Alexandre Texier was playing in the Finnish League a couple of months ago, and it didn't seem like the NHL was in his direct future. A lot was going to need to go his way.
Little did he know, it was all going to fall in his favor.
After Texier scored his first NHL goal last weekend against the Ottawa Senators, Columbus Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella didn't mince words on his involvement in the playoffs.
"He's playing," Tortorella said post-game. And it was said with conviction.
In a follow-up press conference, Tortorella continued with the praise for Texier.
"He's not nervous," said Tortorella. "In fact, he plays with a type of arrogance that, for the age of the kid, it's pretty impressive."
Texier is playing well, and it may partially have to do with a bit of naivety – he's just playing hockey, playing loose, and doing what he knows best to do. Not becoming overwhelmed in the moment is significant; he may not completely get the gravity of it, and now the Blue Jackets hope to use it as a weapon.
"You can see his intelligence of the game," Tortorella said. "He's physical when he needs to be. He's engaged on pucks. He's impressive, and he'll play."
For a coach that notoriously has been hard to impress, it makes the praise for Texier all the more shocking. He deserves the recognition, but seeing it heaped upon him should only add to the Texier arrogance. And this quick rise for Texier means Alexander Wennberg, two years removed from a 59-point campaign, is a healthy scratch for Game 1 on Wednesday night at Amalie Arena.
If you believe you can't be stopped, who is going to end up telling Texier otherwise?
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