Dear Mr. Bergevin and Mr. Therrien,
I know you think you are both doing the right thing with David Desharnais, by giving him every opportunity to get himself back to playing at a respectable level. To the contrary, the way I see it, you are both hurting him more than ever.
You are not helping Desharnais. In fact, you are destroying him and you are both completely humiliating and embarrassing the once proud young man who earned himself a 4 year / $14 Million contract. Your mass attempts at bringing “Little Davey” back from the brink has produce but a single point in 18 games now.
Desharnais is being a good soldier right now, doing everything you are both are asking of him effort-wise on the ice, in the training room, and with the press. No player on earth will ever tell you he needs to take a step back, unable to admit defeat, and ask for another solution to his problem. That’s not what warriors do. Therefore, it is on you two gentleman, as the brain trust of the Montreal Canadiens, to show the wisdom and the courage to do what is necessary for Desharnais.
Everybody talks about being hungry and the old “Eye of The Tiger” mentality. You need look at Brendan Gallagher, that little ball of fire has an unrelenting will to never ever be beaten. Gallagher has an unbreakable spirit, unwilling to believe there’s something he cannot achieve. He has what Maurice “the Rocket” Richard had…an intense hatred of defeat that drove his passion for victory. Once upon a time, David Desharnais had that fire in his belly, but now it’s gone. Regardless of why it is gone, what matters now is how do we get that fire in his eyes to light up again?
The solution is only too simple. Send him to Hamilton Bulldogs, regardless of the financial repercussions, and let him find himself again. Such a move would be a reminder of the road he travelled to make it the NHL. A reminder of the pain and suffering he endured, as well as the never ending list of doubters he proved wrong to achieve his dream. Desharnais needs smell the diesel fumes from countless bus rides, to carry his own hockey bag, and sleep on squeaky motel beds. He needs to remember what it’s like to play in front of 4000 people, instead of the millions who watch and scrutinize his every shift on television.
Maybe after a few weeks back in the dungeons of hockey that desire may be reborn, but Desharnais needs to go back where his life in hockey becomes an irritation. Only in the doghouses of hockey hells will he rediscover the itch that drives every player to greatness. And if he scratches that itch long and hard enough, it may just reignite the fire in him and burn bright enough to return the form that earned him the right to play at the highest level.
I have spent the better part of last two month berated, ridiculing, and making fun of Desharnais for his ineptness thus far this season. But, what you gentlemen are doing to him is much worse than anything I could ever say. Instead of trying to pacify the masses, yearning for the next Richard, Beliveau or Lafleur, think of the player and what you could do to help resurrect his dwindling NHL career.