No tandem in the NHL over the last five years has combined on more goals than Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan.
But it was something else the two Calgary Flames pals contemplated producing in large numbers last summer:
“We were always joking around about maybe not getting our dogs fixed and selling some dogs up here in Canada for some people,” smiled Gaudreau. “‘Get some Monahan/Gaudreau pup dogs that are puppies from our dogs.’ We thought it was pretty funny.”
The joke started last summer when Gaudreau bowed to significant pressure applied by Monahan to satisfy his love for dogs by acquiring a canine companion.
“I had a dog, and Johnny is always over, and you don’t want to go to the dog park yourself,” explained Monahan, proud papa of a Goldendoodle named Winston. “I kind of convinced him, and next thing I know he got the same dog.”
Different breeder, different country.
“Mine’s Canadian and his is American,” laughed Monahan, a native or Brampton, Ont.
Winston is male, and Gaudreau’s dog, Bailey, is female, thus prompting talk of lucrative hookups on their walks together.
“We joked about it and thought it would be a good idea,” said Monahan. “We didn’t have a name for the business. They ended up both getting neutered, so business is closed.”
No JohnnyMonny Pups up for grabs.
“I didn’t feel like dealing with the whole process of taking care of eight puppies – kind of hectic,” admitted Gaudreau, a Jersey native whose prized pup is from Pennsylvania. “We don’t have that much time on our hands.”
Fact is, given their hectic schedules during a season, neither would have been able to become dog owners without help.
Monahan has long been able to count on his live-in girlfriend, Britt, to walk Winston at various parks around town. Gaudreau often relies on help from a high-school pal who moved in with him.
Gaudreau and Monahan’s love for dogs was evident earlier in the season when the Cochrane & Area Humane Society brought more than a dozen adorable puppies to the Flames dressing room where the duo smothered them with love.
Other dog owners on the team like Michael Stone, Mikael Backlund and David Rittich were also smitten, as was Zac Rinaldo, who laid on the floor in full equipment, relishing the puppy swarm that engulfed him.
A softer side of the lads.
“It’s fun – Johnny and I see each other at the dog park quite often,” said Monahan, who lives close to Gaudreau.
Do the two get recognized in between scooping and stick throwing?
“Sometimes, but not as much as you’d think,” said Gaudreau. “I kind I just wear my hat down low and pull my hoodie on because it’s cold out. But we often go to Monny’s a lot and have the dogs rip around out in the back yard – it’s kind of easier.”
Their time together off the ice has fortified a friendship between the two linemates that blossomed shortly after Gaudreau arrived in 2014, one year after Monahan joined the league. Since that time, the two have combined on 215 goals, surpassing other formidable duos like Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand (209), Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom (207), Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin (200), and Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid (199).
“He’s a great teammate on the ice, but off the ice he’s a great friend,” said the 26-year-old Gaudreau. “He’s just a guy you want to be around. It’s nice when someone says that about you, but it’s the truth.”
They’ve shared plenty of good times and success together, while also shouldering plenty of criticism when they aren’t driving the team offensively.
“Me and Johnny are buddies – I’ve played with him for five years and I think instantly we were friends,” said Monahan. “At that point there weren’t too many young guys on the team, so once he was on the team my second year he was a close buddy who was the same kind of age and interested in the same kind of things.”
Dogs weren’t necessarily one of those things back then, but things change.
“He’s the same guy – real humble,” said Monahan.
“I don’t think he’ll ever change.”