Stéphane Richer lived hell with the Montreal Canadiens...

Published September 19, 2021 at 4:10 PM

Stéphane Richer is the last 50-goal scorer to play for the Montreal Canadiens. He scored 50 goals on two occasions in the Bleu-blanc-rouge uniform. There is no doubt that he was performing well in Montreal, however, we can't say that his time with the Tricolore was a smooth one.

He gave a powerful testimony to the newspaper La Presse, in which he talked about his eventful time with the Habs and Jonathan Drouin.

Richer never hid to say that he had gone through multiple ranges of emotions while playing in Montreal. It would not be bold to say that he was unhappy most of the time. The pressure inflicted on Quebecers is sometimes unbearable. Richer loved his sport, no matter what: "I didn't say that because I didn't like my sport. I needed help."

The Tricolore organization took Richer's case very lightly, obviously. Depression was much less of a concern at the time.

"I told them I was dying inside, he says. No matter how many times I talked to the people who were in charge of the Canadiens in those days - I don't need to mention the names, everyone knows who they were - they would tell me, 'Come on, Stéphane. You make a million a year, you're a good looking guy, you have everything in life, you don't pay for a car, you score 50 goals a year. It's going to pass."

Speaking of his story, Richer did not go out of his way to remind that in 2021, the situation is repeated, referring to Jonathan Drouin. According to him, people have not learned from past situations, especially when he hears the negative comments of the Quebec people.

"I listen to the world talk: 'Let's see, he makes 5 million a year, it's been a long time since he played hockey...'"

Richer obviously has high expectations for the interview Drouin will deliver on RDS on Monday. He hopes that number 92 will unpack his bag completely.

"Me, I hope he'll say everything, says the former athlete who is now 55 years old. Even if it hurts. Even if, sometimes, it can be embarrassing, it becomes a complex. You have to talk. Quebecers, we know that, as much as we can be mean, we can understand and forget everything. He didn't ask to be home for a month and a half... He was no longer able to function."

On numerous occasions, he wanted to help the organization's former young players, including the Kostitsyn brothers, Alex Galchenyuk and Max Pacioretty.

"You could see that they were having a hard time getting around and traveling, he says. Practicing, playing, it was a burden. Me, I would tell them [the organization], 'I lived it in Montreal, 100 miles an hour.' They said I was a drug addict, homosexual, etc. I was doing three times less than the rest of them. But I thought, if there's one person who can help these guys, it's me. Send them to me by themselves. I'm going to have dinner with them two nights, I'm going to explain to them what it's like."

However, the former number 44 was shut down in the face, as the NHL considered that there are contacts for these types of cases...

Even without having details, regarding the case of Jonathan Drouin, we can easily see the parallel between Richer and him. These are recurring problems, which must stop, according to Richer. There is the human under the Montreal Canadiens jersey, which people tend to forget...

"The world just sees the name on the back with the number. They don't see what's here," he concludes, pointing to his heart.

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