Season 24: 1999-2000
Because 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: "Carbonneaus contributions often go unnoticed, but he is a tremendous leader who sometimes wills his teammates to victories. Hes 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. Hes unselfish, willing to spend maybe his last season helping a player like Blake Sloan develop. Hes 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 hes still an effective player at his age. I think its his upbringing and his belief that when he tees it up to play he feels that hes better than the guy playing again him. Its kept him as a good player for a number of years, much longer than people anticipated. I think thats 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."
Pierre 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 isnt a big man, but he is a proud man. Hes a valuable asset to any organization because of his passion and pride. He never takes a day off, even if ordered to by the teams hierarchy."
Keith Gave, CBS SportsLine, Feb. 16, 2000: "The oldest player in the NHLand like the rest of us on the subject of age hes vain enough to resent that factis 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 NHLs season-ending awards ceremony to collect his fourth Selke Trophy as the leagues best defensive forward."
Hes a future Hall of Famer all right. But dont let anything convince you its because of his talent. No one plays this well at 40 because of his talent. Its not in the legs, or the hands, or even the brain.
Its the heart theyll honor some day with a plaque in Bell Hall.
And fortunately, the heart of Guy Carbonneau wont 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 its selfish, but I have one more thing to say before I close this retrospective. Having studied these 24 years, I cant help but say it. And having met so many of Guys fans through this web site, I think I speak also for them when I do:
Hang up your skates if you must, Guybut please dont leave us yet.
Dallas Stars 1999-2000 Yearbook.
Second photo by Brad Amodeo.