BUFFALO – Accusations of cronyism have colored coverage of the Canadiens’ activities since the turmoil that engulfed the team’s top management last winter.
Jeff Gorton has hired his accomplice Kent Hughes as his main right-hand man as vice president of hockey operations. He also brought Nick Bobrov, who had worked for him on the New York Rangers, back to his side and made him his co-director of fan recruiting.
Hughes, meanwhile, set his sights on Martin St-Louis when it came time to find a successor for Dominique Ducharme. St. Louis had virtually no experience in the business, but he and Hughes had regularly crossed paths in stadiums for a few decades, most recently because their sons played on the same team at Northeastern University.
The Canadian had become a Country club, quickly accused the most uncompromising observers. For them, the upcoming NL draft taking place in Montreal starting July 7 could give them a chance to rip another jersey off.
Jack Hughes is an 18-year-old center who just finished his first season on the American college network. He finished his year with 16 points in 39 games for the Northeastern Huskies. “It wasn’t a great year,” the spy tells us, but NHL Central Scouting still sees it as 26me Best hope for your cuvée in North America.
The Canadian, who has ten options in the first four rounds of the upcoming draft, could he use one to get the rights to his GM’s son? It’s not nice. Our source: the DG’s son.
“I want to play in the NHL, no matter where. If it had to be in Montreal, I’d be delighted. But I don’t think it’s a wish my father shares,” the friendly youngster said on Saturday.
“He doesn’t necessarily want to put all this pressure on my shoulders if he doesn’t have to. If he thinks I’m the best player available when his turn comes, it could happen, but he told me it’s something he’d rather avoid. »
Being the son of the boss, especially in a market that is scrutinized as aggressively as Montreal’s, can bring a little extra pressure. Young Hughes got a glimpse of it this week when he showed up for an interview to which he had been invited by the CH general staff.
“I was waiting my turn outside the room and when the door opened to let me in, my dad said he would go out that way. They asked me if he wanted me to stay. I said no, but they told me that it was not up to me. Martin Lapointe told him that he was out of the question, that he was going to stay. »
“It made me nervous knowing that he would be there. »
Historically, however, the presence of a father involved at the highest levels of hockey has brought Jack Hughes far more advantages than disadvantages.
He was not yet 2 years old when he was dragged to Vincent Lecavalier’s private party after the Tampa Bay Lightning won the Stanley Cup in 2004. A few years later, he participated in the summer celebrations of the Boston Bruins’ triumph in Quebec. lands of Patrice Bergeron. The captain and his family were also often invited to the Hughes for Thanksgiving.
“I spent my childhood surrounded by guys like that. I also have memories with Kris Letang. I see them a little differently today. I hope to play against the theshortlyre, so I don’t admire them so much anymore, but I don’t deny that it wasn’t bad. Cold rub shoulders with them like I did. I didn’t have a completely normal youth with these guys in the photo. »
Kent Hughes was also a father who was present and invested in the development of his children. He coached his two sons in junior hockey and always wanted to share his great experience in the sport with them. Until recently, he helped his youngest child prepare for this assessment camp this week in Buffalo.
But Jack admits his father has been a bit more distant since he oversaw the operations of one of the NHL’s iconic franchises. It’s a development that surprises him, not because he didn’t think he was worthy of the job, but because he felt he was ready to slow down after so many years of embodying the Sharks. alpha in the world of sports representation.
“We were surprised, that’s for sure when he told us he was leaving his company to join the Canadiens. I think he had taken it for granted that he was slowly approaching retirement. He talked more and more about how he wanted to take some time off to improve his golf over the summer. He had been an agent for a long time, some of his clients had hung up their skates. I guess I was wrong and he really can’t do without hockey! »
“But as soon as he got the job, we knew he would do a good job,” concludes the proud son. That’s what he’s been doing from the beginning and I think in the July draft he’ll show it again. »
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