If I have any regrets, it’s that I didn’t finish my career in Montreal. ~ Larry Robinson
While the Canadiens can’t go back in time to make Larry Robinson‘s dream come through, it is somewhat in their power to perhaps kill two birds with one stone: Allow Robinson to come back and work for the Habs and provide a well respected mentor for the team’s defensemen, particularly for troubled-child P.K. Subban.
Yes, Robinson works for the San Jose Sharks as the Director of Player Development but his residence is in Florida, where he has a farm. You can’t get much further from home working for the Sharks, whose farm team is also located in California.
Nothing against J.J. Daigneault, but if he tells a player something, it doesn’t have the same effect as if Robinson says the same thing… or perhaps Big Bird says something that players can relate to a bit more. Further, perhaps Robinson could bring a fresh look at what has been the Canadiens’ Achilles in the last few years: their power play!
Robinson has not only played at a high level in the NHL, he has done it in the same market as Subban and the other Habs’ defensemen. His experience is invaluable and he understands the differences between the game back then and today’s game, being still involved today.
“To us, Lafleur was just Flower, so he’d get his skate laces cut, or get powder in his face, or whatever, the same as everybody else. Everybody was treated the same. Now they made a big deal about ‘oh he’s a top-six forward or a bottom-six, or he’s a seventh defenseman.’ There was none of that. You were on an offensive line or a checking line. You were defender or you were an offensive player. People are categorized much more today than back then.”
Some will rightfully point out that the Canadiens chose Daigneault over Robinson back in 2012 when they went through the coaching changes. However, few seem to remember that the Canadiens’ former number 19 could not make the interviews due to Tropical Storm Debby and Hurricane Ernesto hitting Florida and Robinson’s farm very hard at the time. He was on Michel Therrien‘s list of candidates back then and it might be time to, at the very least, offer him to get back behind the bench, at home in Montreal.
“It’s different now because you have different cultures, people from all over the world playing, and you don’t have the longevity. Most of us, back in the day, played eight, nine years together. Today, if you play three or four years together you’re lucky. There’s no more loyalty. Loyalty is to your bank account.”
Remember when the Habs had Jacques Laperrière behind the bench? He stayed as the Canadiens’ assistant coach for 16 years, serving under six different head coaches, and winning two Stanley Cups in 1985–86 and in 1992–93.
Your move, Mr. Bergevin.