The setting – a cozy den…
An elderly yet youthful man sits in a chair and thinks for a moment. Hockey souvenirs adorn the dim lit ambiance, creating a sparkling effect as the light caroms off of gold and silver picture frames.
The light also reflects off the balding man’s head as he gazes at the phone that lay just beyond his Stanley Cup – ringed fingers. The plush green chair on which he sits – providing comfort in an otherwise uncomfortable situation. He reaches for the phone and presses the digit one. Automatically – numbers are dialled. The man waits as the ringing commences.
It is 10:30 pm on a Wednesday evening …
“Hello … ? ” The voice responds curiously on the other end.
“Larry … ? It’s Coco … !” Says the man as he stands and starts to pace.
” Jacques? Is everything okay?” At which point a ladies’ voice can be heard in the background of the recipient’s home. ”It’s just Jacques – Jacques Lemaire … go back to sleep honey.”
” I hope I am not disturbing you?” Says Lemaire in a quiet tone.
” No – no problem Jacques. What’s up?” Asks Larry Robinson curiously.
” Larry, I was thinking of taking the head coaching job in Montreal. I would want you to join me as my assistant.”
For a few moments there is silence …
” Seriously Jacques …? ” I thought you did not like working in the fishbowl that is Montreal? Why the change of heart?”
“Well Larry – the situation in Montreal is bad. It pains my heart to see the organization that meant so much to me and millions of others suffering so much. I mean, you and I and guys like Kenny and Serge helped build a legacy. In the past few years – it has become a joke. Now that the Molson family is back and they hired Marc as the G.M – I believe we can win fairly quick with this team.”
Once again – there is silence. It is obvious to Lemaire, Robinson is thinking seriously.
” I agree Jacques …it hurts me too. But remember, Bob went back for the same reasons. He went back and turned that team into a playoff team and look what happened? The pressures and the insane media turned him into a different person. Suddenly, he was making all these poor decisions …?”
“Don’t forget Larry.. ” Lemaire pauses to cough. ” Bob had to deal with the craziness of the centennial celebrations, players like Kovalev and Komasarek and most importantly – the death of his daughter; Laura. Don’t forget, Bob gave the reins to Gauthier when he took care of the funeral and it was Gauthier who did not like McDonagh. Bob would never have thrown Ryan into the mix.”
” I realize that Jacques. What about the way the organization treated us …? ” Robinson excuses himself and takes a sip of something. ” They knew it meant a lot to me for my Dad to see my sweater number retired …! They could have done it while he was alive. I mean it’s not that they were not going to do it …?”
” Yes I know Larry. That was not nice on their behalf. C’mon let bygones be bygones – you can work with a great young core of defence men in Montreal. You can turn P.K into a Norris trophy winner for God’s sake!” Lemaire voice gets excited. ” They have a great first line with Cole, Pacioretty and Desharnais. Gionta is a great leader, Eller will be great and they have a number three pick in the draft! Add this to guys like Leblanc and White …White Larry …? You gotta love the kid’s spunk! He’s another Knuckles? Larry – we can do this!”
” Jacques …Jacques …calm down for a second.” Robinson says firmly.
” You are right Larry. Sorry – this team excites me with the possibilities!” Lemaire’s voice remains enthusiastic.
” Jacques. Do you realize the Montreal Canadiens retired Patrick’s number?
” Of course I do Larry – don’t be silly! Who doesn’t? ” Lemaire chuckles.
” Jacques, in your career you amassed 835 points in 853 games. You won eight Stanley Cups with the team. You are one of only six NHL players in history to score two Cup winning goals. You have won two Jack Adams trophies as coach of the year along with another Cup. Heck you won a Gold Medal in the Olympics as coach and for God’s sake Jacques – you even have an arena named in your honour in Lasalle?!” Robinson is obviously agitated.
” Um … thanks for the recap Larry!” Lemaire laughs. ” What’s your point?”
” Don’t you think the Montreal Canadiens should retire your number first?”
” Good point Larry …good point! Goodnight and thank you!”
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