Friday, 21 December 2012

Another photomatch for the Carbo gamer

Happened upon this photo tonight on eBay:

(photo source:  eBay/The Sporting News)

Yep, that's Guy wearing my jersey.  Not only is there a match to the green thread sewn into the "T" in "Stars," I took the jersey out of its case to match the black mark on the bottom.  The auction states that the photo was taken in 1996, so if that holds true, Guy wore the jersey during the latter half of the season.  Awesome stuff for me.  I gave the jersey a big hug upon discovering this, before returning it to its case.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Guy to appear at Toronto Sports Card Expo in May

2013 is the 20th anniversary of the Habs' 1993 Stanley Cup win, so it's fitting that members of that winning team would headline the three-day 2013 Toronto Sports Card Expo.  So far 13 members of the team have signed on to join coach Jacques Demers for autograph signings and photo opportunities during the event.  Along with Guy, Patrick Roy (the 1993 Conn Smythe winner) will be there; as well as Vincent Damphousse, Kirk Muller, and Mathieu Schneider.

More information on this event will become available in January.  (

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Guy et le doigt d'honneur*

It was in the spring of 1994 when Guy hit the golf course with Canadiens teammates Patrick Roy and Vincent Damphousse.  Three days before, the Bruins eliminated the reigning Stanley Cup champions in seven games in the first round of the playoffs.  Also on the Rosemere golf course was Normand Leveille, a photographer with Le Journal de Montreal, taking photos at a distance with a powerful telephoto lens.  Guy asked Leveille to stop.  Leveille didn't.  Finally, Guy had had enough.  The next morning, a photo ran on the front page of the paper:  Roy and Damphousse on either side of Guy, whose middle finger was raised.

The gesture was seen as Guy giving his middle finger to Montreal fans.  He assured the public that it had nothing to do with them and he merely wanted his privacy.  In the end, he issued an apology.  It was certainly not a shining moment in the life of Guy Carbonneau.

So it surprised me when I discovered recently in an old article that Carbo has this photo in his personal archives.  Surely he'd wish to forget that it ever happened -- after all, the end result was his trade to St. Louis for the unknown Jim Montgomery.  

Why does he keep it?  Here is his excerpted answer, translated from the French:

"Because it is a stage of my life.  It is not so much the photo but the content of the accompanying article that shocked me.  My reaction was interpreted as a gesture of disgust at the public.  Instead, it meant that the photographer did not belong there.  I regret having made this gesture, because I'm not that kind of person," Guy said, noting also that his wife Line also expressed surprise at his reaction to Leveille.  "The photo is not hanging on the wall at home, but it is part of my life."  (Le Journal de Montreal)

It was the trade to St. Louis that hurt Guy the most.  The photo was the widely accepted reason for the trade, but it was intended even before that due to the downward turn for the Habs in the 1993-94 season.  Also of note was the fact that general manager Serge Savard was trying to renegotiate Guy's contract and instead opted to unload it.  Many, including some of Guy's former teammates, felt that the Canadiens had made a big mistake.  Rejean Tremblay wrote:

"Carbo wasn't a superstar.  But he was the real thing.  Tough, stubborn, proud, capable of speaking his mind."

The next year, the Canadiens missed the playoffs for the first time in 25 years.

* Doigt d'honneur is the French term for the middle finger.  I have personally never seen the photo, though I once sent a Montreal friend (hi, Kathy!) on a wild goose chase in the library's microfilm archive to find it.  

Saturday, 8 December 2012

An item added to my wishlist & a lockout quote

This piece of Dallas Stars Stanley Cup memorabilia was brought to my attention recently:

(photo source:  Dallas Craigslist)

It's a "slice of the ice" from the Stars' 1999 Stanley Cup win -- taken from the ice of the Marine Midland Arena (now the First Niagara Center) in Buffalo, New York after the Stars' victory.  This is entirely too fabulous to me -- the ice (okay, water) from Guy's final Stanley Cup win.  So I pretty much decided that I have to have one of these and am now on the hunt.  I'll keep everyone posted.  :)

EDIT:  This post is becoming a hodgepodge but I had to add this, because it pertains to the era when Guy was playing.  I'm sure some of you will remember NHL on Fox and the dreaded FoxTrax.  Yes, those hockey pucks with LED sensors that were designed to streak across your TV screen with comet trails and other such ridiculousness.  Long a thing of the past, and apparently now the pucks are prized collector's items.  Go figure.

And with talks between the NHL and its players' association again at a standstill, I saw a quote published on Twitter on Thursday (when the talks broke down) in regards to another retired player that resonated with me, so I'll paraphrase the adapted version here:  Today is a day when I'm glad that Guy Carbonneau is long retired, so I don't have to worry about the lockout ending his career.  So true, so true.  Like just about every other NHL fan, I'm beyond frustrated with this lockout.  I wish the two sides would stop pointing fingers at each other and just get it done already.  The fans deserve that much. 

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Carbo to square off against Hockey's Greatest Stars

At the 2013 All-Star Classic which is to be held on Sunday, March 24, 2013 at the Bell Centre, Montreal Canadiens alumni -- including Guy -- will face off against some of the greatest NHL players from the '80s and '90s,  Coached by Guy Lafleur, the Habs alumni team includes Alex Kovalev, Chris Nilan, Chris Chelios, Vincent Damphousse, and Denis Savard.  The Greatest Stars team includes players such as Peter Stastny, Eric Lindros, Theo Fleury, and Ray Bourque.  Curtis Joseph is slated to be in goal for the team, which is being coached by Michel Bergeron and Jacques Demers.  (TSN)

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Carbo on selection committee of new RDS series

With the NHL lockout still in full swing, RDS, Quebec's 24-hour sports network and the French-language division of TSN, is about to take a look at at the greatest players ever to don the Montreal Canadiens uniform.  L'Ultime Classement will be a 11-part series on the franchise.  Guy is on a selection committee that also includes former Habs players P.J. Stock and Vincent Damphousse and journalists Bertrand Raymond, Michael Farber, and Pierre Houde.  In addition, hockey journalists representing the other Original Six cities were invited to participate. 

The series is slated to debut on January 7.  (The Windsor Star, via the Montreal Gazette)

Some filler for the blog this afternoon -- about jerseys

For about as long as I've been a hockey fan I've been interested in jerseys.  The very first hockey jersey I ever owned was not a Carbo jersey, but a Cam Neely Bruins jersey when I was ten.  (The SECOND hockey jersey I ever owned was a Carbo jersey.  ;)  Uniform designs fascinate me -- after all, the most recognizable aspect of a team other than its logo, is the uniform its players wear.

Which is why I recently got to thinking about the uniforms Guy has worn over the years.  Of course, the Canadiens' jerseys are second to none -- they're the most time-tested design in the league.  I don't even need a photo to illustrate, as I'm sure everyone reading this blog is familiar with Montreal's uniform designs.

The uniform Guy wore during his year in St. Louis was certainly eye-catching:

And the '90s Stars uniforms are ones after my own heart.  Dallas' current jerseys leave a lot to be desired -- in fact, I think they're among the most boring designs in the entire league.  (And why do they have DALLAS across the front of the sweater?  What is this, basketball?)  The team is currently looking at a redesign of its uniforms (good!) but in the meantime, let's look back at its most classic design:

(photo by Brad Amodeo)
And then there's the AHL.  The Nova Scotia Voyageurs' color scheme was the same as its parent club, the Habs -- red, white, and blue (bleu, blanc, et rouge).  Here's a 21-year old Guy in a 1981 roster photo:

But what's the worst jersey Guy ever wore?  I thought about it and I decided that it had to be the Sagueneens' first jersey that the team wore after the QMJHL franchise was awarded to Chicoutimi in 1973, which Guy also wore during his first two seasons with the Sags (1976-77 and 1977-78).

Not a favorite of mine.  But regardless, it deserves respect because Chicoutimi brought it back as a special event jersey in the 2010-11 season to honor Guy's friend and partner on the Sagueneens management team (and also former Chicoutimi player), Gervais Munger, who passed away tragically in a boating accident in the summer of 2010.  Here's Guy at the unveiling:

For more on the fascinating subject of jerseys, I recommend this blog:  Third String Goalie

Monday, 3 December 2012

Guy's 1984-85 Canadiens home jersey "interviewed" (from 2000)

Diane Lau is known in Carbo circles as the webmaster of the incomparable Guy tribute site A Tribute to Guy Carbonneau.  But from 1997 to 2001, she was also the publisher of a popular hockey humor blog (which actually came before blogging's time), Hockey Snacks.  Hosted by "Shinny," one of her fingers, the website took a comic look at the NHL.

I have obtained her permission to republish one of Hockey Snacks' features, which is probably one of the most adorable things I have ever read on the Internet.  In late 1999, Diane became the proud owner of Guy's 1984-85 Canadiens home jersey, which has been featured on this blog, and in March 2000 the jersey was taken to Dallas for a meeting with the man himself.  "Shinny" interviewed the jersey on this occasion, and the interview is now republished here in its entirety.  (With a new discovery for me:  apparently my black 1995-96 Dallas jersey is a boasty one!)

Part I:  The Interview
It is our honor and privilege to have with us today a retired hero of the NHL: Guy Carbonneau’s 1984-85 home Canadiens jersey, affectionately known around Hockey House as La Sainte Flanelle.
Q: For starters, LSF, could you explain your name to those of us who are French-impaired?
A: Certainement, Shinny. It is a tradition with the Canadiens to believe there is a certain magic about the Montreal sweater. The name, the holy flannel, is based on this idea. But as you see, at this point I am more of a holey flannel, tu comprends?
Q: You do have a bit of wear there, it’s true.
A: The right sleeve is a particular disaster.
Q: You must have seen quite a bit of rough stuff in your day. How have things changed in the league since you were on the ice?
A: It’s pretty different, Shinny. I watch the games now from my case here in the Hockey House living room and it’s amusing. It’s so hard these days for a man to get from one end of the ice to the other. Carbo could put on some speed in my day, and not just because he was younger. There was room!
Q: And you really got to play in every single home game?
A: I look like it, hein? Yes, they didn’t care so much for us to look good on TV, all clean and nice. Un blanc, un rouge, c’est tout. You got a tear, they mend it, out you go again next game. Doesn’t matter how many stitches!
Q: I only got three after that scrap with the bagel knife, but it was no picnic…I can’t imagine being under the needle as much as you have obviously been, LSF.
A: Ha! The Canadiens, we take it like a man! I don’t care, I just want to be out there playing.
Q: Speaking of, you had a pretty big event recently. Could you tell us about it?
A: Yes, after 16 years off the ice, I got to go to an NHL arena again! Actually, I got to be worn in an NHL arena again, even better.
Q: Well, I’m sure the Editor is flattered that someone such as yourself was happy to get worn by a non-player.
A: She doesn’t skate well, which is too bad, but she writes nice things about Carbo, so she is okay! So we went out to celebrate his 40th birthday, to the game at the new stadium in Chicago. The red sweater, he used to tell me stories about the other arenas, he liked Chicago Stadium a lot. Too bad I never got to go, but then he never played at the Forum and that’s really too bad!
Q: I never thought about what sort of relationship there might have been between you two.
A: The red sweaters were always cocky, they were the older design you know. They thought they were the "real" sweaters. And always in the promo shots, always on the hockey cards and team pictures. Me, I thought they were just trying to make up for not getting to play at the Forum. Le Rouge would always say to me, oh, you should see Maple Leaf Gardens, oh, you should hear the crowd at Chicago Stadium. I say back to him, okay, but the Ghosts of the Forum don’t know who you are, mon ami!
Q: Oh…low blow there, LSF!
A: He asked for it!
Q: So how was the arena?
A: Big, clean, like the new sweaters these days. Very nice, but not the same. But of course, it can’t be the same as when I played, things change, c’est la vie!
Q: Any improvements you see?
A: Two refs. It’s a good idea. You spear a sweater, you’re probably gonna go to the box.
Q: True. And how was the game?
A: I was glad to be there, but sad that my old friend was not! I remember how he was, it took a lot to keep him off the ice. But who can play in a cast? This man should be in a game on such an occasion, I know he was not happy.
Q: Pretty bad timing for that broken wrist, hey?
A: Only one good thing about it I can think of: it gives his right sleeve a rest. But I don’t believe it was such an accident, Shinny! You know how he did it?
Q: Caught his hand in Kirk Maltby’s jersey, I heard.
A: That jersey took him out!
Q: You mean, you think it was intentional?
A: It was a Red Wing jersey! I remember those guys. One time in a faceoff I got in a pissing match with one. He said the Habs were done winning Cups. Funny from him, the Wings stink in those days! I told him he looked like a pajama top.
Q: Uh-oh.
A: Well, what do you think? Anyway he was pissed. Later in the game he went after Carbo, just like that! Held his stick in the corner on a penalty kill. You gotta watch these guys, they’ll do anything to win.
Q: Man, it never occurred to me it was anything but an accident.
A: No, that sweater took him out!
Q: Okay, if you say so!
A: And if that crazy old red pajama top is reading this, hey, you, who won some Cups? You Red Wings had to wait till ’97, crazy P.J.s!
Q: I guess you jerseys are just as competitive as the players, eh LSF?
A: We have some pride, yeah. The sweaters of Les Glorieux, we know we are fortunate, red or white.
Q: Which reminds me, you share Hockey House with a game worn jersey of Guy’s from Dallas. How do you two get along?
A: Hey, he’s cool. I call him La Sainte Étoile, the holy star, he laughs at that. Any friend of Carbo’s is a friend of mine. Besides, we both have pretty messed up right sleeves! I made that joke when he first got here. He was a little nervous around me at first, Guy taught him some respect for La Sainte Flanelle, you know. But we hit it off fast, you know why?
Q: Why?
A: He told me how Carbo’s black Dallas sweater that played the last game at the Forum was boasting to him! Another cocky away sweater. It’s a problem all over the league.
Q: So the stay-at-home sweaters are a bit more humble?
A: Well, I couldn’t say that…we have our own problems. Home sweaters always get cheered, aways always get booed. I think that’s why they try to compensate with their boasting. It’s understandable. But we whites have to keep our heads, with all that praise all the time. We have a saying, "Nous ne sommes rien sans les hommes qui nous portent." We are nothing without the men who wear us.
Q: So true.
A: I was a lucky one. I remember the day they numbered me, you know it’s like draft day for us. There we are in a pile waiting for the seamstress, wondering, who am I gonna get? Will I be a forward, a defenceman, god, not a goalie? My turn came, I was shaking like a leaf—funny thing to be a leaf when you are a Hab, tu comprends? Ha, ha! So anyway, the seamstress has my numbers…and mon dieu, I see I will be vignt-et-un! A very long name, Carbonneau, but I don’t mind all the stitches. I like this new young penalty-killer they have playing with Captain Bob Gainey. I knew he would be one of the best. We got some points that year! Later the Selkes, the Cups, but we had fun that year, my year.
Q: Wish I could have seen it, LSF. Well, before I get any more weepy, tell me something. Did you have much of a problem in those days with pucks getting up in the uniforms? We’ve been noticing a lot of that lately.
A: These young pucks, they are always the same! But the sweaters were smaller then, it was harder for them to get where they shouldn’t go. I see that Patrick Roy, that one who started the year after me, he’s wearing a tent all the time. Just asking the pucks to all climb in. It’s a crazy thing.
Q: So, before we close, you have any wishes for your old friend on reaching 40 in the NHL?
A: Yes, yes—âllo, Carbo, I miss you, mon ami! Hey, retirement is not so great, I can tell you that…you shouldn’t stop playing till you look as bad as me. You get back out there and win some more hardware…and be nicer to your right sleeve, crazy man!

Part II:  Reunited

Carbo and LSF reunited (photo:  Brad Amodeo) 
Q: LSF, the residents of Hockey House have never seen you this happy!
A: Mon dieu, Shinny, I’m sure a happy sweater!
Q: Tell us what happened.
A: The Editor took us along to Dallas Stars practice, me and the Dallas jersey, La Sainte Étoile. She didn’t know if she would find the good man, but we had success! We were waiting for Guy to come out, and she was nerveuse, she took me out for a security blanket. I was afraid I might not survive until the arrival, but she didn’t squeeze me too tight!
Q: So, how did it feel to see your old teammate after all these years?
A: One look at him, I’m ready to play, mon ami! We watched him practice, he’s not so different from when he was 25! And he took so much time to visit with us, it was just like old times. The Editor got to hear all about the damage all over me, she was très excitée.
Q: Well, the Snacks staff has noticed she’s been rather excitée since getting back, that’s for sure. We keep having to remind her to breathe, stuff like that.
A: Ha ha! Hey, and it turns out that big rip down from the neck on La Sainte Étoile, he got that in a fight. All this time he never told us about that, but Carbo said so. How do you like that, our sweater from Dallas was in a fight!
Q: Not all Carbonneau jerseys can make that claim.
A: And we are really happy too, we have a new member joining our little company.
Q: Ah yes, you mean the stick which Guy gave the Editor, the Sher-Wood, who played with Carbo against Detroit on March 5.
A: I’m gonna ask Sherwood what he saw in that incident when Maltby’s sweater broke Guy’s wrist! Now we have a witness! He was right there!
Q: Uh…sure…but anyway, he should be great company for the other Hockey House Carbo stick, the 1988 Artis.
A: We call him "The Artis Formerly Known as Guy’s."
Q: Those two should get along swimmingly, just like you and La Sainte Étoile. I’m sure they’ll be taking faceoffs in the kitchen…
A: Speaking of L’Étoile, you should tell them about the mail we got.
Q: Ah yes. One of our readers wrote to us, questioning our statement that Guy’s black 95-96 Stars jersey bragged about playing in the last game at the Montreal Forum. Further research revealed that indeed, it was the white in that game.
A: Yes, that black jersey, he was pulling L’Étoile’s leg!  
Q: Or sleeve!
A: Again the away sweaters are always having the inferiority complex.
Q: So, LSF, what was the greatest moment of your reunion with M. Carbonneau?
A: Hard to say, hard to say, Shinny…but I am very proud he signed my fight strap. L’ Étoile, he hasn’t stopped smiling since his strap was signed.
Q: Pretty darn cool, LSF.
A: C’est encroyable, Shinny. C’est mon homme, that’s my man Carbo! Merci mille fois, Guy.

My thanks to Diane for allowing me to republish this piece!

More new videos

First off, another World Poker Tour video that features a soundbite from Guy:

Secondly, some wonderful videos from the 1993 playoffs have been posted.  Of course, the Canadiens, the Cup winners that year, will forever be remembered for their 10 consecutive overtime wins in the playoffs.  Two of those OT winning goals were scored by Carbo.  The first came on May 4, 1993 against Buffalo in the Adams Division final (video in French):

The second came on May 20, 1993 in the Wales Conference final against the New York Islanders (video also in French).

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Some memorabilia oddities, and Guy featured on Hockey Legends blog

Found this while surfing eBay:

Guy, of course, is at the top left -- it's a pretty good likeness!  I kind of miss the corny championship gear of the '90s.  They just don't make shirts like this anymore.

Also thinking of buying one of these for my own collection:

The reason for this is twofold -- of course, the Carbo connection; and I have a weakness for pop (I refuse to call it soda, I'm Canadian after all) ephemera.  I have a rather large pop bottle collection and not only is my computer room a shrine to Carbonneau, it also features some vintage pop advertising.  I don't know though, I think $6 might be a bit too much to pay for 13-year-old Coca-Cola.  ;)

Finally, the blog Greatest Hockey Legends has done a feature (after some encouragement by myself and some others on Twitter) on Guy and his hometown of Sept-Iles, Quebec.  You can read it here.