Flyers – Canadian | Matheson back, Harris skips a lap

In training camp, Michael Matheson was on his way to glory. In the three games he played, he played between 23 and 26 minutes and was in all situations. He was on his way to receiving a level of responsibility unprecedented in his career.


The Montrealer will have the opportunity to get back to it starting on Saturday. His return to play is confirmed for the duel in the evening against the Philadelphia Flyers.

Matheson will therefore put on the Canadiens jersey, in an official match, for the first time. For the occasion, he will play in front of his wife, child, brother, parents and several members of his family.

“It will be really special, a little weird, even, estimated the 28-year-old veteran, after the morning training of the Canadian. I’m happy to have this chance to play for the team I watched when I was young. I had been watching the games for a few weeks and was looking forward to playing in front of the fans. »

Matheson and Chris Wideman were the first skaters to work Saturday morning. Long before the other players showed up, the two backs were practicing shooting from the blue line.

“I don’t know if you’ve been watching practices lately, but that’s how he moves, he has a presence,” said Canadian head coach Martin St-Louis. I’m happy for him. A youngster from Montreal who plays his first game on a Saturday night, it will be special, not just for him, but for his family. We are happy to have him in the lineup. »

It was a cross-check, received in the Habs’ first preseason game against the Devils, that forced Matheson to abdicate. The former Panthers and Penguins still played two more games, but then had to take a break. Official cause: injury to an abdominal muscle. On October 13, the CH had announced an absence of eight weeks, a schedule which, as during the construction of the Empire State Building in 1931, was accelerated.

We will have to see how St-Louis will dose its use. Already, the coach has clarified that Matheson will be employed in the second power play unit, while the first, made up of five forwards, will remain intact.

However, Matheson will play with Joel Edmundson at 5-5, which suggests he will be busy. Moreover, this same Edmundson, on his return to the game at the beginning of the month, had been employed on average 22 minutes per game in his first three outings. The concept of gradual return did not apply here.

Harris left out

The question tormented many in recent days: who will skip his turn to make room for Matheson?

For Saturday’s game, it will be Jordan Harris. His use in later games has dropped from the start of the season. He’s only averaged 16:54 in the last five games. His average before that was almost 21 minutes.


PHOTO FRANÇOIS ROY, LA PRESSE ARCHIVES

Jordan Harris

“Jordan did nothing wrong. It’s all positive,” assured St-Louis. He continued by recalling that he “loves” the three recruits that are Harris, Arber Xhekaj and Johnathan Kovacevic, specifying that the other recruit, Kaiden Guhle, “has his place” with David Savard.

“The three, in my opinion, it will be a rotation, continued St-Louis. It’s not necessarily because they’re playing badly that they’ll drop out of the lineup. It’s the chance to have one-on-one time with a player, like today. It’s the chance to watch the game from above, to see when you have more time, and when you have less time. It’s not negative.

“We’re not just going to plan a schedule. We will base our decisions on the opponent, the performance, and because we don’t want a player to be sidelined for too long. »

Up front, no change is expected and Joel Armia remains on the sidelines. With the dismissal of Rem Pitlick in Laval on Friday, the Habs had already freed up the space to integrate Matheson into the formation of the 23 players.

Flyers – Canadian | Matheson back, Harris skips a lap