Stu Cowan: Captain Nick Suzuki has confirmed to be Canadiens’ iron man


Captain Nick Suzuki is the one participant on the Canadiens to not miss a sport this season.

He was additionally the one Canadien to play in all 82 video games final season — one thing solely 45 gamers within the NHL have been capable of do.

“I feel staying wholesome all through a season, it’s a bit little bit of an artwork,” Canadiens head coach Martin St. Louis mentioned after Tuesday’s morning skate on the Bell Centre. “It’s balancing all the pieces and nonetheless doing all of your job. Caring for your self off the ice, getting within the health club a bit bit. But additionally stopping … whenever you really feel like one thing’s coming, taking good care of it instantly in order that it doesn’t worsen.

“Luck is a part of it, there’s little doubt about it,” St. Louis added. “However I feel staying wholesome for 82 video games is a bit little bit of an artwork.”

How about enjoying in 1,059 consecutive video games — and counting —

the NHL iron-man document held by Phil Kessel

of the Vegas Golden Knights?

Kessel’s consecutive-game streak began on Nov. 3, 2009 and consists of stints with the Boston Bruins, Toronto Maple Leafs, Pittsburgh Penguins, Arizona Coyotes and Golden Knights. The 35-year-old ahead has 13-20-33 totals in 77 video games this season.

“Clearly, he’s doing one thing proper,” Canadiens defenceman Johnathan Kovacevic mentioned when requested about Kessel’s streak. “It’s fascinating and I used to be occupied with him and (Andrew) Cogliano (who had a streak of 830 consecutive video games) and different guys who’ve performed these lengthy iron-man streaks as a result of that is my first 12 months enjoying an 82-game season. It’s a lengthy season and you might be enjoying three video games every week, each different day, with journey in between.”

Kovacevic hasn’t been injured this season, however he did miss 5 video games as a wholesome scratch. Heading into Tuesday night time’s sport in opposition to the Detroit Purple Wings, the Canadiens had misplaced a league-high 670 man-games to accidents.

Former Canadiens ahead Doug Jarvis held the NHL iron-man document of 964 consecutive video games

earlier than it was

damaged by Philadelphia Flyers defenceman Keith Yandle on Jan. 25, 2022.

Jarvis had held the iron-man document since Dec. 26, 1986, when he performed his 915th consecutive sport to move Garry Unger.

Yandle’s streak got here to an finish final April when former Flyers coach Mike Yeo made him a wholesome scratch

, calling it an “organizational choice”

made “for what’s greatest for the Philadelphia Flyers going ahead.” Yandle introduced his retirement final September at age 36.

Heading into Tuesday’s video games, Suzuki’s 286 consecutive video games ranked fourth amongst lively NHL gamers behind Kessel, Carolina Hurricanes defenceman Brent Burns (755) and Dallas Stars defenceman Ryan Suter (366).

Solely 14 gamers in NHL historical past have performed greater than 600 consecutive video games


“I don’t know the right way to clarify it,” Kovacevic mentioned concerning the lengthy consecutive-game streaks. “These issues are wonderful. It’s tremendous spectacular that these guys are capable of do it for that lengthy. Nice on these guys, however I feel we’re getting unfortunate at instances (this season) as a result of a number of these accidents have been freakish. If somebody lands in your knee or Andy (Josh Anderson) runs right into a submit (struggling a excessive ankle sprain), there’s no quantity of coaching or preparation that may shield in opposition to that. I do hope that we’re simply getting all of our unhealthy luck out of the way in which proper now.”

Kovacevic has been a nice shock for the Canadiens after being claimed off waivers from the Winnipeg Jets 4 days earlier than the beginning of the season. Previous to this season, he had solely performed 4 video games within the NHL after being chosen by the Jets within the third spherical (74th total) of the 2017 draft. Earlier than dealing with the Purple Wings, the 25-year-old defenceman had 2-12-14 totals in 72 video games and a differential of plus-3 whereas averaging 17:11 of ice time.

Kovacevic has been impressed by what Suzuki does each on and off the ice whereas by no means lacking a sport.

“Initially, when he performs he’s an distinctive participant with an elite thoughts,” Kovacevic mentioned concerning the crew captain. “When he performs, he’s very in management. He’s very poised, very in management. That in all probability helps for him along with his physique positioning, not placing himself in susceptible positions. He positively takes care of his physique away from the rink and within the health club, however so do all the fellows. The fellows are execs right here and care for their our bodies. Dale (Lablans, the energy and conditioning coach) and the coaching employees do an excellent job.

“Possibly it’s simply his enjoying type, accountable for himself always, conscious of his setting,” Kovacevic added about Suzuki’s consecutive-game streak. “He’s additionally a tricky man. As a result of he’s so expert, folks possibly don’t understand it, however he’s a really powerful man. He can play laborious minutes, he’s not afraid of contact. He doesn’t draw back from any bodily problem. You possibly can positively study from him, however he’s such an distinctive participant and man … he’s distinctive. I can’t do what he does. I want I might, however I can’t.”

Not many NHL gamers can.

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