Nick Suzuki is the only member of the Canadiens to play in all 76 games this season.
That’s really remarkable when you consider how hard COVID-19 and injuries have hit the Canadiens. Alexander Romanov ranks second on the team in games played with 73, followed by Jake Evans with 67 and Josh Anderson with 63.
“I think it’s everyone’s goal heading into the season to play every game,” Suzuki said after practice Monday in Brossard. “You have to have some luck involved with that, obviously. But it would be cool to play every game this year, for sure.”
There are six games remaining in the season for the Canadiens, starting with Tuesday night’s matchup against the Minnesota Wild at the Bell Centre.
Suzuki hasn’t taken part in practices or morning skates for the last couple of weeks, but he was on the ice with his teammates Monday morning.
“I didn’t want to miss any of the games,” he said. “Being this late in the season, we just felt like I didn’t need to practice if I didn’t have to. Just to take treatment in the morning, head into the gym, work on my stuff and feel better for the games. That was working. But it was nice to be out in practice today — the first one in a while. It’s good to be out there with the guys.”
Suzuki has not missed a single game during his three years with the Canadiens, playing in all 56 games last season and all 71 the season before with the schedule being reduced each season because of COVID. The 22-year-old center also never missed a game with an injury during his four seasons of junior in the OHL, although he was sidelined a couple of times with illness.
Suzuki hit the 20-goal mark for the first time in his NHL career in Saturday’s 8-4 loss to the Washington Capitals and leads the Canadiens in scoring with 20-37-57 totals.
“It’s hard to play every game,” head coach Martin St. Louis said. “And if you’re going to play every game, you got to be willing to not be at 100 per cent all the time. I think everybody battles different kinds of injuries or bruises or whatever. But it’s going to be hard to play the whole season if you’re just waiting to be at 100 per cent.”
St. Louis didn’t miss many games during his Hall of Fame playing career. He missed only two games during an eight-year stretch with the Tampa Bay Lightning, noting he was able to play with some bumps and bruises.
“I hated not being part of the game,” he said. “I think that’s the biggest thing. There’s a big difference between injured and hurt. Injured, you’re probably out. Hurt, you’re playing.”
When asked how many games during an NHL season a player is actually at 100 per cent, St. Louis said: “I don’t know. It’s not 100 per cent.”
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