In his three decades as a member of the Canadiens' organization, head equipment manager Pierre Gervais has picked up his share of insider info from within the Bell Centre's walls. In this week's edition of Ask Gerv!, find out more about how the team manages equipment on long road trips, like this month's 12-day, six-city journey.
To read the previous edition of Ask Gerv!, click here.
1. Question from Gedeon Gervais, via Facebook.
What happens if the players forget anything?
The players will rarely forget anything, but if they do, we're the ones who look after it. After practice, the players put all their things in a bag, and everything else is packed up and brought by us. The only time it might happen is around Christmastime, when the players might leave with their skates over the holidays. It's very rare for that to happen. One very memorable time something did happen, though, was at the Olympics. Martin Brodeur came to join us in Vancouver and his wife had packed his goalie equipment, and she sent him off with two left leg pads. I had Richard Genereux come over with the right pad because we needed it right away, so he took a flight from Montreal to Vancouver with it! He couldn't put it on the plane unaccompanied and we needed it the next day. Sometimes, on the road, I'll request a certain number of sticks and one of the guys will break more than we have, so I'll have some more sent to the next city by FedEx, but that's also rare.
2. Question from Joanne Di Tomasso, via Facebook.
How many people does it take to manage the entire process of moving the team's equipment for a road trip?
Five. On the road, we're three equipment guys, but the team we're visiting provides us with one or two people, the truck driver, so if you include everyone, it's five.
3. Question from Emmanuel Forte-Forget, via Facebook.
Do you pack multiple pieces of equipment for these kinds of trips? For example, several helmets or pairs of skates for each player?
We always have a bit of extra equipment, but not much more than that. Everything the guys have is new. On the road nowadays, we wear white with white helmets, so all the teams have white helmets, which eliminates one problem. We used to bring more when we wore blue on the road, because if you were playing in Detroit, you were stuck. The players always have a second set of skates, and the other pieces of equipment are things that almost never break. We always bring a bit more in case there's a trade or something like that, but that's about it.
But honestly, there isn't much difference between a four-game, eight-day trip and a six-in-12, except for maybe a few more sticks. On this trip, nothing will happen, everything will have been settled beforehand. [Editor's note: because the trade deadline has passed.] With recalls from Laval, those are our guys, so they have their own things and they already wear our colors. We'll change the number on the helmet, and the rest is set. The gloves and pants are the same and already have the Canadiens logo on them.
4. Question from Ken Blincoe, via Facebook.
Have you ever forgotten anything?
I'm sure I have, but I can't remember! It probably wasn't anything important, because it isn't sticking out to me. With my system, I'm always reviewing things in my head.
5. Question from Mike Cadney, via Twitter.
How many sets of uniforms do you bring?
Two; we bring an extra jersey for everyone and even for the Laval guys [Ed. note: only those under contract]. I bring the Laval players' jerseys, plus one blank extra, for every trip, at all times.