This week TheNeilShow sits down with Legendary Montreal Canadiens beat writer Red Fisher who covers the Canadiens for the Montreal Gazette.
TheNeilShow – Do you think there is a trend with Montreal drafting so many American born defenseman in recent years? If so, why do you think that is?
Red Fisher – The people responsible for drafting players don’t look at where they’re born. They simply draft what they believe to be the best available at the position.
TheNeilShow -Do you think it was a smart move to keep Carey Price in Montreal this season? Do you think he will get enough playing time to help his development?
Red Fisher – It’s a big step for someone to make the move from junior hockey to the NHL. I suspect that one of the reasons Price was kept was that he would be receiving an NHL salary. If he had been sent to Hamilton, the rules call for him to be paid a minor league salary. Nevertheless, my feeling is that he should have been sent to the minors. He’s not going to improve his game sitting on the bench as a backup.
TheNeilShow – I know there many stories you must have, but do you have a personal favorite story covering the Montreal Canadiens?
Red Fisher – Late in his career, Dickie Moore didn’t get the ice time he felt he deserved. One year, after he spent a lot of time on the bench in a road game, he knocked on my door shortly after midnight to tell me he was going home. “I can’t handle sitting on the bench,” he said. “Is that the way you want people to remember you?” he was asked. “Quitting the team?” “I’m not scoring goals sitting on the bench,” he argued. “You can’t score goals when you’re passing the puck all the time. You can’t score unless you shoot. You’ve got a game in Detroit in a couple of days before the team returns home. Stay with the team. When you get on the ice, shoot the damned puck.” As it developed, Moore was in the starting lineup. The faceoff came to him. He took one step and fired the puck at Terry Sawchuk from centre ice. Goal! Moore skated around the Detroit net, and waved up at the press box. He remained with the team for the rest of the season.
TheNeilShow -You have been covering Montreal for 53 seasons. Who in your eyes been the most talented Canadien to wear the jersey?
Red Fisher -Jean Béliveau. A close second would be Henri Richard, but nobody controlled the games as much as Doug Harvey. I covered Maurice Richard only in his last five seasons with the team, so I didn’t see him at his best. If I had, I suspect he would have been my choice.
TheNeilShow-What was it like covering the “Richard riot” as your first night in the business?
Red Fisher – It wasn’t “my first night in the business.” I had joined the Montreal Star in March, 1954, and I was assigned to cover the game on March 17, 1955. It was the first game I covered at the Montreal Forum. It was, of course, an exciting night which always will be remembered by people who were there and those who weren’t.
TheNeilShow – Montreal has a number of up and coming prospects in their system. Who have you seen that should be around for years ahead? And what do you like about them?
Red Fisher – Chris Higgins appears to be the best of the young crop, but it’s not engraved in stone how long he’ll be with the team in view of unrestricted free agency. Good skater. Works hard. Takes a leadership role.
TheNeilShow -What do you think the Canadiens should do with Alexei Kovalev? Should he be dealt away?
Red Fisher – No. He’s the most talented player on the team. His problem is that he shows it only when he feels like it. If he feels like it often enough, he’s the most valuable member on the team (other than the goaltender).
TheNeilShow -Who in your eyes has been the biggest surprise for Montreal this year?
Red Fisher – Too early to tell.
TheNeilShow -From what you have seen thus far in Montreal’s early season. Do they need help in any areas? If so what positions?
Red Fisher – They’re solid in the nets with Huet. Their defense is acceptable with Andrei Markov, Roman Hamrlik and Mike Komisarek. They could use help offensively, but they’ll be all right if Kovalev delivers a big year……
To read the rest of this interview please follow the link……