Duclair shines with proud Dad along for the ride – National Post

Posted: December 16, 2019 at 5:45 am

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CORAL SPRINGS, Florida Lifes a beach these days for Wendell Duclair.

When he wasnt basking in the sun with the rest of the Ottawa Senators fathers in Florida on the weekend, he was basking in the red-hot success of his son.

That, of course, would be Anthony Duclair, who registered the third hat trick of his NHL career and the first with proud father in attendance in the Senators 4-3 overtime victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets Saturday.

The other time Duclair capped a hat trick by scoring in overtime came against the Senators, while he was with the Arizona Coyotes in 2017.

That was awesome, the senior Duclair said while checking out the Senators Sunday workout in Coral Springs, in preparation for Mondays game against the Florida Panthers.

I was hoping for a goal or at least an assist, but this is over the top and well take it.

Naturally. After Duclairs recent tear, he has 18 goals, tied for eighth in the NHL goal scoring race before Sundays games, a group that includes Bostons Brad Marchand.

While the Senators gamble in trading for Duclair at last Februarys trade deadline has been well-documented the Blue Jackets also sent the Senators a pair of second round picks in exchange for Ryan Dzingel the father always believed his son could be a major part of an NHL squad if given the proper chance and circumstances.

Just the same, the Senators represented Duclairs fifth and perhaps final opportunity to prove himself. Primarily, the challenge was to be adequate enough defensively so that coaches could trust him.

The one thing that has never been a question is his talent and his desire, said Wendell Duclair.

In terms of doing exactly what coaches wanted and that kind of stuff, the difference here is they let him play. Of course, you have to have a (defensive) structure to follow. But also be yourself. In the past, people wanted him to do everything exactly maybe there were specifics he wasnt geared to do or it would take him a little more time to.

Dont get Papa Duclair wrong. He isnt pretending to know more about the game than the people who coach professional hockey for a living. He jokes that he stopped coaching Anthony when he was in novice hockey I retired, because other people should be doing that, he said content to share in fun games in the basement or garage of their Montreal home.

While his son has endured some very public criticism of his game, most notably from Columbus coach John Tortorella, Wendell Duclair says he has done his best to let his son live his own life.

We just support him, he said. Were not talking about hockey much when he comes to visit in the summer or whenever. We just let him loose and let him figure it out for himself.

The younger Duclair cant say enough about the support of his father along the way.

Its definitely special, definitely a fun one, Duclair said of Saturdays triumph in front of the fathers.

Its huge motivation. I think I can speak for everyone in saying we wouldnt be here without these guys. Its nice for them to experience this and see how we live on the road and see what we go through and especially here in Florida, when the weather is nice. (Were here) because they sacrificed so much when we were younger.

When reminded that his father stopped coaching him directly at an early age, Duclair said the support went a lot deeper than that.

He was still very heavily involved, the young Duclair said. Every practice, every game, he was there. He was doing the same thing with my little brother and my little sisters (whose passion is tennis) back home. He was definitely heavily involved and so was Mom, as well.

Its hard to imagine a parent receiving a better early Christmas gift than what Wendell Duclair has witnessed.


Twitter: @Citizenkwarren


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Duclair shines with proud Dad along for the ride - National Post

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December 16th, 2019 at 5:45 am

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