HALIFAX | Montreal Canadiens youngster Filip Mesar is in the middle of a year full of changes: he’s moving from Slovakia to Canada, learning a new culture and North American ice hockey, while also learning a little French!
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The Habs’ first-round picks in the last draft seem to be adapting well to the rigors of hockey here. With the Ontario Junior League’s Kitchener Rangers, he had 22 points in 17 games before representing his country at the World Junior Hockey Championship.
Before meeting Canada in Monday’s quarterfinals, he had scored five points in his first four games of the tournament and averaged just over 20 minutes (20:03) per game.
“I like being used excessively, he believed. I’m more active on the puck and feel good. We have a very good group of players and I feel comfortable in the dressing room and on the ice. »
French and swear words
That confidence was also evident in each of the responses the 5ft 10in, 176lb winger made in front of the Canadian media on the eve of the quarter-final game against Canada. A colleague pointed out the quality of his English and then asked how many languages he spoke.
“Only two [anglais et slovaque]but I also speak a little German and can say a few words in French,” he said, laughing.
– Ah yes, what can you say in French?
– A few forbidden words.
– Can you tell us who taught it to you? Joshua Roy?
– Maybe, he concluded with a smile.
We’re still not sure if the Sherbrooke Phoenix forward is to blame for teaching Mesar some Quebec folklore, but the fact remains that Roy appreciated what he could of his possible during the Habs’ last training camp future teammates saw.
“He surprised me,” he said. He is real. He and [Owen] Beck were the two players who, like everyone else, surprised me the most. Mesar is pretty much one of the best on the other side in this tournament. »
The experiences of the past year not only benefit Mesar personally. With the Slovakia team, he meets young hopeful Dalibor Dvorsky, another athlete from his country who will likely hear his name fairly quickly in the next repechage race.
The Canadian hopeful and defenseman Simon Nemec, last draft pick for the New Jersey Devils, just behind Juraj Slafkovsky, took him under their wing.
“I can certainly trust them. They are two excellent players and good leaders. They are a very important part of our team and I learn a lot from them,” said the 17-year-old forward.
On the ice, Dvorsky has a front row seat to appreciate Mesar’s game.
“He’s a multi-skilled player, a good skater and he has above-average hockey intelligence. He’s proven that with his great passes since the start of the tournament. He also plays a lot of minutes but he is in good physical shape. It’s not a problem for him. »