By Rob Joncas:
Tonight we are taking a look at Montreal Canadiens record holder, reality figure skating show contestant, and former Penguin Stephane Richer.
Position: RW ▪ Shoots: Right
Height: 6-2 (188 cm)
Weight: 215 lbs. (98 kg)
Born: June 7, 1966 (Age 49.334) in Ripon, Quebec
For Complete Stats visit: www.hockey-reference.com/players/r/richest02.html
Stephane was selected 29th overall by the Montreal Canadiens in the 1984 entry Draft.
During his first 7 seasons with Montreal, Stephane earned the following accomplishments:
- Won the Calder Cup in 1985
- Won a Stanley Cup in 1986 (also won one with New Jersey in 1995)
- 2x- 50 Goal seasons (youngest Canadiens player to score 50 goals, 100 goals)
- 2x- Molson Cup Canadiens player of the year
Stephane possessed great speed and one of the hardest and quickest shots in the league.
Teammate Martin Brodeur found out firsthand just how hard a 100mph slapshot feels.
Legend has it during a pre-game skate Stephane took a slapper at Martin Brodeur, hitting him in the jock and shattering it. Causing him immense pain, bruising and a severe case of nausea.
Any man that has ever been hit in that area can get a sense of what that must have felt like, OUCH...
Many began to question Richer’s desire to compete, accusing him of coasting through the regular season and only showing up when the playoffs began.
After the Canadiens and Devils, Stephane spent time with the Lightning and St. Louis Blues.
Stephane sat out all of the 2000-2001 season. However, before he made that choice, He attended the Washington Capitals training camp leaving after the first day, citing family reasons and lack of motivation as the reasons for his hasty exit.
"The bottom line is, it's my life, It doesn't matter how long you've been playing. When you're a hockey player, you'll always be a hockey player, no matter what."
The Penguins knew that Richer was not the player that he used to be, but they had a big hole on the right wing that needed to be filled (since the Jagr trade) and there was a strong hope that he might be able to regain his scoring touch.
Also, the Pens were hoping for some more veteran leadership in the locker room as the roster was chock full of rookies.
Stephane Echoed those sentiments himself: "I know I'll never be the same player I was when I used to score 50 or 40." He said, "Everybody knows that but I know I still have the hands and still have the shot and I know that, for 35 years old, I can skate. I'm not worried about that."
Also adding: "I know that I can bring experience and I know that we have so many younger players here. Some of the time, you need older players. You can't buy experience. You have to know the game. You have to be there. If you haven't been there, you don't know what you're talking about."
They Decided he was worth the risk awarding him a one-year contract.
He had a strong camp and at times played on a line with Mario Lemieux and Kevin Stevens.
Lemieux gave Richer a nice endorsement when he said "I wouldn't mind starting the season with him [as a linemate]."
Stephane went on to play 58 games For the Penguins notching 13 goals, 12 assists (25 points), and 14 Penalty Minutes.
On March 19, 2002, Stephane was traded back to the New Jersey for a conditional pick in the 2003 Entry Draft.
Post Penguins Career:
After playing 10 games for the Devils, Stephane decided to retire during that summer.
In 2004-2005 season, Stephane played one year in the LNAH (Ligue Nord-Américaine de Hockey) which is a low-level professional league centered in Quebec.
In 2009, Stephane competed on a reality show called “Battle of the Blades” on Canadian Network CBC. The premise of the show was hockey players were partnered up with professional figure skaters using a “Dancing with the Stars” format.
In 2010, Stephane made a very courageous decision and appeared on the Canadian TV show “Off The Record” with Michael Landsberg with Darryl Strawberry to discuss his lifelong battle with depression.
Stephane put together quite a resume during his 1054 NHL games. Finishing with 421 goals, 398 assists (819 points) as well as being on all-time leader list for most goals scored in overtime playoff games (4).
Thanks for reading.
Remember #onceApenguin always a Penguin.