Monday, August 31, 2009

Happy Birthday to Le Gros Bill!

jean Birthday wishes to Canadiens legend Jean Béliveau, celebrating his 78th year today.

The Hall of Famer was born in Trois Rivières, QC and was the first of eight children.

He was wearing skates at age five. When it showed that the young Béliveau had a gift for hockey, his father built a small practice rink behind their house for him.

The rest, of course, is history.

Recently, I noted several of Mr. Beliveau’s accolades, both on and off the ice

I’ve added the Legends of Hockey series’ feature on the Canadiens legend where other Hall of Famers reminisce on their former teammate/opponent as well as comments from Beliveau himself.

Happy Birthday Mr. Beliveau!!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Captain Kirk’s days with the C were short in Montreal

Muller On August 30,1994, the Montreal Canadiens named Kirk Muller as their captain.

The Kingston native, and former New Jersey Devils captain, was chosen to take over after former captain, Guy Carbonneau, was traded to the St. Louis Blues eleven days earlier.

“This is Kirk Muller’s team now,” said coach Jacques Demers.

Unfortunately, timing is everything and for Muller his time as captain would be short.

A players strike would shorten the 1994-95 NHL season to just 48 games. The season would start on January 21, 1995.

ljcarbomuller Muller and then captain Guy Carbonneau celebrate their ‘93 Cup victory

The Canadiens struggled offensively that season, and Muller’s numbers were down.

Despite a trade made by Serge Savard to acquire Mark Recchi, the Canadiens were still desperate to make the playoffs.

Savard then made another deal, this one involved Muller, Mathieu Schneider and Craig Darby going to the New York Islanders for Pierre Turgeon and Vladimir Malakhov on April 5, 1995.

Although excited to be getting a scorer in Turgeon, fans were shocked and outraged that their captain had be sacrificed to get him.

Teammate Denis Savard said Muller was in near tears eyes when he faced the scrum of reporters and categorized his friend as being "devastated."

Muller, being the classy and professional man he was, kept his composure.

"I'm shocked, but it's a business," said he said. "I enjoyed it here, but life goes on."

In an October 2007 article, by the Montreal Gazette’s Red Fisher, Muller talked more on the trade.

"I was more shocked being traded from here than when I was in New Jersey," Muller said.

"First, I loved it here and I didn't want to go anywhere. I was learning French. We were settled here. I was just named captain. The style was for me. The numbers were there. I was happy. There were no problems. Zero."

Muller retired eight seasons later. After a season as head coach with his hometown Queen’s Golden Gaels (OUA), he became an assistant coach with the Canadiens.

Kirk_Muller2 Muller playing in the Legends Classic game in Montreal

More on Kirk Muller

My interview with him from this past July at Wayne Gretzky’s golf tournament.

Habs Eyes on the Prize looks at the revolving door of Canadiens captains in the mid to late ‘90s.

Muller also does regular speaking engagements and recently joined Montreal-based Luxury Rentals as a promotional associate.

Red Fisher’s afore-mentioned article citing the trade to get Kirk Muller was the tenth best in Canadiens History.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Aurele Joliat: A small forward with a huge heart to play.

Joliat_Aurele_01 Aurèle Joliat would be 108 years old today.

Fans of the Montreal Canadiens scratched their heads when they traded an aging star in Newsy Lalonde to Saskatoon for the rights to a 5’7” 136 lb winger in 1922.

They wouldn’t be scratching their heads long. In his rookie season (1922-23), the Ottawa-born Joliat scored 21 points in 24 games .

The following season, he was put on a line with Billy Boucher and a rookie centre named Howie Morenz. The The trio would lead the Canadiens to a Stanley Cup that season. It would be the first of three for Joliat in his sixteen year career with Montreal.

He led the NHL in scoring with 30 goals in 25 games in 1924-25 and in the 1933-34 season, Joliat would win the Hart Trophy as league MVP. He was a first-team all-star once, and a second-team all-star three times.

175px-Aurel_Joliat Joliat could score, check and his speed allowed him to avoid the big checks. But when he was hit, he could take them like a 200 pound man.

Over time he earned the respect of many of the toughest players in the league due to his resiliency in on-ice confrontations.

The small black cap Joliat wore during games, to cover a bald spot, reminded players of his willingness to retaliate.

Taunting him by knocking his hat to the ice always brought a swift reaction. Joliat would either score, or whack an opponent across the ankles. Suffice to say, the cap stayed didn’t get knocked off often.

“To knock off his black cap was to start a battle,” noted Hall-of-Fame sportswriter Elmer Ferguson.

“It drove Joliat into a hysterical frenzy, from which he lashed out blindly with fists or stick, and he didn’t pick his opponents.”

He had his share of injuries(six shoulder separations, three broken ribs, and five nose fractures), but it seldom kept him off the ice for long.

aj_mug One of his greatest rivals on the ice was Bruins legend Eddie Shore, a player who Joliat deemed as the meanest and toughest player that he’d ever met.

In one game at the Forum, Shore clobbered the diminutive Joliat and separated his shoulder. After being led off the ice, he was quickly back on and caught his rival on a rush.

“I leaped over the boards and intercepted the big bugger. Hit him with a flyin' tackle,” he said. “Hit him so hard he was out cold on the ice. He had it comin' I'd say . . ."

After the tragic death of Morenz in March of 1937, Joliat was never the same, and it showed on the ice.

InductFact7 Aurele Joliat mourns the loss of teammate Howie Morenz

He would play his final game a year later, when a shoulder injury caused him to miss the balance of the regular season and the playoffs.

Joliat would retire after the season was over, although he later claimed the Canadiens let him go after the Montreal Maroons folded.

His 270 goals were a team record that only be surpassed by Maurice Richard.

He would be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1945.

In 1984, at age 83, he was honored by the Canadiens as an honorary member of their 75th Anniversary Dream Team.

dream I’ve included the footage from his appearance at the Forum. He’d have a few slips on the ice and carpet that Joliat would attest to an old rival.

“The ghost of Eddie Shore must have put that damn rug in front of me.”

Aurèle Joliat passed away on June 2, 1986. The man who played in the Canadiens first game in the Montreal Forum was gone.

Elmer Ferguson tried to answer how such a small player had outlasted every player that was in the NHL when he started.

“The source from which he gets his strength, and the virility to play robust games, to out-drive sturdier opponents at golf, to outwit them at hockey, to carry on the testing, wracking game over a span of years far beyond average-that’s a mystery. Try and Solve it, I gave up long ago.”

Other Facts and stories on Aurèle Joliat

Just how tough was he? Joliat apparently fell off a roof as a teenager, 35 feet to the ground, and landed on his back, narrowly escaping any serious injuries.

He was going to be a kicker with the Ottawa Rough Riders (CFL), but a broken leg kept him from playing. He then focused on hockey.

Habs Eyes on the Prize offers a must-read story on Joliat from his pre-Canadiens Days.

Dennis Kane dug up this poem on Joliat.

The Hockey News ranked Joliat #65 in their list of 100 Greatest Hockey Players

From the Canadiens history site. A story on his 250th goal.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Canadiens first captain would be 130 years old today.


Jean-Baptiste “Jack” Laviolette was born in Belleville, ON on this day, in 1879.

Growing up in Valleyfield, QC, Laviolette was a two sport star athlete in both lacrosse and hockey and eventually gained stardom, in the International Hockey League, with the Michigan-Soo Indians before joining the Montreal Shamrocks in 1907.

laviolette1 Laviolette as a member of the Michigan-Soo Indians

In the the late fall of 1909, he was approached by J. Ambrose O’Brien, to not only play, but also captain, coach and assemble a new French-speaking pro hockey team in Montreal for the newly formed NHA.

He quickly worked to bring on long-time friend Didier Pitre and Edouard “Newsy” Lalonde to the new franchise.

As exciting a chance it appeared to be for Laviolette, the ambitious challenge soon turned to discomfort as the Canadiens finished dead last in their first season with a 2-12 record.

Laviolette turned the captaincy of the team over to Lalonde the following season, and brought in a goaltender by the name of Georges Vezina. The team improved to .500 that year, but failed to reach the playoffs.

Laviolette found himself captain again in 1911-12 when Lalonde left the Canadiens.

jack_laviolette The struggling start to the franchise would later become success as  the Canadiens won their first Stanley Cup championship in 1916. By that time, Laviolette was only with the team in a playing capacity.

The Canadiens claimed a second NHA title the following season, but they would lose to Seattle in their quest to repeat as Stanley Cup champions.

In the 1917-18 season, the Canadiens were part of the newly formed NHL.  Montreal would take first place that season.

11laviolette His playing career ended in the spring of 1918 when he lost his right foot in a car crash. The Canadiens held a benefit game, for their first on and off-ice leader, in 1921 where Laviolette participated as a referee.

jacklaviolette_1910 Laviolette died in 1960, and would be inducted, as a lacrosse player, into the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame later that same year.

He would become an honored member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, posthumously, two years later.

Dollars and lack of sense. How much would you pay for pre season tix?

bell_centreFor the prices fans pay for pre-season tickets these days, you’d think you were paying for regular season or playoff games.

As the 2009-10 NHL season approaches, ticket sales for your favourite teams are slowly beginning to start.

Pre-season tickets are now readily available for most teams. By next Saturday, all 30 teams will have their pre-season tickets on sale.

I did a little shopping around to see where the deals might be.

As I live in Ontario, I started with the Ottawa Senators and the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The Sens have tickets available for their three home pre-season  games, ranging from as low as $12.94 and cap out at $150.

The Leafs have four pre-season games at the ACC. Tickets there start at $27 and peak at, sitting down? $416.00!! Prices are the same be it the Buffalo Sabres, or the Pittsburgh Penguins.

I received an insider email today to purchase Leaf pre-season tickets in advance of the public sale.

There’s some clever strategy by Ticketmaster and the Leafs. When you choose the Pittsburgh game. There is no choice in seat preference. You have to take what they offer.

Now let’s see what pre-season tickets sell for elsewhere in the league.

Montreal Canadiens: I didn’t see any pre-season pricing. But since they typically go close to regular season prices, we can assume a range from $28.00 to $201.00

Calgary Flames: $34.00 to $256.00

Edmonton Oilers: $38.50 to $205.00

Vancouver Canucks: $26.50 to $382.50

Detroit Red Wings: $9 to $150.00 (US)

Washington Capitals: $35.00 to $280.00

Boston Bruins: $32.50 to $251.50

Pittsburgh Penguins: $54.00 to $184.00

Tampa Bay Lightning: $15.00 to $349.00

New York Islanders: $19.00 to $175.00

Tix for the Islanders pre-season game in Kansas City ; $10 to $150

Phoenix Coyotes: $10.75 to $325.75

Now the question, would you pay these high-end prices for a pre-season game, in which you may, or may not, see the teams top stars?

For me, I think $100 would be my max.

I’ve made the weekend trip to Ottawa, in the past, to see the Canadiens/Senators in pre-season before. Even with gas and a hotel, you still pay far less than in other cities. Not to mention for $100 I was right on the glass.

But sorry, there’s no way I’m paying over $300 in September to see a team that I wouldn’t pay the same amount to see in the regular season, especially if they have no hope to even make the playoffs.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

How a simple letter, and a bit of luck put Jimmy Devellano on top


I had the opportunity, this past week, to meet Jimmy Devellano, the Detroit Red Wings’ Senior vice-president and alternate governor.

Speaking at the Toronto chapter of SIHR (Society for International Hockey Research) monthly meeting , Devellano recanted his early life growing up in Cabbagetown and Scarborough,

Despite being an admitted lousy hockey player, his passion and quest for a career in the game drove him to write a letter to Lynn Patrick, general manager of the expansion St. Louis Blues in 1966.

Devellano just wanted the opportunity to be a scout and said that he would work for free for the team. Patrick agreed and after a year, he was a full time scout for the Blues.

After a five year tenure, he was let go by the Blues due to personnel issues. As luck would have it, the NHL was expanding again.

He made a trip to the NHL draft that July  and got in contact with the expansion New York Islanders GM Bill Torre.

After a dismal first season in Long Island, Devallano and Torre quickly scouted and drafted some of the greatest players in NHL history; Denis Potvin, Bryan Trottier, Clark Gillies and Mike Bossy.

He told the audience how drafting Mike Bossy nearly didn’t happen.

It was down to Bossy or Dwight Foster, who had led the OHL in Scoring.

Bossy had 77 goals in his last junior season, but couldn’t check.

Devallano said how coach Al Arbour told Bill Torre that it’s hard to find a big-time scorer. They had the playmaker in Trottier and the protector in Gilles. Arbour said he’d teach Bossy how to check.

“He’s the greatest, purest goal scorer that I ever saw in my life”, he said. “And Al Arbour was right, he did teach him how to check.”

A trade later for Butch Goring, were final pieces and in their eighth season, the Islanders were Stanley Cup champions.


Devellano was not around for the Islanders fourth straight Cup.

Little Caesar’s owner Mike Ilitch had bought the Detroit Red Wings in 1982 and his first move, as owner, was to hire Jim Devellano as their GM.

He was excited to be given his dream job with an Original Six team. At the time, the Red Wings were a struggling franchise and had just 2,100 season ticket holders.

“If (Jim) Balsillie were around then, he would have wanted to move the team to Hamilton,” he said.

By the start of his first season in Detroit, the Wings managed to double their season ticket sales but still had dismal attendance numbers.

The Wings battled through seasons of disappointments in the ‘80s. It didn’t phase Devellano or team owner Mike Ilitch’s confidence in him.

“I promised Mike and Marian Ilitch that we’d win the Cup in eight years. It took us fifteen.”

1983_feature In 1983, Devallano drafted his franchise player, Steve Yzerman , and began building a team around him.

He was one of the first GMs to scout seriously in Europe and the “Iron Curtain”.

Then scout Ken Holland found the likes of Sergei Fedorov, Vladimir Konstantinov, and Niklas Lidstrom. These players quickly put the Wings as a playoff contender.

He felt that the 1989 draft was one of the greatest in the team’s history, if not NHL history and by 1990, Devellano was the team’s senior vice-president.

The players were there, but they lacked the right coach to get them to the pinnacle. Ilitch wanted Mike Keenan, but Devellano didn’t.

The owner put his trust in him again and couldn’t have been more happy with his choice, Scotty Bowman.

Devellano admitted that Bowman and Yzerman had their differences.

Yzerman was a scorer but Bowman wanted him to play a more defensive roll. Bowman even wanted to trade the team’s captain to the Ottawa Senators.

Fortunately for Detroit, the two worked things out and Bowman turned Yzerman into a much better defensive centre. A Frank Selke Trophy in 2000 was proof that it worked.

Finally, in 1997, the Red Wings clinched the first of four Cups in an eleven-year period. Not to mention, they are one of the most successful teams of the last fifteen years.

Devellano then briefly spoke on the tragic limousine accident involving Vladimir Konstantinov.

He told us that both Hall-of-Famer Ted Lindsay and Konstantinov still has his own stall in the Red Wings dressing room and visits it whenever he attends games.

During the Q and A session, Mr. Devellano answered a variety of topics on former players, coaches, the Phoenix Coyotes and New York Islanders situations and even offered advice for some up and coming scouts.

True story: Ilitch and Devellano signed future Hall of Fame defenceman Brad Park away from the Boston Bruins by awarding him two Little Caesar’s franchises, in Boston, as a bonus.

I asked him if there was a player that he really wanted as a scout and the team’s GM went against him . The essential “come back to bite you in the ass” player.

He couldn’t come up with a name off hand in St. Louis but that in New York he had the upmost confidence from Bill Torre.

It was interesting to learn to that the Wings initial choice before Yzerman was hometown boy Pat Lafontaine. The Islanders picked him right ahead of Detroit.

Bob Tindale, the former head of Boston Bruins scouting also in attendance, then added that Boston wanted Keith Brown in the 1979 draft but after Chicago picked him, they had to go with their second option, Ray Bourque.

Devellano concluded that the draft relies on a lot of luck, and that in his career he has been extremely lucky.

More of Mr. Devellano’s story in hockey can be found in his book “The Road to Hockeytown, Jimmy Devellano’s Forty Years in the NHL”.

Monday, August 24, 2009

In Case You Missed It: Habs News and Blogger Views for Aug 24

meeting_minutes_photo242918_std I’m off to Toronto, later this afternoon, to attend a meeting of the Toronto chapter of SIHR(Society for International Hockey Research)

Jim Devellano, Senior VP and Alternate Governor of the Detroit Red Wings, is the special guest.


Meanwhile, here's what everybody else is doing.

Vancouver 2010: The Olympics are a few months away and Team Canada started their camp today. Hockey Night in Canada’s Jeff Marek is in Calgary and twittering to his heart’s content. You can follow him here.

There is also a poll for fans to vote who they feel should be captain of Team Canada.

Review: Tyler from NHLDigest  is impressed with Canadiens, the Habs’ official magazine

No game at the Big O: RDS reports that a November 28 game between Montreal and the Washington Capitals at Olympic Stadium will not happen.

There is a possibility that the Montreal Alouettes will play the CFL East Final at the Big O in November. If that happens, there would be insufficient time for the Canadiens/NHL to set up for the game.

Power Forward in the making: The Canadiens official site has it’s 2009-10 Season Preview underway, beginning with Guillaume Latendresse.

The Pocket Rocket: Dave Stubbs, of The Montreal Gazette, caught up with Canadiens HOFer Henri Richard over the weekend.

Mr. Richard talked about the captaincy, playing in the league as a small player, and more.

Attention Fantasy Leaguers: Fantasy Sense Hockey’s  2009-10 Montreal Canadiens Fantasy Preview 

The Next Ovechkin?: FlyingFrenchmen looks at Canadiens draft pick Alexander Avstin.

The ‘86 Cup: Dennis Kane reflects on the Canadiens 23rd Stanley Cup

Montreal’s French Dynamic Duo: Eric Engels takes a look at the challenges facing Maxim Lapierre and Guillaume Latendresse.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Keane on hockey: Former Canadiens captain is still playing in the pros at 42


Last Wednesday, the Manitoba Moose (AHL) announced the re-signing of their captain, Mike Keane, to a one-year contract.

Yes, the same Mike Keane who briefly held the captaincy of the Montreal Canadiens from April of 1995 (after Kirk Muller was traded) to December 1995 when he was traded, along with a guy named Patrick Roy, to the Colorado Avalanche.

Keane will be in his fifth season with the Moose. He signed with his hometown team, as a free agent, after the NHL lockout.

At the age of 42, Keane shows no signs of quitting the game of hockey.

In fact, Keane had his best offensive season with Manitoba in 2008-09 (28 points in 74 games, along with 11 points in 22 playoff games).

The Moose came up two games shy of winning a Calder Cup last season.

A veteran of just under 1400 NHL games (regular and post season), he is one of just five players in NHL history (nine in total) to win a Stanley Cup with three different teams (Montreal, Colorado and Dallas).


He talked to the Winnipeg Sun last week about the signing, the Calder Cup and the fact that retirement never crossed his mind.

"It would be crazy not to take advantage of this opportunity. A lot of players don't get a chance to play in front of their family and friends.

Hopefully, we can go as far as we can and continue on from the great run we had last year.

As soon as we lost last year, I took a week off and (retiring) didn't cross my mind.

Sometimes you have to lose to learn how to win.

We have a lot of guys coming back. We've got a real good foundation and we'll make sure we do everything we can to get back there.”

"We're going to have to throw his equipment in the river to get him to quit," Moose coach Scott Arniel joked in a telephone interview with the Sun.

"He came in handy when times were tough. We have him for that reason. He wants to come back and battle again and prove that he has lots left in the tank."

Despite only recording 470 points (160 goals) in the NHL, Keane is known for his aggressive play and his defensive, and penalty killing, abilities as a right winger.

mikekeane2 Keane in a scrap with Vancouver’s Scott Walker

His “no quit” attitude feeds his longevity.

ESPN’s Lindsay Berra had a great article, from three years back, entitled “The Man who Can’t Stop Skating” on his passion for the game.


Keane began his NHL career, with the Canadiens, after signing as an undrafted free agent in 1985.

In the 1988-89 season played in 69 games as a rookie and came close to winning a Stanley Cup. The Calgary Flames defeated Montreal in six games in the Final that season.

The 1992-93 season was Keane’s most productive offensively (60 points in 70 games, plus 29) in his NHL career.

In the same year, he also attained a career high in playoff points (15 in 19 games) and won his first Stanley Cup.


Mike Keane on the Patrick Roy trade (from the Winnipeg Sun)

Keane said no one around the club was surprised when the trade went down.

“It just escalated so fast, there wasn’t much anyone could do,” he recalled.

“During the game, we (players) were on the bench wondering what was going on, why is Patrick still in there, but there was nothing said. It just took a life of its own and everyone knew it was big.

“As for me, I wasn’t really shocked (about being a part of the deal). You could kind of see it coming. There were rumours and rumblings about me for a while.”

Keane laughed when asked if Roy apologized to him for the collateral damage inflicted from his last days in Montreal.

“No, but it’s funny, ” the 41-year-old began. “We were teammates in Montreal but we never became friends until we got traded. We bought houses beside each other in Denver.”

And won a Stanley Cup, too.


Other Mike Keane notes:

  • Was a member of the Canadian Junior team in 1987 which is infamous for the “Punchout at Piestany” during the gold medal game.
  • MileHighHockey ranks him as the 16th greatest Avs player of all time
  • Played with five NHL teams (Montreal, Colorado, New York, Dallas, St. Louis and Vancouver)
  • Played 506 regular season games for the Canadiens
  • Despite being an aggressive player (and not afraid to drop the gloves), he only logged 881 penalty minutes in his career.
  • Flew to Montreal, after a Moose game, to attend Patrick Roy’s jersey retirement at the Bell Centre.


keane042501 mikekeane

In Case you missed it: Habs News and Blogger Views for August 23

465917hockey-stick-and-puck-posters Drop the puck already!


I’ve been away from my laptop, for a day or so, with some family time and doing some research for an upcoming post.

Here’s a short roundup of the weekend’s Habs’ bloggings.

Dennis Kane debates the value of packaged collectibles.

The Daily Hab-it sizes up (literally) the Northeast Division.

The story of how the Canadiens stole Ken Dryden from the Bruins courtesy of Habs Eyes on the Prize.

Jason from Flying Frenchmen makes his predictions on the top eight in the Eastern Conference for 2009-10.

Rick Moffat (CJAD’s voice of the Canadiens) in his “Hit the Post” column from the West Island Chronicle.

“Drove by the Bell Centre to see how the giant Koivu banner would be replaced at the southeast corner. Are you surprised its Markov?

Carey would be the better marketing department choice but the Hockey Department must have called this shot.

A buddy tells me Carey Price at the rink in Kelowna on Dany Heatley's GroundHog Day. Carey and Josh Gorges signed autographs. Heatley didn't. Especially not anything with the Sens on it!

If Dany Heatley saw his shadow, that means three more weeks of selfishness until Training Camp or a trade, which ever comes first, right?” catches up with legendary blueliner Guy Lapointe.

OhCanadiens will be dong an interview with TSN’s Montreal correspondent John Lu in September. You can email them your questions for John on his thoughts for the upcoming season.

Lions in Winter says we won’t miss Mike Komisarek.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

In Case you Missed it: Habs News and Blogger Views for Aug 20 2009

Leading off, my heart-felt condolences to the family of former Canadiens goaltender Jose Theodore.

There was sad news earlier today that the Vezina and Hart Trophy winner’s two-month old son has died.

The Washington Post’s Tarik-El Bashir was one of the first to break the story.

Theodore’s sister-in-law, Veronique Cloutier, confirmed the reports this afternoon on her Montreal radio program. Causes of the infants death are unknown.

Our thought are with Jose, wife Stephanie and their, three-year-old, daughter Romy at this time.


I came across a couple stories, from the last few days, on Canadiens enforcer Georges Laraque.

Mark Spector (Sportsnet) talked to the big guy about the new roster changes for the upcoming season. Laraque passes on some advice for the likes of newcomers Brain Gionta, Mike Cammalleri, etc.

Second was a piece from Derek van Diest (Edmonton Sun) on Laraque working out with Oilers tough-guys Zack Stortini and Steve MacIntyre.


Jason Alexander (  posts on and asks, “Are they French enough?”

Topham from Lions in Winter on his contributions to The 2009 Score Sports Forecaster.

A couple days old, but well worth mentioning Dennis Kane’s talk with former Canadiens d-man Terry Harper. reports that Henri “Pocket Rocket” Richard will be doing an autograph signing on Saturday in Dollard des Ormeaux.

Habs Eyes on the Prize looks at some amazing and unique feats in hockey

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

One-game NHA players with the Montreal Canadiens


In conjunction to my series of players who played their lone game in the NHL in a Canadiens uniform, I have made a list of the seven players known to have represented hockey’s most storied franchise, in the NHA, for just one game.

Five of the seven played in the Canadiens first season.

Links to my previous series, on one-game NHL players that wore the Bleu-Blanc et Rouge, are below:

Part One (A to E)  Part Two (F to L)  Part Three (M to Z)


Marcel Beliveau – LW

Beliveau signed as a free-agent with Montreal on November 23, 1914. He was released on January 4, 1915

Joseph (Jean) Bougie – C

Loaned to Montreal by Valleyfield (SWQHL), Bougie played his one game in the Canadiens’ first season on February 1, 1910.


Ed Chapleau – Rover

Chapleau signed as a free agent when the Canadiens broke ground in December 1909. He registered three penalty minutes in his only game. Maybe a typo, but the Canadiens’ site states he played in two games.

Pat Larochelle – G

Larochelle won his lone game, as an injury replacement, in a 4-3 72-minute overtime game in the 1909-10 season.

The Canadiens history site acknowledges Larochelle’s appearance, but does not indicate any statistics.

Sarsfield Malone - D

The SIHR player database states that Malone got his one appearance in the NHA during the Canadiens 1913-14 season. The Canadiens site shows no record of him.

 790px-1909-10_Canadiens_Team_Picture (2)

Ed Millaire – Rover

Millaire recorded three penalty minutes in his one game during the 1909-10 season. He later became a medical doctor.


Pierre Vezina – Forward

Vezina joined the Canadiens for a tryout, along with brother Georges, on December 10, 1909.

Record has it that Pierre did not make the team, while brother Georges would go on to become one of the first Hall of Fame members with the Canadiens.

He is reported however, to have played in the Feb. 10, 1912 game (in Quebec City against the Bulldogs) by the Quebec Chronicle.

Monday, August 17, 2009

In Case you missed it: Habs news and blogger views for Aug 17, 2009

empty_hockey_rink The rink may be empty for now, but there’s lots of hockey news abound

A nice little compilation of Canadiens related articles I picked up on from the day.

Dave Stubbs looks in detail at the late, Leaf great Teeder Kennedy’s early days as a Montreal Canadiens Prospect.

The article also has some reflections from Canadiens’ Hall of Fame center Elmer Lach, inducted into the Hall the same year as Kennedy in 1966.

Dennis Kane on how Bob Gainey’s playing days justify his restructuring of the Canadiens to create a winner.

A short note (and link) from Yves on Habs, sizing up the Canadiens.

Eric Engels looks back on some recent memorable moments from Canadiens players no longer on the payroll.

I think somebody  might be a tad bitter about Mike Komisarek leaving. Note the Dryden poem….Hmmmm on that note, I wonder what J.T’s thoughts were when Ken Dryden became Leafs President?

OHCanadiens thinks the Habs might still be shopping

Flying Frenchmen with predictions on the bottom seven of the Eastern Conference in 2009-10.

Habs Eyes on the Prize looks at Ten Things that Habs fans would like to see in 2009-10.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Montreal Canadiens features from the National Film Board of Canada

Film icon Show of hands, how many of you remember those old National Film Board films that they showed in school?

How many of you dozed off only to be woke up by the sound of the film crunching through the projector?

Now, if the school teachers had shown the film selections I discovered on the NFB’s website, we might have paid attention more.

I’ve pulled three films for our Habs film fest. Get out your popcorn and enjoy.

babyblu First up is  one of the NFB’s most popular films.

 Sheldon Cohen’s “The Sweater”

This 1980 animated short is based on Roch Carrier’s book “The Hockey Sweater

Carrier recounts the most mortifying moment of his childhood.

At a time when all his friends worshipped Maurice "Rocket" Richard and wore his number 9 Canadiens hockey jersey, he was mistakenly sent a Toronto Maple Leafs jersey from Eaton's.

Unable to convince his mother to send it back, he must face his friends wearing the colors of the opposing team.



 Leslie McFarlane’s 1953 short “Here’s Hockey”.

Featuring Jean Beliveau, this short film focuses on hockey from the inside out.

Known as Canada's national pastime, this film demonstrates why hockey is such an exciting spectator sport. From east to west, the connection between fans and players is evident in the excited cries of "we've won!"

From Pee-Wee to Bantam, from the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association to the big league pros, Here's Hockey! shows what it takes to make a great hockey player.



And now, our feature presentation.

Jacques Payette’s 1998 film “The Rocket”

This 42 minute documentary features rare footage along with interviews from journalists, photographers, former NHL President Clarence Campbell, Canadiens GM Frank Selke, referee Red Storey, Emile “Butch” Bouchard, and Maurice Richard himself.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Their lone NHL game was with the Bleu-Blanc et Rouge : M to Z

Part Three of my series on players who had their one career NHL game in a Montreal Canadiens uniform.

In total, 29 players saw their lone chance in the NHL as members of the Montreal Canadiens.

Whether it was part of a tryout, an injury substitution or a draft pick bust, they all have their place in Canadiens history.

A special thanks to Robert at Habs Eyes on the Prize for getting me a few of the photos featured in this series.

Previous posts:

Part One (A to E) Part Two (F to L)

Frank Mailley – D

The Canadiens picked up Mailey from the Washington Lions (AHL). He played his lone game against Chicago in Dec 1942.

Keith McCulley – D

Signed as a free agent on Oct 23, 1932, McCulley played in his sole NHL game, for the Canadiens, during the 1934-35 season.


Irv McGibbon – RW

A scoring star in his native Nova Scotia, McGibbon was signed in October 1941 but only managed a minor penalty in his lone game in the 1942-43 season.


Olivier Michaud – G

Michaud signed as a free agent in 2001 and saw 18 minutes of play, replacing an injured Jose Theodore on October 26, 2001.

Still only 25, he is currently playing in the LNAH for St. Jean and there’s always a chance he could return to the NHL (see Thomas, Tim).


Jean-Guy Morissette – G

Morissette got his shot between the pipes, replacing an injured Gump Worsley, for the Canadiens on Oct 30, 1963 and gave up four goals times in 34 minutes to take the loss.

He missed the remainder of the season after he suffered a broken cheekbone in practice the following day.


Hal Murphy - G

Jacques Plante was to replace the injured Gerry McNeil, but found himself injured as well. Hal Murphy was called up from the Montreal Royals and found himself starting on November 8, 1952.

Murphy took the win in a 6-4 victory over Chicago.


Mickey (Edward) Murray – G

Murray had great success with Providence (CAHL).

With George Hainsworth injured, Murray got his shot in Montreal on February 25, 1930. The New York Americans defeated Murray and the Canadiens 4-2.


Evariste Payer – C

Payer had played nine games over two seasons with the Canadiens in the NHA (1910-11, 1911-12)

After some time in the MCSHL and two years of military service during WW1, Payer signed back on as a free agent and played one last game for the now-NHL Canadiens in the 1917-18 season.

Clement Piché – position unknown

Piché is not recognized by the Canadiens historical roster, but his name is mentioned for playing a shift, by the Montreal Gazette, during a December 21, 1921 win over Hamilton


Morris “Moe” Robinson – D

Robinson was the Canadiens sixth pick (49th overall) in the 1977 draft and played his only game in the 1979-80 season.

His big brother, Larry, had a much more successful career with the Canadiens.

vallis Lindsay Vallis – RW

The Canadiens first pick (13th overall) in the 1989 NHL Entry Draft, Vallis got his chance after three seasons in the AHL in the 1993-94 season.

He found himself back in the AHL, with Worcester, the following season and was out of pro hockey by 2001.

His profile at Legends of Hockey

BallHype: hype it up!

Teeder Kennedy was almost a Hab

23403 Teeder Kennedy battles Jacques Plante on this 1954-55 Parkhurst hockey card

There was some sad news in the hockey world, yesterday with the passing of Toronto Maple Leafs legend Ted “Teeder” Kennedy at the age of 83.

Canadiens Hall of Fame center Jean Beliveau had this to say on Kennedy’s passing:

"I was certainly happy to play against him and I'm so sorry to hear (of his death)," said Montreal Canadiens legend Jean Beliveau. ``He was a complete centreman, a good playmaker, a good passer, good on faceoffs."

Kennedy played his entire career in Toronto, making his debut at the age of 17, in the 1943-44 season. He recorded 49 points in 49 games that year.

He would lead Toronto to the first of four straight Stanley Cups from 1945 to 1949 and add a fifth after the 1950-51 season.


Kennedy was the Leafs captain from 1948 to 1955

Playing amongst the Golden Age legends, Kennedy won the Hart Trophy during the 1954-55 season.

Kennedy retired after that season, but returned for 30 games, as captain, in 1956-57.

He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1966.

200px-EIIR-Kennedy Kennedy meets then Duchess of Ediborough Elizabeth in 1951

At one time though, Kennedy was the property of the Montreal Canadiens.

Frank Orr, of The Toronto Star, recounts how Kennedy went from a Canadiens prospect to a Leafs Hall-of-Famer.

Kennedy  attracted the attention of a Montreal Canadiens scout when he was 16.

The Habs moved him to Montreal in 1942 to play for the Royals junior team and practice with the NHL club, paying his tuition at a private school.

"But I just didn't like the situation and I told them I was going home," Kennedy said.

He finished the season with the Port Colborne senior team, coached by the NHL's leading career goal-scorer at the time, Nels (Old Poison) Stewart, a star with the old Montreal Maroons. Stewart told the youngster Leafs coach Hap Day was a master at developing young players.

Frank Selke, the hockey genius who was in charge of the Leafs during Major Smythe's World War II absence, traded young defenceman Frank Eddolls to the Canadiens for the NHL rights to Kennedy.

eddolls_frankFrank Eddols, accquired from Toronto for Ted Kennedy

Smythe was furious Selke had made the trade without consulting him, the start of the split between the two men who had combined their talents to build the Leafs and Maple Leaf Gardens from scratch.

After Smythe sacked him, Selke moved to the Canadiens in 1946 to build the most successful franchise in pro sports.

"It was a prime example of the many contradictions in Conn Smythe," Selke said years later. "Ted Kennedy was justifiably one of Smythe's favourites, but he never gave me credit – or forgave me – for getting Teeder without his permission."

Friday, August 14, 2009

Their lone NHL game was with the Bleu-Blanc et Rouge : F to L


Part Two of my series on players who had their one career NHL game in a Canadiens uniform.

Part One of the list (A to E) can be found on this link.


fortier Charles Fortier – C

Did he play or didn’t he?

One story says that Fortier signed a contract after training camp in the 1923-24 season, but homesick, and not liking the atmosphere of the pros, he returned to the Hull Athletiques on Dec 14, 1923.

Fortier is still credited with one game played vs.Toronto on Dec 15, 1923 and is listed as a member of the 1923-24 Stanley Cup winning team despite his name is not being  engraved on the Cup.


Paul Gauthier – G

Gauthier allowed two goals and recorded a 2-2 tie against Chicago, in a 70 minute game, on January 13, 1938 after being called up to replace an injured Wilf Cude.


jarventie Martti Jarventie – D

Jarventie played several years in Finland but wasn’t drafted until Montreal selected him in the fourth round of the 2001 NHL Entry Draft.

He played a single game for the Canadiens in 2001-02 as well as 59 games with the AHL Quebec Citadelles.

Jarventie returned to Finland the following season.


joliat Rene Joliat – RW

Rene Joliat is the older brother of Montreal Canadiens legend Aurel Joliat.

Rene did not enjoy the success of his younger brother.

Despite a reputable career with Ottawa of the OCSHL, he was released following the Canadiens 1924-25 season opener and never returned to the NHL.


Roland Lafleur - LW

Much like Rene Joliat, Lafleur had a successful career in the OCSHL alongside his Ottawa teammate.

Lafleur too was signed in November 1924 but cut after the first game of the 1924-25 season.



laforce Ernie Laforce – D

A great rearguard in the QPHL and QSHL, Laforce found himself in his single NHL game with the Habs during the 1942-43 season.

He played several seasons after with the Montreal Royals.



Bobby Lee - C

Lee endured a successful hockey career in Britain where he recorded over 500 goals. He is a member of the British Ice Hockey Hall of Fame.

Returning to Canada in 1939, the Quebec Aces loaned Lee, as a one-game replacement, to the Canadiens on Dec 19, 1942.


locke Corey Locke – C

OK he’s still young, but thus far the Canadiens fourth round pick in 2003 has just one NHL game with the Habs in the 2007-08 season.

He was traded to the Minnesota Wild last season and spent all of 2008-09 with Houston (AHL).