The importance of the quarterback

There's a lot of talk about the goalie problem at the Edmonton Oilers, but to me, that's not their main shortcoming.

The importance of the quarterback

There's a lot of talk about the goalie problem at the Edmonton Oilers, but to me, that's not their main shortcoming. By analyzing the four teams still alive in the NHL, they are the only ones who do not have a real defensive general.

The Colorado Avalanche have Cale Makar, the New York Rangers have Adam Fox and, of course, the Tampa Bay Lightning have Victor Hedman.

As far back as I can remember, just about every club that has won the Stanley Cup has had a quarterback, a defenseman who can make an impact in all three zones while playing at least 25 minutes per game.

Recently, Drew Doughty had that impact with the Los Angeles Kings, as did Kristopher Letang in Pittsburgh and Hedman in the last two Lightning conquests.

Before that, there was Nicklas Lidstrom with the Detroit Red Wings, Denis Potvin with the New York Islanders, Bobby Orr with the Boston Bruins or even the "Big Three" in Montreal, made up of Serge Savard, Larry Robinson and Guy Lapointe.


I love Adam Fox's work with the Rangers. He reminds me of Brian Leetch, whom I had the good fortune to manage in 1988-1989, a season in which he won the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year.

Fox, like Leetch, is a defender who can play 25 minutes with ease, but is not the kind of fullback to physically confront opposing forwards. He doesn't need to. He's so good with his stick and he manages to get his man out of the game, not with a hard-hitting check, but with his intelligence and his unparalleled reading of the game.

That's what Edmonton lacks. Sure, their power play still works well thanks to Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, but it would be even more devastating with a real master on board at the back.


Speaking of McDavid, the Avalanche decided to pit him against Cale Makar and the strategy worked in Game 2 on Thursday night.

The Colorado defenseman has the speed to keep up with the No. 97 Oilers and he did a good job Thursday, like the team in general, to shut out Edmonton and take a 2-0 series lead.

The Avalanche have made the necessary adjustments so far and that's why they're leading. But this series is far from over.

I can't wait to see the atmosphere in Edmonton for games 3 and 4. Remember that the franchise has not reached the four aces since 2006 and there is no doubt that the crowd will be unleashed. I don't believe in a sweep from the Avalanche. Not against a team that has McDavid and Draisaitl.


Besides, I'm not sure it was the best move on Jay Woodcroft's part to separate the two star players in Game 2. McDavid and Draisaitl have had a lot of success since the start of the playoffs with Evander Kane and I felt Draisaitl frustrated in the second game against the Avalanche.

I wouldn't be surprised if they were back together tonight. The Oilers need their two offensive point guards healthy and happy.

– Interview by Kevin Dubé

Patrick's reflection

Patrick Roy surprised everyone a bit on Wednesday night by mentioning that he was going to give himself a period to think about his future with the Remparts. Clearly, last Wednesday's loss to the Shawinigan Cataractes hurt him like never before. As his business partner Jacques Tanguay also mentioned, it was an eventful year for Patrick, especially with the process of hiring a general manager by the Canadiens. I'm sure it shook him not to be considered. Now I wonder if he might be tempted to knock on the door of the few teams that are looking for a head coach in the NHL? Personally, I don't think so. Patrick is a proud man and he probably believes that if a team is interested, they will contact him. In the end, he will make the best decision for him. Regardless, no one will ever be able to take away the passion that has driven him for so many years.

The party is over

It is confirmed, Martin St-Louis will be the head coach of the Canadiens for the next three seasons. It's positive. It means that Martin is happy in Montreal and that he wants to continue the project. Now I think the party is over. Last year, he arrived in Montreal in order to establish his structure, to straighten out certain things. Now, I have the feeling that we will see the competitor he was when he was a player. Young people and their development is one thing, but it takes victories. Stop telling me that the Canadian must continue to lose next year in order to have a chance to draft Connor Bedard. It's funny, but not all the people I know who say that kind of talk are season ticket holders. They don't spend a small fortune and brave the weather every winter to cheer on their team, night after night. These people deserve victories.

A refreshing trio

I love what I see from the youth trio with the New York Rangers, consisting of Alexis Lafrenière, Kaapo Kakko and Filip Chytil. I love that Gerard Gallant put them together and let them express themselves. Too often we try to put a veteran with young people and we have the impression that he is more there to play babysitter. In the case of Lafrenière, it has not been an easy season, but we have really seen the progress in his game over the past few weeks. So much the better !