Thursday, December 1, 2011

Article in La Presse Today

Thanks to fellow José fan, Mel, for sharing an article that was in La Presse today (a Montreal newspaper.)

Here's the link to the actual article.

And thanks to Mel for this translation:

JoseTheodore : Retirement can wait

And to think that Jose Theodore was toying with the idea of retirement…

As he hit 35 and after 13 seasons in the NHL, including a memorable 2001-2002 season where he was crowned with the Hart and Vezina trophies, Theo could have settled under the Florida sun and take advantage of a retirement full of time with his companion Stephanie and their daughter Romy.

After an unsatisfying year in front of the Minnesota Wild net, Theodore had no intention of extending his career just for the sake of extending it. And like all the star goalies in the last 10 years of the NHL, Theodore is more worried about the end of the world than the end of the month, and there was no way he was going to play just for the money.

Here's where it was time to reflect on a possible retirement.

One phone call changed everything. When Dale Tallon courted José Theodore, he did it with some strong arguments. He was giving him the chance to prolong his career with a team that had vastly improved, but also the chance to get settled where he already had every intention of throwing down the anchor.

“I got an offer from Denver to assist Varlamov, with who I played with in Washington. Ottawa and Detroit were also interested. My first choices were still Tampa Bay or Florida. Tampa went for Mathieu Garon. When the Panthers called and they agreed to give me two years, and I signed right away. It’s the best of both worlds. I play hockey for a guy that has faith in me and treats me as a number 1 and I was able to settle my family where I would have if I had taken my retirement. But, retirement can wait,” threw José Theodore by phone from La Presse where he will face the Kings tonight.

Already 10 wins

Retirement can even wait longer than thought if Theodore and his team continue their success.

Strong off a night of 26 saves, including some spectacular saves at the expense of Eric Staal and Jeff Skinner, José Theodore ruined Kirk Muller’s headcoaching debut in Carolina.

With 10 wins to his record, Theodore and the Panthers, who have three more wins (two belonging to Jacob Markstrom and one to Scott Clemmesen), are surprising many opponents since the beginning of the season.

They are even making liars out of analysts that saw them maybe fighting for a playoff spot, but never for first place in the Eastern Conference.

It’s true that the Panthers are taking advantage of difficult season starts, some disastrous, by their rivals in Carolina, Washington, Tampa Bay and Winnipeg to take the lead in the South-East division, but as of Wednesday, they were only two points behind the Penguins who sit atop the East. With a game in hand over Sidney Crosby and his troops.

It’s something else...(significant)

Theodore is not the only one responsible for the surprising success of the Panthers. His goals against 2.29 and 92.4% save percentage and the fact that he has earned points in 13 of his 18 games played (10-4-3) confirm that he is giving his teama chance to win ever night.

Comfortable in his head and in his skin

Theodore is happy in Florida, both on the ice and with his daughter who started kindergarten. The Panthers,they are rubbing their hands as they are getting a good return on their 1.5 million in salary paid out to Theo this year.

Two games away from playing his 600th in the NHL, José Theodore will easily satisfy his bosses for another year and maybe for more if they decide to give him the opportunity to serve as big brother to the young Jacob Markstrom who is a season or two away from being a number one in Florida.

“I’m 35 years old. I’m fit even if the morning after games is starting to be a little difficult. I am above all happy. Serene. I don’t have anything to prove to anyone. I know that I was often criticized, but when I look at what I have done, I am proud. Six teams wanted me last summer. Which means that my value is good or it actually counts in the eyes of the hockey guys of the NHL.”

It’s true that José Theodore was often criticized. That his performances in Montreal, his Hart and Vezina trophies in 2001-2001, and his 30 and 32 win season in Washington, were minimized.

He was always shaken by his critics that affected him more than he let on, José Theodore never gave any excuses. He could have given some solid ones at that.

To the pleasure of his fans or the to the sarcasm of his haters, Theodore has been able to win 270 games, 31 by shutouts, even with all the legal issues his family and his father-in-law have faced. And if that wasn’t enough, he has had to deal with his daughter’s serious health issues, a miscarriage that robbed him of his first son and a premature birth that saw him lose his second son.

These issues would have ended many careers, but 15 years after starting in the NHL, José Theodore is still here.

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