Here's some enjoyable Sunday viewing for everyone as we wait for the final game of the regular season, and prepare for an actual postseason series coming up against the Anaheim Ducks.
There's no doubt that few expected Antoine Roussel to be where he is now, playing a major role for an NHL team heading into the Stanley Cup Playoffs, with the exception of perhaps Roussel himself. Roussel, who grew up in Roubaix, France -- before heading over to Canada to play in the QMJHL when he was a teenager -- is one of the very few French-born players to make it to the NHL.
We don't know exactly when this was aired, but Canal+ Sports -- a major network in France -- produced a lengthy and frankly incredible documentary feature on Roussel and his journey with the Dallas Stars so far in his career, for a show called 'Intérieur Sport.'
While the feature is in French, it does have several very insightful interviews with Lindy Ruff, Jim Nill, Les Jackson and several players on Roussel and while we can't understand everything that is being said -- this is more than worth the watch.
What I loved the most was the very impressive production value and truly entertaining footage of Roussel and the Stars both during practice and on the ice. The crew was on hand for a February game against the Caroline Hurricanes, which featured a very notable incident between the Canes goalie and Roussel.
What stands out the most with Roussel, as always, is that he's perhaps the hardest worker on the team and is undoubtedly the most gracious when it comes to his interaction with the fans. There's a reason he's become an instant fan favorite and if you pay attention -- there's a very particular demographic that is especially enamoured with our resident trouble-maker.
There's also one heck of a hilarious introduction, featuring a cowboy hat, boots and a hockey stick.
Check out the show below, and look out for our own featured article on Roussel coming up this week.
Please Note: This show does not censor the colorful language that happens in hockey.
Some quick thoughts:
*Roussel gets compared a lot to Steve Ott, and for good reason, but it's clear he's trying to be more than that. The team management loves him for his hard work ethic and ability to get under the skin of opposing players, but this year they've tried to round out his game more and take advantage of that hard work. While he still has a high number of PIMs, there's a reason why he's being put on the ice in different situations.
*This is something we've heard before, but Roussel is more than just a "you hate him but love him if he's on your team." This is a guy that is garnering pure hate from players around the league, and it seems a lot of it comes from his path to the NHL. He's an 'unknown' and he doesn't care who he pisses off, and apparently that's against some sort of code or something.
*I'm amazed at how he was talking to the officials. That's...ballsy.
Stick tap to GunnerStar99 for bringing this to our attention.