"Les faits lui donnent raison. Depuis son congédiement, il y a 16 ans, les seuls Francophones repêchés par le Canadien qui ont patiné dans la Ligue nationale, Mike Ribeiro, François Beauchemin, Maxim Lapierre et Guillaume Latendresse, ont tous été envoyés ailleurs pour des miettes. Imaginez, quatre Québécois du calibre de la Ligue nationale seulement en 16 ans."
"Since Savard was fired, the only francophones drafted by the Habs to have skated in the NHL are Mike Ribeiro, Francois Beauchemin, Maxim Lapierre and Guillaume Latendresse. Imagine, 4 NHL caliber Quebecois in 16 years."
What an indictment, and one no doubt aimed to inflame. Imagine.
But now imagine you were wondering how much money I had and I told you that I had $12 in change from the laundromat.
Sure, it's true, I only have $12 dollars in change from the laundromat (except that I actually have $22, oops forgot I changed some into bills) and I have more money in my other wallet that didn't come from the laundromat.
This is RDS's tactic. RDS implies by their statement that the Canadiens have ignored all Quebec players for 16 years because they have only drafted 4 NHL-caliber players.
For a start, they forgot to count Mathieu Garon who was drafted after Savard left. His career merits mention in the same breath of Lapierre, I'd think. And if they are going to throw around words like "qui ont patiné dans la Ligue nationale" they should probably also include the likes of Mathieu Carle, Jonathan Ferland, Eric Chouinard and Ben Guite who all skated in the NHL, much to the incovenience of the propagandists.
9 isn't a huge number of NHL players drafted from Quebec in 16 years, but it looks a heck of a lot bigger to the casual observer than 4. And, considering NHL stars aren't exactly pouring out of the province in the way they did in the 1950s, I'd wager it's not the worst tally in the league either. I'd even guess it's nearer the top.
Besides this, the Canadiens have also made conscious effort to make career opportunities for undrafted Quebeckers one of their post-lockout priorities. Yann Danis comes to mind, and who can forget Francis Bouillon and of course current top-liner David Desharnais. You could include others that were drafted then discarded, but then I suppose you'd have to say that Calgary wasn't responsible for Martin St. Louis. Who do I mean? Guys like Pierre Dagenais, Patrick Traverse, Steve Begin, Karl Dykhuis et al. Guys that got longer careers because Montreal gave them a chance when no one else would have.
Personally, I think that tack by the Canadiens has been sensible. They have been able to stockpile try-out players from the QMJHL from the leftovers of the draft. Considering the league is probably the probably most difficult in which to properly assess talent, this approach to minimize risk is great. It's already worked wonders with Desharnais and could yet pay with someone like Etienne Brodeur or a future scoring hotshot.
When will RDS be happy?
Well, in my humble opinion, probably never.
If the Habs had drafted only Quebecois over the past 16 years and had started 1-3-1, my bet is that they'd be complaining just as adamantly (and probably dishonestly) about something else.
I can't ask RDS to give up complaining, clearly they know it gets them the ratings. What I hope we can ask for is a little more honesty and integrity, and possibly better arithmetic. At least they provided the ammunition for the return volley in their half-baked attack, that's something, I suppose.