Montreal Canadiens: Keep the Old...Er, Keep Patrice Brisebois

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Montreal Canadiens: Keep the Old...Er, Keep Patrice Brisebois

If you watch some recaps of last season and look for him on the ice, he wears Ribeiro's former number (for some reason!).  He skates like he's going to do the groceries, and he throws a hit once every twenty games. Oh, and he still has a wood-stick.

But don't wonder if you have troubles finding him, there is also a great chance he is on the Press Gallery.

The last and only time he won the cup was 15 years ago. Two of his former teammates are currently his own coaches.

His name is Patrice Briseboisalso known as "Breezer." And, he is currently the oldest player of the Montreal Canadiens.

His Junior years were promising, going from the Emile "Butch" Bouchard Trophy to being named the CHL's best defense man.

He also had amazing years back in the 1950's (did I say 50's? Oh, sorry, I meant 90's!), being an important factor of the power-playrewarded with a $4 million contract.

But with great power comes great responsibilityor should I say, with a great paycheck came huge problems. And in Montreal, once you clinch a $3 million contract, if you don't make the highlights of the night, you're screwed! 

So Patrice Brisebois soon became "Breeze-Boo" or "Breeze-Bye".

He signed with the Colorado Avalanche for two years and became a UFA last summer. He and Bob Gainey came to a one-year agreement for the symbolic amount of $700,000.

He received a memorable ovation during the official players introduction at the Bell Center. "It was very emotional, I'll never forget that," said Brisebois.

If you look at his stats, his age will strike you more than the number of his goals or assists.

If you wait for him to change the way a game goes, you're doomed. No, actually it happened a couple of times last series...but don't expect him to be a Nicklas Lidstrom neither.

And if you want to identify him for his specific role on the ice, (for instance, Komisarek equals hits, Markov equals power-play, and so on) well, good luck searching.  And please, "veteran" doesn't count!  

So why do I still hope for the Canadiens to re-sign Breezer?

It is for the simple reason that he has got the CH tattooed on his heart.

He could have retired, and honestly, last year I really hoped he would. The Habs just missed the playoffs, Briere wasn't obviously going to sign with the team, Kovalev was a big question mark, and Gainey had no brighter idea than signing back mister offensive-defensive-identity-crisis.

Now, you will probably suggest for him to live his passion for the Habs from his TV at home and leave the $700, 000 to a fresh rookie! And, you may be right.

But when the time came to transmit a certain "belonging" to the youngsters, Patrice Brisebois was probably the best qualified for the task.

From the first Jamboree, when he explained to the new-comers how the city would get a thousand times more exited with a great season, to the playoffshaving been through the same with the team (but just a thousand years ago!)he has been a great help in the room. 

It is nice for the players to hear all those stories about this once-upon-a-time-a-24th-Stanley-Cup. But coming from a current team-mate who has actually been there, it must be different. 

"I understand that the priority is to sign Andrei (Kostitsyn) and Mark (Streit)," declared the veteran, "but I want to play next year."

I hope he will be Breeze-Back...

*Between the lines:

Guy Lafleur declared in an interview that it would be better if the NHL season ended some time in May instead of this late. He also added that the way he called the Canadiens a "fourth line team" may have been a wake up call for the team.

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