In an article curiously titled “Jaroslav Spacek has fond memories of Montreal“, Dave Stubbs of The Gazette spoke with the former Canadiens defenseman about his two-plus seasons in Quebec.
In turn, Spacek spoke of an organization lacking leadership and communication.
“So much bad stuff,” Spacek said. “In my 20-year hockey career, I’d never seen anything like it. If you don’t like the way I play, kick me in the ass. But no one said anything. It was terrible.”
Spacek spoke with Stubbs off the record, but it’s not difficult to figure out who the key figures of dysfunction were.
The Czech rearguard was signed by then-Montreal GM Bob Gainey in 2009. Gainey’s assistant at the time was Pierre Gauthier — who would later ascend to Gainey’s position in 2010 — and Spacek’s head coach for the duration of his time in Montreal was Jacques Martin.
It was in Spacek’s final season when things really went haywire. First, assistant coach Perry Pearn was fired less than a month into the regular season. Then Spacek was dealt to Carolina, a move which caught him by surprise.
From The Gazette:
“I worked so hard last summer and arrived at camp in maybe the best shape I’ve been in,” Spacek said. “Then, when I was hurt right away (suffering separated ribs in the season’s second game), everything dropped off.”
His trade to Carolina gave surreal a whole new meaning, then-GM Pierre Gauthier telling him he’d been dealt but not telling him for a time where he was going.
The Spacek-for-Tomas Kaberle trade happened on Dec. 9. Eight days later, Gauthier would fire Martin and replace him with Randy Cunneyworth.
Sounds like a fun place to play, huh?
Speaking of fun places to play, Spacek thoroughly enjoyed his time in Carolina. Now 38 and an unrestricted free agent, he says he’d welcome welcome a return to the Hurricanes.
“To be honest, I’d like to go back to Carolina,” said Spacek. “I started some good stuff with the kids on that team. Even if I don’t play much, as a fifth, sixth or seventh defenceman, I’ve got a good relationship with them. They look up to me and I look up to them.
“They’ve made me a little younger.”