Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Translation of the Interview José Gave Denis Levesque (Thank you, Joey!!)

You'll recall José gave a very in-depth and personal interview on the Denis Levesque show in February. I would like to give a huge shout out and THANK YOU to my friend and fellow fan, Joey, for translating the whole interview for me.

I will post each part of the video, then her translation.

José was saying he’s keeping himself in shape in case a team calls him up. He’s been playing tennis for a year now in order to do that. He said when he signed with the Panthers and settled down in Florida, he was preparing for his “post-career” and it was an area he wanted to settle down in, after visiting various neighbourhoods. In Boca Raton, they have golf, tennis, two restaurants and a marina and it’s right next to the ocean. The interviewer was saying how he was surprised when it was announced that José would join TVA Sports, because he was looking at his numbers and they were pretty remarkable during the past few seasons (notably in Washington). José then said there are two factors which didn’t help him to sign with a team, 1) age and 2) the injury he had last season which made him miss two months. 

When they got to his house, José said he often goes into the room with all of his memorabilia, because it reminds him of a lot of nice souvenirs or key moments. He said one of his most memorable souvenirs is the Hull Olymiques helmet, because that was basically the start of his professional career. Then he said it was his brother, Roch, who came up with the idea to put a toque on the helmet [at the Heritage Classic] because it gave the “ancient” look from back when they played outdoors as kids. He then said he’s really proud of himself for winning the Hart, especially because he’s the last goalie to win it so it’s a great accomplishment. Then he said that 600 games for a goalie is quite a bit so that was special. Then about the picture he showed, he was saying Mr. Gillet had told him to pretend to take his wallet and pretend to do a hold-up because with all the money he had just signed for, it was like he was stealing so much money. He then said his Canadiens jersey is probably his most special, because when he was younger it was always his dream to play for them, and he got to do it for quite a while.

At first, he was saying he’s very happy with where they live. Two and a half years ago when he was looking for a team, he had a few offers but he really liked Florida and was happy to be signed by them and be able to live there (it was also a preparation for his post-career life). He would have liked to re-sign with them. It was planned that after his retirement, the family would have moved to Florida anyway so it was perfect to be signed with the Panthers for two seasons. Then the interviewer asked him what happened (why he hasn’t been signed again and been able to play a few more seasons) and José answered that different circumstances didn’t help (the big injury, age) so teams are worried to sign him, also he didn’t want to leave Florida. He had a few offers at the start of the season but was skeptical to say yes because he was hoping for a new offer from the Panthers. He then says he’s super proud of his career; he’s played 16 years and a lot of games, represented his country and played in All-Star games. The only thing missing that he really wanted to do was win a Stanley Cup. He said you play to win that trophy and he regrets that he wasn’t able to do it. Then the interviewer said he was a rock star in Montréal and an idol and José answered that although he’s played in many cities, playing in Montréal always gave him the greatest satisfaction. He sort of knew what to expect by being a goalie for them because he grew up in Montréal. Also, many opportunities come about by playing for the Canadiens; he got to play guitar with Éric Lapointe in front of a lot of people. He said that he always thought playing guitar and playing goalie for the Canadiens sort of compared because when you’re one of the key players for the Canadiens, you’re pretty much a rock star. 
Then they went on to talk about the issues he had later on in Montréal. It all started with the pictures of the Hells Angels and he constantly had to defend himself. He said there were certain journalists who seemed to always try to dig deeper and find bad things (or make them up) about him. He then said in Montréal, when you perform well, people tend to forget about everything else (the Hells Angels pictures). He had played super well the season after those pictures came out so people didn’t really “attack” him about those. The season after though, it was a tough one and that’s when he got traded. After the Hells Angels pictures, there was sort of a buildup of stuff happening (the problems with his father, brothers, and father-in-law), which he said motivated him. He said it was motivating because in the news, journalists were saying that the Habs had to get rid of him because it’d be too much stress with the family problems and he said that tough times and challenges always made him play better. He wanted to prove them all wrong and then having a standing ovation during the first game from the fans really helped him also. He started the season well but he said it was the “beginning of the end” because he got traded not long after. He said the arrests in his family didn’t make his family fall apart; they were always a tight family and everyone in his family and Stéphanie’s family had a good relationship.

Then they spoke about the middle fingers he gave in front of a journalist that really blew up. José at that point saw that it wasn’t going to last in Montréal. The story behind this was that it was on his birthday at the start of training camp. It was with the journalist/photographer Bob Fisher, who we know he’s good friends with. Bob and him had always done photo shoots together and whatnot so Bob had asked him to do something with his hands that would look good in a picture, so as a joke, José did the middle fingers but then changed to a #1 sign. Later that day, he got a call from his agent asking what had happened and it’s then he realized the thing had gotten blown out of proportion. It was all a joke with Bob but he realized then that the media was looking for anything to blow out of proportion and cause trouble with. After all this, he didn’t have a good season because things just went downhill from there. He said in the past, the media had always tried to make everything positive and nice, but all of a sudden, they were trying to find everything they could and turn it into negative situations and make him look bad. He said with the Canadiens, things rarely end up being a “friendly divorce” (Patrick Roy, Guy Lafleur, for example). Players feel so close to the team and when this happens, they take it personally. 

Then, he wanted to make something clear. He said that everything “bad” happened in the last few months in Montréal. He said he didn’t really know what was going on in the media but he knew that TQS had sent a camera to his house to make sure he was actually injured at the time. He said he can live with rumours but the one that really affected him was that he was a big drug addict; he said he’s never [even] smoked in his life and he works super hard. It affected him because one of his strong points was that he works hard at work and he gave so much to the city. 

He then said he was sort of relieved by the trade out of Montréal, but he felt as if he hadn’t finished what he had set out to do. He wasn’t traded on his terms (instead it was when he was injured and when he hadn’t had a good season). He didn’t want to leave the fans with a bad image, and he wanted to come back from his injury and show people what he could do. He said moving to another city was less stressful on his family and whatnot, because there’s less media attention, etc. 

His return to Montréal didn’t go as planned (they lost badly). He had expected a better reaction from the public and he had wanted to play better. He also said he had a really good relationship with his fans and some people said he didn’t have it easy, but he repeats his rough times in Montréal were only in the last 5 months of his career there. It hurt him to leave Montréal on bad terms, because he’s seen some players since then that get more chances even when they don’t give it their all or give it as much as he did. He finished off by saying that even with everything that happened, Montréal is still home for him.

At the start he talks about how it was completely different playing in Washington or Colorado rather than Montreal. He said there’s definitely not as much pressure. You put your own pressure on, but then after the game you go home or to the mall, and you’re alone; nobody recognizes you. He also said in Montreal winning the Vezina and the Hart put extra pressure on him from journalists, and also fans want a lot out of you. He liked that in Montreal you had to bounce back right away after a bad game, but also liked that while playing in other cities he had more time to focus on his mentality and whatnot and take it a bit slower.

Regarding his family, he was saying when he was traded from Montreal, he stayed for about a month because he was injured, and because Romi was born a few weeks later. Romi had complications at birth and was hospitalized for 3 months. He also got called the night she was born that she had a code blue (heart stopped), so he said that was super tough. When he went to Colorado, Romi was still in the hospital, but he still had to perform since he was their #1. He said he’d call after every game and all the time to hear how his little one was doing, and sometimes she’d have a good day and sometimes a bad day. She even had to undergo an operation. He said he was really in the unknown, because he didn’t know if she’d make it through the day or not. So he realized hockey took less importance than family, and that his head was more in Montreal than in Colorado.

He said Stephanie lost a baby in 2008 at 28 weeks during the pregnancy, and they decided to try again. Chace was born the 22nd of June, 2009 and they saw the week before he was born that there would be problems. He was born 4 weeks prematurely, and he never left the hospital. He passed away the 14th of August and was on a respirator his whole life. He said they spent their entire days in the hospital, and it was tough because they still had Romi who they had to take care of and spend time with. He said it was tough to think about hockey but that he sort of had to. He also didn’t train all summer, because he was always at the hospital. He put his skates on for the first time 5 days before training camp and was about 10 lbs. overweight. He said training camp was his escape; he’d go to the rink super early to get on the ice and train after practice just to get away from the troubles in his life. He said you never get over it, and you think about it every day, but he keeps all his problems inside, because he can deal with them himself (or with his family.) He didn’t want to expose everything and wanted to deal with the loss within family. He said he’s never been the jealous type, and he doesn’t want people to feel pity for him. He said it was super tough, but he didn’t want pity because it’s happened to others before him, and he’s not different.

At first, the interviewer asked José if he returns to Montréal often. José answered that since he left he goes back every summer and spends the summer there. During the last lockout, he also went up. He said in the 10 years he was there, about 8-9 years were amazing. He got to see the glamour/rock star side of things and the side where the media is rough on you. Then, speaking of the rock star lifestyle, the interviewer said José has stayed friends with a lot of big names in golf and music. José said throughout the years he's gotten to know some amazing people. Recently, he got to play golf with Rickie Fowler in Florida and he keeps in contact with him. The boys from Simple Plan are good friends of his, and he got to know many of his idols. He also said playing in a band was always a dream of his, so he doesn’t think twice about saying yes when he’s asked to play.

Then they talked about his tattoos. He said his right arm was done in Denver and most of his left arm was done in Florida. His tattoos represent tough times. His left arm is dedicated to his son, and he believes it’s important to have tattoos that mean something and that are important to him.

Then they talked about his career. When he was 13, Vladislav Tretiak had told him he was going to be in the NHL someday and make it big. José said when he was younger, he could see himself in the league and see himself having a long career. He said he did all the steps in order to get to the big league. Since he was 7 or 8, he was focused on making it in the NHL and he had precise goals (winning the Vézina and Stanley Cup). He said to him, it was not only important to make it to the NHL, but to be the best. He said winning the Vezina and Hart at such a young age maybe slowed him down. He had seen himself winning them at an older age to have more time to grow and learn. He said the years after winning the trophies were hard, because tough things kept happening (family troubles, being a #2.) He kept trying to prove people wrong. Then he kept trying to prove to himself that he could continue after the death of his son. He said one of his most special seasons was the one after his son passed away, because he had made the foundation/charity for Chace, and each save and win meant more money for the hospital. He said he was super well treated at the hospital during the two months they were there. He said winning the Masterton was super touching, because he received it a day after Chace would have turned one.

At the beginning, Denis was talking about achieving dreams. He was asking José what he’d say to kids trying to achieve their dreams (because José had previously said he knew from a young age he’d make it into the NHL). José replied that first you need to find your dream and have a precise goal. He said when he was 9 years old, he told his teacher that to him, school was only more-or-less important, because one day he’d play in the league. He said it wasn’t a great attitude, and he doesn’t want kids to think it is, because if it doesn’t work out then you don’t really have school as a back-up. He said it’s just to show the confidence he had in his abilities. Then he said you have to find the tools in order to achieve your goals (his was discipline, because he left home at a young age, so he had to find good tools and people to be around). Then he said you need to believe in your dream and in yourself, because people will try to put you down.
Then Denis spoke about José's new career as a hockey analyst. José said it’s a good opportunity to come back and get close to the Québec public, because he was always close to them. He also said he wants to give his opinion, because if there’s someone who is well placed to speak about goalies and the NHL and pressure, it’s him. 

He then said when you perform in Montréal, people love you. The day you stop performing, you don’t get sympathy from the fans here.

He said he now has more time to spend with his family. He wants to stay involved in hockey and do the analyst thing, but Florida is his home and he would find it hard to leave (his last sentence was that Florida is now home to him).

At the end, Denis was saying that although José hasn’t officially announced his retirement, they had a few hints throughout the interview that it may be near. What Denis got out of the interview was that José is a great person and an “inside” person. He’s gone through so much but he kept quite a bit inside and confidence helped him through quite a bit.

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