Montreal marches to Theodoreís beat
When he's not busy picking 100-mph slap shots out of the air, Jose Theodore likes to spend his time picking his guitar. The Montreal Canadiens' goaltender loves music almost as much as playing hockey. When he's not on the ice stoning the opposition, Theodore usually can be found somewhere jamming with his friends.
"I like music, so I play a little of the guitar. I like to just relax and jam with some of my friends to get away from the game," Theodore explained. "There's a few bands out there that I know and every time they come into Montreal I get a chance to hang out with them and go to their concerts. So it's fun. I just really enjoy jamming with my friends to relax."
The Habs' stellar stopper didn't have too much time to relax this past summer as the Canadiens extended their season with a determined push that propelled Montreal into the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in four seasons. Theodore was the primary reason why there was springtime hockey in Montreal again.
Despite a lack of postseason experience that included just five playoff games on his resume, the goaltender demanded the spotlight and along the way cemented his reputation as one of the NHLís emerging young stars.
The playoffs proved to be the main course, but the appetizer, the regular season, was plenty tasty to Canadiens fans. During the grueling 82-game season, Theodore established career highs in victories (30), games played (67), consecutive starts (17), goals-against-average (2.11), shutouts (7) and save percentage (.931). Theodore also single-handedly carried his team into the postseason last year during the season's final weeks.
Theodore had a career-high, seven-game winning streak from March 28 to April 9 to go along with a stingy 1.13 GAA and a gaudy .959 save percentage. For his efforts, Theodore was named NHL Player of the Week for the period of April 1-7, when he was 4-0-0, had a GAA of 0.75 and a .972 SP.
In those pressure-packed weeks, Theodore was selected as one of the three stars of the game in 15 of his last 17 contests and 21 of his last 27 starts. He also shut out the opposition for 146 minutes from March 30 to April 4.
Throw all the numbers into the blender and it comes out the same, that is, without Theodore the Canadiensí playoff hopes may well have been dashed.
"I felt really confident going into the season and the guys played really well in front of me," Theodore said. "A lot of our players had their best seasons, so when you put that all together that's part of the good season I had. I was just waiting a long time for that chance to play 70 games and last year was a good chance for me to show what I can do."
Despite a slow start in the playoffs, Theodore came up big when the going got tough. He was one of the main reasons why the Canadiens were able to stun the Eastern Conference's top-seeded Boston Bruins in six games in the first round.
"It was four years since the team was in the playoffs, so the people of Montreal were really anxious for their team to be in the playoffs and then when we realized we made it, it was fun to see the fans and how they were reacting," Theodore recalled. "Then, we were able to beat Boston so it was just like the old days. It was definitely something special for everybody and now everybody's anxious for this season."
While Theodore can't wait to produce an encore performance, the young netminder isn't about to throw away last seasonís memories. Along with backstopping his team into the postseason, the Quebec native also took center stage at the NHLís awards show in June.