At the NHL draft in 1984, a genius by the name of Mario Lemieux emerged from a season of 133 goals and 282 points with the Neighboring Laval. There was also another talented attacker who was wearing the colors of Porters of Guelph. Kirk Muller had obtained figures more human in a hockey League in Ontario, with 94 points (31 goals, 63 assists) in just 49 games.
We know the story. Lemieux had shunned the day of his selection, but he has finally experienced a glorious career with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Muller was followed on the podium for this auction by endorsing the cap and the jersey of the New Jersey Devils.
Nearly 36 years after this draft, which was held at the Montreal Forum, as it was always the case at the time, the Penguins and the Devils had bet just. Lemieux is the player with the most productive of this vintage with 1723 points, while Muller comes in 4th place with 959 points. Between the number 66 and captain Kirk, there are two findings in Luc Robitaille and Brett Hull. The Los Angeles Kings had won the lottery in capturing a winger said to be too slow in the 9th round (171st), while the Calgary Flames have chosen Hull in the 6th round (117th rank).
We always need the patience to evaluate the relevance of a choice in the draft. In 2018, the Canadian has made Jesperi Kotkaniemi the third choice in total, one position ahead of Brady Tkachuk and four rows ahead of Quinn Hughes. In the short term, the Ottawa Senators and the Vancouver Canucks have received a better return on their investment, as the CH.
Muller, in his role as associate coach with Claude Julien and his experience as a former top choice in a draft, is well placed to describe the evolution of Kotkaniemi. He drew a parallel between his debut in a market anonymous in New Jersey and those of Kotkaniemi in a city where hockey is a religion.
“It is interesting to compare its progress with mine, but it was so different to my time, recalled Muller Thursday, during a conference call with journalists in montreal. First, there was no expectations with the Devils. We were a young team, we were in a period of reconstruction. It was also a market where we had the opportunity to commit errors. I was 18 years old, John MacLean was 19 and Pat Verbeek, 20. There were several young people. The game was also different at that time. There were more errors during a match. You can notice it if you look at the old matches broadcast currently on television.
Confidence in Kotkaniemi
Muller holds out hope to see Kotkaniemi to bounce back after a second difficult season in the organization.
“With KK, we see his qualities, he said. He has a good physical, skills and an understanding of the game. But today, the game is so fast and competitive. It takes probably more time to adapt. This is the most important thing for him, he must continue to learn the game from the NHL and continue his improvement. It was one of the youngest players on his last chance in 2018, and it was one of the youngest players in the NHL this season. It is to remain positive in his learning. I believe that it is headed in the right direction. He also understands that it is not easy to make the jump into this league, especially at his age.
“I can say one thing as a coach, I like the lead. He is always receptive to our advice and recommendations. He wants to improve. If he keeps this attitude, he will continue his progression. “
Back home in Kingston in Ontario, Muller has chased away the time by watching several old matches of the NHL. He has relived his conquest of the Stanley cup in 1993 with the CH in watching this series against the Kings with two of his daughters and his son-in-law, Brad Malone, an attacker who is shuttling between the Edmonton Oilers and the Condors of Bakersfield.
“We like to compare eras, noted Muller. When we look at the speed of Bobby Orr or Paul Coffey, it is quite striking. Wayne (Gretzky) was not the fastest, but he thought quickly. The good skaters still have an advantage. It is now seen with Connor McDavid, a teammate of my son-in-law. It is faster today, but it was more physical at that time. ”
Mom Muller, star of the web
Kirk Muller has talked of the new star in the family. It is his mother, Annette Muller, aged 82 years.
Mrs. Muller has drawn attention on social networks following the publication of a photo where she was holding a bottle of wine in one hand and a sign, the other where we could read that she had need of wine. Kelly Muller, the sister of Kirk, has released this photo which has been shared more than 260,000 times.
“It is very trivial as story, replied Muller. As you know, everyone abides by the rules of social distancing. My mother stays in Kingston and we pay him a visit without being able to get in touch with it. My sister has visited him and she took this photo. My mother has a great sense of humor. This photo has made the rounds, it has snowballed. We have received e-mails from vineyards in Spain, the United States and the
Canada. It’s a funny story during this difficult period with the pandemic. So much the better if people have fun with it. It gives a smile. I annoy my sister with it, since it is she who has given his address. She gets the wine and not my mother ! “
Annette Muller, who has six children, 13 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren, is doing well during this crisis of the COVID-19.
“It is a difficult time for seniors, especially for those who live in residences for the elderly, pointed out Kirk Muller. My mother still lives in his house. But she’s bored. She was accustomed to receive her children and grandchildren and she can’t do it this time. My mother loves the game of hockey. She likes to watch the old matches that are played on television. She looks up at the hockey in the evening, it will remain a partisan of the sport until his death. ”