I predicted Gatineau in 7, I screwed up, but no, I don't have to “take” for the Remparts
I predicted the Gatineau Olympiques in seven games. Let's say a little over a week later, it looks bad.
With the information we had at the start of the series, I had the impression that the Olympiques had a slight advantage over Patrick Roy's men.
< p>I was wrong, and not nearly so. I had underestimated several factors. We will come back to this.
Some members of the Remparts organization did not like me predicting a victory for their opponents. It's correct, it's fair game and it would have been surprising if they were delighted.
This prediction even motivated the players, according to Patrick Roy.
“What shocked the guys is when you come from Quebec and you don't take for us. They talked about it and I tried to calm things down. It may have played a motivating role, but at the end of the day, you have to play hockey,” he said, referring to to my prediction made before the start of the series.
I don't work for the Remparts
Where my opinion differs from Roy's – and we've talked about it a few times over the past week – it's when he says that a city reporter must “take” for the team he's covering.
I don't take for anyone. Do I have more affinity with certain members of the organization or certain players because I am often around the team? Absolutely. Would I be happy for them if they managed to achieve their goal of lifting the first QMJHL Cup since 1976? Of course.
But that doesn't change my job, which is to report the facts in the most objective way possible and, on occasion, to give my opinion as a hockey analyst, and not as supporter of a team.
On the radio, most commentators clearly identify as supporters of the home team. It's correct. Me, it's not my job.
My job is not to line up behind the team of the market that I cover, I do not work for the Ramparts, even if the company that signs my paycheck also owns the team. I have to make sure to be as objective as possible in order to make, in this case, a prediction that I consider to be the most realistic.
The majority of my colleagues, moreover – including certain other journalists from Quebec who cover the Remparts on a regular basis – had also predicted that the Olympiques would have the upper hand over Quebec.
We were wrong, I I made a mistake. I accept it, it's part of the game of predictions. Those who don't get wet are never wrong!
Where I agree with Roy is when he says his team cleared up the doubts many had before the series. And they did it with aplomb.
Without being perfect, the Remparts found ways to win every game and that's a bit of what was lacking against the Shawinigan Cataractes, l last year.
Roy illustrated this well after Game 2 against Gatineau, which his Remparts won 4-3 in overtime after losing a 3-1 lead.< /p>
“We're not perfect, but I can tell you that we are in terms of resilience.”
This resilience is something that the Remparts have and that the Olympiques did not have in the semi-finals. It comes from something that cannot be explained on a board and it is the experience of the hardship of the defeat in the semi-finals of last year.
The majority of the players of the Remparts experienced the heartbreaking loss in the semi-finals against the Shawinigan Cataractes in the ultimate match.
This defeat went awry in everyone's throat and the subject came up several times during the season. After hesitating about his future, Patrick Roy decided to come back to avenge this failure. Same thing for Théo Rochette, who had a professional offer in Switzerland.
I had underestimated this imponderable, believing that Gatineau would win.
The Remparts are on a mission and you can feel it in those around the team. They squandered back-to-back 3-1 leads in Games 2 and 3, but never seemed to panic and went for the winning goal in overtime.
That's the a sign of a mature team.
The advantage of the Videotron Center
In addition, the city has been vibrating to the rhythm of the Remparts since the start of the playoffs , especially since the semi-final.
We haven't felt such strong enthusiasm for the team since, probably, 2006, when the Remparts won the Memorial Cup. < /p>
We often talk about the famous seventh player and sometimes I have the impression that he is given too much importance. At this point, however, we have no choice but to say it: playing in front of 17,000 people becomes a significant advantage.
Add to that the fact that the majority of this core grew up together and knows that this is his last chance to finish his junior career together, with a trophy at arm's length.
On the ice, the Remparts have something special.< /p>
And I'm not saying this because I “take” for them. I say it because I mean it.