Skip to content
SLBAM: The difference between the New York Rangers and the Quebec Remparts

What’s up gang. I missed a week because of my vacation and before anyone asks me how my vacation was or is going (because we are until the end of July), I’m going to ask you to ask me another question.

Since day 1, nothing’s gone our way unfortunately, but there’s a lot we can’t control. In short, our vacation plan A and B aren’t working.

The off-season has really arrived in the field hockey world and the headlines are no longer catchy, because there’s no more news. But, as usual, you are faithful with your questions and I love that.

Let’s get started.

I’ve always said, why not put a suspension that equals the number of games missed by the injured player. So if we’re talking about a blow to the head, which leads to a concussion, and the player is injured for two months, for example, why not a two-month suspension?

The problem here is that if, for example, it wasn’t intentional at all. For example, it’s not true that all blows to the head are intentional. Sometimes, the difference in size has a lot to do with it, or the positioning of the player with the puck (who has his head up his ass).

The big problem is that many players don’t protect themselves or their information, or even have any idea who’s on the ice. So we have a problem here, because often we’re able to tell whether it was deliberate or not.

But the times we’re indecisive, it could have very big repercussions for the team and leave big precedents, and nobody wants that.

In my opinion, the problem is bigger than that, and I’m talking about the non-consistency of suspensions. The problem is there and until this is sorted out, there will be no progress.

Why not put an outside firm in charge of suspensions, and please, no more $5,000 fines.

I have so many stories about Rafael or even his family, or an anecdote about my first meeting at the pizzeria with his sister and her family. RHP will be the same player tomorrow as he was in five years or when he was 15.

I was lucky enough – and yes, I do mean lucky enough – to be able to coach him for a season, and he made me grow enormously as a coach.

But the RHP I’ve seen in the Q, in the AHL or in the NHL, is the same RHP I had when he was 15 in the midget espoir. He’s just better because of his progression and development. The attributes that made him the best player in the league remain the same.

I remember fighting with my Q organization back in the day (since I was a scout in the QMJHL) and telling them that this guy is going to play pro and we should draft him in the second round without hesitation. The rest is history…

Several teams didn’t believe in him and Rouyn decided to select him. I’ve never sold a player like him to any organization, but I knew about him, that’s all.

He’s always being compared to Gallagher, and has been ever since he was young. I think it’s hard to find another player like him. Of course, Gallagher has a better skate and a slightly more physical style of play than RHP.

I think right now, he’s still the third goalie in the Habs’ hierarchy.

But I have a feeling that Dobes will quickly move ahead of him. Primeau at the university level had better stats, but that doesn’t mean anything either.

Primeau was the Rocket’s most trusted man last year. He should be at the start of the year if he isn’t called up, especially with a new team in front of him.

But we shouldn’t be surprised to see Dobes making starts in order to adapt as quickly as possible and, if all goes well, perhaps pass Primeau.

Indeed, Reinbacher and Hutson aren’t close to the NHL and that’s just fine. As I’ve always said, no one has ever arrived too late in the NHL. But many have arrived too quickly.

On the right-hand side, we currently have Savard, Kovacevic, Barron and Wideman who are NHL-calibre. I’m not saying they’re all top-1, but they’ve got a place in a top-7.

The addition of Keeper with the Rocket could “help” if needed up top, as not all left-handed defensemen are capable of playing on the right either.

Harris, in my opinion, is the only one who can.

This means that the CH currently has four true right-handers, with Harris added for a total of five right-handers. If not, Mailloux is the one who’s most ready, as well as being right-handed.

However, he absolutely must spend a season or two in the AHL before making the jump to the big club. There are many small aspects of his game that need to be improved, and the Rocket currently represents the best path for his development.

All you need is a player who replaces his I speech with WE and you’ve got the start of something. I don’t think there was much WE in New York.

I could be wrong, but when you have too many top-3 players in a lineup, you’re missing key pieces elsewhere too.

Plus, a lot of the star players had the same style of play, so it’s impossible to create a perfect line, because, for example, nobody’s going to get the puck in the corner, because you’ve got two wingers.

Chemistry isn’t necessarily what’s going to win you the game, but it does give you a solid advantage over other teams. From there, you start to create your team culture.

Because, yes, as coaches, we have to describe what the culture is and so on, and we have to remind them of it, just like we have to tell our children, even if they’re 15, to make their bed. If we wait until after them and stop telling them… I can assure you they won’t do it again.

But when the culture stage comes from the players, it’s mission accomplished for the coaches.

Just look at the Remparts players’ comments about Patrick Roy. They all wanted to win for him and the sacrifices he made. And as we all know, Patrick isn’t the softest coach in the league.

But he’s respected, because he’s managed to earn the respect of the players, and that’s a win-win situation.

As far as Montreal is concerned, the CH is in the process of creating something, and they’re only at the beginning. I can’t wait to see in five years how they’ve accomplished their plan and where the team is now, because it’s looking very good.

And yes, the organization wants good individuals at the core to ensure good chemistry. But, sometimes, having someone who’s going to get up in the room and stir things up isn’t always a bad thing, on the contrary.


That wraps up this week’s questions. I had other topics, but I’ll save them for next week.

I’m really looking forward to Hockey Canada’s outcome with the NHL. I think all the NHL teams are ready and already know. It’s only a matter of time, and maybe that’s why some young players still haven’t signed contracts or been traded.

I haven’t yet talked about the end of my first year with the Montreal Carabins, when we lost the bronze medal at the Canadian championship with less than five minutes to go. Nor about the KHL’s new rule on face-offs at the start of the period during a penalty.

Anyway, I’ll talk to you next week, and until then, be careful and make sure you follow me on social networks. I’m just a few followers away from hitting 5000 on Twitter, which is no small feat. @Mitch_Giguere.

More Content