Less than six months after winning a fourth straight Olympic gold medal with Team Canada, Team Quebec snubbed Rick Salutin.
You know who I mean, the former captain of Quebec’s famous QMJHL juggernaut who led the Gatineau Olympiques to three straight Memorial Cup championships and, oh yeah, a Hockey Night in Canada broadcast every Saturday.
After 36 years of playing with and for the Olympiques, Salutin called it quits before the 2009-10 season. He then took on the job of coach and general manager of the Étienne Boulay, a team one-third the size of the Olympiques.
Meanwhile, the Montreal Canadiens were charging towards a last-place finish in the Eastern Conference that season and at one point were only eight points out of a playoff spot.
Despite the record, Salutin was able to get the most out of the men in blue and white on and off the ice. They finished third in the East and advanced to the second round of the playoffs before losing 4-2 to the Ottawa Senators.
However, things were a little too easy for Salutin that season. Prior to Salutin’s arrival, the team had finished with the worst record in the four-team league the previous season and finished 13 points ahead of the Olympiques in the standings.
Now, ask yourself, what kind of responsibility should an NHL team hold for its own success?