Guy Lafleur is one of the greatest Montreal Canadiens players of all time. He still holds the record for most points by anyone who ever wore a Habs sweater, and with the likes of Maurice Richard, Henri Richard and Jean Beliveau behind him, he clearly had a spectacular career.
Lafleur’s career achievements on the ice include three Art Ross Trophy’s as the NHL’s leading scorer, a pair of Hart Trophy’s as MVP, a Conn Smythe as playoff MVP and being the best player on five different Stanley Cup winning teams, including the greatest NHL team ever assembled.
My greatest career on ice achievements include a player of the game award at a Midget A tournament, so who am I to call out the great Guy Lafleur? Well, I’m a nobody but I disagree with his recent comments so I am going to voice my opinion as well.
To sum up, Lafleur said that the Canadiens need to get rid of both Thomas Vanek and Max Pacioretty because they showed up for Game 5 against the New York Rangers but did not show up for Game 6. He suggested you will never win with players like the aforementioned pair.
I like a guy who speaks his mind and doesn’t just give cliché answers to every question like most players do these days. Pacioretty is actually one of those guys who can be honest with the media, and obviously Lafleur is as well. That doesn’t mean he is right.
This year was Pacioretty’s first extended run in the NHL postseason as he was injured last season in his first ever NHL playoff series, and was held scoreless in four games. This season, Pacioretty scored a series winning goal in the opening round against the Tampa Bay Lightning, and also scored in must win games six and seven against the Boston Bruins in round two.
Of all former Habs players, Guy Lafleur is the first guy that should understand Pacioretty not dominating in his first playoff run. Lafleur was heralded as a savior to the Canadiens franchise when he was selected first overall in the 1971 NHL Draft. Things didn’t start out the way he had hoped. In his first three seasons, the Canadiens made the playoffs each season (of course, it was the 70’s) and Lafleur struggled to 14 points in 29 games.
Worth noting is that Pacioretty was just called out by “The Flower” for scoring 11 points in 17 games. Sure, Pacioretty was driving the bus all season and slowed in the playoffs, but if anyone can understand the pressure of playing in Montreal it should be Guy Lafleur.
Max Pacioretty just had a career year that included finishing fourth in the NHL in goals with 39, and he is signed for five more seasons at 4.5 million per season. The Montreal Canadiens are extremely thankful to have their sniper locked up at a reasonable rate long term, and are in no way considering moving him.
These former Habs greats should be making things easier on the current crop of Montreal Canadiens, not more difficult. I am willing to bet when Lafleur had 8 points in 17 playoff games in his second postseason run with the Habs, Jean Beliveau or Maurice Richard didn’t say he should be sent out of town.
I have a tremendous amount of respect for Lafleur, and the guy has a right to speak his mind if he so desires. I just disagree with his opinion and think he should be telling Habs players how to score goals, not suggesting they get out of town.
Lafleur was a phenomenal hockey player, and one of the greatest of all time. He just is not filling his role as ambassador to the organization in the best way.