TSN's Interview with Canadiens great Guy Lafleur Staff

11/2/2008 10:01:11 PM

When you think of the great Canadiens dynasties of the 1970's, one of the names that immediately come to mind is Guy Damien Lafleur.

Le Demon Blond brought "Flower Power" to the Habs for 14 seasons, dazzling the Montreal faithful with his speed, skill and scoring prowess. He was a First Team all-star in each of his six consecutive 50-goal seasons and won the scoring title three times, the Hart Trophy twice and the Conn Smythe Trophy in 1977. He has the highest career point and assist totals in Montreal history, as well as the second-highest goal total behind the legendary Maurice Richard.

And when Lafleur reached the 1,000-point mark, he did it in just 720 games, the shortest time taken to hit that milestone in NHL history.

But the days weren't always wine and roses between Lafleur and the Canadiens. With former teammate Serge becoming general manager of the club in 1983 and former linemate Jacques Lemaire utilizing a defence-first approach as the team's new head coach, Lafleur felt marginalized and parted ways with the only club he loved and played for.

But time heals all wounds, and Flower Power returned to the 'bleu, blanc et rouge' when Lafleur was welcomed back as a team ambassador in 1995.

TSN's Gord Miller recently caught up with the Hall of Famer as the Canadiens began their 100th season.

Gord Miller: I want to take you back to September of 1971. You were a hot shot rookie and the first overall pick in the draft. Montreal just won the Stanley Cup and you walk into the dressing room at training camp. There's Yvan Cournoyer, Henri Richard and Frank Mahovlich. What was it like to try to fit in with that group?

Guy Lafleur: I was really impressed. I was impressed all my life. Because of the Montreal Canadiens' past, it means a lot because it was a team I cherished as a kid. It was my dream playing for the Montreal Canadiens - it was my dad's team. Putting all this together was like a dream come true.

GM: If there was one moment from your days as a Montreal Canadien, which would you say was the best one?

GL: Being drafted by the Montreal Canadiens. That was the greatest moment in my career. And stealing the Stanley Cup in 1978 and bringing it back to my hometown of Thurso *laughing*.

GM: But you actually did steal it!

GL: *Smiling* Yeah, we stole (late public address announcer and PR director) Claude Mouton's car with the Cup in it and went circling around the city, the discotheques and bars and the next day we went to my parent's place with it.

GM: And that's why they have guys with the Cup now!

GL: *Smiling* Yeah, that's right.they have the replica, though - we had the real thing!

GM: Were you ready to retire in 1985?

GL: I was not. It was getting to a point where I had no choice. It was getting to a point where I was not happy. They didn't want to trade me, so the only thing I had in mind was to retire. That was the only choice I had, so that's why I did it. I knew I was capable of playing more years, and not playing in that system. It was very defensive. They wouldn't sacrifice the whole team for one player and I understood that, so they could have done better - I think - at the time.

GM: You're now back in the Montreal Canadians' family and are a cherished member of that family. What brought you back?

GL: Well, I was very happy when (teammate, former general manager and current president of the Canadiens Almuni Association) Rejean Houle called me when I was in Quebec and asked me to come back. You just can't play 14 years for one organization and stay away for the rest of your life. I mean, it was my life when I was here in Montreal. The day I came back was like the cherry on the cake. It was a great opportunity, that's where I belong and that's why I came back.