Yesterday morning, the hockey world was devastated by the news that another player has been taken from us far too soon. Steve Montador, who was acquired by the Bruins at the 2008-2009 deadline before moving on to Buffalo for the following season, was found dead in his Ontario home at the age of 35. A teammate of Andrew Ference and Marc Savard in both Calgary and Boston, the two took to twitter yesterday to express themselves about his death.
A true warrior and great friend passed away last night "Monty". We will miss you dearly #RIP Thoughts and prayers are with his family— marc savard (@MSavvy91) February 15, 2015
Devastating news today about our friend. Monty was an absolute gem and will be deeply missed. Rest in peace chum. pic.twitter.com/ioFxWTZueK— Andrew Ference (@Ferknuckle) February 15, 2015
Montador came over from Anaheim at the deadline in exchange for Petteri Nokelainen, and despite only playing 23 games for the Bruins, added additional defensive depth that the Bruins sorely needed. Reunited with not only Ference and Savard but also other former Calgary teammates Stephane Yelle and Chuck Kobasew, Montador added a bit of sorely needed defensive depth for a good playoff run. Mark Stuart and Andrew Ference were often injured, and a watery blue line was costing the Bruins games - a small hiccup in an overall season that was one of the best for the Bruins in recent memory.
For me personally, the 08-09 season was the first NHL season I'd paid attention to all the way through. It was the first trade deadline day I'd sat eagerly at my computer waiting for the Bruins to make a move - luckily I was working a night shift at the Boston Herald at that point, and had my days free to do so. I was just starting to take an interest in writing about the team, so I'd listened raptly to all the trade rumors and nonsense about Phil Kessel being traded for Tomas Kaberle and David Krejci maybe getting moved for Keith Yandle - you know, the same stuff we'd heard about every year since. I remember not knowing what to think about Montador or Mark Recchi, who'd been acquired from Tampa as well for the low low price of Martins Karsums and Matt Lashoff, but I remember being excited about it.
In Montador's first game as a Bruin, the team lost to the Coyotes 2-1, and the fans booed the team off the ice. (This is a team, remember, that would end up coming second to the San Jose Sharks for the President's trophy by one point) and Montador still had only nice things to say about the fans. After praising fans who'd painted their faces Bruins colors and marveling at the size and variety of the crowd compared to Anaheim, he responded to a query about people booing with "They've come to expect good hockey," he said.
Only nice things.
He scored his only goal for the Bruins in a game against Carolina in the playoffs, dealt with it fine when Claude played him at forward for a game (which seemingly was a trend that season; Matt Hunwick, also a defenseman, played a few games at forward as well), and off the ice was a partner with Andrew Ference's Right to Play work. He moved on to Buffalo in the offseason, and was immediately positive about that team and his chances to fit in there.
Steve Montador wasn't a Bruin for long, but he was part of an incredibly important season for the team and was also, by all accounts, a fantastic human being. Rest in peace, Steve, and all the best wishes to the Montador family.