The year of Desharnais
MONTREAL – It’s hard to believe 2011-12 was David Desharnais first full season in a Habs jersey.
After splitting the previous campaign between Montreal and Hamilton, the 25-year-old center shot up through the ranks this year, anchoring the first line for the majority of the season. The Laurier-Station native made good use of his newfound ice time, becoming the first Quebecer to hit the 60-point milestone since Mike Ribeiro, who had recorded the feat back in 2003-04.
In 81 games, Desharnais, who inked a two-year deal with the Canadiens in June 2011, notched 16 goals and 44 assists, finishing third in team scoring behind his two wingers.
“At the beginning of the season I could have imagined recording maybe 50 points, but not 60,” confessed Desharnais, who also helped linemates Max Pacioretty and Erik Cole set career highs for points this season. “It all comes down to opportunities and taking advantage of them. If there weren’t any injuries I might have been on the third or the fourth line and maybe even in the stands. You’ve got to grab that chance when it’s presented to you and be ready.”
Desharnais seized his opportunity by recording 16 multi-point games and finishing third behind Josh Gorges and Cole with a plus-10 differential.
“Personally it was a good year. It was my first full season. I’m happy with what I did but at the same time you never want to be last in your division so it’s disappointing from a team standpoint,” explained Desharnais who performed best on home ice, registering 35 points in 41 games and maintaining a plus-17 differential at the Bell Centre. “What I take away from this year as a team is that when things don’t work out, changes are made. Those are not the things we want happening to our team during a season. We don’t want to finish last – it isn’t fun for anyone.
“We have all the talent and the character in the room; it was just an awful year with the injuries and all of that. We know we’re better than that and we’ll prove it next year,” promised the speedy pivot.
Spoken like a true veteran.Lee Anne Vincent O'Connor is a writer for canadiens.com.