We can never accuse Kent Hughes of having no sense of the show. Just as we will have to recognize that he is a great braggart.
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Photo Martin Chevalier
The Canadian made Juraj Slavkovsky the first choice in the NHL draft yesterday in Montreal. The young Slovak winger was surrounded by Gary Bettman, Martin Lapointe, Geoff Molson, Juliette Bélanger-Lacroix (daughter of France Margaret Bélanger), Kent Hughes, Jeff Gorton, Nikolai Bobrov, Vincent Lecavalier, Nick Suzuki, Martin St-Louis, Michael Krupa and Christer Rockstrom.
For the first time since 1980, the Canadian was speaking first in the playoffs. As everyone waited for him to call Shane Wright, the Habs GM set his sights on Juraj Slafkovsky.
An imposing 1.80 meter, 100 kilo left back, the Slovakian turned heads during the last Olympic Games. His performance of seven goals in seven games helped his country win the bronze medal. At the end of the competition, he was chosen for the tournament’s all-star team and named his club’s most valuable player.
Slavkovsky’s selection was greeted with awe by the fans gathered inside the Bell Centre. In a state of shock, it took a few seconds for him to show his joy. Even the main stakeholder couldn’t believe it.
“It was a big surprise for me, he testified, moments after walking off the stage. Yes, there are meetings with the teams, but it is difficult to know what comes out of them. »
Photo Martin Chevalier
Juraj Slafkovsky quickly celebrated with loved ones, as Logan Cooley (bottom left) looked on.
“I didn’t even hear my name. I only heard the word Slovakia. From then on I stopped listening. She was shaking, she had goosebumps. It is an incredible moment, ”she added in front of the dozens of journalists who came to meet her.
Shane Wright was a good player shaking Slafkovsky’s hand.
Average public conquered
In the morning, Slafkovsky had argued with the Canadian squad. Geoff Molson was around the table. A presence that should have served as a clue to the intentions of the host organization.
The selection of the colossus, which had been mentioned as an interesting option to evolve in the company of Cole Caufield and Nick Suzuki, may have left some Bleu-Blanc-Rouge fans unhappy.
Also, when the hopefuls arrived on the red carpet in front of the Bell Centre, some fans booed the 18-year-old. A contrast to the welcome given to Shane Wright.
“For them, hockey is a passion as much as it is for me, he said, a good player. Maybe some of them don’t like it, but I’m going to do everything I can to help this team. So maybe they’ll end up loving me one day. »
The newcomer dressed for the first time in the Canadiens jersey.
If we believe the cheers and the “Olé! Old! Old! » that was fired from all four corners of the amphitheater as Slafkovsky borrowed the bleachers to head to the TVA Sports set, shouldn’t be such a daunting task.
Great day for Slovakia
Being the first of his crop, Slafkovsky became the fastest Slovakian selected. Marian Gaborik, selected third overall by the Minnesota Wild, had held the previous mark since 2000.
The European country had another special moment when the New Jersey Devils, who were behind the Canadian on the podium, chose defender Simon Nemec, a compatriot of Slafkovsky.
“We represent a small country of 5.5 million inhabitants. I’m glad it’s happening to us. We needed something like this. »
A message from Peter Stastny
Although it was the middle of the night in Europe, Peter Stastny did not miss an opportunity to react.
“Get used to it! The future of hockey is bright in Slovakia,” the former Nordiques star replied in an exchange of messages with The newspaper.
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