Monday, September 25

Devils’ Tomas Tatar on motivation for ’21 -22: show the Canadiens’ the big mistake ‘they made with a healthy playoff scratch

NEWARK, NJ – On Friday night at the Prudential Center, Tomas Tatar will play his first regular season game for his new club, the Devils. The last time he played in a meaningful game was 141 days ago, which means it has been almost four months since he buckled his skates and hit the ice in the Canadiens’ fifth game of the first-round series of the playoffs. the 2021 Stanley Cup against the Maple. Leaves.

But Montreal didn’t play until July? Yeah, but Tatar kept watching from the stands.

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“Out of nowhere, to be honest, the coaches made this decision that I respected,” he said during the press day with his new club. Tatar played the first five games against Toronto and then sat the rest of the way. “We had a great run in the playoffs. Obviously, you’re upset, you wanted to play and I think it could help the team, especially in the final, but I had to respect the decision.”

The decision was, well, a head scratch. Then-interim manager Dominique Ducharme turned a player who had led the team in scoring during the three seasons he was there (149 points in 198 games) as a healthy scratch. How good was Tatar for Le Bleu-Blanc-Rouge? He had 21 points more than second player, defender Jeff Petry, and of his 149 points, which he racked up with a 0.75 tear per game, 119 were on par.

“He’s been a proven top three or four scorer on the teams he’s been on. He’s great at opening up. He’s great at finding people who are open. He knows where to be,” Devils coach Lindy Ruff said.

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(Andrew Maclean / Devils of New Jersey)

Tatar was never given a reason why the decision was made. As he pointed out, it was not the right time for the Canadiens in the Cup final. He was being the best team player. I was upset? Absolutely. He wanted to help his club, especially in the final against the Lightning, who dominated the Canadiens in five games. But he accepted the decision.

“The first call I made was to [Canadiens GM] Marc Bergevin to talk about the person and when Marc Bergevin … tells me he can be the best person he’s ever driven, that says a lot about the character of a kid, “Devils general manager Tom Fitzgerald said the day from the media, noting that Tatar was brought in not just for his production on ice, but as a veteran presence in the room.

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And Tatar knows that his role with the demons is a duality.

In August, he signed a two-year contract with the club for $ 9 million. As one of the three boys on the list who is 30 or older (he will turn 31 in December; PK Subban is 32; Jonathan Bernier is 33), he is expected to be a mentor to the youth and to bring, as he said, “a winning mentality. ” He is also expected to be a points producer, showing the ability that saw him score at least 30 points each season since his first full round in 2013-14 with the Red Wings.

“He’s really good. He’s really good both defensive and offensive and he’s a very skilled player in the league for a long time and someone we really need,” Pavel Zacha said of his new teammate, who not only added points but also He was also on a stop with Phillip Danault (now with the Kings) and Brendan Gallagher in Montreal. “He’s a great guy in the locker room, he wants to win and stuff, so it’s great to have players like that on our team.”

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Standing in front of the media on the first day of training camp, Tatar had a big smile when he chatted. After a year north of the border solely in Canada and with no fans, he is ready for 2021-22. He said he was “personally hurting” as a guy who feeds off the energy that fans bring in. He’s ready to get through the “terrible” 2021 season in which the Canadiens often went coast to coast to play the other six Canadian teams.

You are ready to clean the board; last year is last year, but yeah, he has an extra chip on his shoulder.

And did you learn anything about how 2021 ended?

“Players make mistakes. Coaches make mistakes. My job is to show how big that mistake was.”

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