Wednesday, 10 July 2013

The Chris Chelios for Denis Savard trade felt wrong even at that time

The announcement of Chris Chelios' induction in the Hockey Hall of Fame is bittersweet for Canadiens fans, since we wonder what could have been had he not been traded away.

I've told this story before, but when the Chris Chelios trade was made, I was working security at the Jazz Festival.  The funny thing is, one of my supervisors was André Savard, Denis' cousin.  He's not the André Savard you're thinking of, this one played Junior A hockey but never got any farther, although he had the size for it, he looked like a hockey player, a big dude.  Anyway, I think it was early in the morning, we were all at our posts but there was no activity yet, no shows going on, just a few people walking around, going to work, doing the Walk of Shame, etc.

Anyway, Christian, the big boss and owner of the security company that provided services to all the Festivals and a few concert venues (I'm telling you, this was a great job) came on the air and told everyone over our radios that the trade had been made, and gave us the particulars.  And there was a silence.  Me and the couple of guys I was stationed with kind of looked at each other, and I could tell we all had a bad feeling about this.  Then a lone, forever unidentified voice crackled over the air and said: "Savard yé trop vieux!", and everyone laughed so hard we could hear the other guys whooping on the other stations and street corners.  We all knew the guy was taking a dig at André, calling him too old, but also stating what we all felt, that Denis was kind of past his prime.  And the worker bees, we were all young, and we'd all come across Chris Chelios at the Peel Pub or on Crescent Street, so we knew about the partying and the rumours, but we all thought we'd regret this.  Even if we didn't go into details about it when André was around, because he was really happy and really proud his cousin was coming home to Montréal.

So yeah, I didn't like that trade right off the bat, but I tried to see how it could work out, if best-case scenarios went our way.  This wasn't the immediate kick in the gut of the Patrick Roy trade, the Rod Langway trade, or the Tomas Kaberle trade, but if I could have waved my magic wand I would have undone that deal.

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