The Slovak people, explained Mesar Friday morning after the morning training of CH recruits.
Selected in the first round by the Canadian this summer (26th), Slafkovsky’s great friend does not receive the same attention as his compatriot in Montreal, although a sharp mind could have called that into question seeing the dozen journalists urging him to questions for about ten minutes at the rookie tournament.
Nevertheless, although he is a first-round draft pick, he was not the very first selection and will often play in the shadow of Slafkovsky. Mesar sees it with a good eye.
I think it’s good for me because maybe it’s a bit too much pressure for [Slafkovsky] sometimes. It’s probably easier for me. I prefer not to have too much attentionlaunched Mesar, smiling.
The small striker, however, assures that Slafkovsky
handles it very well and don’t worry about him. For his part, he prefers to slip through the cracks and let his game do the talking, as he was able to do on Thursday evening, without the canvas igniting on his prowess and his future being dissected in the slightest detail.
It was rather when he returned to Slovakia after the repechage that he understood that his life had changed…a little…but not that much either.
Mesar, Slafkovsky and Nemec, chosen 2nd overall by the Devils, were crowded in late July and thousands lined up to get their autographs.
” It was still pretty crazy before the repechage too, but after that it was really crazy. We have a lot of pressure in Slovakia, but we are good at managing it. »
Mesar must have gotten used to seeing his face in the newspapers, especially Slafkovsky’s in fact, but a bit of his own too. He talks about the omnipresence of social networks and the fact that each time he opened one, he was bombarded with news about the new generation of Slovak hockey players and their standard bearer, Juraj Slafkovsky.
Nemec also goes a little more incognito. First because he plays in New Jersey where there is no journalist present at the rookie tournament except for the content creator of the team, then because Slafkovsky is strong enough to be able to shade him .
His life hasn’t really changed since his surprise selection, he says, except that he
take more pictures. True that he feels the pressure, the support of his country,
but [il] try to enjoy it all, it’s fun.
For Nemec as for Mesar, the rest of the things remains to be written. Without wanting to project too much, let’s say that Slafkovsky’s chances of starting the season in the NHL remain relatively good. The mystery deepens when it comes to his two compatriots.
The Mesar clan, represented by Pat Brisson, expressed their preference for the Canadian and André Ruel, Brisson’s lieutenant in Quebec, dropped that he would see him playing well with the Laval Rocket this year.
The other option would be to send the forward to the junior team holding his rights, the Kitchener Rangers, but we are reminded that he spent the last two seasons with men in Slovakia, that the American League challenge suits him well.
We will see with the camps, argued coach Jean-François Houle. For Europeans, the American League is an option. But it’s not always obvious at a young age. If he is able to make a place for himself, we do not see why we would not want to have him.
Mesar stood out on Thursday night and will have another chance by the end of camp. Friday, against Nemec and the Devils, Houle decided to send him to the center, the position of his childhood, but which he has not practiced for two years.
We have several players who play in the center and on the wing. Rookie camp is a good opportunity to watch players in different chairs. For Mesar, we want to see him in the center. He skates well and supports his defenders well.continued the coach.
In the case of Nemec, he will have a lot to do to dislodge one of the three right-handed defenders who precede him in the hierarchy of the Devils. Dougie Hamilton, John Marino and Damon Severson are well in the saddle, unless one of them turns to the left to allow the young Slovak to join their ranks.
Otherwise, it will also be the American League.
It’s not easy in the NHL for an 18-year-old defenseman. I’m a smart defender and can play a bit smarter than other playershowever, warned Nemec.
Mesar has also agreed. Except he also said he wasn’t skating very well and was looking forward to going one-on-one. If Nemec was looking for a reason for the
plant in the gang, here’s one all found. And in the absence of Slafkovsky, Mesar at 5ft 9in (1.76m) and 176lbs (80kg) is an easier target.
A lot of
Many headliners will have to skip their turn on Friday night. Slafkovsky, Kaiden Guhle, Arber Xhekaj, Justin Barron and Jan Mysak will be left out by the head coach.
In Guhle’s case, Houle assured that he was not left out of training due to any injury. The 20-year-old Albertan will be the only one who hasn’t played in either of the first two games, but has a good chance of playing in the third. Houle spoke about the fact that he hasn’t had much time to prepare recently and still needs to practice a bit.