While it may not have been the right night for him, Jesperi Kotkinimi played his best game on Wednesday night since wearing the Canadians uniform.
The youngster did not play well as he collected his first two points this season, he got two points because he was playing the right way.
Let’s start with the ribs first, then pour in the flowers.
Canucks’ second goal, Tyler Motte, early in the second period when Jeff Petrie made the first mistake by losing the net a mile away. The puck goes around the ramp and ends on Mote’s stick, which spins a two-on-one counterattack.
Kotkanemi, which caused Petrie to enter the pass zone, should read the situation carefully. He sees his winger Tyler Tofoli and Joel Army rushing towards the net. He will have to be back to cover Petrie’s full back.
The young man also received an expensive penalty for insulting the referee in the middle of the second period.
Kotkamini, in his defense, is the victim of two trifles in the same order. At the first opportunity you can almost give the Canucks the benefit of the doubt, but the second goaltender Braden Holtby stretched the stick to lift him up and almost broke his neck on the Kotkanemi board. Behind the net.
When you are 20 years old, you shut your mouth even though you are justified in complaining. He is a wise young man, he must learn his lesson.
Flowers now. The Canadians 2018 first round pick, third overall, won just 11% of his face-offs in the first game in Toronto. He has worked hard to rectify this flawed aspect of his game since the beginning of his career.
Kotkanimi increased his winning rate to 46% in Game 2, 66% in Game 3 and… 77% against Canucks. He has a 61% savings rate for three games. Claude Julian is less and less hesitant to confront him on defensive territory.
Of the team’s four crosses, Kotkani is now second in this regard (51.2%), behind Philip Danault (53.4%), Nick Suzuki (41.8%) and Jake Evans (39.5%).
Kotkamini was also one of the main generators in the attack on Wednesday evening. You must have more than average focus to spot the tofoli on the opponent’s blue line in the first goal of the CH match. With any luck, Finn got one or two assists.
Holtby did not see his goal well, but Kotkonimi had a lesson to learn: to throw frequently on the net and especially to shoot fast.
The most impressive thing about Kotkanimi is his overall game. He was impressed with his participation, improved physical strength, especially in the lower body and in the playoffs by his visibility.
He retained all of these qualities, but improved his defensive play. He recovers a lot of puck in the back of the territory to support his defenders, “breaks” games and he makes numerous excursions, not mentioning his entries into puck-occupied territory, somewhat thanks to his advantageous size.
Of course there will be more ups and downs. But its progress is steady and if it continues this steady ascent, it can become a center of dominance, saying it can “do it”.
You need to constantly remember your age. Jesperi Kotkanimi is the youngest in his queue. He was a junior last year. He is ten months younger than Brady Takachuk and Quinn Hughes, who created it in 2018. He was the age of Nick Suzuki last year. Suzuki, embarking on the second half of the season.
Kotkamini, born July 2000, is one year and three months older than Alexis Lafrenier, born in October 2001, recently drafted a few months ago.
Kotkanemi is 6 feet 2in tall and weighs 205 pounds, he can still get the trunk. At his age, Alexander Barkov of the Florida Panthers had just 24 and 36 points a season. At his age, Leon Droysight scored 9 points in 37 games in his NHL debut last season.
The point here is not to compare three players, but to remember that patience with young talented players is a must.
1- The referee was able to inflict some additional penalties on Canucks on some scenes, but CH players should also show more discipline. Here is an analysis of the game against Simon-Oliver Lorenz’s Conks.
2- Former VP of Communications for the Montreal Impact, Stefan Banfi, CF recalls the recipe to give Montreal its identity. A recipe that was already proven a few years ago …