By Josh Saunders, Staff Writer, All Habs Hockey Magazine
A human dynamo is literally defined as someone who is a doer, someone who acts and get things done, an energetic person with unusual initiative. It is a person who can be described as a fireball, or a powerhouse.
As both a player and a fan, my favourite players have always been the guys who have possessed dynamic talent, offensive dynamos, if you will. They are guys who might be playing the exact same game as others, but can do it in an entirely different way that’s more effective and more exciting than any other player. They are players who can still find a way to lift you out of your seat when you’re watching a snooze-fest.
For those reasons, my favourite player ever to wear a Habs uniform has been Alex Kovalev. I’m too young to fully appreciate the talents and impact of Habs legends Guy Lafleur, Maurice Richard, Jean Beliveau and Patrick Roy. Kovalev is someone that I was watching with my own eyes every night, and he usually made it worth it. It wasn’t always a goal, assist, or even an impact play that he would make, but it could be a move here, a subtle dangle there or a rare display of strength behind the net. There were things Kovalev would do that would make you wonder ‘how in the world did he even think of doing that?’
But despite being so skilled offensively, you couldn’t really call Kovalev a ‘dynamo’ in the true sense of the word, As much I loved watching him play, it’s no secret that Kovalev didn’t exactly bring his ‘A’ effort to the rink every single night. Sometimes fans would have to wait two or three games before he would show up to display his pure talent. Yet his skill alone made one marvel at his play and fans forgave him for any shortcomings. I believe these pluses and minuses are what made Kovalev such a polarizing figure to Habs fans, even to this day.
Since his departure, the Canadiens have had a handful of players that you could truly describe as dynamic. Newly-departed defenceman P.K. Subban was one of them, and, no surprise, he was also my favourite player during his tenure here. The memories are still fresh on what Subban can do. The feelings I experienced watching P.K. operate on the back-end were similar to the ones I had when AK27 was here.
Alex Galchenyuk, who started his season off with a bang by scoring a beauty against the Coyotes, has given us plenty of reasons to believe he is dynamic as well. But there’s one man who has shown me that he possesses all the necessary qualities of a dynamic player. That player is Alexander Radulov.
Prior to arriving in North America to play in the QMJHL for the Quebec Remparts, Radulov was a Dynamo, that is, a winger for Dynamo Moscow. But my use of the word dynamo goes well beyond that team association. I see rare skill and exciting play that have been missing from the Canadiens forwards for a very long time.
With a goal and two assists on Monday against the Flyers, Radulov is now third in team scoring trailing only Brendan Gallagher and Shea Weber. In addition, he has succeeded in making the Canadiens a lot more entertaining to watch. His raw skill, intensity, and occasional mean-streak have made me genuinely excited every time he steps foot on the ice.
Much like Kovalev, Subban, and Galchenyuk, Radulov has a special ability to make things happen in the game that you are not used to seeing on a nightly basis. His first goal in a Canadiens uniform was a perfect indication of that, a beautiful display of talent and patience before showing the finish of a true goal-scorer. But even when he’s not scoring, he’s making waves, just like Kovalev used to, with little plays and passes throughout the game that drive offensive chances and bring fans out of their seats.
Unlike Kovalev, however, Radulov appears like he has no intentions of taking any nights off. When he’s not making things happen offensively, he’s giving it his all in other ways. He reminds me a little of Peter Forsberg, someone who was not afraid to get a little nasty when the chips were down despite being primarily a skill player.
Whether it would be a hard-fought battle in the corner or protecting his teammates in a scrum, his intensity without the puck has impressed me. Not only can he bring that element of dynamic offense to the line-up, you could put him out in a one goal game to protect the lead and not have to worry about his compete level.
That’s why, despite only playing a handful of games with the Canadiens, Radulov has me extremely excited for this season. I believe he might end up being the steal of free agency when all is set and done. The Canadiens may have taken a risk by bringing him over, but with risk often comes the possibility for a large reward.
The reward for the Canadiens in this case is that they have found their selves a true gamer.
A powerhouse. A fireball. A dynamo.