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One-on-One with Cedrick DesjardinsTweet
Nothing has come easy for Monsters goalie Cedrick Desjardins. But for a man who thrives on challenges, he couldn’t have done it any other way.
Desjardins was drafted 200th overall by the Rimouski Océanic in the QMJHL, where he played alongside a young forward named Sidney Crosby. In his first season, Desjardins won just one game in 23 starts. The next season, alongside Crosby, his squad went on a 35-game win streak before being topped in the finals.
After being traded in the offseason, Desjardins – coached by one of his childhood idols, Patrick Roy – led the Quebec Ramparts to the 2006 Memorial Cup – winning the Hap Emms Memorial Trophy as the tournament’s most valuable goaltender along the way.
The next year, Desjardins signed with the Hamilton Bulldogs and was assigned to the Cincinnati Cyclones of the ECHL. And in 2008, Cincinnati won the ECHL Kelly Cup Championship – with Desjardins winning the playoffs MVP award.
Desjardins signed with the Canadiens in 2010, but was dealt to Tampa Bay less than a month later. That season, the native Canadian started two games for the Lightning – stopping 28 of 29 shots in his NHL debut, a 4-1 Tampa Bay win.
This offseason, Desjardins inked a free agent deal with the Colorado Avalanche and – after rehabbing from a shoulder injury that sidelined him since last season – has been one of the hottest goalkeepers in the AHL.
LakeErieMonsters.com sat down with the red-hot netminder to talk about playing with Sid the Kid, being coached by Patrick Roy and his gameday rituals as a goalie
After rehabbing your shoulder injury, how do you feel now?
Was that the first major injury of your career?
And now that you’re back?
It’s only the first month and we need to build from that. Every win is huge right now and we have to battle to get to that .500 mark. And that’s what we’re trying to do right now.
What goes into a goalie getting hot or getting into a good rhythm?
That’s kind of how it is for the goalies. You manage what you can and you hope the bounces go your way. That’s pretty much what’s going on now. The team is playing really well in front of me, and that helps a lot. Lately, we’ve had a lead right away, and that’s been a big difference.
Talk about getting 38 stops in your last game against Peoria.
We have to build off that and get some confidence and move on to the teams in our division now.
After not being drafted, you’ve taken the unconventional route to get here. Does that serve as motivation?
I have to get challenged, I have to get pushed. The toughest part is not giving up, and that’s what I did all the time. Just never give up.
I’m kind of stubborn.
You were once coached by the great Patrick Roy. What was it like to learn from a living legend?
It’s strange when probably the best goalie in the history of mankind calls you and says, ‘We need you because I think we can win with you.’ I was just kind of surprised.
We had a run that season where we won like 14 in a row. We were doing really good, and we had some bumps along the road, but we wound up winning (QMJHL Championship) in the end.
What were some of the biggest things you learned from Roy?
That was his thinking: that if your goalie was hot, anything can happen.
With Rimouski Océanic, you played with a young Sidney Crosby. Is it true that that team won 35 straight games?
The thing was, every team was ready to play us and that was a big challenge. Guy Bouchet was the coach. But everything came together. The only team that could beat us that year was London. And they beat us in the Finals.
Did you catch Sidney Crosby’s return to action this week?
He’s been working hard. I think that the step-back he had will be the best thing for his career because that guy never stopped – he played until June every year. And you’ll see Sid at his prime over the next couple years. And I hope his health is doing good and let’s hope he will be able to keep that same pace.
In just two games with Tampa Bay you had big games – including stopping 28 or 29 shots in your pro debut. What was the experience of your first NHL game like?
So that day, when he told me, I called all my friends. But he didn’t want me to tell the media because he said, ‘I want you to be focused, I don’t want any media to talk to you. Just get in your game out there and we’ll take care of the rest.’
So, that’s what happened. First shot, first goal. But after that, nothing. Even the next game, I stopped everything but the last shot. You work so hard your whole life for that kind of opportunity.
How are you enjoying your time with the Monsters and in Cleveland?
Goalies are always compared to pitchers in terms of superstitions and rituals. Do you have any?
Night in and night out, you have to find a routine so you can play your best, because you can’t let down the team. A lot of guys in front of you depend on you. So you have that pressure. But that’s when I’m at my best.
So you definitely have a game day routine?
It’s nothing crazy. It’s just the way I wake up that morning, what I eat. I do my stick first, then my stretching. It’s nothing crazy.
I take it you don’t play “Sewer Ball” with the guys before the games, then?
Because you might be the reason we win the game.
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