MONTREAL -- There was only one place Mathieu Darche
wanted to spend the 2011-12 season: Montreal.
Having gone on a North American tour, playing for 10 different teams from 2000 to 2009 before finding a home with the Canadiens, the 34-year-old forward didn’t keep anything hidden about his desire to don a Habs jersey for another season with the team.
“You often think that the grass might be greener on the other side,” expressed Mathieu Darche
. “But I’ve seen the other side and can honestly say that the grass is greenest here.”
Negotiations for Darche’s new contract with the Habs were completed quickly and without much hassle.
“We were discussing things for a couple of weeks, but not because of any difficulties. I’m just not the only file on Pierre Gauthier’s desk at the moment,” explained Darche, who was poised to become an unrestricted free-agent on July 1st. “Of course I was looking at my options, but it wasn’t the time to take any chances – this is where I want to be. This will be the first time that my kids get to go to the same school for two years in a row.”
After inking his first one-way contract with the Canadiens last year, the Habs’ No.52 made the most of his 2010-11 season, enjoying a year of personal highs, posting 12 goals and 26 points in 59 games.
While he might have been looking for a two-year deal this time around, Darche is still very satisfied with his latest contract.
“The contract was something that worked well for both parties. I would have been crazy to not try and get signed for two years, but one will do just fine,” said Darche. “If I go out and have a strong season, I shouldn’t have a problem extending my contract for another year.”
With a May 18th abdominal surgery now in his rear-view mirror, Darche is currently in the middle of his rehabilitation program.
“It was something that had been bothering me since December,” admitted Darche. “When I come back, I should feel like a 22-year-old kid again. I’m always trying to get better.”
Already looking ahead, the veteran predicts good things are in store for his team’s upcoming campaign.
“We really have a great core of guys on this team. I’m extremely happy about Hal coming back. With Price, P.K., Pleky and all the others, we’re really heading in the right direction. We dropped three games in overtime to the Bruins in the playoffs and now they’re playing in the Stanley Cup finals. We know that we’re getting closer and closer to achieving our goal.”Justin Fragapane is a writer for canadiens.com.ALSO READ:Cutting Their Teeth Canadiens sign Mathieu Darche to a one-year contract Andrei Kostitsyn inks one-year deal Last Day of Camp Meet Joonas Nattinen