Stu Cowan: Jake Allen and David Savard have key roles with Canadiens


Veteran goalie and defenceman might be position fashions and father figures whereas serving to younger gamers each on and off the ice.

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WASHINGTON — When Shea Weber was captain of the Canadiens, a whole lot of the younger gamers on the workforce would name him Dad.

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Weber wasn’t across the Canadiens a lot final season once they completed with the worst document within the NHL, and now he’s formally gone with the final 4 years of his contract traded to the Vegas Golden Knights in June (he stays on long-term injured reserve) in change for Evgenii Dadonov.

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Now the Canadiens have two father figures within the locker room — goalie Jake Allen, 32, and defenceman David Savard, 31 — and they’ll each play key roles within the improvement of the workforce’s younger defencemen.

Lengthy-term accidents to veterans Joel Edmundson (again) and Mike Matheson (stomach) compelled the Canadiens to start out the season with 4 defencemen who beforehand had solely 14 video games mixed of NHL expertise — Jordan Harris (10), Johnathan Kovacevic (4), Kaiden Guhle (0) and Arber Xhekaj (0).

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Friday evening in Detroit, the Canadiens had been outshot 25-10 within the first interval, however the rating remained 0-0 because of Allen.

“He was so good,” Canadiens ahead Rem Pitlick informed reporters within the locker room after the sport. “Oh, my God. (Head coach Martin St. Louis) got here in right here and thanked him. Wow! He was actually on and he saved it shut for us, that’s for certain.”

The Canadiens ended up getting outshot 40-29 and misplaced 3-0 to the Crimson Wings with the final two objectives being empty-netters late within the third interval.

Allen will get a well-deserved evening off Saturday in Washington when the Canadiens play the Capitals, with Sam Montembeault getting the beginning in purpose. The one different lineup change head coach Martin St. Louis will make is having ahead Jonathan Drouin make his season debut instead of Rem Pitlick after Drouin was a wholesome scratch for the primary two video games.

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Allen, not surprisingly, performed down his efficiency after Friday’s sport.

“That is an unreal alternative for these guys,” the goalie mentioned after the sport in regards to the younger defencemen. “A couple of of those guys in all probability wouldn’t have this chance proper now if there wasn’t accidents. That’s how guys get their pictures within the league — that’s how I received my shot within the league. I feel they need to see it that means. Once more, my job is simply to be me, be nobody else, and do my factor.”

Allen’s persona is an enormous motive why Canadiens GM Kent Hughes signed him to a two-year, US$7.7-million contract extension earlier than the beginning of this season that runs by means of the 2024-25 season.

Harris mentioned Allen’s calm presence in purpose is a large assist to the younger defencemen.

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“One time he went out and left the puck behind the web,” Harris mentioned after the season opener, a 4-3 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs Wednesday evening on the Bell Centre. “For me, I believed it was an ideal play. And he’s like: ‘Sorry, Jordy’ when he’s skating again to the web. He’s simply so calm again there, simply the identical means Carey (Worth) was final 12 months. It simply helps a lot the younger D-men when he’s not fazed with something.”

Nothing appears to faze Savard, both.

By the primary two video games of the season, Savard was main the Canadiens in ice time with a median of twenty-two:48 per sport and he additionally had 12 blocked pictures, together with 9 within the season opener.

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The 6-foot-1, 234-pound defenceman with the fuzzy beard is sort of a mixture of Grizzly Adams, a World’s Strongest Man competitor and the Pleasant Large.

“He’s an ideal chief,” captain Nick Suzuki mentioned about Savard. “Nice within the room. Each man loves him, so he’s an ideal man to have.”

Harris famous that Savard may be very approachable and only a very nice man.

“He’s been nice with questions and every little thing, however he’s type of a jokester,” Harris mentioned. “He retains it actually gentle and that’s good as a result of youthful guys get nervous. He type of places issues into perspective.

“He’s Regular Eddie on the market,” Harris added. “There’s no second the place he’s too jacked up or too low. There’s a motive why he’s had the profession that he has. He does his job and I feel he’s an ideal participant. He’s sneaky expert on the market and I like watching him. He’s nimble, too. It is best to see him play soccer. He’s fast.”

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Throughout coaching camp, Allen spoke about how the younger defencemen can study from watching Savard.

“Savard’s a really sensible participant,” the goalie mentioned. “I do know he’s not the quickest participant on the market, however he’s at all times in the suitable spot. He’s a veteran man and I feel a mix of Savy and Joel Edmundson when Eddie’s again with us will probably be nice studying instruments for them. I feel the advantage of Savy is he can play with anybody … he actually can. He’s received extra offensive sport than individuals give him credit score for. He’s a really sound, sensible participant. He’s skilled. I feel you’ll be able to simply transfer him up and down the lineup on the D aspect of issues and he doesn’t actually miss a beat.

“He positively has a presence … he actually does,” Allen added. “He’s a very nice man. Only a good human and I feel that’s actually necessary to have round this group proper now. It’s good individuals first and I feel he’s going to be an enormous chief right here for a few years for these younger D-men.”

So will Allen.

Two Dads can generally be higher than one.

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