Martin St-Louis has often offered compliments to Rafaël Harvey-Pinard since his recall from the Laval Rocket. He had already said that he was not just a guy who played hockey, but a hockey player.
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In the 4-3 shootout loss against the New York Rangers, “RHP” once again demonstrated that he had that hockey player DNA. He didn’t write his name on the score sheet, but number 49 did a whole host of little things to recycle a hockey phrase.
In overtime, he hit the post in overtime redirecting a shot from Mike Hoffman. Before that, he slipped between defensemen Jacob Trouba and K’Andre Miller late in the third period to knock on Igor Shesterkin’s door. In that game, he also hit Vladimir Tarasenko and blocked a shot from defenseman Braden Schneider while getting up from a hit received by Chris Kreider.
On the left wing of the first line with Nick Suzuki and Jesse Ylönen, Harvey-Pinard achieved a personal best with a playing time of 23 min 54 s. He didn’t give St-Louis the choice to constantly send him back on the ice.
“I like the details in his game, he’s always in the right place,” noted St-Louis. He does everything on the rink. It’s rare that he doesn’t make a good read. If it doesn’t work, it’s because it lacked a bit of execution, but the intentions remain there. He played 24 minutes. We are talking about big minutes. I didn’t even know it, but a player like that forces you to use it. »
“I may have played 24 minutes in the playoffs last year in Laval, but that didn’t happen often,” added Harvey-Pinard. I still felt fresh even after the match, I was very happy. »
Take your chance
In the art of seizing his chance, Harvey-Pinard has perfectly understood this principle. He already has 12 points (8 goals, 4 assists) in 21 games with CH. But there is much more than numbers. He earns the trust of his coaches through his intensity, his blocked shots, his checks, his recovered pucks and his attention to detail.
He has now maintained a good pace for 21 games, a quarter of a season. On the eve of the New Jersey Devils’ visit to the Bell Center, St. Louis offered him an important vote of confidence.
“He’s convincing everyone,” said St-Louis. The most important person to convince is himself. But that’s what he does. »
If we decode this sentence a little, we can understand that he is quietly, but certainly gaining a place with the big club for next year. And also an upcoming one-pronged contract.
“I said it since my recall, but I really get a good chance with the Canadiens,” said the 24-year-old winger. I have playing time in the first line with Suzuki. Not all players who move up from the American League get such a chance. It’s up to me to seize it. »
In another corner of the locker room, Samuel Montembeault also slipped a few words about his teammate, but also a former rival in the QMJHL.
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“I see the same guy as with the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies,” said the Habs goaltender. He plays really well. Alex Belzile also likes to say that he is like clockwork. You always know what to expect from him, he always works hard and does the right things. He played that way in the QMJHL and in the American League in Laval. We just see the same player at a higher level. »
In his days with the Manitoba Moose in the American League, Johnathan Kovacevic had often crossed Harvey-Pinard in a corner of the rink.
“Raf is really inspiring,” he said. I’m also a young player in the NHL and I like watching a player like him. He earns his place with his efforts and the details in his acting. He is never afraid of anything and he does not crumble under the reflectors of a larger stage. »