Lafleur: Habs won’t win with Pacioretty, Vanek

Montreal Canadiens legend Guy Lafleur criticized forwards Max Pacioretty and Thomas Vanek, saying the team "will never win with players like this who fade when confronted by adversity." (Paul Chiasson/CP)

Despite falling two wins shy of reaching the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 1993, the Montreal Canadiens’ 2013-14 season was considered a success on many levels.

For Guy Lafleur, however, it wasn’t a success. The Canadiens legend pointed to forwards Max Pacioretty and Thomas Vanek as to why the group fell short of a championship.

“It’s not enough to be happy with a good season. You don’t play hockey to have a good season. You play to win the Stanley Cup. Let’s be objective,” Lafleur told La Presse in French. “Guys like Vanek and Pacioretty, you don’t keep these guys on your team. They should stay home if they’re not ready to pay the price. Your team will never win with players like this who fade when confronted by adversity.”

Pacioretty, who led the Canadiens in regular-season goals and points, finished the playoffs with 11 points and a minus-1 rating in 17 games, while Vanek registered five goals, five assists and a minus-4 rating in 17 post-season appearances after being acquired by Montreal at the trade deadline.

Vanek is a pending unrestricted free agent expected to test the open market. Pacioretty, meanwhile, has five years remaining on his contract with a salary cap hit of $4.5 million annually.

Lafleur played 14 seasons with the Canadiens, winning five Stanley Cups and registering 560 goals and 1,353 points in 1,126 NHL games. The Canadiens’ all-time leader in points added that he was impressed with the team’s netminders, Carey Price and Dustin Tokarski.

(Note: Lafleur’s quotes were translated by Dave Stubbs of the Montreal Gazette.)

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