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Tony Marinaro
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Tony Marinaro is venting his frustration against the Canadiens regarding Arber Xhekaj

Published February 7, 2024 at 11:59 PM
BY DAVID ST-JEAN

We know Tony Marinaro for his fiery personality, never afraid to stir things up when he disagrees with something, whether it's a colleague, a friend, or the Montreal Canadiens. This time, on the BMP Sports airwaves alongside Georges Laraque, Tony took issue with the Canadiens and their management of Arber Xhekaj's playing time.

According to him, a developing player should progress and play more minutes. I tend to agree with him on this point, but the player must also be capable of handling those minutes.

Marinaro cited examples of players like Kirby Dach, Nick Suzuki, Cole Caufield, Jayden Struble, and Juraj Slafkovsky, who are progressing well with increased playing time.

As for Xhekaj, there's been a decrease, and it doesn't sit well with him. While his reasoning can be understood, I personally don't agree with him.


Arber Xhekaj is somewhat like Justin Barron, Jordan Harris, and Johnathan Kovacevic, meaning not yet ready for more responsibilities. Perhaps they never will be, and that remains to be seen.

Regarding Xhekaj, looking at his season overall, he has taken bad penalties, caused turnovers, and made costly errors in game after game. How should Martin St-Louis give him more playing time?

Jayden Struble's playing time has increased by eight minutes per game, playing solid hockey since his arrival without letting up. The same goes for Kirby Dach last year, Slafkovsky this year, and so on.

Moreover, Slaf was on the last two lines last season. Now that he consistently provides better quality time to his coach, he plays more and does good things in every game.

Once again, I understand Tony's frustration, but playing time must be earned, and Xhekaj hasn't done enough to deserve more—that's as simple as it gets. That's my opinion. How about you? Do you agree with Tony Marinaro's statements?

POLL
February 7   |   397 answers
Tony Marinaro is venting his frustration against the Canadiens regarding Arber Xhekaj

Do you agree with Tony Marinaro's statements?

Yes21153.1 %
No18646.9 %
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