"In the papers and everywhere, nobody saw Mathieu Dandenault on this team," he said. "Everybody thought he was a write-off, that he was going to be traded, that he was going to be gone by the start of the year.
"He got in training camp, worked extremely hard, showed us that he wanted to play and I don't think he's missed that many games (a healthy scratch seven times).
I think the above is all quite funny, but especially the second bit. Does Carbonneau have enough self-awareness to know that he is the one who made sure that Dandenault played in all those games? That he Dandenault wasn't gone at the start of the year because he and the team made the decision?
Games played (decided upon by Carbo) does not mean that Carbo was right and others were wrong about Dandenault's ability to help the Habs. All it proves is that Carbonneau decides and the critics don't.
I hate to be the one to bring it up now that he is injured and he toughed out that broken arm, but I think Mat's injury will help the team by exposing the apparently closed-minded coaches to the wonders of the young players in Hamilton. We've already seen that D'Agostini was being held back to keep the Laraques and Dandenaults in pay. I think there are more, for example:
Chipchura forward > Dandenault forward
Stewart up front > Dandenault up front
Dandenault has played a few decent games at the back, but he would never have been left back there once Komisarek returned. Carbonneau uses him up front, and he is a marginal contributor up there, at best. I was vocal about Dandenault being extraneous to the team's needs in the fall, and I stand by that. "Carbo dressing" does not equate to "Carbo proving" for me. I can find the space to concede that he is a good player to put on a line whose job is to harass and chase. But I wouldn't dress a line like that given a vote. He has no place on a line that would be asked to score goals, which is what we should strive to create (four of).
Frankly, even with his marginal contribution, Dandenault still does have a place barring the promotion of 3 or 4 rookies. his versatility and the far inferior play and potential of some of his peers assure him of that for the moment.
Not thrown onto the street
Anyone that knows and reads me will know that I can be harsh with players, but value people. Though I criticise Dandenault the winger, I have nothing but respect and fond memories of Dandenault the man.
Were he to be replaced in the line-up, Dandenault the man should accommodated by the Canadiens. If we promote a better player and he loses his place now, he should be treated as the valued employee he is. He should be offered the choice of staying with the Canadiens, being patient and either playing in a crunch or leading from behind the scenes. Else, he could opt to play and the team would seek the best opportunity for him to fulfill that wish.
One thing I love about the Canadiens is that by and large they treat their players as valued members of the family. Balance with that the wish that someone show a bit more ruthlessness – after all, this dynasty of our dreams is up against teams where they would throw people right out on the street...