MONTREAL – He may like the city of Hamilton, but since getting the call up to Montreal this January, Mathieu Darche
has been doing everything in his power to avoid a return trip.
With the Canadiens’ clinic emptying out these days – knock on wood – all of the injured Habs are hoping to return to action sooner rather than later. Even with the game of musical chairs about to take place on the club’s roster, it’s hard for almost any fan to imagine Jacques Martin leaving one of his most consistent forwards out of the lineup.
“That’s flattering but there’s only one person who gets to decide that and that’s the coach,” said Darche. “I’ve always said I need to just concentrate on the things I can control and the only thing I really have any control over is how I play.”
After enjoying five short stints in the NHL since 2000-01, including a full season with the Lightning before returning to the American league last year and at the start of the current campaign, Darche is no stranger to the numbers game.
“The only full season I’ve had in the NHL was with Tamp Bay and that was two years ago,” explained the 33-year-old winger. “I got more and more comfortable as the season went on and I did my part offensively, but we finished the year in last place. Here, I’ve been able to contribute and we’re winning.”
Since being called up from Hamilton, the Bulldogs’ captain has amassed nine points in 21 games, including the first two-goal game of his NHL career. With the possibility he will again find himself without an NHL home as an unrestricted free agent this summer, Darche is making sure to soak it all in now.
“This isn’t necessarily my last chance in the NHL, but I’ve played more games than I have left and I know that. When I got called up this year, I was talking to my brother J.P. and he kept telling to just play my game,” admitted Darche of the former NFLer. “He said that way if things didn’t work out, I would’ve given it all I’ve got.”
The Darche brothers know all about that. Alexandre Harvey is a writer for canadiens.comSee also:Riding the Metro Canadiens ink Hunter Bishop Habs notebook - March 18, 2010 Bulldogs Report – March 17, 2010 Six and counting