There are players that you notice for the wrong reasons. There are others that you notice for the right reasons. And there are those who you don’t notice as much, simply because they’re doing the job they were hired to do. Mathieu Darche fits the latter category.
But getting to where he’s at today wasn’t a walk in the park for the Canadiens’ left winger. After finishing university at McGill, he signed as a UFA with the Columbus Blue Jackets, playing only 6 games with the big club, the others with their farm team in Syracuse. He has spent the majority of his time as a minor pro in the AHL, signing as a UFA with Nashville, San Jose and Tampa Bay prior to the Canadiens.
When Bob Gainey signed Darche as a UFA in the summer of 2009, it was to add depth and experience to a young Hamilton Bulldogs team, by also bringing quality leadership. And he did just that, wearing proudly the captaincy for the baby-Habs. Many were very surprised to see that he was called up by the Canadiens in January 2010 but Darche waste no time to show his worth by scoring 5 goals, 10 points in 29 games that season.
The Canadiens’ brass chose to reward the 34 year old veteran with a one-way contract at the beginning of the 2010-11 season and in spite of having to battle through a bad groin forcing him to miss several games, Darche has answered the call with a solid campaign as his 12 goals, 24 points and +7 in 56 games can attest.
All in all, Mathieu Darche has played on every line and if there is one thing that his coaches could count on, it’s the fact that he would be showing up for every game, providing his best effort and often, a spark to his team.
With Roman Hamrlik, Darche should be one of the leading candidates to win the Jacques Beauchamp trophy, given to the Canadiens’ unsung hero.