Photo: Ryan Remiorz, The canadian Press
The head coach of the team, Claude Julien spoke with the media on Monday on the sidelines of the annual golf tournament in Laval.
The pieces of the puzzle are far from being in place and the next training camp of the Montreal canadiens, which begins officially on Thursday in Brossard, will, in principle, to solve the riddle. But the uncertainty does not prevent Marc Bergevin to believe that his team improved on the blue line during the off-season.
The director-general of the Habs went from this analysis the margins of the golf tournament to the team to Laval-sur-le-Lac, Monday, annual meeting of mid-September, when all the dreams and hopes are allowed. And he has stated not once, but twice.
“It is certain that we had a lot of changes on the defensive, but I sincerely believe that, at this position, we’ve improved,” said Bergevin at the very first question he was asked, and again mid-way to its point of release.
Markov has returned to his native land after contract negotiations failed at the beginning of the summer, despite the fact that the Canadian had a comfortable cushion under the salary cap, which is, still today, to approximately $ 8.5 million.
“At the beginning, I would say around the draft, Andrei wanted a two-year agreement, and this is not something that interested me, said Bergevin. When things like that happen, you look elsewhere. We have made some transactions, and we went to pick up David Schlemko. Subsequently, Andrei changed his mind and, again, we were interested to get it back. We have made a good offer, and I believed sincerely that he was going to accept it, but he decided to go to Russia. It is disappointing, but it is his choice. “
Depending on what was said Bergevin, Markov had finally accepted the idea of signing a pact for a year. But the two clans could not agree on the money.
The gap between supply and demand was it so great ? he was asked a journalist.
“I think yes, and probably Andrei also because he has decided to return to Russia “, launched Bergevin, who is said to have submitted a contract offer with ” bonuses, because of his age, which were quite easy to achieve for him.”
Competition in the internal
After the medical examination scheduled for Thursday, Claude Julien will work to fill the left flank of his brigade defensive. And it will be spoiled for choice.
“During the training camp, Claude will attempt experiences, noted Bergevin. We brought Schlemko, it was Karl Alzner, it was Jordie Benn returns. It was Joe Morrow, it was Brandon Davidson and there is also Mark Streit. There will be a lot of competition internally, and I feel that it is a nice problem to have. “
“I would say that I have a lot more depth, a lot more choices,” assessed Julien, who preferred not to get into the game of comparisons with what he had on hand last season. We have the opportunity to be a little more balanced. “
Julian hopes to take the next three weeks and eight games leading up to the calendar to find solutions that will replace Markov, a rare commodity because of the quality of his play in transition and his passes.
“We would have liked to keep. However, there is a lot of competition at the back. There are players who come and who are still able to move the puck. As good as Markov ? We don’t know yet. But we think that there are more players who are better able to move the puck than in the past, and it is because of this that we have made our decisions. “