Saturday, October 3, 2009

Which Montreal Canadiens number should be the next to be retired?

Fifteen members of the Montreal Canadiens have been honored by having their jersey numbers retired.

The Canadiens acknowledged all of their Hall of Fame players last season by constructing the Ring of Honor around the Bell Centre.

But As the club continues it centennial celebrations, is there room in the Bell Centre rafters for a few more names to hang in the upper echelon?

Here are a few suggestions. I’ve added a link on the players names (below the photo) to the Canadiens “Our History” site profiles.

Before you ask, Saku Koivu is still an active player, so he was excluded from the list.

but_xz_241008 #3 Emile “Butch” Bouchard

Bouchard played fifteen years (eight as captain) and won four Stanley Cups along the way.

Known for his solid checking and his excellent ability to clear the puck to his forwards, Bouchard was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame 1966.

Toe_Blake #6 Hector “Toe” Blake

Though he has 500 wins as a coach with the Canadiens and nine Stanley Cups, Hector “Toe” Blake was one of the greatest players of his era.

He led the NHL in scoring in the 1938-39 season and won the Hart Trophy as league MVP.

With just two penalty minutes in the 1945-46 season, Blake took the Lady Byng Trophy.

He played on the famous “Punch Line” with Maurice Richard and Elmer Lach, and scoredat least 20 goals a season with his linemates.

In thirteen season as a player, Blake won two Stanley Cups and scored 527 points in 569 games.

He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1966.

Blake is already honored in the Canadiens Ring of Honor as well as their Builders’ Row.

elmer #16 Elmer Lach

A fourteen year member of the Canadiens.

His 26 goals and 54 assists won the NHL scoring title and Hart Trophy in 1944-45, the same year Richard scored 50 goals in 50 games.

Lach won his second NHL scoring title, receiving the inaugural Art Ross Trophy, in 1947-48.

With three Stanley Cups to his name, he was inducted into the HHOF in 1966.

It’s an outside shot to see #16 retired a second time as Henri Richard’s jersey has already been put to the rafters.

As the oldest living Canadiens Hall of Famer (91, Bouchard is 90) it would be a nice gesture.

shutt1 #22 Steve Shutt

Inducted into the HHOF in 1993, Steve Shutt’s 408 goals with the Canadiens rank him first for left wingers and fifth in team history.

Shutt is only one of two players to record 60 goals in a season and his nine straight 30 goal seasons remains a franchise record.

He ranks eighth all-time in Canadiens scoring (776 points) and won five Stanley Cups in his thirteen years in Montreal.

pin_lemaire01 #25 Jacques Lemaire

In twelve seasons with the Montreal Canadiens, “Coco” never had a season with less than 20 goals and was an exceptional defensive forward as well.

He ranks in the top ten in franchise scoring with 366 goals (7th), 469 assists (5th) and 835 points (7th).

His 139 points in the playoffs place him second to Jean Beliveau.

Lemaire won eight Stanley Cups with the Canadiens and joined the HHOF in 1984.

mats-naslund #26 Mats Naslund

“Le Petit Viking” only played in eight seasons with the Canadiens, but made the most of it.

He is the last player to record 100 points for the Canadiens and had 612 points (11th all-time) in 617 games with the bleu-blanc et rouge.

Naslund was a member of the 1985-86 Stanley Cup winning team, and took the Lady Byng Trophy in 1987-88.

His five assists in the 1988 All-Star Game is a league record.

Naslund would be an extreme long shot, being he only player in this list that is not in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

If you have any other worthy suggestions, email me or leave a comment. I will add a profile to the player you suggest.


Yves said...

I'd never considered Naslund... although his numbers are great.

I'm not even sure I can formulate an oppinion!

Bouchard, Blake, Lach..... all of the players mentioned had a great impact over many years.

T.C. Denault said...

No offense to Shutt, Lemaire, & Naslund but I would consider Vezina, Joliat, and Durnan before them.

Kevin aka "yathehabsrule" said...

@ T.C. Very valid candidates.

It would have been good to have retired #1 for all three goaltenders at the same time.

Aurel Joliat is another fine choice, as is Newsy Lalonde, who also wore #4.

Many are led to believe that Joliat's #4 was co-retired with Beliveau, but that was not the case.

I think part of the problem is going back and re-retiring a number. The Canadiens were smart to have honored Moore and Cournoyer by retiring #12 at the same time.

Putting the Ring of Honor in the Bell Centre gives the acknowledgment of all the major contributors to the organization, especially those with the same number.

Anonymous said...

What about Guy Lapointe, the second best scoring defensemen of all time and member of HOF???