Patrick Roy as Habs GM? Say It Ain’t So!

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The setting is 1985. The Montreal Canadiens have their farm team in my hometown, Sherbrooke, Quebec. They have a line-up of good young players, a blend of speed, skills and character. Coached by Pierre Creamer, the baby Canadiens sneaked into the playoffs through the back door with a 37-38-5 record… until the team called up a couple of junior aged players once their team was eliminated, to join for a Calder Cup run. In those ranks, there was a young prospect goaltender who had just finished his junior career with a 5.55 goals against average for the Granby Bisons of the QMJHL. 

That young goaltender was Patrick Roy, in case such details slipped your mind. With the help of other junior aged player Stephane Richer, Roy was instrumental in the playoffs, stealing the job from young veteran Greg Moffett (who?) in leading the team to the AHL supremacy, bringing the Calder Cup to Sherbrooke. I know, I was a young man in the stands, cheering him on.

The following season, Roy defeated all odds and made the Canadiens’ team, along with other former Sherbrooke Calder Cup winners like Brian Skrudland, Mike Lalor and yes, Richer as well. We know the rest of the fairy tale story, as the Canadiens surprised the hockey world, led by none other than a young Saint-Patrick, to win four in a row after loosing the first game of the finals, against the Calgary Flames. My admiration for Roy was only starting…

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Michel Therrien was a member of the 1985 Calder Cup champions Sherbrooke Canadiens.

Then on December 2nd, 1995, my world came to a halt after seeing my idol walk behind the Canadiens’ bench after being pulled, only to walk back and tell team President Ronald Corey that he had played his last game in my favourite team’s uniform. My heart was crushed. How can the great Roy, the face of this era’s franchise, my successor to the great Ken Dryden, let the heat of the moment take over and make him take the decision to abandon his teammates, his team, his fans and by the same token, myself… because of a rooster fight between him and his head coach? How has that become MY fault, as I ultimately was the one paying the price?

Some claim that Roy went back to talk to Corey the next day to say that he regretted having done what he did, having said what he said. But for the Canadiens’ organization, the damage was done and they couldn’t go back. Roy had his temper tantrum on national television, in front of millions of viewers, and there was no going back on that. He was the team’s best player, but he was NOT bigger than the Montreal Canadiens.

Avalanche too

Hired as the team’s head coach and consultant to GM Joe Sakic, Roy had found another career in hockey, in the NHL, with the second team he’s only known. Avalanche fans loved him as much as I did way back when he was in Montreal. Then, when he found himself in a disagreement with his former teammate and boss, he waited until August, less than a month before training camp, to inform Sakic and the Avalanche that he was quitting his job with the team.

This left Sakic and the Avalanche in a huge bind, and rest assured that Roy knew it. Yet, the disagreement occurred well before then, during that summer’s NHL Draft. So why wait so long? Because Patrick does what Patrick wants and when things don’t go his way, Patrick pouts and seeks revenge. And I’m not going to go into his well documented domestic violence issues either, or his assault on Chicoutimi Sagueneens’ owner Pierre Cardinal

Roy is a hot head. I’m done with him, and I have been for a long time. If you think for a second that he’s the man to take over from Marc Bergevin one day, you are definitely not thinking straight. The guy is a nut case and when things don’t go his way, he picks up his toys and leaves, not giving a crap about you and what you think. He has displayed over and over again that he has a “Me, Myself and I” attitude and there is a reason why he hasn’t found work in the NHL’s tight circle. To me, the guy who once was my idol is dead. He was replaced by this horrifying individual whom I wouldn’t want my kids to look up to… as he’s as far a good role model as it gets.

So long Patrick, the Saint has been removed from your name a long time ago. Go Habs Go!

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If Drouin is Available, Habs Are All In

 

JDrouin

Here is a quiz for Habs’ fans: Who was the last French Canadian impact offensive forward to suit up for the Montreal Canadiens? No, there hasn’t been many but has been a few since Guy Lafleur, although many fans were either not born yet or were too young to remember when the team had a local product to which they could relate to. The answer? It was during the 1998-99 season that Vincent Damphousse was traded to the San Jose Sharks. Well done to those who knew that.

Damphousse had seasons of 27, 38, 39 and 40 goals while wearing the Red, White and Blue. Pierre Turgeon had 38 goals in the 1995-96 season and just before him, Stéphane Richer was the last French Canadian 50 goals’ scorer with the Habs, the last time in 1989-90.  Since then, the crop has been slim picking for the Canadiens, although it’s not like the fans haven’t been hoping for some local talent to carry the team’s offense. Who can forget when Mike Ribeiro was seen as almost Superman because he reached the 20 goals plateau in 2003-04?  Or the frenzy in 2006 when 19 year old Guillaume Latendresse had a good camp and everyone saw him as the next local power forward?

Yes, times have changed and there are not as many impact Quebecois in the NHL as there used to be. That’s a fact and Hockey Quebec has been scratching its head for several years, trying to address this phenomena. However, some fans and member of the media, particularly those using the language of Shakespeare, are trying to downplay the need for French speaking players on the Canadiens. But as we touched on in length in a previous article, Beyond Politics is a Habs’ Reality.

Jonathan Drouin

Rumours are circulating that the Tampa Bay Lightning might be shopping Drouin and we know that Canadiens’ GM Marc Bergevin had serious discussions with Steve Yzerman back when Drouin had a dispute with the Lightning. Rumours were that Yzerman wanted Alex Galchenyuk, which at the time was a non-starter for Bergevin. How things change through. Today, it’s unlikely that Yzerman would make that trade even if Bergevin offered Chucky in exchange.

However, if he is truly testing the waters to trade Drouin, Yzerman will have Bergevin call him several times a day and it wouldn’t be surprising if the Canadiens put together the best offer to get the French Canadian talent. What remains to be seen though is if Yzerman will have the cojones to pull such an important trade within his own division, to a team battling directly with them for a playoffs’ spot.

Offer sheet

Do not, and I repeat, DO NOT expect Bergevin to go the offer sheet way, neither for Drouin or for Leon Draisaitl this summer. Too many GMs have had to leave their jobs for their team’s sake after employing that tactic as the NHL is a tight knit group and those putting their counterpart in trouble with offer sheets are blackmailed. Yes, it is legal, but just ask Paul Holmgren what happens when you play dirty tricks…

Drouin, a native of Ste-Agathe, Quebec, is only 22 years of age and he 29 goals and 96 points in 164 regular seasons’ games in the NHL. A versatile forward able to play all three of the forward positions, he finished last season with 21 of those goals. In the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs, he had 14 points in 17 games, including four goals in the Eastern Conference Final.

I personally believe that it would be worth slightly overpaying for Drouin as I do believe in having some quality local talent on the Montreal Canadiens. Rest to decide what is considered overpaying but that, I will leave in the capable hands of the General Manager.