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The only reason Torts is even saying this is because it is literally the ONLY way that he can ever get someone to consider hiring him in any capacity at the NHL level again.
*edit* Man it pisses me off seeing that preview pic of the Torts audio... how in the world did anyone think we'd be an NHL calibre team last year with players like Dalpe, Diaz and Booth sharing the same ice together. Yuck.
This, also because Weise put him on full blast earlier this week too
Dale Weise living a dream with the Canadiens
The Montreal crowd let out a collective howl for Dale Weise as he skated back onto the ice on Saturday night at the Bell Centre.
He’d just scored two goals in a 6-2 win against the New Jersey Devils and one can only imagine the sensation of pure ecstasy taking over in that moment — the tingly, almost weightless feeling that pulsated across Weise’s body.
Some chanted his name; others clapped and hollered for the Canadiens forward. It was one of those rare nights he’d be named among the game’s three stars, so Weise soaked it in, raised his stick to the crowd and returned to the Montreal dressing room.
For a Canadiens player, to succeed in this city is to be embraced with a kind of love that borders on suffocation. The fans’ embrace may have tightened a little the following night, when Weise picked up a goal and an assist in a 3-1 win against the Bruins in Boston.
Just over a year ago, nobody in Quebec seemed to know who Dale Weise was. Now, he’s a household name.
Even the Boston newspapers have taken notice. In fact, one Boston Herald writer framed Sunday’s game as the latest round in the “budding ‘Dale Weise vs. The Boston Bruins’ rivalry.”
Weise’s journey to Montreal is one of those redemptive tales that a hack writer might pitch to a movie studio, except that it’s almost too perfect.
It began just over a year ago, when Weise was sitting in his highrise Vancouver apartment watching television.
“I don’t remember what game it was, exactly, but I was watching (TSN) and the panel always talks trade rumours,” Weise told the Montreal Gazette. “Bob McKenzie was reading his Insider Trading stuff and he said, ‘The Vancouver Canucks say Dale Weise is available if anyone is interested.'”
It was a surreal moment for Weise, who sat there watching people discuss his future with such matter-of-fact detachment. Still, the rumour made sense.
Weise felt there wasn’t really a place for him on the Canucks roster anymore. Most nights he’d play only a handful of minutes on the fourth line. Sometimes the team would scratch him from the lineup entirely, opting to dress a seventh defenceman in his spot.
Last year, in a separate interview with the Montreal Gazette, Weise hinted that he’d fallen out of favour with coach John Tortorella for not instigating more fights.
“It was never something (Tortorella) explicitly said,” Weise said in November. “It was more like, ‘You played four minutes tonight, but what did you really do out there?’”
Weise was a tough guy, sure, but he was ill-suited for the role of designated puncher. He skated faster than most of his teammates and showed some offensive flair during his three years in the farm leagues. It seemed only logical this could translate into success at the National Hockey League level if given the chance.
Whether or not there was ever an implied bargain in which Weise would earn playing time with his fists, he dropped the gloves twice in his final weeks with the Canucks.
The first fight came in late January, during a game against the rival Calgary Flames.
Tortorella sent out Weise’s trio to open the match. As the teams lined up opposite each other, footage from the game shows Tortorella yelling and crudely gesturing toward the Calgary bench. Then the referee drops the puck and, as if on cue, a 10-man brawl erupts. Weise was ejected from the match and Tortorella earned a two-week suspension for allegedly trying to storm the Flames’ dressing room after the game.
The following week, Weise threw down with Nashville Predators enforcer Rich Clune — a veteran of more than 100 pro hockey fights.
He was clearly overmatched, but Weise hung on to Clune’s jersey, absorbing bare-knuckle thumps to the head and scrambling to regain his footing for long enough to deliver a counterpunch. At one point, Clune pulled Weise to the ground and — instead of allowing the referees to step in — he got up and managed to hit his opponent with a few short jabs. It was a small victory in an otherwise one-sided affair.
Despite his increasingly combative play, Weise knew he was on the outs in Vancouver. Just after hearing the trade rumour on TSN, he packed his bags for the Canucks’ upcoming road trip.
“I’d be playing in my hometown (Winnipeg) for the first time, so my wife was flying home. We had a new baby, so she was going to visit family,” Weise said. “So I told her, ‘Make sure you pack a lot,’ because we were coming up on the Olympic break and there’d be a roster freeze. So there was a good chance I’d be traded before then.”
Though things were far from perfect in Vancouver, Weise was excited for his homecoming. He bought “a bunch” of tickets for family and friends in anticipation of the game, but shortly after arriving in his hometown Weise found out he wouldn’t be on the roster against the Winnipeg Jets.
“Of all the things that built up in Vancouver — not getting opportunities, the setbacks, the disappointment — that felt like the low point of my career,” he said. “It was heartbreaking.”
But then, just after skating for an extra 30 minutes following practice, one of Weise’s teammates fell ill and suddenly he was back in the lineup.
“It was weird. I wasn’t going to play, but then you skate me for a half an hour and I’m exhausted and all of a sudden I’m playing,” Weise said. “Then all my family shows up and I’m pumped, I’m excited. It was going to be great. I ended up playing two shifts. I got benched after my second shift. Not one second of ice time for the rest of the night. It was humiliating.
“That night, I sat down with my family and we got to talking. I told them, ‘There’s a good chance I’ll be traded in the next couple of days.’”
The Canucks were in Detroit the following day. It was Super Bowl Sunday and Weise got together with his teammates to watch the big game.
“It was like a send off for me,” Weise said. “That was the last time we were all together like that.”
The next day would be Weise’s final one as Vancouver Canuck.
“John Tortorella had just returned from his two-week suspension,” Weise said. “So we sat with him for a 45-minute video session where he carved every single person in the room. The mood wasn’t very good. We got dressed for morning skate — John Tortorella doesn’t come out for morning skate — so I went out onto the ice, took two full laps, shot a couple of pucks and the trainer gives me this one from the sideline (Weise recreates the beckoning motions with his finger).
“He says, ‘You gotta go see Torts (Tortorella).’
“At this point, I knew I was traded for sure. That or they were going to put me on waivers. John Tortorella wasn’t just going to tell me to pick my game up. I was getting taken off the ice.
“I wasn’t nervous so much as excited for something to happen. Things were miserable in Vancouver, even if it was about going down on waivers, I had enough faith in myself that I knew I could succeed in a new situation.
“I went into the dressing room, Tortorella was just standing there alone. He says, ‘There’s a trade in the works, I can’t tell you where to yet, there could be a few teams bidding right now. Get undressed.’
“Then he just walked out of the room. Didn’t say goodbye, didn’t say good luck, nothing. That was it.”
Since the trade wasn’t yet finalized, Weise had no clue where he’d wind up taking his wife and infant son for the remainder of the season. He knew he could adapt to the nomadic life of a journeyman hockey player. During one six-year span, Weise had taken up residence in five cities — going from prairie towns like Swift Current, Sask. to a brief sojourn in Tilburg, Holland, during the NHL lockout (Tilburg, you should know, has a professional hockey team but is best known as the “wool capital of the Netherlands”).
“Throughout all of this, my wife has been great, an absolute trooper,” Weise said. “I knew that, no matter where I ended up, even if it was just in a one-bedroom hotel, she’d be there with our son. She keeps this whole thing together.”
After Tortorella walked away, Weise took off his Canucks jersey, but kept the rest of his equipment on as he reached for his cellphone. First he sent a text message to his wife, then his mother. Finally, after delivering the news to his teammates, Weise was told to call Canucks general manager Mike Gillis, who informed him he now played for the Canadiens.
“They were my favourite team growing up,” Weise said of the Canadiens. “Of all the teams, what are the chances of being traded to that one? I’d talked to my agent the week before and he knew a few teams were interested. Montreal wasn’t on that list.”
The next phone call came from Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin.
“(Bergevin) told me, ‘You know what, when I was (assistant general manger) in Chicago, we tried to get you,’” Weise said. “That’s huge, from going in Vancouver, where you’re at the bottom of the barrel, to being told you are wanted. It was validating.”
By the time he stepped out of the plane at Trudeau International Airport, Weise was greeted by a TV camera crew.
“In Vancouver, I could have worn my Dale Weise jersey around the block and no one would have recognized me,” he said. “Then I get to the airport in Montreal and there’s cameras waiting for me. That’s when I knew things were about to change, things were a lot bigger now.”
A car service took him to the Crystal Hotel on Peel St. It was dark now, about 11 p.m., and he sat in his room, looking across the cold, vacant lot on René-Lévesque Blvd. and onto the Bell Centre lights.
“It was one of those ‘pinch me’ moments, I was so excited,” Weise said. “I sat down and thought, ‘Man is this really happening?’”
Finally, Weise spoke to his father, Miles — an affable warehouse manager who says he nearly cried tears of joy when he learned his son would play for the Canadiens.
“I remember he said, ‘You’ll be wearing the same jersey as Guy Lafleur,’ ” Weise said. “It was a ‘pinch me’ moment for him, too.”
Just a few hours earlier, Weise was an afterthought in the Canucks locker room. He was only 25 and his career had hit a dead end.
Weise prides himself on being able to compartmentalize hockey, to keep it separate from his day-to-day life. But he admits that, on a psychological level, the Vancouver experience began to wear away at him.
“I remember my wife was excited because she saw how miserable I was going to the rink every day,” he said. “I wasn’t happy and she saw that. I’m a pretty positive guy, I’m pretty happy, I’m always glad to talk to anybody. I love what I do and I leave hockey at the rink. But it had gotten to a point where I couldn’t do that in Vancouver. It was just mentally draining, it was seeping into my life.”
There’s no longer any debate as to whether Weise belongs on an NHL roster. That conversation has shifted to one about whether or not a grinding, physical player like Weise belongs on the Canadiens’ first line — a tedious discussion, yes, but certainly one that indicates he’s better off here than he was on the West Coast. Weise no longer has to fight goons to earn playing time — though he still drops the gloves on occasion.
For now, at least, he doesn’t appear to be going anywhere. After a playoff series against Boston that saw him become a central figure in the Bruins-Habs rivalry — who can forget Bruins meanie Milan Lucic threatening to “F—ing kill” Weise during the post-series handshake — Weise signed a two-year contract with Montreal last summer.
After the all-star break, Weise and his wife announced she’d be giving birth to their second child — a girl — in the off-season.
“When I got off the plane the night I was traded, I had this feeling like things were going to work out,” he said. “I knew this would be a good fit for me, for my family.”