As we wait and hope for an end to the NHL lockout, Canadiens fans can relive the 1992-93 season – the last year the Habs won the Stanley Cup – at HIO as we post game stories from that season.
The Habs took a 20-8-3 record into a game against the New York Rangers on Dec. 13, 1992 at Madison Square Garden. Below is Red Fisher’s story from that game:
The embarrassment; Racicot’s standing as Habs’ No. 2 goalie takes a pounding
NEW YORK – What’s to be done with the wreckage after the roof falls in? Crate it and forget about it?
“That’s the last thing you’d want to do,” snapped an exercised Brian Skrudland in the moments after this 10-5 lashing administered by the New York Rangers. “I’d look back on this every time we started feeling we can start a game down two goals. I’d think about it over and over again,” said Skrudland. “I’d look at it over and over again.”
Skrudland, obviously, has a strong stomach.
The Embarrassment was the worst inflicted on the Canadiens since they crashed 11-6 to Hartford early in the 1985-86 season. It was, in every way, a team effort, but the problem is that one player is likely to take the hit for it.
In other words, hold the anointment of Andre Racicot as the unchallenged backup to Patrick Roy. He was bad in a 31-shot game. Horrid, when it’s considered that the Rangers scored early and frequently in each of the three periods. On the other hand, he had more than sufficient company – in every area.
What went wrong? Everything.
Well, let’s see.
Perhaps the best way to explain it is that Racicot was treated like a guy with an infecious disease by most of his associates. They stayed so far away from him, they were in another time zone.
“Give up goals early,” fumed Skrudland, “and it catches up to you, and we didn’t care enough about it. If hurtin’ doesn’t start now, it won’t happen in April and May. That was our problem last year. When it was all over, the hurtin’ wasn’t enough.
“I feel badly for Andre,” said Skrudland. “It’s not like us to give up. If you don’t feel something from this, it makes for a long season.”
Racicot felt something after relinquishing two goals apiece to Sergei Nemchinov and Doug Weight, and others to Tony Amonte, Steve King, James Patrick, Alexei Kovalev, Mark Messier and Mike Gartner.
“I’m not going to let one game ruin my career,” he sighed.
True, but it’s also true that managements don’t sit still when the opposition leaves its backup goaltender in tatters – no matter what the reason happens to be.
It’s also particularly annoying when the goals come early and quickly – and what’s earlier and quicker than Amonte and King scoring within 10 seconds in the third minute of the game? Or Patrick and Weight scoring in the first and fifth minutes of the second period.
Then, there’s Nemchinov and Messier getting goals before the third period was two minutes old.
Say this much about Racicot: he’s consistent.
In his last starting assignment, he relinquished two goals in the first three shots he faced. Last night: two goals in four shots.
Neither goal – and others later – was high quality stuff. They were goals which prompt coaches to change quickly, but patience is something Jacques Demers is determined to bring to the arena. It’s what he used in Winnipeg – and it paid off handsomely when Racicot lifted his game several levels to lead the Canadiens to a 3-2 overtime victory. Sadly, it’s what Demers used last night – and paid the price for it. Sadly, because no goaltender should be allowed to face that much embarrassment.
Oh: the Canadiens goal-scorers were Mathieu Schneider and Stephan Lebeau with two apiece, and Mike Keane getting the others.
Racicot, who went the distance, got the starting assignment for all of the right reasons. What it comes down to is that while he had won his last six games, the opposition was fairly soft. The suggestion from management was that he be used more and against stronger opposition and, yep, the Rangers in Madison Square Garden surely represent the best kind of oppositon.
The Rangers scored long and short. They scored quickly. They got good goals and bad ones, and what they showed most of all was a terrible lack of respect for the Canadiens, with two goals in the first period and four in each of the second and third periods.
“No respect for us at all,” grunted Skrudland.
(Photo by Peter Martin/The Gazette)