Judging by Pierre Gauthier’s remarks in today’s Gazette, Pouliot Exits Picture, Benoit Pouliot’s days of wearing a Habs uniform are now over, and those folks who ranted and raved about sending Guillaume Latendresse to Minnesota for this guy were absolutely right.
There were some real hard-assed comments on this site when that trade went down, but I said it was a good thing as Latendresse was such an underachiever and we got a player who only just needed new scenery. But in the end, it turned out that Pouliot wrote the book on underachieving.
It began fine enough. He was a smoothie with what seemed like good hands, and he basically notched points almost as frequently as Lats was doing with the Wild. I even mentioned that he reminded me just a little of Jean Beliveau but it’s possible someone may have slipped some mescaline into my beer at this time so never mind about that.
Yay, I thought. A big, smooth francophone putting the puck in the net for us. See ya, Lats. We got a good one now.
It only lasted for awhile, though. As the season hit the dog days of the schedule and beyond, Pouliot just stopped doing what he had started. Latendresse wasn’t missing a beat with his new team, and soon enough I began thinking about how right these people were who hated the deal.
In the playoffs? Forget it. Those kids skating around with flags before game-time had more of an impact on most nights than Pouliot did.
How can this be? Voted top rookie in his initial season in the Ontario Hockey League, drafted 4th overall by Minnesota, was a member of the 2006 World Juniors. It just screamed “star material.” Then a bust in Minnesota, and in Montreal, the unforgivable: In 18 games in the playoffs, when the Canadiens needed all hands on deck, Pouliot managed a whopping zero goals and 2 assists.
If guys like Pouliot and Andrei Kostitysn had done anything in the playoffs, maybe we wouldn’t have had to endure clips of Patrick Kane bringing the Cup into LA bars and on the Leno show, and enjoyed watching Scott Gomez take it home to Alaska or Travis Moen to a wheatfield instead. But it wasn’t to be because Pouliot and a few others let us down.
We see disappointing young players from time to time. A blue-chipper, for some reason, never lives up to his potential and endures a short and lacklustre NHL career. That’s fine when it happens to other teams. Don’t mind it at all. But when it happens to my team, it’s unacceptable.
If Pouliot lands on his feet with another team and ends up becoming a scoring machine, it’s going to give me serious indigestion.