When Montreal picked Max Pacioretty in 2007, it created a big ruckus amongst the Canadiens French Canadian community. Mainly because Montreal had the opportunity to pick David Perron, who’s already playing well with the St. Louis Blues.
David is a very good hockey player, but most importantly, he’s also a French Canadian.
Anyone trying to understand the pride and passion that encompass Montreal Canadiens fans, mainly French Canadians, has to understand the root where the Tricolore comes from.
The Montreal Canadiens franchise was created to bring a francophone team to the National Hockey Association in order to compete with the Canadian Hockey Association. The team was founded also to bring more fans to the arena where the NHA was playing.
When I refer to the Tricolore, you will notice that I don’t like to use the term Habs, short for Habitants, french for peasants. I find this expression quite pejorative and it brings many French Canadians back to our colonized roots. We are no longer peasants, we are no longer the "small" people; we are simply French Canadians.
This short bit is simply to help understand that not picking David Perron was a major decision that flustered the French Canadiens fan base. But that didn’t last long, as we got to know last year who Max Pacioretty was, and many of us started to believe in the young kid.
In short, we can say that Max stole David’s job with the Montreal Canadiens.
Max became intriguing when I heard a lot of news about the kid; he’s tall, strong, likes to play in circulation, he can score and he’s trying to become a two-way forward. His University coach said a lot of good things about him, and to top it all, Max showed that he was one notch over everyone at the recent rookie evaluation camp.
My guess is that this evaluation camp forced Bob Gainey into signing him, since the NCAA doesn’t allow college student to participate in a professional hockey camp. This forced Max into accepting the offer and turn pro this year, without completing his degree.
That’s great news because it shows that the Canadiens had a good reason to pick him, if he’s already forcing the team into speeding up his progress.
But as I was listening on the radio today, and the idea that sparked this article, is that some people think, provided the stars are properly aligned, that Max could very well play some games in the 2008-2009 season.
Max will have the opportunity to show his "stuff" at the rookie and pro camps. Who knows, he may even do like Guillaume Latendresse’s in his first NHL stint, and force Bob Gainey to keep the kid for a maximum of 10 games.
But could we see Max Pacioretty this season?
Max is a tall and fast left wing. With Alex Tanguay, Andrei Kostitsyn, Chris Higgins, and the young Guillaume Latendresse on the left wing, Montreal is pretty much set.
Alex, Andrei, and Chris have a safe spot in the roster, but what about Guillaume? What if during the training camp Max plays better than Guillaume? Could he lose his spot to Max? That’s a possibility and as far as I know, Guillaume has a two-way contract as well.
At the very least, it will surely force Guillaume to work hard in order to keep his job.
So in short, this signing has a double meaning: it shows that Gainey believes a lot in Max, but it could also threaten another French Canadian’s job with the team.
And I will end this article with this:
Thanks Bob, once again! It will be another interesting season, but this time, Montreal will not have to fight unjustified bad predictions. They will be amongst the best teams in the Eastern Conference!