Season review – Mathieu Darche
Sure, Mathieu Darche ended up exactly where he always dreamt he would, but it didn’t exactly unfold the way he thought.
Like any average kid who grew up playing hockey in the streets of his Montreal neighbourhood, St. Laurent’s Darche fantasized about one day wearing a Habs sweater for a living.
After bumping up and down from the minors for six seasons and even playing in Europe, Darche finally got the call he been longing for when the Habs offered him a contract last summer. Expected to spend the season in Hamilton, the Bulldogs’ captain instead was called up in January and was with the Canadiens to stay.
“This season was just surreal for me,” said Darche. “When your friends remind you that you’re living every kid’s childhood dream, that’s when it sets in. Sometimes I’ll be skating around shooting pucks and I’ll look down and see the Habs logo and it hits me all over again.”
Not merely content with his own stall in the Habs dressing room or sweet jersey with his name and number on it, Darche made his presence felt after joining the Canadiens. Without a game-winning goal to show for his first 101 NHL games heading into 2009-10, he potted no less than three in his first campaign with the Habs, finishing only one back of team leaders Tomas Plekanec, Marc-Andre Bergeron and Michael Cammalleri.
Oddly enough, life as a Hab hasn’t changed a whole lot for the happily-married father of two.
“I actually don’t get recognized all that much,” shrugged Darche. “I think it might be because a I have a generic face that kind of blends in. During the excitement of our playoff run that changed a bit. When you’re walking around the city with a massive beard, people tend to put two and two together.”
Hopefully fans are only beginning to get to know Darche who has but one destination in mind when he becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
Manny Almela is a writer for canadiens.com.
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