Steve Begin's face often matched the red and blue of his Montreal Canadiens uniform.
The 30-year-old Trois-Rivieres native has been traded to the Dallas Stars in exchange for 28-year-old defenceman Doug Janik, who has spent the majority of the season with Rockford of the AHL.
Janik has one assist and three penalty minutes in 13 games this year with Dallas. Begin collected four goals and six assists in 42 games for the Habs this season.
The trade won't be evident on the scoresheet, but it will have an effect on the overall team toughness the Canadiens so sorely lack.
Begin was a warrior on the ice with a heart of gold and an unwavering willingness to do anything for his teammates, but reduced playing time in recent weeks appeared to signal the end of the line for him in Montreal.
As a career fourth-liner, Begin was rarely in the spotlight, but the Calgary Flames' draft pick turned into a fan favorite in Montreal after his arrival in 2003-2004, and was quickly recognized for his bone-crushing bodychecks and fearless shot blocking.
Canadiens fans will have mixed feelings about this deal.
On one hand, a popular and truly good guy is leaving. On the other hand, you can't help but feel happy for Begin, who requested a trade in order to get a new lease on his hockey life.
The Stars disposed of Sean Avery earlier this season, and while Begin doesn't have Avery's offensive upside, he's a better team guy and will add some depth and experience to their locker room.
Good luck Steve, thanks for the effort, the courage and the memories.
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