goal of the season.
Everyone is now hoping he bursts through the floodgates. “Sometimes it’s about one shot,” says Sean Monahan, one of the most experienced players on the team. “You hit it and you relax. I hope that his goal in St. Louis will be important.”
Twenty-nine-year-old Monahan tries to talk to the Slovak every day. She encourages him and especially advises him not to follow social networks. “When I was his age and had a bad game, I looked at the nets and it was everywhere. You must at least try to avoid it. Go to work, enjoy the rink, enjoy your teammates and learn new things every day,” Monahan advises the youngster.
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