Pierre Gervais reveals Marc Bergevin's obsession with numbers with a Jesperi Kotkaniemi example

Published February 25, 2022 at 3:55 PM

The 2021-2022 season will certainly not go down in history on the ice, but for the Canadiens' equipment manager, Pierre Gervais, it will go down in history, as he is in his last year with the team.

For more than 35 years, Gervais has gone through the full range of emotions. He lived the last Stanley Cup of the team in 1993 but he also was there for the tougher seasons.

Descriptor Félix Séguin spoke with Gervais in his recent episode of his podcast, Dans l'oeil du chat.

The latter tells him many stories about former players and also former leaders of the Canadian.

Among these anecdotes, Gervais tells how it happens when the time comes to assign a number to a new Canadian player. He mentions that it has happened before that he has to choose a number but that in general, this task normally falls to the general manager of the team. And this was particularly true at the time of Marc Bergevin.

«Marc was very fond of choosing player numbers. Most other general managers I have known, they didn't care! Marc, with his old mentality, liked to have the lowest possible numbers. But with all the numbers retired, there aren't many more numbers available, I'm on the eve of dropping into triple digits! But soon that won't be my problem anymore."

The fashion is now for "big numbers" and Bergevin hate that.

«I always try to give the lowest possible number, otherwise it falls into the 50-60-70-80, so-called racing tank numbers. Young players entering the league are increasingly choosing high numbers. He chooses when he makes the team, in agreement with the general manager. In the case of Jesperi Kotkaniemi, for example, Marc initially wanted him to take a smaller number."

The youngster therefore took a smaller number, #15. Now in Carolina, he sports #82.

Gervais also recounts having had a great friendship with one of the most talented players to come to Montreal in the past 35 years, a certain Alex Kovalev.

«Kovalev is really cool. To date, he's probably the guy with the most raw talent I've seen with the Canadiens. It's not Guy Lafleur, but it's not far below. He has a great personality, he is endearing. I remained friends with him."

To listen to the three episodes of the podcast, click below. It's very interesting :

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