photo via sportsnet.ca
July 1st, 2016 the day the Montreal Canadiens bargain shopped and struck gold.
Alexander Radulov is simply silencing the critics. Six games into the 2016/2017 NHL season the former CSKA Moscow superstar has been without a doubt the most noticeable Montreal Canadien. His intense facial expressions and work ethic is making Hab faithfuls fall deeply in love.
Radulov came to the Habs with a reputation that left the hockey world questioning Marc Bergevin’s off-season decision but nonetheless the big Russian has revamped the Canadiens offence in this young NHL season.
47 has his talent on full display in the early stages of the season, grabbing five points in his first six games with a plus two rating on a league leading Canadiens squad that has come flying out of the gate with a 5-0-1 start.
Not only is he producing on the score sheet but he’s bringing a much more matured and hardworking style to his game. He has dominated in all three zones on the ice thus far with his size and heavy speed. Contrary to his previous reputation during his Nashville days where I feel he was unfairly labelled as lazy and immature.
Radulov already finds himself being rewarded, catching top PP minutes on the point bumping Markov off.
Like wine, he’s getting better with age.
All his current teammates describe him as “passionate” and we have seen nothing but that especially during a big Monday night tilt against the Philadelphia Flyers where he picked up three points (1G, 2A) and the Bell Centre crowd chanted his name.
As of right now Radulov finds himself playing on the second line with a struggling Tomas Plekanec and a hot starting rookie, Artturi Lehkonen.
At some point I’d like to see Radulov on the top line with Galchenyuk and Pacioretty but for right now, the Habs seem to have four lines rolling, great defensive structure and everyone is clicking fairly well. So, like many, if it’s not broken, don’t fix it.
There is no doubt in my mind that 47 will keep up his production with the intensity he brings every night, every shift. Expect a great season from the Russian winger earning him a new contract and home in Montreal. We can’t mistake the new Radulov for the old.
Radulov simply loves Montreal and Montreal simply loves Radulov.