Mike Matheson and the Montreal Challenge

During his press conference on Monday morning, the 28-year-old defender did not fail to underline the special character that represents for him the fact of wearing the tricolor uniform and following in the footsteps of his childhood idol, Saku Koivu. .

Those who didn’t grow up here can’t understand. I was totally surprised, but really excited. I was not prepared for this exchangeacknowledged Matheson who was told over the phone of his upcoming move.

Clearly, the enthusiastic reactions from his family and loved ones were quick to come. He grew up in the West Island and played his minor hockey with the Lac-Saint-Louis Lions.

His spouse, originally from the Buffalo area, was the first to see the joy that this caused.

She was very happy too. We have already spent a few summers in Montreal, so it is an environment that is very familiar to us. She immediately saw my reaction on my face and how important it would be for me to perform in my hometown.

Transition and major role

Matheson is coming off his best offensive season with 31 points, including 11 goals, in 74 games.

Admittedly, his place on the Penguins’ chessboard was different from that which he could be called upon to occupy in Montreal since he will no longer count on the presence of a Kristopher Letang to relaunch the attack.

If he has yet to sit down with management to discuss his use, Matheson says he offers his best when he can go on the attack.

I’m at my best when I can skate with the puck and distribute it to the other players. I like to use my skating for the recovery and thus support the attack. »

A quote from Montreal Canadiens defender Mike Matheson

He also believes that head coach Martin Saint-Louis provides an additional element of motivation.

coaching en découle. Je n’ai pas été dans le vestiaire avec lui, mais il est le genre de gars pour qui t’es prêt à passer au travers d’un mur de briques.”,”text”:”En sachant le genre de joueur qu’il était et à quel point il était compétitif, on comprend que son style de coaching en découle. Je n’ai pas été dans le vestiaire avec lui, mais il est le genre de gars pour qui t’es prêt à passer au travers d’un mur de briques.”}}”>Knowing the kind of player he was and how competitive he was, we understand that his style of framing resulting. I haven’t been in the locker room with him, but he’s the kind of guy you’re willing to go through a brick wall for.

Mike Matheson

Photo: Courtesy Montreal Canadiens -Zoom

Matheson doesn’t seem intimidated by the huge task that awaits him in a rebuilding team.

When you look at what the Canadian did to reach the final two years ago, it was exciting to watch even though I wasn’t on the team.

Finally, in the face of his relationship with Kent Hughes who has gone from the role of agent to that of boss, Matheson says no discomfort with this other transition.

We had already spoken when he was about to get the general manager’s chair. I was really excited when he took it. I think he’s going to be really good in this position. It is certain that our relationship will be different now, a little more professional. But it should be good to have someone I know wellhe explained.

“It’s really exciting, it’s a boost of energy. I’ve always dreamed of playing for the Canadiens, it’s really special. And now, I dream of winning a Stanley Cup in Montreal. -Mike Matheson

About the 8-year, $39 million contract he signed with the Florida Panthers in 2018-19, Matheson says he wouldn’t change a thing.

I am older and more experienced today. I went through a difficult period, but it’s forged the player I am now. I don’t know if the contract had something to do with it, but things quickly unraveled because I was putting a lot on my shoulders. But it’s still valuable learning.

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