Retro Carbonneau

  Season 24: 1999-2000  



As I write this, Guy is a month past playing his 1,300th NHL game. When he signed his contract this past summer, he was barely supposed to pass that mark by the end of the season. But Bob Gainey probably suspected how difficult it would be for Carbo to play a 50-game season. And with all their injuries this year, the Stars would have been in deep trouble without their oldest and most reluctant-to-be-scratched player being in the lineup this much. When Guy himself succumbed to injury—a broken wrist on March 5—his loss was felt immediately, yet another reminder of his value in every game. The only bright side to this loss is that it finally forces Carbonneau to rest up for the final stretch. It will take that extra rest to sustain the level of play to which he challenged himself this year.

Yearbook PictureBecause as I write this, with the season three-quarters over, Guy Carbonneau is probably having his best year since he left the Canadiens. Just how good a year? Read these quotes:

Bill Nichols, Dallas Morning News, Nov. 19, 1999: "Carbonneau’s contributions often go unnoticed, but he is a tremendous leader who sometimes wills his teammates to victories. He’s a tough player who can help control the tempo of the game with his aggressive play. That also increases the emotion of his teammates. Carbonneau is a great communicator, and he knows more about the game and how to play it than most players in the league. He knows what to do in certain situations, and having him on the ice during close games is a big advantage."

Jennifer Floyd, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, January 15, 2000: "The type of player he is defies every current athlete stereotype there is. He’s unselfish, willing to spend maybe his last season helping a player like Blake Sloan develop. He’s a yeoman, playing a defensive role as he goes against other teams’ top lines night after night. He has become Dallas’ best player by doing what he does best. Working hard, being consistent and never giving less than everything he has."

Coach Ken Hitchcock, December 1, 1999: "Most guys his age are looking at their 401Ks. To me, the more amazing thing is he’s still an effective player at his age. I think it’s his upbringing and his belief that when he tees it up to play he feels that he’s better than the guy playing again him. It’s kept him as a good player for a number of years, much longer than people anticipated. I think that’s what makes a player like him special. Most players when they get older, their attitude is to just hang on. He wants to be a factor in a game, not just another body."

SkatingPierre McGuire, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, December 5, 1999: "This is a player who has won three Stanley Cups and has played a pivotal role in all three. He is a faceoff man par excellence, a shot blocker good enough to have won the Selke Award three times, and a man who can chip in a timely goal and create momentum-shifting offense almost as if he was a 50-goal scorer. Carbonneau isn’t a big man, but he is a proud man. He’s a valuable asset to any organization because of his passion and pride. He never takes a day off, even if ordered to by the team’s hierarchy."

Keith Gave, CBS SportsLine, Feb. 16, 2000: "The oldest player in the NHL—and like the rest of us on the subject of age he’s vain enough to resent that fact—is out-skating Father Time again. In what was expected to be the last of his 18 remarkable seasons in the NHL, the pride of Sept-Iles, Quebec, is playing well enough to be invited to the NHL’s season-ending awards ceremony to collect his fourth Selke Trophy as the league’s best defensive forward."

He’s a future Hall of Famer all right. But don’t let anything convince you it’s because of his talent. No one plays this well at 40 because of his talent. It’s not in the legs, or the hands, or even the brain.

It’s the heart they’ll honor some day with a plaque in Bell Hall.

And fortunately, the heart of Guy Carbonneau won’t need to retire when his legs ultimately do. The NHL will need his heart more than ever, and I think we can expect however the league chooses to call upon that heart, it will answer gladly.

Maybe it’s selfish, but I have one more thing to say before I close this retrospective. Having studied these 24 years, I can’t help but say it. And having met so many of Guy’s fans through this web site, I think I speak also for them when I do:

Hang up your skates if you must, Guy—but please don’t leave us yet.

 

Resources:

Dallas Stars 1999-2000 Yearbook.
Second photo by Brad Amodeo.

 

Year's Stats:
 Events:
Regular Season
GP G A Pts PIM
69 10 6 16 36
Playoffs
GP G A Pts PIM
23 2 4 6 12
  • Scored his 400th career assist on Dec. 31, 1999 against Anaheim.
  • Played in his 1,300th career NHL game on Feb. 3, 2000 in Phoenix.
  • Nominated for the second time for the Masterton Trophy for perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.
  • Moved into second place all time in total career playoff games with 231.

 

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