David Desharnais has not left anyone indifferent during his time in the Montreal canadiens ‘ organization, between 2007 and 2017.
Whether it is through the strength of his character (that he was enabled to reach the NHL), his vision of the game above the average, or even his attitude to the outside of the rink, the small quebec striker has been able to enjoy the very vast majority of fans of the CH.
The announcement of the transaction sending him to the Edmonton Oilers, on February 28, 2017, was made to react in the Beautiful Province.
On the occasion of a generous maintenance offered at TVASports.ca, the old number 51 of the CH agreed to come back on his 10 years at the club of his childhood. Ten years where it will be understood that to be a player in the Canadian, when it is Québécois, is not a long quiet river…
“I never thought I would one day reach the NHL and join the Canadian. The road is so long, you just sometimes not believing anymore.”
It is with this sentence mark of humility disconcerting that Desharnais is reminiscent of a loud voice in his memories. After all, the Quebecois has always done everything in order to succeed in a position in the circuit Bettman.
Desharnais was first flown over the League the Quebec major junior hockey by scoring 374 points in 262 games. He then did the same on his first audition in professional hockey, when he scored 106 points in 68 games with the club of Cyclones Cincinnati in the ECHL.
“I was a little disappointed to have to go in the ECHL, but it was ultimately one of the best things for my development. That season allowed me to open the eyes of decision makers the big club.”
Multiplying the exploits personal, the centre player has not slowed its arrival in the american League. Its 137 points in his 141 first matches at the Bulldog s of Hamilton have earned him a first reminder six games of the part of the Canadian during the 2009-2010 season.
Back to Hamilton at the beginning of the next season (2010-2011), the attacker has not left the choice to the leaders of the CH. After 35 games, it’s already claimed 45 points. The CH was done at this time to recall Desharnais. He came to play his last game in the american League.
A meteoric rise
Quickly, as the story says, the talented skater has managed to make its place on a trio of offensive in the Canadian.
“I was still the first marker in the american League when I was recalled, so I was not expecting to be placed on a fourth trio in the NHL! At the outset, however, I have been sent on the fourth line, but it was with Benoit Pouliot and Ryan White, who are far from the cauldrons!”
The more the games progressed, more Desharnais showed his potential in attack. The following season, he got a promotion. As soon as the training camp, he was paired with Mathieu Darche and Erik Cole on the third unit.
“I remember that Erik Cole was not very happy to be with a guy 5-foot-7-inch that came out of nowhere! But finally we are still talking about it today and he scored 35 goals in my side, so one can say that he loved my work!”
The 35 goals from Cole, as we know, have been more marked then than Desharnais and he played with Max Pacioretty. This unit is fast, in 2011-2012, ended up with the title of the “first trio” of the club. It is that Cole and Desharnais were very quickly made to the coaching staff that they had nothing to do on a third trio.
“With Erik and Max, we had a super great season!”, recalls Desharnais.
In fact, it is during this campaign that the Quebecois has presented the best of its production offensive in the NHL. His total of 60 points in 81 games still constitutes today, a summit for him.
An immense pressure
It is an Open secret: the Quebecers who played in Montreal are always more scrutinized than the other players on the team. With the privilege to evolve in his hometown, comes a pressure to do well in front of his own. And this is even more true when the Quebec occupies a offensive role in the team.
“The pressure is enormous. It is necessary that you produises on a regular basis. Everyone expects you to do points in every game. You are playing constantly against the top players of the opposing team. You do realize not always on the move, but when I look back, it really was the big pressure. It’s fun to play at home. But it does mean a lot.”
“It is difficult. You have friends who call you and ask you how it’s going. They ask you why you haven’t scored for three matches. Your whole entourage is found to live in your world to you. And you have to constantly answer questions. Well a few people have already found themselves in the situation of a Quebec who plays for the Habs. Therefore, those who could advise me were rare.”
“Sometimes, I would have loved to have a former player to advise me. I believe that this facet could be improved. I couldn’t really call Guy Carbonneau in him. Maybe it was up to me, this says…”
The controversial Max Pacioretty
In the majority of matches that he has played in the uniform of the Habs, Desharnais has been paired with Max Pacioretty. At a certain time, the two got along like thieves in a fair and constituted a real poison for opposing teams.
As is well known, the passage of Pacioretty in Montreal has been rather controversial. Even if it has been several seasons of 30 goals at the club in montreal and he has been named captain, several amateurs have often been criticized for his lack of commitment and leadership. Some have also questioned his attitude in general.
Desharnais, him, was, however, that good words for his former team-mate.
“Max, this is a guy who is true. It can not pretend. He has always been himself. He was putting a lot of pressure to want to be a good captain. We need people to understand that he was our top scorer. So when he went two games without scoring, everybody questioned.”
“Max is a good friend to me. I have always been very supportive. I can tell you that he gave his maximum. Sometimes, when you take things too much to heart, it begins to you to weigh on the shoulders. I think Max had put a lot on the back. I have nothing to say on his leadership. Shea Weber, when it’s going less well, and is able to talk to all of the world. Max, he really lives his emotions and he does not hide.”
“If Carey is not hurt…”
Of course, hard not to go back with David Desharnais on the crazy epic of the CH during the playoffs of 2014.
Even today, concedes there, the memories are many.
“If Carey is not hurt against New York, it’s a chance to win the Stanley cup! We still lost in overtime of the sixth game. Normally, Carey can go get you a minimum of one match in a series.”
“After that, once in the final, we don’t know what can happen. When you have a Daniel Brière on the fourth line and Brian Gionta on a third unit, you have a whole team! We had a superb depth, involving of good young and good veterans. We went far, but we could do even better with a keeper in health, I believe.”
A lot of respect for coach Therrien
Desharnais has played, in Montreal, under the orders of Michel Therrien for five seasons.
He enjoyed his association with the quebec driver?
“Michel gave me very nice opportunities. This is a guy who is hard but fair. It is sure that it is not always obvious with a trainer, but the only thing you can hope for, as a player, is that your coach gives you a chance to do well. And Michael has always done. It really has all my respect. He had several players in the hand, but he chose to trust me.”
If you were to ask David to appoint us as the team-mate that he preferred to mingle in Montreal, his response is not slow.
“There’s a lot, but I would say really Daniel Brière. I’ve only played one season with him, but we talk more often. He did so much for me things. This is really a guy extraordinary.”
One way to do it… strange
It was said above, Desharnais was finally traded to the Oilers on February 28, 2017.
If it is alleged that the transaction was not surprised, he admits to having found it rather strange the circumstances around it.
“I was left out, and I was told that I wasn’t going to move. We could always tell us more truth. On a certain day of the match, I was not hurt, but I was left out. It was the day of the trade deadline. I arrived at the arena for the game.”
“The guys were on the ice for the warm-up period and I was getting ready to go train a bit. Marc Bergevin came down to see me in the gym and he told me that I had been exchanged.”
A return to the NHL?
Difficult, if not impossible, to let go Desharnais without asking if a return to the NHL is possible from his side.
During the past two seasons, he played in the KHL and the swiss first division. Once again, the small attacker will a response very humble.
“Honestly, no. The guys are very good. This is not really my goal to return to the NHL. I did what I had to do. It takes a lot of discipline and training to keep themselves at the top in this league.”
“I might well be moving on a fourth line, but I couldn’t play on one of the first two trios of a team and produce like I’ve already done. I am now elsewhere in my life and I am very happy like that.”
And the majority of fans of the CH, they are mostly very happy to have been able to chant the name of David Desharnais during his 10 seasons in the organization.