Gretzky trade helped spark Lafleur’s comeback from retirement

Friday marks the 25th anniversary of the biggest trade in hockey history, when Wayne Gretzky was dealt from the Edmonton Oilers to the Los Angeles Kings.

The Gretzky deal had a huge impact on hockey and also played a role in Guy Lafleur coming out of retirement.

About a week after the Kings acquired Gretzky, Lafleur, who had retired in 1984 - 19 games into his 14th NHL season with the Canadiens – asked the Kings for an invitation to their first training camp with the Great One.

“If I wasn’t in good enough shape, I wouldn’t waste anybody’s time,” Lafleur, who was 36 at the time, told the Los Angeles Times, adding that he had been thinking about a comeback for a couple of months.

“L.A. was my first phone call,” Lafleur added at the time. “It’s a good place to play, especially now that Wayne is there.”

Rogie Vachon, the Kings’ general manager at the time, said he was intrigued by Lafleur’s proposal, but added: ”I don’t know if we’re ready to commit ourselves. A guy like this would be expensive, and we can only go so far, budget-wise. We’ll talk to them later this week.”

The Kings took a pass on Lafleur, but he did make a comeback during the 1988-89 season with the New York Rangers, posting 18-27-45 totals in 67 games. He would go on to play two more seasons with the Quebec Nordiques before retiring again for good.

Below is a column Michael Farber wrote for The Gazette in the summer of 1988 about Lafleur and a possible comeback following the Gretzky trade:

The Trade: 25 years since Gretzky left Edmonton, Edmonton Journal

Bettman: Gretzky trade brought credibility to NHL in U.S., montrealgazette.com

Gretzky’s trade still creating ripple effect 25 years later, montrealgazette.com

Rare photos of Wayne Gretzky, si.com

Photo gallery of Montreal Canadiens Legends, si.com

(Postmedia News file photo)

Who are we to say Lafleur shouldn’t make comeback?

PUBLISHED IN THE GAZETTE ON AUG. 17, 1988

MICHAEL FARBER
THE GAZETTE

Guy Lafleur comes back, or Godhead Revisted.

The first reaction to the news is: Who’s next?

Gordie Howe?

Plato?

“I think my retirement from philosophy some millenia ago was a tad premature. I’ve seen a lot of the younger fellows do quite well – your Rousseau, your Hobbes, your Nietzsche – and at the risk of being immodest, I’d like to think there are some pretty profound thoughts still floating around these old synapses. If any school of thought figures I can help, I’d be delighted to strap on my thinking cap for another two seasons or so.”

Sad? Of course not. Infinitely sadder than the thought of a 37-year-old Lafleur taking a fourth-line shift in Los Angeles or Detroit or wherever is the prospect of the Demon Blond stewing for the rest of his life over having left the game before his time.

He is a person, not merely a personage.

Lafleur has the right to exorcise the personal demons that haunted his retirement from the moment he said “I quit” on Nov. 26, 1984.

Lafleur was 33 then. His career had been in gentle decline since the 1979-80 season, the last time he scored more than 30 goals in a season.

He thinks playing on a line with Wayne Gretzky in Los Angeles would allow him to score 30 again, and in what appears to be a gross act of self-deception, this is the one line of thought that makes perfect sense; John Ziegler and Pee-Wee Herman could pot 30 if they were Gretzky’s wingers.

The fact remains that in his final 23 playoff games for the Canadiens, Lafleur scored two goals. The player who used to lift wonderful Montreal teams on his slender shoulders had to be carried in the 1980s.

But Lafleur was never a burden because he was Lafleur, an ornament to his age and an icon in a city where the Morenz-Richard-Beliveau-Lafleur succession is treated with a reverence befitting the secular religion of Quebec.

Lafleur owes Montreal nothing now.

His contemplated comeback desecrates nothing and no one.

Lafleur paid his debt in 13-plus seasons – most brilliant, some ordinary – in which he illuminated the sport and reflected glory on those who watched it.

His responsibility is strictly to himself, and if the sight of Lafleur laboring down the wing in some garage-league uniform deprives you of cherished memories of a once dashing right winger taking a hockey game and making it his own toy, it is your problem, not his.

The sports fan takes a proprietary interest in his heroes that is not his to take.

A Guy Lafleur or a Willie Mays or Joe Namath at the height of art can’t be trapped like a bug in amber and trotted out of the footlocker of our mind every time we want to feel young again.

The decision to quit – no matter what the endeavor – should be a question of personal preference and dignity, not something as vague as a notion an athlete “should know when it’s time” or something as specific as age 65.

Lafleur has chafed ever since retiring, huffy over the feeling the Canadiens rushed him to that judgment.

As Serge Savard, Canadiens managing director and Lafleur’s former teammate, said yesterday, “An athlete never says it’s over in his heart.”

If Lafleur thinks he can dipsy-doodle for Detroit the way he did for the Petro-Canada all-stars, if the Red Wings will pay a King’s ransom in salary, and if there are enough ticket-buying suckers around to underwrite it, then everyone agrees, right?

Lafleur would be the first person in the history of the league who might have to skip his own induction to the Jockey Hall of Fame so he can go to training camp.

The best part about the Lafleur comeback is it would occur outside Montreal, outside Quebec.

There is too much history here for Lafleur to return to the scene of his prime.

“For us, it would be a step backwards,” Savard said.

“He was a fine player who ran into difficulties at the end.

“You get a guy who doesn’t score in 20 games in a row and you’re used to seeing him score 50 or 60, well, the standards were different.

“I understand why he thinks he can still play.

“He’s on our retirement list, but we won’t stand in his way. But I haven’t heard from any teams or from either Lafleur or his agent.”

The Kings say all the talk has come from Lafleur, that they have no interest.

Lafleur always has been one of the blessed, without guile, a man with the childlike tendency to say whatever was on his mind, especially after a second drink.

But when he said he wants to try again if he is allowed to “play his game” – whatever that might be after a break of almost four years – he spoke out of a heartfelt conviction.

The Lafleur comeback is a return of the naif. Godspeed.

391 Comments

  1. Ian Cobb says:

    GERRY McGEE
    New poster, who may just find his way to this HIO site!
    Welcome aboard if you do.
    Met you in a parking lot with Hab decals all over your car.

  2. HabFab says:

    Not sure about the NHL players standards, but all the U20 Team Canada gets drug tested at Lake Placid.

  3. HabFab says:

    @markhmasters: Collberg (knee) & Gunnarsson (leg) won’t play tomorrow for Sweden; Sundqvist (neck) is probable, per coach Gronborg

  4. HabFab says:

    HabsWorld’s Hockey Fantasy Projections for Gallagher;
    http://www.habsworld.net/article.php?id=3161

  5. frontenac1 says:

    Any of you guys actually watch men’s tennis? Really? The Russian gals are cool but, the guys? Damn,I better shut up now. Saludos!

  6. secretdragonfly says:

    U-18′s playing for gold tomorrow and IT’S NOT BEING TELEVISED????? Since when did tennis become more meaningful than hockey?

    • Chris says:

      More people play tennis in Canada then hockey, and probably by a more than a factor of 2.

      I think people can live without a little bit of hockey in the middle of August. There are other sports in the world, and Canada generally sucks at reporting them.

      • The Jackal says:

        That’s a bit besides the point though, isn’t it?
        I’m sure more people PLAY soccer or tennis than hockey due to many reasons, but HOCKEY is the national interest, the number one sport, and the interest for U18 hockey must still be quite high. It should be shown, not at the expense of tennis, but tennis’ popularity is not a reason for not showing another sport, particularly one that is more closely followed in this country.

        ______________________
        Hockey sine stercore tauri.

  7. JohninTruro says:

    All this Olympic talk…what time will the games be on at in Canada while being played in Russia?

  8. frontenac1 says:

    Best Dman of all time? Toss-up, Doug Harvey, Bobby Orr. Saw them both play.

    • on2ndthought says:

      Saw Orr, my dad talked to me about Harvey. Conclusion: you need a goal, pick Orr. You need to control a game pick Harvey. Harvey himself mused about how many goals he could have scored “if I’d been allowed to play that way”

      “a cannonading drive”

  9. HabFanSince72 says:

    What does best player ever mean?

    Does it mean the most skilled in an absolute way? If you watch old videos of Orr, I submit that teleporting him to 2013 he would have a hard time cracking an AHL lineup.

    Does it mean best ever compared to his peers at the time? When Orr played, hockey was essentially a Canadian sport. What does it really mean that you were the best at a sport almost no one played?

    Does it mean if you could have teleported a newborn Bobby Orr to 1988 and let him grow up in the last 25 years he would by now be the best d-man in the league?

    Or does it actually mean nothing?

    • HabFanSince72 says:

      Cool!

    • on2ndthought says:

      don’t agree, never bought this nonsense. The greatest of their time are the greatest, humans aren’t getting better. Practice regimes, training, equipment improves, not athletes. for many generations our best are lost on the battlefield, we are lucky to see ours actually playing a game

      “a cannonading drive”

  10. HabFab says:

    Elliotte Friedman

    Canada will have its first men’s Canadian Open tennis finalist since 1958 — Pospisil vs Raonic tomorrow

  11. The Jackal says:

    Gotta say, I’m more excited for the Olympics (on the condition that Price starts and PK makes the team easily) because the prospect of seeing Price and PK win gold with Canada is awesome. Can’t wait!

    Also can’t wait to see Chucky and Gally this season. I think the team will be better than last year, not to say we will finish 1st but we will have less breakdowns and be more consistent in our own end. I say we finish between 4th and 6th in the East. Anyone who thinks we will do worse is a rotten egg or a Dorval Tony!

    ______________________
    Hockey sine stercore tauri.

    • Habilis says:

      I’m with you on that one. It’s always a joy to watch Canada at the Olympics, but with Price and PK possibly playing key roles with the team this time around, it makes it even more special.

      PK is a lock in my eyes, not just to make the squad but to play big minutes. Price is another story, his place on the team will be largely determined by how he plays in the early season. I’m crossing my fingers that this whole thing lights a fire under him, and that we see the Price who is capable of winning games on his own.

      Not to mention the fact that IMHO, Canada’s best shot at gold is with a sharp Price between the pipes. He’s simply the best goalie at the perfect age -on paper anyhow- among the five invited to camp.

      • habs001 says:

        Price has had problems with European players in shoot outs in the Nhl…He should be fine as long as he does not give up bad goals when his team is dominating the other team (game 1 vs Ottawa)….

    • tophab says:

      first for sure.

  12. govenah says:

    Just over a month til training camp. This is getting boring. Sorry but Gretzky and his daughter no longer cut it. But this is fun:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=aY2bWyiaei4

    Just a few more pieces and the cup is ours.

  13. HabFab says:

    For the love of god, will you people quite twittering pictures of his daughter to poor Wayne!!!!!! How much suffering do you want to impose?? The man has cried buckets in the last 2 days…. Leave the poor guy alone gosh darn it!!

  14. The Cat says:

    I remember that night when Lafleur scored 2 goals, it was great. Speaking from a cultural standpoint, the man should be more of an icon.
    [Disclaimer]: I’m a hockey fan. I care about the habs, but probably not as much as you.

  15. Mr_MacDougall says:

    Over-Under

    1) Patch 30 goals
    2) Price 38 wins
    3) PK 60 points
    4) Galchenyuk 55 points
    5) Eller 20 goals
    6) Tinordi 60 games played
    7) Habs 92 points

    • AliHaba says:

      A real optimist.

    • doc359 says:

      1) Life-savings on the over
      2) over, but probably only a week’s pay
      3) Easy over.
      4) Under, he will still be sheltered, you gotta let young players grow
      5) Over
      6) Under, I don’t think he will kick Cube outta the line up
      7) really not sure

    • The Cat says:

      under
      under
      over
      over
      under
      under
      under

      [Disclaimer]: I’m a hockey fan. I care about the habs, but probably not as much as you.

    • christophor says:

      1. Over
      2. Under
      3. Under
      4. Over
      5. Over
      6. Under
      5. Over

      Good over-under figures except the last one. All but that one are relatively close calls. People upset about the playoffs are going too far in thinking that suddenly Montreal will be fighting to get back in them.

      Of course, #2 is directly related to #7, and so it’s weird that you use a benchmark of 38 wins for a goalie and then set as a benchmark a team point total that suggests a borderline chance at the playoffs. If Price wins 38 games or close to it, the playoffs are a lock. But that’s a ridiculous way to talk about it anyway, since goalie wins are a ridiculous stat. Goalies have less influence in hockey than QBs have in football, but only the former are attributed with wins and losses. That’s good ol’ goalie mysticism right there, and Montreal is the worst for it.

    • Chris says:

      1. tough to say…I’m leaning under because I think the Habs are going to tighten up defensively this year
      2. under (but only because I don’t think he plays 70 games this season)
      3. under (tighter defensive system, teams are going to play him aggressively this season to take away his shot)
      4. under (won’t get enough PP time unless Desharnais or Plekanec are traded)
      5. tough call, but I’m leaning under (he’s more of a playmaker)
      6. over
      7. over

  16. Da Hema says:

    Nice poll question. Nothing like stirring the pot with the old “who’s the greatest NHL player ever to play?” question. Each group will bring its best weapons. The young ones here will of course select either Gretzky or Lemieux. The old folks will respond how Orr, like Braveheart, could smite his enemies with lightning bolts from his ass. Should be fun to watch!

    • ZepFan2 says:

      How’s the adblock working?

      ———————————————————————-
      Ka is a wheel.

      “On we sweep, with threshing oar.
      Our only goal will be the Stanley Cup!” – Danno

      For Your Life

    • The Cat says:

      Does anybody dispute that Orr was the best all around player of them 3? This stuff is all about points cause some goalies deserve to be considered, like Roy.

      [Disclaimer]: I’m a hockey fan. I care about the habs, but probably not as much as you.

      • christophor says:

        Roy was great but your fantasy of the impact of goalies on the game is far fetched if you think any goalie belongs in the conversation.

      • Thomas Le Fan says:

        Only those who never saw Orr play. If he had played in the Gretzky era, he would have had 300 points.

        There is no crying in baseball, “i” in team or “chuck” in Galchenyuk.

  17. Psycho29 says:

    My nephew tweeted this…Awesome:

    Graham Greer ‏ @grahamgreer
    25 years ago Wayne Gretzky put Oilers behind him & used LA to further career. Today, his daughter Paulina oils her behind in LA to further hers

  18. Just never bring up the cartoon show “Pro-Stars,” I beg you

  19. AliHaba says:

    So who do you think will be the surprise of training camp and vie for a spot on the 23-man roster? I say watch out for Bournival.

    • Habfan10912 says:

      Ali, some of our regulars here who watch the Dog’s regularly would not disagree with you. The preseason camp will be fun to watch.

      • AliHaba says:

        As you likely can tell I can’t wait. He had 30 points as a rookie and was only -3 on a team that was not very strong to say the least.

      • Kooch7800 says:

        I think Leblanc will be pushing hard for a roster spot. That kid has great hockey sense and is strong on the boards. I would be shocked if Nathan Beaulieu as well. That kid has a ton of natural talent.

        Once Emelin is back though Beaulieu would be back in Hamilton

        “Keep your stick on the Ice”

        • AliHaba says:

          I hope you’re correct on Leblanc and Beaulieu too. Seems that Habs have an over-abundance of young talent. That’s why I think it’s not out of the question that a move is made….maybe even before camp opens.

    • doc359 says:

      I’d think a forward would have a hard spot with 9 clear cut top 9 forwards, along with prust.

      I’d say Pateryn has a decent shot since I believe he plays natural right side and we are weak on that side. could be a strong bottom pairing defensemen for us in the future

      • AliHaba says:

        You have a good point about Pateryn but I wouldn’t say the lines are as clear cut as we may think. Marc Bergevin has shown that he’s proactive and if he sees a chance to make an improvement I don’t think he’d hesitate making a move.

    • Chris says:

      I don’t think there are any open spots to be honest. Any surprise would be on the blue line.

      The team is likely to carry 2 goalies, 7 defencemen and 14 forwards.

      The goalies are locked in – Price and Budaj

      There are a lot of veterans on defence that aren’t likely to lose their jobs – Markov, Subban, Gorges, Bouillon, Diaz

      The forwards are all but locked in, barring training camp injuries – Pacioretty, Desharnais, Briere, Bourque, Plekanec, Eller, Gallagher, Galchenyuk, Moen, Prust, Parros and White are there for sure. Gionta, barring a setback on his arm, is there for sure.

      That is 13 forwards already. If they carry a 14th forward, I can’t see it being Bournival, who needs ice time that he isn’t going to get in Montreal. They are more likely to bring up a scrub forward to take Nokelainen’s spot, and my guess would be that it will be Blunden.

      There are two defence spots open because of the injury status of Emelin. Tinordi is all but guaranteed one of them, leaving Pateryn, Drewiske and Beaulieu to fight it out for the other one. My guess is that they keep Drewiske and let the other two develop in Hamilton.

      • AliHaba says:

        I agree with you that the roster is somewhat full but we shouldn’t overlook the possibility of someone bursting onto the scene and forcing a personnel change.

        I would say that Bourque, White, Diaz, Drewiske and possibly Gionta are on the bubble if room has to be made.

        • Kooch7800 says:

          Bourque was one of our best forwards in the playoffs and before his concussion last year. He isn’t going anywhere in my opinion. He brings and element this team lacks as he goes to the dirty areas to score goals

          “Keep your stick on the Ice”

      • Maritime Ron says:

        Chris

        There is also the question of waivers if the Habs want to send a guy down, then the 1 way contracts if they actually make it to Hamilton without being claimed.

        With all that considered, there may be 1-2 waiver eligible players vulnerable to be sent down barring injury…and without any trades, the present roster will not change and training camp surprises will be held off until injury call-ups

        • Chris says:

          That is my thought as well. But the big thing is that the top-9 is pretty much set, and I don’t see either Leblanc or Bournival being brought up for the fourth line.

    • on2ndthought says:

      It’s hard to see Bournival anywhere except 4th line center, which means Galchenyuk stays on the wing, and White/Parros are 12th forwards (13th when Gio is back). Bounival/Moen/White(Parros) is not going to put up points, but would be tough to play against.

      I still think mgmt plan on using Drewiske to start the year, but Pateryn might be a nice fit on the right side in Emelin’s spot as prescribed by the Doc.

      “a cannonading drive”

    • habstrinifan says:

      Hands down.. smartest post of the week.

  20. Thomas Le Fan says:

    Gretzky was great and Lemieux was terrific but anyone not voting for Bobby Orr in the poll must have never seen him play. God on skates.

    There is no crying in baseball, “i” in team or “chuck” in Galchenyuk.

    • Habsrule1 says:

      Or perhaps you’re wrong?

      Gretzky was the greatest. Point finale….imho

      Go Habs Go!!

      “Fans are great, but the quickest way to start losing is to listen to them.” – Sam Pollock

      • Thomas Le Fan says:

        Like I said, you either never saw Orr play or … how many teams and back up goalies did Gretzky get to play against again?

        There is no crying in baseball, “i” in team or “chuck” in Galchenyuk.

    • Habfan10912 says:

      I hated him when he played against the Habs but he was the best I’ve seen.

    • Sportfan says:

      Don Cherry had Orr and couldnt win with him.

      Sports and Entertainment in the link click and enjoy, clicking is fun!
      http://nickolaisblog.wordpress.com/

    • CharlieHodgeFan says:

      I just couldn’t stand Gretzky, so that coloured my view. He was the young Sidney Crosby of his times. Head to head, I would have taken Lemieux. Gretzky was small at six foot – another smurf.
      Hmm. Okay, maybe not…
      But Lemieux had that reach, and it was a delight to watch him. He was on the wrong team, but.
      Bobby Orr? Electric. Amazing. Like Lemieux, he had injuries to cut his potential – the NHL successfully chopped both those men down.

      • Maritime Ron says:

        Edmonton won a Cup WITHOUT Gretzky in 1990 when Messier led them.

        I’d take Mario over Gretzky any day, and Bobby Orr was absolutely spectacular and changed the game…that was starting to be changed by the Hab great Doug Harvey who gets little credit for how he actually paved the way for Orr with his great puck handling, rushes, and fabulous offensive hockey skills for that time.

        Bobby Orr has 8 Norris Trophies followed by Doug Harvey who has 7!

        • Mr_MacDougall says:

          Billy Rand was the leader on that Oilers team… Messier is the most over-rated leader in all of pro sports.. he ‘lead’ teams with astronomical payrolls to the playoffs less than half the time as captain..

          • Maritime Ron says:

            Oh Please!

            He won a Cup with the Rangers post Oilers and predicted the outcome a la Joe Namath in Manhattan…and the Oilers don’t win without him

            Yes, his last seasons with the Nucks then the return to NY were just money grabs.

            To call him a non leader is ridiculous at best

    • Cal says:

      Orr played when many couldn’t skate anywhere near as well as he could. Doug Harvey wondered aloud what his numbers would have been like if he were allowed to play like Orr. I wonder, too.

      • Thomas Le Fan says:

        Well the fact that he was a much better skater than everyone else is hardly his fault is it and, sure, Harvey was a defensive defenceman and may have been just as good in his own way but we’ll never know about the points. As for Orr, let’s not forget he only played 8 good seasons before his knees betrayed him retiring at 30 and becoming the youngest player in the HHoF at 31. He played his last few years on one leg on a good night.

        There is no crying in baseball, “i” in team or “chuck” in Galchenyuk.

    • ebk says:

      or, we’ve seen all three play and we simply disagree with you.

      For my money it’s Lemieux by a lot and then Orr and Gretzky.

  21. frontenac1 says:

    Bon Voyage Jacques and your unique brand of”team toughness” It’s 2pm and time for some Camping on the patio at the Saloon. Saludos Amigos!

  22. savethepuck says:

    I like hearing about this Lehkonen kid filling the net at the World Junior tryouts. How times have changed. I can remember a few years ago when it seemed like the Habs only a few prospects that would most likely be regular NHLers and we had to place our hopes on a lot of B prospects that would more than likely not pan out. It seems like now we have a dozen or more guys to hope for and we don’t need all of them to pan out, just some of them. I know all of them will not become Habs because we don’t have room for them all, but it’s nice to think we may have a lot of assets to trade for what we may need in the future and to have depth in the system.

    “They don’t hang Conference Championship Banners from the rafters here”
    Carey Price

  23. Sportfan says:

    I think for the Devils situation, no one should worry about New Jersey moving its a good organization, with a good fan base. They will have a different owner, but they will still be in Jersey.

    Sports and Entertainment in the link click and enjoy, clicking is fun!
    http://nickolaisblog.wordpress.com/

  24. Maritime Ron says:

    For those chuckling about the JM hire in Pitt, I’ll just say be very careful…he may just chuckle last.

    Remember the old sports adage:
    – Offence puts points on the board.
    – Specialty Teams win games.
    – Team Defence wins championships.

    When Pitt won their Cup in 2009, 2 things happened:
    1- Is that they didn’t know better.
    2- They had a solid D that knew how to play the game with guys like Scuderi, Gill, Gonchar, Orpik, Letang, and Goligoski along with a savvy productive vet in Bill Guerin that calmed things down when panic set in.

    Scuderi is back and what he brings is HUGE and he’ll make Letang and the kids better.
    I wish we could have signed this guy, but he wanted to go back to Pitt…we never had a chance.

    Since that Cup win, Pitt has been clueless concerning playoff hockey and the tightened D systems needed.
    Surely Pitt management remembers 2010….

    JM is not a complete knucklehead and had ample time to reflect and watch the game from afar…

    A bet from here is that Bylsma had no say in the hire.
    Pens ownership can’t be happy with early exits since that Cup win, and a coach that clearly cannot adjust, or his players not buying into his D message.
    Perhaps Bylsma’s days are numbered….

    • H.Upmann says:

      Agree with you. In fact, a JM system with weapons like Malkin and Crosby could be very very dangerous- especially on transition. We didn’t have those, but we had a lot of heart and shut the pens down. Yeah I also think this is taking care of business move by the Pens and a signal to Bylsma that he’s on his way out sooner than later.

      • Maritime Ron says:

        H.

        The kingpin freewheelers will have to buy into whatever is being sold to them.
        JMs big challenge will be to convince Crosby Malkin and Letang that D wins championships

    • Strummer says:

      Here’s another sports adage that applies to JM’s time in Montreal:

      “You can’t make chicken salad out of chicken sh*t”

      ______________________________________________________
      “It’s just an opinion – I could be wrong”

      • H.Upmann says:

        I like to think POUTINE masks anything and everything…

        • Maritime Ron says:

          Strummer

          Was Jacques Martin so bad in Montreal?

          Let me throw another sports adage back
          ” You are what your record says you are”
          Bill Parcells.

          Martin was handed a smallish, average team and did the best he could do.

          Martin Year 1: 2009/10 and a magical playoff run beating 2 favourites in Washington and Pittsburgh in Game 7s on the opposition’s home rink.
          Then Halak realized he was human and the team had nothing left.

          Martin year 2: 2010/11.
          A record of 44-30- 8 and 96 points.
          Lose a 7 game OT series to eventual Cup Champs Bruins… and lose 3 of the final 4 games in OT.
          Jacques Martin was not in nets, nor could he score a goal.

          Martin year 3: 2011/12
          Starts the year 13-12-7 and is fired.
          Habs finish the year going 18-23-4.

          • Habfan10912 says:

            My personal favorite Parcells quote has always been, “don’t tell me about the pain just show me the baby.”

          • Old Bald Bird says:

            Martin was fired after benching LL after scoring a goal. I don’t think that’s a coincidence, and I think it speaks volumes of the problem he is perceived to have had here. I can’t imagine that being a problem in Pitt. And he have have changed and grown a little too.

    • Arnou Ruelle says:

      Good luck to Dan Bylsma handling Jacques Martin. This man has a temper and many players during his tenure here disliked his attitude (being PK Subban as an example). The paradox of his defensive system does work and it might work on a strong team like the Pittsburgh Penguins. The drawback though is dealing with a guy like JM. This move was a tactical decision based since Bylsma’s system is more offense and is a copy of Michel Therrien’s.

    • Habfan10912 says:

      Ron, Martin coached teams have a tradition of failing in the playoffs so unless he decides to get his goaltending pads out from his days at St. Lawrence his system wouldn’t help. This team has serious issues in the net second only to the Flyers.

       You are 100% right about Blysma. This surely is a shot across Blysma’s bow.

      • Arnou Ruelle says:

        Tomas Vokoun did a good job during the last playoffs. So, if that translate to a regular stint as a startup for next season, then that would mean that Flower’s days with the Pens are numbered too. I don’t believe he’s going to be the #1 goalie for long. Since the past 2 years, he faltered and his performance become inconsistent. He might become a backup next season if he doesn’t get his act together. Similar situation to what happened with Price and Halak.

      • Maritime Ron says:

        Hi Jim

        Martin never had a talented Pitt team to work with.
        When he coached the Sens, they basically progressed every year, yet did not possess the assets to win a Cup.
        He was also there too long (9 years)
        His Florida time was a waste with a god awful org.

    • savethepuck says:

      I don’t think JM coming in is a sign that Bylsma is on his way out. On the contrary, if JM succeeds in what he is brought in for, it would more likely save Bylsma’s job.

      “They don’t hang Conference Championship Banners from the rafters here”
      Carey Price

      • Maritime Ron says:

        Puck

        Do you believe that JM was Bylsma’s choice?
        A lot of ‘unknown unknowns’ at this point…

        Maybe JM just wants to be a 2nd fiddle with a nice paycheque.
        If it goes well, then just fine and dandy.

        If things don’t go well and management believes that Bylsma doesn’t have the room, and that JM may be short term solution, they may not hesitate.

        Looks like it will be ‘crowded’ behind that bench….

        • savethepuck says:

          I would doubt this was Bylsma’s decision too even though NHL coaches pick their staff. I was just pointing out that if JM is able to bring better D to the Pens and they succeed, it will make Bylsma look good as well.

          “They don’t hang Conference Championship Banners from the rafters here”
          Carey Price

    • Cal says:

      If the Pens adopt JM’s passive system there is no forecheck. There’s lots of swinging sticks back and forth. There’s less physicality for the team employing JM’s tactics, and way more for the team facing it. Pens are going to be hit. A lot more than now. Bylsma’s big problem is how bad Fleury is. That, and a team that goes insane every time they play Philly.

    • on2ndthought says:

      I think Bylsma was told he was going to allow x’s and o’s to be drawn up by JM, and his job is to sell it to the players and get them to perform (he gets to be the good cop). Scuderi will help, but PIT had the personnel to win this year, they just needed to be able to adjust their system to the style being played against them. No disrespect to the Islandes, but PIT almost lost that series, switch coaches and its a sweep. This is the guy coaching the US Olympic team? I hope he has help (or no, I don’t)

      “a cannonading drive”

  25. H.Upmann says:

    ahh summer… love catching up on late news.

    I hope the Pens enjoy and appreciate the winning ways of THE SYSTEM :)

  26. scavanau says:

    Very nice, thank you. I was getting tired of looking at Gretzky blubbering anyways.

  27. Ian Cobb says:

    Have another look at Max Pacioretty’s sweetest goals since joining the Canadiens. ->> http://goha.bs/1dV5Abb


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