Memorial Cup: CH hope Kaiden Guhle takes the lead in Saint-Jean

Saint Jane, note | Even if Montreal Canadiens fans are excited to see Kaiden Guhle in their favorite team uniform, the defender’s head has yet to turn for Montreal, or even for the resumption of the World Junior Championships next August.

• Read also – Memorial Cup: Three CH hopefuls to watch

• Read also – Who will bring the precious cup home?

The 2020 first-round picks have the opportunity to finish their junior training in the best possible way: by lifting the Memorial Cup.

It will definitely be an exclamation mark at the end of a long and eventful season. From the Canadians camp, to the World Juniors being canceled in December, to the deal that took him from Prince Albert Raiders to Edmonton Oil Kings, Guhle had no time to stop thinking. 2021-2022. But this will wait a little longer.

“For me, it’s go, go, go all year. It’s been nice to have all these experiences and it’s been a fun year. It’s good to end it here with these guys on the biggest stage in junior hockey,” he said, emphasizing that he hadn’t taken A decision on whether to take part in the resumption of the World Junior Championships in August.

For now, all that matters to Guhle is the Memorial Cup. He was instrumental in the Oil Kings’ WHL win, and earned him the honors MVP.

“He made an impact in all aspects of the game when he got here, especially in the changing room with his leadership and the kind of person he is. He’s clearly on the ice for everyone to see: he’s unbelievable. He reduces space for opposing players, he’s physical and he’s excellent defensively. In addition, he was one of the best offensive players in the playoffs,” said teammate Jake Nebors.

Kaiden Guhle, here in action during the 2021-22 season, will compete with his team in the Memorial Cup.

Photo courtesy Andy Devlin

Kaiden Guhle, here in action during the 2021-22 season, will compete with his team in the Memorial Cup.

progress

Guhle has continued to advance this year thanks, in particular, to all the experiences he has had.

“I have worked with many different coaches and they have helped me gain confidence in myself as well as with the puck. I think my offensive performance has improved,” said the man who finished the regular season with 40 points in 42 games split between Prince Albert and Edmonton.

For coach Brad Lauer, Guhle’s steady progression and influence on the Oil Kings since his arrival has made him believe he’s not far from a regular spot in the NHL.

“In his four years here, he is definitely the closest NHL player I have coached. His approach is very professional both in and out of the ring. He is a very mature man. […] He’s the type of player who is never satisfied who comes into training every day with the goal of working on his game. That approach is what makes it work,” says the man who, before taking over as head coach of the Oil Kings in 2018, worked for nearly ten years as an NHL assistant with the Ottawa Senators, Anaheim Ducks and Tampa Bay Lightning.

PROLIFIC DUO

In Edmonton, Guhle was positioned alongside Nashville Predators defender and potential Luke Prokop. This pair has been used in every situation and is likely to be key to the Oil Kings if they hope to win the Anniversary Cup.

“We grew up playing together and against each other,” Prokop said. He is an excellent player, an excellent teammate and an excellent friend. We complement each other well on the ice. »

“What makes Kaiden so effective is his skating skills and his way of looking at the game. When he makes a mistake, which rarely happens, he has the ability to skate to step back and correct his mistake. He is a very smart player and a good read on the snowboard.”

I left friendship aside for the tournament

Jake Neighbors and Mavrik Bourque have been fantasizing about this moment since 2018.

Then our white teammates, in the World Under-17 Challenge, specifically, in Saint-Jean and Quispamsis, the two forwards would have fantasized about facing each other in the Memorial Cup when their respective teams reach maturity.

The neighbors, natives of Airdrie, Alberta, and Burke, born in Plessisville had never met before, but soon became friends.

Burke said: “We talked about it sometimes when we were kids, that we would one day face each other in the Anniversary Cup. Playing against him at last is fun. Thanks to being in international tournaments, you end up making friends and that’s what happened with Jake.”

That year, Canada White were disqualified from the podium despite taking first place in Group 1 in the preliminary round.

However, their paths crossed again several times, first at the Hlinka/Gretzky Cup in 2019 where they won the silver medal after losing to the Russians in the final, and then at the last World Hockey Championship.

Despite the tournament being canceled along the way due to the high number of COVID-19 cases, the two friends were able to reconnect for a month while they were placed as roommates.

“We have gotten to know each other over the years. He is a really good guy and we have become good friends.”

side friendship

However, it did not take hockey players the past few days to remember the old stories. In fact, they only spoke to congratulate each other after their conquests.

“We didn’t talk to each other and didn’t make any bets either. We are friends, but no friends on the ice. I’m sure it’s the same on his part,” the neighbors stated.

This wasn’t the first time they had faced each other on Tuesday. Last NHL training camp, Neighbors, the St. Louis Blues’ pick, and Burke’s, the Dallas Stars’ pick, faced each other twice in the Expo games. The two friends won the victory for each of them.



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