Season 19: 1994-95
Interestingly, the cyclone of upheaval that spun around Carbo was mirrored by a larger onethe NHL lockout.
to his new team, but as for playing before his new fans, that
would wait awhile. NHL owners and the NHLPA locked horns in endless
negotiations, trying to hammer out a new collective bargaining
agreement. Until an agreement was complete, the owners refused
to allow the season to begin. As the weeks and months wore on,
many feared the entire season would be lost.
While players all over the league sought ways to keep in shape, Carbo had plenty to keep him busy: he was a player representative for the Blues as well as a union negotiator.
Guy had become a player rep for the Canadiens in 1991 when Ryan Walter left the team for the Canucks, but he never aimed for a life of politics. His intimate involvement with negotiations simply evolved, more from circumstance than any ambition on Guys part, and certainly not based upon any training or experience he had. (Training or no, Carbo must have had a knack; in 1998 he would become a vice president of the NHLPA.)
"I went to a few meetings, got named to a committee, and it all kind of rolled from there," Carbonneau told The Hockey News. "It was really hard at the start. There are so many things you have to remember and Im not an English person, so there was a lot of vocabulary that I never head of before. I got out of a few meetings with a headache." As much of an effort as it was, Guy was still glad to be involved. "Its long hours and its a lot of lost time. But its a great experience. Theres no place Id rather be than in the room. I dont mind it. Id rather be in the middle of things and know whats going on than be in the dark."
At the eleventh hour, agreement was reached, with 48 games to spare, and the season commenced January 20. At last Carbonneau put on his Blues sweater with the assistant captains A, and resumed his life as a player. But it wasnt at all the same. St. Louis was so different than Montreal, especially in terms of the expectations of fans and media. As Line Carbonneau later told a reporter in Dallas, "Montreal was home. We didnt really get settled in St. Louis. He was different. He realized the media was not as present and there was not as much pressure. But hes always said the pressure from fans and media in Montreal was good for him and the players."
Playing for Mike Keenan and the Blues was not the same either. Said Guy, "I never really fit in with St. Louis. For me it was hard, especially with the short season. I expected to play the same role I had in Montreal and that didnt happen. I didnt enjoy myself. I was still enjoying playing the game, but overall "
Overall, Guy wondered more than ever whether it was time to hang up the skates. He was 35 and no longer playing what he felt was a significant enough role. But once again, Guys future held the unpredictable
case, a phone call and five more years of hockey.
"Carbonneau learns on job," by Dave Luecking, The Hockey News, December 23, 1994.
1995-96 Official Game Program, The Dallas Stars.