Tag Archives: Jacques Demers

“The Hockey News” From 1988

In a box in my closet I found a few old issues of The Hockey News from 1988, and here’s a sampling of things mentioned:

“We’re so used to this against Montreal, but we’re not complaining.” – Quebec Nordique GM Maurice Filion after an apparent tying goal was waved off against Montreal Feb. 29.

Consumer crusader Ralph Nader lobbied NHL president John Ziegler in an attempt to keep ticket prices down. FANS (Fight to Advance the Nation’s Sports), a group headed by Nader, cited the average ticket price for an NHL game at $7.87, which Nader said was “the most difficult to justify of all the major sports.” (Note from me – Originally I thought this had to be a typo, so I dug through old ticket stubs and I see that it was very possible. I have a Habs-Bruins stub at the Forum that was ten bucks. And various other stubs I have from the late 1980s ranged from ten to fourteen and upwards around twenty bucks. So maybe $7.87 isn’t completely farfetched. Just seems too cheap, that’s all).

“When Borje and the other Swedes went to the NHL, took all the crap and didn’t come home in a box,” said Mats Naslund, “we all knew we had a chance to play in the NHL.”

After Steve Yzerman scored his 50th goal – against Sabre goalie Tom Barrasso – he fished the puck out of the net. Then, inexplicably, he tossed it into the crowd on his way back to the Detroit bench. “I just thought someone else might appreciate it (as a keepsake) more than me,” Yzerman said. “I have the memory of it, and I’ll never forget it. I don’t need the puck. But he was destined to get it anyway. Jacques Demers chased down the fan who caught it, and traded him another puck and a stick for it. The coach planned to have the milestone puck mounted.

“Obviously, the fans in Minnesota don’t care about the playoff race.” Boston Bruin GM Harry Sinden, after 9,591 people showed up at the Met Center to watch Montreal and Minnesota play a 2-2 tie March 14.

Joe Sakic took it right down to the wire for a photo finish that not even the Western League stewards could decide. The Swift Current centre scored four goals in his team’s last regular-season game March 19 to tie Moose Jaw’s Theoren Fleury with 160 points. The WHL has no formal tie-breaking procedure and declared Sakic and Fleury co-champions. It’s the first time in WHL history two players have tied for the scoring championship.

Originally drafted by the Sabres in 1980, Randy Cunneyworth explains his failure to stick in Buffalo rather succinctly. “Square pegs don’t fit into round holes.”

“It’s funny,” said Stephane Richer. “In the past few games it seems that everything I shoot is going in or any time I make a pass to my linemate he scores.” Richer scored on four of 10 shots in a 7-6 overtime win at Los Angeles March 5. Among the goals was the game-winner, making it 44 goals in 65 for number 44 as he helped Montreal to a league-high eight consecutive victories.

Springfield Indians (AHL) center Bruce Boudreau had his 20-game point streak snapped by Maine in a 4-2 loss Feb. 28.

Leafs suffer double-digit embarrassment – a humiliating 10-1 loss to the Winnipeg Jets at Maple Leaf Gardens.

Bure Exploded

 

I watched the Hall of Fame announcements the other day, and I’m only just now waking up from the coma.

Bill Hay, Jim Gregory, and Pat Quinn gave us the four new names (Adam Oates, Joe Sakic, Pavel Bure, and Mats Sundin), like they were giving a eulogy at a funeral. It was like everyone was dead – not just the newly-elected and still-alive players, but Hay, Gregory and Quinn too, who may or may not have been propped up with someone behind working their mouths..

It made a Catholic retreat seem like a biker bash.

Regardless, the four players deserve the honour, and I can’t help thinking how Pavel Bure would have made such a fantastic Montreal Canadien.

Bure, although he came a half dozen years or so after Guy Lafleur had left Montreal, would have been a wonderful successor to the throne. We haven’t had a true superstar since our number ten, and Bure would have fit the bill perfectly. But alas, he ended up with the Canucks, (and then the Panthers and Rangers) which was too bad for us and too bad for him.

I remember Bure during the 1989 World Junior Championship in Anchorage. He, along with linemates Alexander Mogilny and Sergei Fedorov, dazzled and burned up the tournament. Bure was a sight to behold. His blinding speed, his explosiveness, his goal-scoring, all with a face that looked to be about 11 years old. And he brought all of that to the NHL.

What a Hab he would’ve been. A new gunslinger in town who played a style of hockey most Habs fans love and older ones remember from heros no longer donning skates, or dead like Bill Hay, Jim Gregory, and Pat Quinn. Bure would have brought his girlfriend at the time, Anna Kournikova, to Montreal, and I would have seen that she was comfortable while Pavel streaked down the ice and netted huge goals to the roar of the crowd.

Certain teams need certain players; Boston likes guys who give the finger to fans and noses, Philadelphia leans towards obnoxiousness and lousy goalies, and Bure, with the offence and excitement he provided, would have been a terrific fire-wagon Hab. On the ice at least. Off ice, the Russian Rocket was apparently aloof, arrogant, and selfish, which led the Vancouver Sun’s Elliot Pap to say the only way they should hang Bure’s sweater from the rafters would be if he was still in it.

But that’s beside the point. It was what he did on skates as a smallish-yet-shifty right winger, and it was plenty. Besides, Pat Burns, and then Jacques Demers, would’ve kicked his ass.

 

 

Three Big Similarities Between A Cup Winner In 1993 And A Non-Cup Winner In 2010

“You always wonder whether guys are ready to pay the price in games like these. You wonder and then you’re afraid maybe a few of the guys won’t or can’t go higher and farther, and that could be enough to hurt you.”

So said then-forward and now assistant coach Kirk Muller after his team had defeated the Los Angeles Kings in the 1993 Stanley Cup final to capture their 24th, and last, championship title.

Those Canadiens got the job done with just one superstar, Patrick Roy, and a whole lot of hard-working role players who stepped up and got their noses dirty and who stood uninvited in front of LA goalie Kelly Hrudey game in and game out. They managed a magical ten consecutive victories in overtime. They fell behing the Quebec Nordiques two games to none and stormed back to win the Adams semi-final. Then it was a four-game sweep over Buffalo, with three of the games going to overtime, before finishing off the Islanders and then the Kings.

It was Patrick and a cast of construction workers – Muller, Mike Keane, Brian Bellows, Eric Desjardins, Paul DiPietro, Stephan Lebeau, Guy Carbonneau, and a dozen more. It was a measurement on Kings’ defenceman Marty McSorley’s illegal stick in game two with just two minutes left in the game which allowed the Habs to tie and win it and even the series at one apiece. It was an overtime hero on ten different nights, and a big effort by John Leclair throughout, who was called cement-hands in Montreal before he joined the Philadelphia Flyers and scored 50 goals three times and 40 a couple more.

They resembled the 2010 Montreal Canadiens in several ways, beginning with a goalie who stood on his head with a team of mostly non-stars in front of him. The big difference was, I suppose, the 1993 version dug deeper, everyone stepped up, and most importantly, all contributed. “All of us did it tonight,” said Muller. “It was there for us. We…all of us…reached out and didn’t let go.”

Red Fisher of the Montreal Gazette said at the time that the Canadiens really didn’t become a team until game 30 of the season that year, when they played the LA Kings, the team they would meet in the finals, in a neutral-site which happened to be Phoenix of all places, long before the city had the Coyotes. The Kings led 5-2 well into the third period when the Habs crept back and Vincent Damphousse tied it with 31 seconds left. That was the beginning, said Fisher.

They also resembled this year’s team in another way, a Markovian way. “They grew even more,” wrote Fisher, “when the team’s best defenceman at that point, Mathieu Schneider, was lost in game 53 with a broken ankle. In their next 13 games after that, they went 11-1-1, and said they had learned in Phoenix that it ain’t over ’till it’s over. And after losing Schneider, they learned that adversity hurts only for a little while when others dig deeper.”

There is also another comparison, and a big one in my book. Jacques Demers, coach of the team in 1993, wouldn’t speculate after the last game on what that team required to repeat, but noted that the 1993 club was one of the smallest clubs in NHL history to capture a Cup.

They were small, had a goalie standing on his head, and one of their best defencemen was injured. Imagine.

Everyone contributed in 1993 in many different ways, and that’s the difference between then and now. There were those now who were stars, (Cammalleri, Halak, Gionta) and some who slept through most of the playoffs. You know who they are and they know who they are. At least I hope they know who they are.

Luc Robitaille Says The Habs 1993 Cup Win Has A Secret

Tony Gallagher in the Vancouver Province tells us some very interesting information regarding the 1993 Marty McSorley stick-measuring incident that changed the momentum for the Habs, who then went on to take series and win the Stanley Cup.

First, a recap:

The 1993 final  had the LA Kings winning game 1 and were leading by a goal late in game 2 when Canadiens coach Jacques Demers called for a measurement of McSorley’s stick. The stick was found illegal, the Habs scored on the power play, and then won in overtime to tie the series.

If not for this stick measurement, the Kings would have gone back to LA leading the series 2-0 and very possibly winning the Stanley Cup.

Now, Gallagher, after a conference call with Luc Robitaille, who played for the Kings at this time, tells us certain things that have come out. “There’s been a lot of water under the bridge, and I know for a fact it wasn’t blind,” says Robitaiile now, meaning the Habs already knew the stick was illegal before the measurement took place. “But I don’t think anyone will ever admit to it.”

The story is this: A policeman whose job it was to make sure nobody goes onto the visiting team’s bench at the Forum during the intermission breaks was either paid off or acted out of hometown loyalty, but for whatever reason decided to look the other way while a Habs trainer looked through the Kings’ stick rack and found the illegal stick.

The policeman later on, close to death, didn’t want to take the guilt of his secret to his grave, and confessed to Robitaille during a phone call.

Robitaille, for his part, doesn’t admit publicly to the phone call because he doesn’t want to use the policeman’s name which would serve no purpose now. And he didn’t want to be accused of sour grapes. “Actually, there’s beena couple of people who told me,” said Robitaille.

Gallagher makes a strong case that the Habs must have already known. “Consider, had the stick not been illegal the Habs would have received the penalty and Montreal would have kissed off any chance of coming back. Did Demers have that kind of jam to make that kind of call based on what one or two of his players might have thought on the ice?”

“Similarly, the Montreal players have all said they had no prior knowledge of the situation, but then they wouldn’t have needed any if the Habs trainer had been able to communicate directly with Demers after checking the Kings’ stick rack.”

“And why would Montreal players ever admit to such knowledge, given it would diminish their accomplishment of winning the Cup in the eyes of the public? It’s certainly not in their best interest to admit anything.”

Gallagher says “In a way it’s the NHL’s dirty little secret, the scandal that never seems to get out because it’s so old. But according to those who heard Robitaille tell the story of how he knows, it’s a public-relations bullet the league dodged, which would have made the NFL’s Patriots spying scandal look like a kindergarten squabble by comparison.”

Drink Lots Of Coffee At Those Senate Meetings, Jacques.

Jacques Demers will be pulling in $130,400 a year as senator in the Canadian Senate. And other than the fact it’s a job for his spare time when he’s not being the Howie Meeker of RDS televised Habs games, and aside from the $130,400, which isn’t chump change, the job probably sucks.

You only have to show up a few times times a year, but when you do, you have to consider bills to be passed, make the odd speech, try to stay awake, try not to fart, drink lots of strong coffee, form a commission or two, and quarrel with other senators, some who have been in the Senate since its creation in 1867. They say retirement age is 75 here, but most of the 75 year old senators are just snot-nosed kids. And lots of them act like kids.

I think Demers is going to regret it. Have a look at this clip below. It’ll help you sleep, and you’ll also get an idea of what Demers is up against.

Ex-Habs Bench Boss Jacques Demers Going To The Senate

He couldn’t read or write throughout most of his life, and now Jacques Demers, ex-coach of the Habs, the one who led the team to a Stanley Cup in 1993, is about to be appointed to the Senate in Ottawa. Is that an inspiring story or what?

Demers isn’t the first ex-Hab to become a senator. Frank Mahovlich was appointed in 1998. I suppose when the country needs classy, smart individuals for the Senate, the first place you look is old Habs people. Except somehow I feel Guy Lafleur will never be appointed. Just a gut feeling though.

From the CBC:

Former NHL coach Jacques Demers, who in 2005 revealed he had hidden his struggle with illiteracy, will be among Senate appointees announced Thursday.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper will name up to nine new members to the upper chamber, Many are expected to be loyal and long-serving Conservative advisers.

Demers, who led the Montreal Canadiens to a Stanley Cup in 1993, has been working as an analyst for the sports network RDS, which announced Demers’s Senate appointment on its website.

“I was contacted for the first time July 13 by someone in the prime minister’s entourage,” Demers is quoted as saying on the website.

“This person told me I was one of Mr. Harper’s choices and he wanted to know if I was interested.

“I answered that I would be very honoured to be a senator. Mr. Harper contacted me a few days later.”

In 2005, Demers released his biography, admitting he had spent 15 years in the NHL as a head coach and general manager, and never knew how to read or write.

He said his illiteracy is due to his impoverished childhood, during which his father beat and psychologically abused him and his mother.

Demers described how he finessed his way through most of his dealings by getting secretaries and media relations people to pen his correspondence for him.

Since his admission, Demers has learned to read and can easily go through hockey stories in newspapers, for instance, The Canadian Press reported.

Bryan Fogarty Could’ve Been

bryan_forgartyFourteen years ago, Montreal defenceman Bryan Fogarty was in the doghouse of coach Jacques Demers for failing to notify team officials until the morning of a game in Hartford that he had the flu, leaving the Canadiens with only five defencemen. Then, during a team meeting, he was caught reading a newspaper.

Something like this could be considered funny if the player involved wasn’t Bryan Fogarty. Because Bryan Fogarty was a hard-core alcoholic. Had been since his teen years. 

Fogarty was one of those players in junior who only come along once every blue moon. A big-time, record-breaking star who broke defencemen marks by eclipsing Bobby Orr’s goal scoring record of 38  with 47, and Denis Potvin’s point total with 155.  He won all the hardware  in his final season in junior, 1988-99, taking home CHL Player of the Year, CHL Defenceman of the Year, and first team all-star.

Naturally scouts drooled, and Fogarty was drafted ninth overall by the Quebec Nordiques. But things didn’t quite work out the way everyone thought. In Quebec, he played parts of only three seasons before being dealt to Pittsburgh and was promptly sent to the minors. Then it was on to Montreal, where he played 34 games over two seasons with the Habs. From there it was again the minors, different teams in Europe, and various minor leagues throughout North America. All the while, his hockey career could be labelled surprising and mediocre. This was not the star from junior people were now seeing.

All in all, the guy everyone thought was going to tear it up on NHL ice played for 21 different pro hockey teams (mostly minors) between 1989 and 2001. Newspaper reports from the time say 17 teams, but I count 21. It was too many teams, too little time, too few points, and not much impact at all. He was just another ordinary player, only with a big problem. Other things had got in the way.

Bryan Fogarty died in Myrtle Beach in 2002 from cardiac arrest. He was only 32. It’s all very sad, very tragic.

(From stardom in junior to life in a suitcase, Bryan Fogarty played for these professional teams after ripping it up in junior: Quebec Nordiques, Halifax Citadels, New Haven Nighthawks, Muskegon Lumberjacks, Pittsburgh Penguins, Cleveland Lumberjacks, Atlanta Knights, Las Vegas Thunder, Kansas City Blades, Montreal Canadiens, Minnesota Moose, Detroit Vipers, HC Davos, HC Milano, Hannover Scorpions, Indianapolis Ice, Baton Rouge Kingfish, St. John’s Maple Leafs, Knoxville Speed, Huntsville Tornato, and Elmira Jackals.)

Fogarty’s NHL numbers: 156 games, 22 goals, 52 assists, 119 penalty minutes.

What’s Going On? Ten Days And No Stuff?

What the hell’s going on? It’s been more than ten days now, and not one bit of malicious, nutty, silly, dangerous, disturbing, crazy, possibly true, rumour mill madness from the Canadiens’ camp.

Oh, RDS is saying that Larry Robinson might be interested in the coaching job, but that’s pretty well it. I don’t get it. There’s no gangster talk, no accusations, no one’s dating Madonna, no crazy-man Jacques Demers gossip, no videos of Carey Price partying, no talk that Mathieu Schneider and Alex Tanguay tanked the the last few games because they didn’t want their injuries to affect their free-agency chances, no nothing.

This is bullshit. What’s a good Habs team without juicy stuff? Ridiculous. So disappointing. Cripes, it’s been more than ten days.

rumours

What About Those RDS Guys?

Because I’m not all that proficient in the French language (I wish I was), I can’t really understand a lot of the chatter that goes on during Canadiens games on RDS, especially between periods.

So I’m left wondering about the RDS team that does the games. It seems to me that Pierre Houde is as good as it gets, a true pro. But what about Benoit Brunet, Jacques Demers, Joel Bouchard, and the others? Is Demers a little like Don Cherry, a little out there? Does Brunet make a lot of sense? And the others? Are they good?

Please let me know. I think it’ll help when I’m watching.

A Hamiltonian Tells His Jean Beliveau Story…..And Then Puts The Hammer Down On Patrick Roy

For some reason, Jean Beliveau has always got it. He understands his fans. Maybe Jean had his own heroes, and maybe he met them and they treated him right, and he learned from them. Or maybe he met his heroes and they treated him wrong, and he learned from them also. 

 

Most NHL players, or for that matter, most professional athletes in any sport, could learn from Jean Beliveau.

 

I love most of the comments that come here regarding the Habs and hockey in general. And this one came the other day after I’d posted recently a little story about owning a Jean Beliveau hockey stick. It’s from a Habs fan in Hamilton who uses the handle “Retromikey,” and it made my heart soar like an eagle.

 

“To me, Jean Beliveau symbolizes the true Habs player on and off the ice.
There is never a day goes by where Jean will sign an autograph or spare a few minutes to talk to a fan during his busy schdedule.
I remember back in 1993, and drove with my buddies to attend the Stanley Cup final Game 5 in 1993 in Montreal from Hamilton.
We all arrived the hotel the eve of the game and while everyone was ready to go out out and party the night away, I decided to find out if it was true or not if Jean Beliveau’s number was located in the book and would meet up with my buddies at the bar later.
Sure enough, I found his name in the book and I was curious to see if he wanted to chat with a Habs fan from Hamilton.
Before you know it, Jean answered the phone and we talked a good 30 minutes. I apologized for talking so long to him on the phone and he requested my name and address.
Several weeks later, I received a package in the mail. A beautiful 8×10 personalized signed photo of Jean with several signed postcards to be given to my friends!
To end this story, I caught up with Jean at a Toronto Expo Card show 5 years later.
The look in his eyes when I told him that I spoke to him on the eve of Game 5 of the Stanley Cup final is priceless. He remembered and gave me a solid handshake and smile that I will never forget for the rest of my life.
Jean, you are a true gentleman and will alway be a part of my life as well as other Habs’ fans as well! I salute you!”

 

Then, if that wasn’t good enough, Retromikey comes back a day later with his Patrick Roy thoughts regarding the post about Mike in Pickering who won’t be watching the sweater being hoisted to the rafters in November.

 

“Mario Tremblay gave it all as a Habs wearing the CH on his jersey for almost 12 years starting as a 18 year old rookie in 1974!
I was only 9 years old when he was a rookie and looked up to him with his grit and character on the team! He had everything going for him when he played for Montreal, looks (so my older sisters tell me), playing hard game in and out, and a team leader willing to teach anyone who wanted to learn from him.
Well he brought this as a coach of the Habs and he got the shaft when Patrick Roy got traded to Colorado.
My philosophy if I were a coach would be ” I coach, you play” attitude to the players.
This is what Mario tried to preach to Patrick but being the star that he was, he got breaks more than the other hard working players on our team when Jacques Demers was the coach.
Sorry, this other “Mikey” will not be watching the retirement jersey night as well. I stand pat as well as other Habs fans.
Let the “Pepsi Generation” fans born after 1970 have their glory that night and watch their “God” Patrick have his jersey lifted high in the rafters.
I will be sad knowing that players like Joliat, Lalonde, Durnan, Lapointe, Ironman Jarvis, etc.. deserve the honour more than Patrick.”