Webmaster's Note: During Round One of the 2000 Stanley Cup Playoffs, as Carbonneau's Stars were on their way to eliminating the Edmonton Oilers in five games, the Edmonton press had glowing comments to make about Guy and the other former Habs on his team.

 

Life after Habs:
Carbonneau, Keane, Muller shine with Stars
by Dan Barnes, The Edmonton Journal, April 20, 2000

Old Habs die hard.

And there are none older in this Edmonton-Dallas playoff series than Guy Carbonneau, though his linemates give him a run for the nod. When Mike Keane shoved the puck to Kirk Muller and he gave it to Carbonneau, the goal that came from this seemingly innocent play was 106 years in the making.

After the Game WinnerCarbonneau is 40, Muller 34, Keane 32. There might not be another goal scored in these National Hockey League playoffs that can rival the gray hair on that one. Unless this trio clicks again, of course. But it is not the old Habs who died on Tuesday night at Skyreach Centre. It was the younger, faster Oilers.

The task is too formidable now. Carbonneau's goal, his first of the series, was the winner in a heartbreaking 4-3 finish to Game 4 on Tuesday night. Three straight victories against the defending Stanley Cup champion Stars is too much to ask of anyone.

"Those guys, they were a huge part of the Habs winning Stanley Cups," said the Oilers' Georges Laraque, young enough to be a fan and close enough, in suburban Montreal, to watch them as a kid. "It sure shows. They know how to win, how to do the little things. Lots of leadership."

Apparently, that kind of thing was taught in Montreal. Stars general manager Bob Gainey, a former Hab himself, imported as many of the old warhorses as he could and together they won a Cup last year. A bunch of them also won with Montreal in 1993.

"We get razzed," Keane said. "They say our third jersey should have a C and an H on it. Big deal. If you want to win, you get guys from Montreal."

Or you keep the ones you've got. Keane, Carbonneau and Muller were all in Montreal together and Muller rejoined them this year in Dallas. Scott Thornton and Dave Manson, former Oilers, are also former Habs, though the stay was short. Throw in Gainey and the injured Brian Skrudland and there are seven players with some level of bleu, blanc et rouge running through their veins.

Three of them were captains. It seems to count for something.

"When I went to Montreal, I learned a lot from Carbo," Muller said. "Carbo is the smartest guy I've ever played with in my career. The thing about Carbo, he just uses his head. You hear so much about speed. Carbo hasn't had speed in I don't know how long. But he knows the game. He adjusts to it. And he's got better hands than he gets credited for. Geez, he scored 180 points in junior."

One year. Not in his career.

But Carbonneau has always been a defensive player with just enough offensive flair to help out. He was called on to do that on Tuesday. If Mike Modano and Joe Nieuwendyk were going to be checked into the ice, he was going to rise up, redeem himself for a lousy Game 3 and do something good.

Which would not describe the stupid 10-minute misconduct he took early in the game. It would, however, pertain to the goal that turned a 3-3 third period in the Stars' favour.

"Me and Keane always play our best in tight games when something is on the line," Carbonneau said. "The first game here we skated around for nothing. I think everyone has to be accountable. I was really disappointed with my game. For some reason, the emotion wasn't there. The desire to go into the corners and battle for the puck wasn't there."

He found it. The Stars went to the well one more time and the old guys had something for them.

"We had fun reading that we're kind of an old-folks home here," Muller said. "That's always nice to read. We might not be the quickest line, but we still sort of know how to play the game. Maybe that's a sign that speed isn't everything. I don't know that any of the three of us has ever been quick, but we've been well-taught to play the game."

And they will teach the Oilers something, too, it seems. It was Carbonneau who beat Edmonton in Game 1 last year. This goal on Tuesday was his eighth playoff game-winner. Muller has scored seven, Keane has four. You don't beat experience like that. At least not four times in a series.

"When every series starts, you try to close it out in four games," Carbonneau said. "The longer a series goes, the more things can happen. You don't want to give anyone a break or a life. That's what we did in the first game here. We gave them life. Hopefully, tonight we took it back."

Old Habs will do that to you.

 

Habs blood runs deep in Dallas
by Mark Spector, The Edmonton Journal, April 21, 2000
[partially excerpted]

Bob Gainey is telling a story about Jean Beliveau, and how the great former Canadien had occasion to talk about the game not long ago.

And, of course, when one of the great Canadiens speaks, it is usually worth it to listen.

"One of his concerns was that today, it always seems to be the players in their 30s who are the leaders, who show what should be done, what has to be done, how to act. And those players are not staying in one place," Gainey recounted.

A 16-year Canadien and former Montreal captain himself, Gainey, as he listened to Beliveau, could empathize with a storied Habs organization whose torch relay has been interrupted by the constant player movement in today's game.

Once the failing hands could always hand off to a worthy successor in the peak years of a long career in Montreal. But Beliveau's lament is that nowadays that continuity simply does not exist.

The irony in Gainey's story lies in why the chain has been broken in Montreal. It is because Gainey has all their veterans down here in Dallas.

It seems many of the teachings and experiences of the great Canadiens have been rerouted now to Texas, becoming the intellectual property of these Dallas Stars. Of course, the Stanley Cup has followed, as customs passed from Maurice Richard to Beliveau, then to Henri Richard, and eventually to Guy Carbonneau, the respected 40-year-old Stars veteran.

"Obviously, the biggest leader on this team," said winger Scott Thornton, another former Canadien. "Words of wisdom. When he talks, everybody lends an ear."

Added 14-year veteran Dave Manson, also a former Canadien: "There are a lot of good, solid people in this room, but Guy, he is the father figure. If something needs to be said, he'll stand up. And when that happens, everybody sits up a little taller in their stalls to listen."

Players know that when Carbonneau speaks, his words have a pedigree. He has learned much and won three Cups himself since breaking in back in 1982, at which time the greatest leader under whom Carbonneau has studied just happened to be captain of the Canadiens.

"Bob Gainey," Carbonneau stated, as if the choice was easy. "Bob was the kind of guy who wasn't rah rah in the room, but when he stood up, you listened. On the ice it was never quit, never give up, and if you want to go through me, then you'll have to go through me.

"That's the kind of teacher I had, the kind of guy I learned from."

It is almost incestuous. Then again, how do you make a great race horse? It's all about blood lines.

Yvan Cournoyer, Serge Savard, Guy Lapointe, Larry Robinson, Frank and Pete Mahovlich, Steve Shutt, Jacques Lemaire, Ken Dryden, Guy Lafleur, the Pocket Rocket.

All played with Gainey, who found Carbonneau to be available one day and likely couldn't believe his good luck. Gainey acquired Carbonneau from St. Louis for the proverbial bag of pucks (our apologies, Paul Broten), and it was like installing a tube that stretched directly from Gainey's mental bank of hockey knowledge into the heads of his players.

"After that many years, there is so much emotional stability," Thornton said of Carbonneau. "He's just so experienced, no matter what happens in a game - whether we're up 5-1 or down 5-1 - Guy Carbonneau has been through it. Just about every situation that there is in hockey, he can say: 'Settle down, boys. I've done this before.' It's a helluva an asset to have."

Having players like Mike Keane and Kirk Muller around is another asset - the kind of advantage that leaves a club like the Edmonton Oilers halfway unable to even compete on the same footing with a franchise of such wealth.

"Obviously," Carbonneau said, "when you are able to do that, whether it is guys just wanting to come here or you are financially sound and you can do it, it is an advantage. When it comes to the end of the year, you need them."

The folks in Montreal would certainly agree. In fact, Bob, maybe you can send them back up when you're done.


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