David Desharnais: the Little Centre Who Could

Posted: 2011/02/13 by Dannie in 2010-2011 Regular Season, Montreal Canadiens

Hey, remember this guy?

Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images

Maybe this will refresh your memory…

(Photo courtesy of Kara Stabler)

Remember how he wouldn’t play in the NHL? Or probably even be effective at the AHL level? He’s too small. Has that stopped David Desharnais once?

He was undrafted, likely for that reason, but would go 126-248-374 in 199 games with Chicoutimi of the QMJHL.

And then he came to Cincinnati. Remember that? 29-77-106 in 68 games, 33 points in 22 playoff games, and I’m pretty sure a lot of hardware has his name on it from that year.

Then he  left us for the greener pastures of the American Hockey League, just as we expected any guy who’d throw up 106 points in the ECHL would, and in his first two years with the Bulldogs, the Little Engine Who Could had 136 points in 137 games. He broke the Bulldogs’ single-season point record in 2010. He was called up from Hamilton to play his first game with the Montreal Canadiens, rode in a limo from Hamilton to Pittsburgh for that game, and while he didn’t do much in his short stint with the Habs, it was proof of what we already knew: this kid was good.

This year started with another reassignment to Hamilton, and in his 35 games with the baby Habs, he put up 45 points. So long, Desharnais, the NHL has called for real this time. In eighteen games with the Canadiens this season, Desharnais has 5 goals and 6 assists. Last night against the Maple Leafs he showed poise, patience, and the experience of a man with more than 24 games of NHL experience.

Montreal can’t get enough of him. And honestly, we can’t blame them. We couldn’t either.

“Davey’s awesome,” confirmed Pouliot, who has played left wing alongside Desharnais since the speedy pivot was called up from Hamilton on New Year’s Eve. “When he first got called up he was so happy. He kept talking about how excited he was to be in the NHL and to be a Montreal Canadien and now he’s doing more than ever.”

“He’s a small player, but he never hesitates to go into high traffic areas. For sure he’s not going to play like [Milan] Lucic or a big guy like that, but he plays with no fear out there,” added [Habs head coach Jacques Martin]. “I have complete confidence that that’s the type of game David is going to bring for us.”

“It’s amazing. Sometimes I don’t even realize what’s happening,” explained the diminutive center with a grin. “At the same time, I have to keep performing well and I think I’m starting to hit my stride. I have confidence in myself. It’s a psychological thing I guess, but after I scored that first goal [on January 12] everything has gone well and I’ve just kept working and now here I am,” he marveled. “But the toughest part isn’t getting here; it’s staying here. I want to stay here and I’m going to work my [butt] off to make sure I do.”

— “Rave Reviews

He was told a few weeks ago to find a permanent place of residence. David Desharnais has, through blue collar hard work, through battling all night every night, earned his place in the NHL.

But he’ll never play in the NHL.

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