Nashville Predators | Michael McCarron knew how to make himself essential

(Nashville) When the Nashville Predators’ training camp began last fall, Andrew Brunette had serious doubts about Michael McCarron.


Newly arrived in the position, the head coach was not sure that the big attacker had the speed necessary for the style of play he wanted to implement.

Six months later, McCarron no longer needs to convince anyone. For the first time in his career, the former Habs spent a full season in the NHL, without detouring to the American League. And after being left out for 9 of his team’s first 14 games, he is an integral part of the Predators’ offense, where he is now the center of the fourth line. Two weeks ago, he even signed a two-year contract extension.

“He deserved everything that happened to him,” Brunette said Tuesday morning, a few hours before the match between his team and the Canadian. He is an intelligent player who positions himself well. He understood the way we play. »

PHOTO JOHN LOCHER, ASSOCIATED PRESS

Michael McCarron (47) and Nicolas Hague (14) battle for the puck.

As we know, the road has been long for McCarron. CH’s first-round pick in 2013, he will forever carry the burden of someone who failed to meet the expectations that the Montreal organization placed in him. In 2020, he was traded to the Predators for Laurent Dauphin.

Despite this new beginning, his patience has yet to be tested. For four years, he commuted between Nashville and Milwaukee, where the Preds’ farm club is located. Injuries also caused him to miss a lot of matches.

But this time, that’s it. At 28 years old – 29 this Thursday – he can say that he has become a full-time NHL player. Before facing the Canadian, he had a record of nine goals and nine assists. If anyone is interested, his 18 total points were more than Josh Anderson’s total (17), with fewer games played.

“It’s a tough league,” McCarron recalled Tuesday in an interview with some Montreal journalists. Some guys take longer to get there, and I’m one of them. It’s a good feeling. I’m happy with my game, the team is great… It’s good to win, to play good hockey and to be part of this group. »

Regularity

The Predators, in fact, had won eight straight games before Tuesday’s game. With five points during this sequence, McCarron did not watch the parade pass. His ice time has increased, flirting with 15 minutes in recent meetings. He now plays with regularity on the penalty kill.

“At the training camp, I remarked to my fiancée: he had taken another step, he was different,” testifies Alexandre Carrier. It was sharp, he executed well, he worked hard, he was fast… I’m super happy for him. »

Lately, according to Ryan O’Reilly, McCarron’s line “has probably been (the) best” on the Predators.

“To win, you need depth,” he added. I don’t see them as a fourth line. »

PHOTO GEORGE WALKER IV, ASSOCIATED PRESS

Michael McCarron has 19 points since the start of the season.

The veteran described his teammate as “an essential guy” on the team.

He uses his physique, he fights, he can play against the best opposing lines. He got a chance and took it. It does so many things, many of which are not visible from the outside. He talks in the locker room, he brings life to the bench. He is a big factor in our success.

Ryan O’Reilly, on McCarron

McCarron is the first to say it: yes, he has refined his skating, but it is probably in terms of self-confidence that the improvement has been most obvious. Naturally talkative, he wants his energy to rub off on his teammates. This is exactly what happens, and it doesn’t go unnoticed.

“It’s a strong voice in the locker room,” confirms Andrew Brunette. He has experienced a lot in his career, and he has become a big brother to the young people. It helps define the identity of our team. »

The coach also speaks of his attacker as a “secondary leader”, a name he reserves for his veterans who do not wear a letter on their jersey, but whose ascendancy he salutes over their teammates.

Might as well say life is good for Michael McCarron in the country town.

“Nashville is home,” he says. I worked hard to get here. And it feels good to know that an organization has your back. »


reference: www.lapresse.ca

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