BROSSARD - If you thought Mathieu Darche
has had a busy week, imagine his cell phone.
“It literally hasn’t stopped ringing since I was called up. At a certain point I just gave up and turned it off so I could get focused on playing my first game,” said Darche in the aftermath of his Habs debut this week. “Everyone I knew wanted tickets. After the game I went to eat with friends and family and they let me know how they did.”
After being in the starting lineup and beginning the game alongside Tomas Plekanec
and Michael Cammalleri, Darche played just under 10 minutes and registered a pair of shots.
“For sure I was a little nervous when I first stepped onto the ice. I’d played here before but as a visiting player,” recalled Darche who already had 101 NHL games under his belt. “It was a really special feeling this time around. Once the game started though, I had to forget about that and focus on the game.”
The loss to the Blues served as a reminder of how the difference between the AHL and the NHL is far more than a simple letter in each league’s acronym.
“I know I can improve with every game. It may sound like a cliché, but at this level you really need to take it one game at a time,” explained Darche, who earlier this season scored his 200th career AHL goal. “You start getting into trouble when you think two or three games ahead.”
As for the teammates he’s left behind in Hamilton, Darche knows they couldn’t be happier for him.
“There is absolutely no jealousy on the part of the other guys with the Bulldogs. All of us who have been called up this season know that the Canadiens call on guys who are either playing well at a given moment or that fill a specific need,” said Darche. “To be honest, I’ve never seen a situation like this where there is no jealousy and all the guys are pulling for one another.”
The 33-year-old will be busy the next couple of days – both on the ice and on the phone.
“I need to hit up at least half the Bulldogs guys who called me this week, especially my buddy David Desharnais
” admitted Darche, shaking his head. “Hopefully I have time to get to that today.”
That is if his big break with his hometown Canadiens doesn’t keep getting in the way. Vincent Cauchy is a writer for canadiens.com. Translated by Manny Almela.Read alsoGame preview: Canadiens - DevilsHabs Notebook - Jan.21, 2010 At a crossroads Bulldogs report - Jan. 20, 2010