The last chance | The Journal of Montreal

What do Martin St-Louis, David Desharnais, Mike Keane, Artemi Panarin, Steve Duchesne, Adam Oates and dozens of others have in common? They were never picked up.

They had flown under the radar and if it were up to the scouts of NHL teams of that era, these players would never have made it to such a high level. They had been overlooked, overlooked, or simply misjudged.

They did not let go, resigning themselves to pursuing their dream of earning a living playing hockey, even in minor circuits. Suddenly, like a miracle, a second chance presented itself and they did not miss it.

Serge Savard, in his time, did not hesitate to offer this second chance to players from our region even if they had not come out in the draft by inviting them to participate in training camps, and it paid off for him. . Stéphan Lebeau and Sylvain Lefebvre gave the Canadiens some great years and these two would never have won the Stanley Cup without the Savard opportunity. Forgotten, there will always be some and an organization like that of the CH has all the tools to prevent great talents from slipping through their fingers.


The novelty would be “the camp of the forgotten”. A one-week parallel camp (at the end of August) which would bring together these players from here and even elsewhere from 18 to 24 years old who have not been drafted, but who deserve a last chance to assert themselves. This meeting would help certain teams of the American League (including the Rocket), the East Coast League (including the Lions of Trois-Rivières.)

Not that recruiters are not good, but there are imponderables. At 18, it’s early for some hockey players. Many athletes have not yet completed their physical growth. Many young people will have had a bad junior or university internship and their talent can blossom later.

Yes, in these camps, there could appear a Francis Bouillon, a Marc-André Bergeron, a Pascal Dupuis, an Alexandre Burrows or even a Martin St-Louis. Shane Wright, who thought he was first on Thursday, will tell you. Drafting is a very inexact science. Luc Robitaille, 1394 points later, is in the Hall of Fame and he was drafted in 9e round, Brett Hull and Daniel Alfredsson in 6e round. This parallel camp would give many Quebecers the opportunity to give themselves a last chance, and bet that the bleachers would be full of scouts dreaming of finding a Jonathan Marchesseault, a Dan Boyle or a Sergei Bobrovski, and for really cheap and more.

From the enclave

  • I won’t go so far as to say that I knew Montreal would choose Juraj Slafkovsky but I would have seriously wondered if they had passed on a 6’4, 230-pound winger with scoring hands and talent. You ?
  • Very polite and diplomatic, Dominique Ducharme when he talks about the management of the Canadiens. Gorton and Hugues would have liked to « scrape » the career of the coach and they would not have done better.
  • Thursday, the Gray Cup will be in Montreal because the Alouettes will celebrate the 20th anniversary of its conquest during the game against Edmonton. Ben Cahoon, Bruno Heppel, Uzooma Okeke and many more will be there. Half price tickets for students.
  • Renaud Lavoie gave me a phone call to thank me for the paper I wrote about him last week. “You know Michel, in our environment, slaps on the eye come a lot faster than slaps on the back. You never said so true.
  • Happy birthday to my old accomplice, Pierre Trudel blowing out 79 candles today.
  • He was my favorite in the Expos. The big number 10, Andrew Dawsoncelebrates its 68th birthday.
  • Unbelievable. Almost 40 years later, Rick Bowness returns to coaching in Winnipeg where he started behind the bench. Meanwhile, as an instructor or assistant in the NHL, he passed through Boston, Ottawa, the Islanders, Arizona, Vancouver, Tampa and Dallas. I’m not talking about the American League. He’s seen tricks.
  • Did you know that Wayne Gretzky has never been drafted by an NHL team.
  • Alain D. wonders why the umpire closes his fist to signify that a runner is out of baseball. No idea. I speak to Rodger Brulotte.
  • I don’t like when people boo Gary Bettman. Just because he lacks class doesn’t mean we have to do the same.
  • Emilie Castonguay, assistant general manager of the Vancouver Canucks, is bright and refreshing, and her contribution will benefit the team. Good luck, ma’am!


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