Former Canadien coaching behind Czechia bench

Longtime Montreal Canadiens forward Tomas Plekanec traded in his skates for a clipboard. The Czechia native is an assistant coach for his country at the World Hockey Championship.
Detroit Red Wings v Montreal Canadiens
Detroit Red Wings v Montreal Canadiens / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages

The Montreal Canadiens have a handful of current players representing their country at the World Hockey Championship in Prague and Ostrava, Czechia and one former player is calling plays from the Czechia bench.

Tomas Plekanec, who became famous in Montreal for his patented turtleneck underneath his gear was spotted on the opposite side of the boards recently. It's not all that surprising considering the way that he played and how he took many young players under his wing. Plekanec was the ultimate gentleman and he played the game hard but smart between the whistles.

A veteran of 1,001 NHL games, Plekanec played many donning the Canadiens blue, red and white sweater, minus 17 games with the bitter rival Toronto Maple Leafs. Plekanec was never a flashy player, but a staple down the middle and always a challenge in the faceoff dot. Surely he has taken out the clipboard and advised his players of a couple tricks to win draws.

Plekanec kept 14 relevant before Nick Suzuki ever arrived in Montreal and it's safe to say the captain has taken the torch and worn it with pride. If Plekanec can lend anything to Suzuki, longevity and health would be welcomed. Pleky, according to elite prospects, was still an active player this season.

The 41-year-old retired from the NHL officially in October 2023, and while his number won't be retired in Montreal. He will be remembered as a hardnosed player, who loved to keep his neck warm and challenge the opposition for every inch of ice. A third round pick in 2003 by the Canadiens, Plekanec will forever be one of the wisest picks by a Canadiens general manager purely based on where he was selected.

While Plekanec didn't rack up much in the way of NHL hardware, much of his personal success came during international play. He has a pair of World Championship Bronze Medals and a Silver Medal on his resume. Prior to his NHL career, Plekance won World Junior's gold and he was recognized as the Czech Extraliga Rookie of the Year.

We're all cheering for you, Pleky, unless it's against Canada.