Former CEO congratulates Marc Bergevin on the arrival of newcomers to Montreal, including Josh Anderson
Serge Savard is the last GM to lift the Stanley Cup in Montreal, almost 28 years ago. Réjean Houle, André Savard, Bob Gainey, Pierre Gauthier and Marc Bergevin have succeeded him. Is the current version of the Canadiens the best since 1993?
“Yes, without a doubt,” Savard answers without hesitation. I was one of those who often mentioned that the Canadiens had one of the smaller clubs in the League. When you came to the important moments against the Stanley Cup contenders, the watchword was to hit us. When Victor Mete is in your two or three best defenders, you are in trouble. Overnight, we become one of the big clubs in the League with what we added. This is exactly what the Canadian needed. In addition, everyone says that the Canadian has the best goaltender in the League. ”
Serge Savard therefore wondered if he was not dreaming awake when he learned of the arrival of Josh Anderson in Montreal in return for Max Domi, on October 6.
“Big guys like that, you can’t let them go,” confided this week to Press the former GM of the Canadiens joined at Hilton Head, North Carolina, where he spends his winters. I know he was injured and there was this contract story, but he was the best player on the ice in the series between the Blue Jackets. [de Columbus] and the Lightning, two years ago… ”
Savard saw Anderson score two goals in his first game in the Canadiens uniform last week in Toronto. He was not surprised.
He reminds me of Cam Neely. He is capable of scoring goals and he is tough.
Serge Savard, about Josh Anderson
Above all, Anderson gives the Canadian a new identity, believes the one whose number 18 was withdrawn in November 2006. “When I got Bobby Smith [en octobre 1983], I’m not saying he was the one who won me the Cup in 1986, but he gave me a new dimension in the team. That’s what Anderson brings. The same in 1993 with [Vincent] Damphousse against [Shayne] Corson, who was at wit’s end. He gave us a dimension that we didn’t have. It’s the little things that make it all happen afterwards. ”
Damphousse, now an analyst at RDS, compared Anderson to his former teammate John LeClair on the air this week. LeClair has never unlocked in Montreal, except in the playoffs when winning the Stanley Cup in 1993, but he had a few years of 50 or more goals in Philadelphia.
“John Leclair, he was a big man too [Josh Anderson mesure 6 pi 3 po et pèse 225 livres], he was successful, especially in Philadelphia, but he was not robust. Anderson is aggressive. He’s big and he hits. ”
Serge Savard was not a big fan of Max Domi, despite collecting 72 points in his first season in Montreal two years ago, after being secured for Alex Galchenyuk.
“He’s a good skater, but I don’t think he has a great sense of the game. As soon as he had the puck he would shoot or, when it was tight, he would throw it off. He wasn’t a game maker. It’s a blessing, an exchange like that. He doesn’t understand the game. ”
Savard advocates patience with Kotkaniemi
Savard, often critical of the Canadiens in recent years, really likes the current team. “When you bring back players like that, it’s a beautiful thing for the Canadian. You had third or fourth line players who were on the first or second line, but now everyone is falling into their chairs. ”
In 1983, Savard believed he had found his big power striker. He traded Doug Wickenheiser, Gilbert Delorme and Greg Paslawski for Perry Turnbull, a 6’2 ”, 200-pound colossus who had just enjoyed three seasons of 30 or more goals in St. Louis. The experiment was inconclusive and Turnbull was traded six months later for Lucien Deblois.
“Perry Turnbull had no sense of the game,” replied the former GM and captain of the CH, who keeps in shape by playing golf five days a week at Hilton Head. “He was coming around the corner, the defender was making a feint to one side and he was starting from the wrong end. He wasn’t able to turn. He was not a good hockey player. He was a big guy, he skated, but he didn’t understand the game. ”
Savard was never afraid to trust young people at the time. He likes the next generation of CH. “[Nick]Suzuki, it’s been since we saw him that we know he will become an impact player for the Canadiens hockey club. He is even a little taller than I thought. [Alexander] Romanov, I saw him at the junior tournament, I saw his goal against Edmonton. I don’t know him well enough to judge him, but with all the good people say about him, and making the team at 20, that says a lot. ”
He also advocates patience with Jesperi Kotkaniemi.
He has potential. And unlike Domi, he has a hockey sense and a good shot. It’s just a matter of time. It might have been a bit early for him the first two seasons. You have to give it a couple of years at least.
Serge Savard, about Jesperi Kotkaniemi
Bobby Smith and Vincent Damphousse remain Serge Savard’s most important transactions. Which draft pick he’s most proud of?
“Patrick Roy in the third round [en 1984], he replies without much surprise. You watch how much he has accomplished, but I knew we would get him in round three. No one picked up a goalie early and he played for the worst junior club in Canada. I got a third-round pick from Winnipeg to get it. But what I’m most proud of, other than Patrick, is to have won the Stanley Cup in 1986 with nine players from my first two draft, and a few free agents like [Brian] Skrudland and [Mike] Lalor. [Notre recruteur] André Boudrias was very good. He was talented as a player and he liked to draft talented players. ”
The Canadian has a club to the taste of Serge Savard. Now remains the most difficult to accomplish. “We were not supposed to win in 1993, but we had a tight-knit club and we improved with each round. You may have a good team, you have to take it in the favorable context. ”