It's been a long time coming, Guy Carbonneau was first eligible to enter the HHOF all the way back in 2004 and since then, he's been waiting. That's right he was past over for 15 long years before the 18 members committee finally decided to open the doors for Carbo.
Why did he wait for so long? Well, it's quite simple, the inductees tend to have had very productive seasons points wise throughout their career but Carbonneau wasn't that type of player. In his 18 year career he played 1218 games with Montreal, St-Louis and Dallas, scoring 260 goals and 403 assists for 663 points. One has to admit that this is bellow the usual threshold to enter the Hall but Carbo did so much more than what those numbers show.
One of the best defensive forward of his era, Carbonneau captured the Frank J. Selke 3 times in 1988, 1989 and 1992 all during his 13 years with the Montreal Canadiens. He's also got 3 Stanley Cup to his name in 1986, 1993 (both with the Habs of course) and 1999 (with Dallas). In the playoffs, he registered 93 points in 231 games while always being used to contain the best forward line on the opposite team.
I'll never forget the 1993 conquest by the Canadiens, I was 13 years old and every morning, I read the news section of the paper including this headline: Captain Carbo seeks responsibility of Gretzky. That happened the day after game 1, a game in which Wayne Gretzky had put up 4 points in a 4-1 win for the LA Kings. After Demers agreed to let Carbonneau be Gretzky's shadow, the Great One only managed to put 3 more points on the board in 4 games and the rest is history. Without Carbo's work on the greatest player of his time (and arguably ever), it's highly doubtful that the Canadiens would have been able to raise Lord Stanley's Cup for a 24th time.
Unfortunately, this type of performance does not always get the credit it deserves...more often than not, we're all attracted to the razzle-dazzle or the offensive stars. Commenting Carbonneau's induction, Bob Gainey said:
“He is certainly deserving, I’m very happy he is being recognized after seeing so much of his success first-hand. The criteria used for the Hall of Fame does not always cover the intangible, but a lot of hockey is intangible.”
It was Gainey, who when trying to guide the Stars to a Cup, who decided as their GM to trade for Carbonneau because he had the mindset of a winner and that move sure paid off (whether or not Brett Hull's skate was in the crease, the Cup was still awarded to Dallas).
As well as being an excellent player, Carbonneau is also a much like personality in hockey circles and in Quebec as well. While both RDS and TVA Sports tend to hire former NHLers to take part in their game coverage or hockey panels, the chosen ones are not always great communicators (Patrice Brisebois anyone?) but Carbo has always been able to do job and do it well. Furthermore, he is a joy to meet in person and is always happy to interact with fans.
On top of playing for the Canadiens for 13 seasons, he also coached them for 2 seasons and 3 quarters, guiding them to the playoffs once (winning one round) and the team was second in the Northeast when he was dismissed to make way for Jacques Martin (after Bob Gainey acted on an interim basis).
Whether or not you are happy with this nomination, it's hard to argue that Carbonneau did not mark his era with his own brand of defensive play and if Eric Lindros can get in the Hall because he was THE power forward even though his numbers are not all that high because of an injury shortened career, why not allow THE defensive forward to be in as well?
In other news, the NHL today release its full schedule for the 2019-2020 season and here are some things to note:
-The Habs will start their season in Carolina, taking on the Hurricanes on October 3rd. The home opener will take place on October 10th against the Detroit Red Wings;
- The Cup champions Blues will visit Montreal on October 12th;
-The newly minted Devil, PK Subban, will hit the Bell Centre with his new outfit November 16th;
-As per usual, the Habs will be far far away from the Bell Centre around Christmas for 7 games in a row, making this their longest trip of the year;
-Nothing on their calendar from January 19th to 26th (All-Star Break and their bye week);
-They will end their season in Toronto on April 4th.