Thursday, 31 January 2013

Today in Habs History: January 31st Edition




1923: The Canadiens defeat the Hamilton Tigers 5-4. The game was the first penalty-free contest in NHL history.

1925: Georges Vezina recorded his 12th career shutout in the Canadiens 5-0 win over the Montreal Maroons.

1936: The Canadiens played a benefit for Nels Crutchfield, a Habs player who’s career was ended due to injuries from from a car accident the season before. You can read more on that event here.

1952: Gerry McNeil (pictured) records his ninth career shutout and Maurice Richard scored the lone goal in the Canadiens 1-0 win over the New York Rangers.

1953: McNeil and the Bruins’ “Sugar” Jim Henry duel to a scoreless tie. It was McNeil’s eighth shutout of the season and the 20th of his career.

1978: Jacques Lemaire scored his 5th career hat trick in Montreal’s 5-3 wim over the Colorado Rockies. The win extended the Canadiens team-record unbeaten streak to 18 games.

1993: Jacques Demers earns his 300th career win as an NHL head coach. The Canadiens defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 6-4.

Habs Born on This Day: Alex Singbush (1914), Bob Turner (1934), Mikhail Grabovski (1984)

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Today in Habs History: January 30th Edition


One of the oldest living Canadiens alumni, Howie “Rip” Riopelle turns 91 today.


1918: Joe Malone scored four times in the Canadiens 5-2 win over Ottawa. Malone extended his goal scoring streak, from the start of the season, to a dozen games.

1930: George Hainsworth recorded his 51st career shutout in a 1-0 win over the Chicago Black Hawks

1944: Phil Watson scored a hat trick, and Murph Chamberlain added three assists in the Habs’ 5-3 win over the New York Rangers.

1947: Bill Durnan recorded his ninth career shutout, and Toe Blake scored a goal and added an assist in Montreal’s 2-0 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs.

1958: Jacques Plante recorded his 34th career shutout while Dickie Morore (2G, 2A) and Don Marshall (1G, 3A) each had four points in a 7-0 win over the Detroit Red Wings.

1960: Henri Richard had a goal and an assist in the Canadiens 2-2 draw with the Black Hawks.

1966: The Canadiens defeat the Boston Bruins 3-1 in a penalty-free game at the Boston Garden.

1968: Rookie goaltender Rogie Vachon recorded his third career shutout in a 3-0 win over the Maple Leafs. The victory extended the Canadiens team-record winning streak to 10 games.

1971: Jean Beliveau scores a goal in his 1,100th career game. The Canadiens lost 5-4 to the Leafs.

Habs Born on This Day: Howie Riopelle (1922)

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Today in Habs History: January 29th Edition

Maurice Richard became the first player to score 20 goals or more in his first 10 seasons (AP photo)


1929: George Hainsworth records his 13th shutout of the season in the Canadiens 1-0 win  over the New York Americans. It was Hainsworth’s sixth shutout in January, setting an NHL record.

1953: Maurice Richard becomes the first NHL player to score 20 or more goals in his first ten seasons. The Rocket scored two goals and added an assist in the Habs 5-2 win over the New York Rangers.

1955: Jacques Plante records his 9th career shutout in the Canadiens 4-0 win over the Boston Bruins.

1966: Henri Richard scores a goal and adds three assists in Montreal’s 6-2 victory over the Rangers.

1979: Larry Robinson’s four points (2G, 2A) leads the Canadiens to a 7-3 win over the Philadelphia Flyers.

Habs Born on This Day: Larry Pleau (1947), Doug Risebrough (1954)

Monday, 28 January 2013

Today in Habs History: January 28th Edition


Mark Napier was born on this day in 1957


1918: Joe Malone scores his 25th goal of the season, extending his goal-scoring streak to 11 games. The Canadiens lost however, 6-1 to Toronto.

1937: Georges Mantha scores four goals (including his first hat trick) to lead Montreal past the Chicago Black Hawks, by a 6-5 score.

1947: Elmer Lach scores his 100th career goal and adds and assist in the Canadiens 4-2 win over the Chicago Black Hawks.

1956: Maurice Richard’s two goals and two assists leads the Canadiens in their 6-1 win over the the Boston Bruins.

1960: Jean Beliveau has a goal and an assist in the Habs’ 4-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings. The goal was Beliveau’s 500th career NHL point. The game also gave goaltender Jacques Plante his 30th win of the season, setting a league record with six straight season with 30 wins or more.

1970: Serge Savard scores a goal and adds three assist’s in Montreal’s 5-5 win over the Minnesota North Stars

Habs Born on This Day: Marty Burke (1905), Nick Wasnie (1905), Bob Perrault (1931), Mark Napier (1957), Martin Desjardins (1967)

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Today in Habs History: January 27th Edition


On this day in 1951, Jean Beliveau would score the first of his 507 career goals for the Montreal Canadiens. It just was Beliveau’s second NHL game, having seen his first game action a month prior.

With Maurice Richard and Billy Reay both out with injuries, Beliveau was called up for a second time, on a lend-lease from the Quebec Citadelles.

The Canadiens faced the Chicago Black Hawks that night and Beliveau, wearing the #20 sweater, would open the scoring at 9:32 after a scramble in front of goaltender Harry Lumley. “Le Gros Bill” would add an assist on a Bernie Geoffrion tally in the Canadiens 4-2 victory.

Also on this day…

1945: Elmer Lach’s five-point night leads the Canadiens past the Boston Bruins 11-3. It was the Habs’ 8th straight win over Boston.

1952: Bernie Geoffrion scores his first hat trick in the Canadiens 5-3 win over the New York Rangers. Paul Meger had a goal and two assists.

1963: Jacques Plante eases into his crease at Chicago Stadium prior to the game and realizes something is wrong. Adamant that NHL goal sizes were different from arena to arena, he asks referee Eddie Powers to measure the net. “Jake the Snake’s” theory was correct as the cage opening was 2” shorter than the regulation 4 feet. Power’s reply post game, “I don’t know from nothing.”

1965: Gump Worsley’s 26th career shutout, and a pair of goals by Jean-Guy Talbot, give the Canadiens a 2-0 win over the Chicago Black Hawks.

1971: Jacques Lemaire scores the 100th goal of his career in a 4-2 win over the St. Louis Blues.

1972: Frank Mahovlich scores his 13th career hat trick and adds an assist, in a losing effort. The Canadiens lost 6-5 to the Minnesota North Stars.

1979: Ken Dryden becomes the second Canadiens goaltender to record 250 wins as the Habs defeat the Boston Bruins 3-1.

2002: Sergei Berezin scores the Canadiens 10,000th goal at home in a 2-1 win over the San Jose Sharks.

Habs Born on This Day: Terry Harper (1940), Brian Engblom (1955), Dave Manson (1967), Patrice Brisebois (1971)

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Today in Habs History: January 26th Edition


Amos Arbour was born on this day in 1895


Deemed as one of Sam Pollock’s best deals as the club’s General Manager, the Montreal Canadiens trade Ralph Backstrom to the Los Angeles Kings for Gord Labossiere and Ray Fortin on this day in 1971.

Neither Fortin nor Labossiere played a single game for Montreal, with the latter traded the same day to the Minnesota North Stars for Rey Comeau.

The key to the deal for Pollock was to ensure Backstrom’s addition would keep the Kings ahead of the California Golden Seals in the NHL basement.

The moved worked.

That June the Canadiens, having obtained the Seals’ first pick in the 1971 NHL Entry Draft a year prior, would select their prize..Guy Lafleur.

Elsewhere on This Day…

1963: Jean Beliveau scores his 300th career NHL goal, but the Canadiens fall short in a 4-2 loss to the New York Rangers.


1974: The Canadiens celebrated “Henri Richard Night,” with a 4-1 win over the Chicago Black Hawks. The Habs captain received numerous gifts and accolades, including a silver-plated tray from his opponents. He thanked the visiting players by assisting on two Montreal goals.

1975: Guy Lafleur records the only 4-goal game of his NHL career, leading the Habs to a 7-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Bob Gainey had four assists.

1994: Patrick Roy records his 25th career shutout in the Canadiens 3-0 win over the Hartford Whalers. Brian Bellows scored twice, giving him 400 career goals.

Habs Born on This Day: Amos Arbour (1895), Vic Lynn (1925), Glen Skov (1931), Louis Leblanc (1991)

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Today in Habs History: January 24th Edition


1928: George Hainsworth records his 21st career shutout, Howie Morenz had a five-point night (2G, 3A) and Arthur Gagne (pictured) scored his first career hat trick (4G, 1 A) in the Canadiens 10-0 win over the Chicago Black Hawks.

1937: Howie Morenz scored the final goal of his career, as the Canadiens defeated the Black Hawks 4-1.

1980: Steve Shutt’s five-point night (4G, 1A) leads the Canadiens past the Hartford Whalers by a 7-2 score. Guy Lafleur had a goal an three assists in the win.

1981: Mario Tremblay scores his first career hat trick in the Habs 6-3 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers.

1984: Guy Lafleur has a four-point night (1G, 3A) as the Canadiens tie the Hartford Whalers 7-7, tying a record for the biggest score in a tie game.

Habs Born on This Day: Cy Wentworth (1905), Guy Charron (1949), Danny Geoffrion (1958), Tom Kostopoulos (1979)

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Today in Habs History: January 23rd Edition



A picture says 1000 words.

On this day in 1956, the Canadiens Jean Beliveau became the first hockey player to grace the cover of Sports Illustrated. You can read all the features on “Le Gros Bill,” and the rest of his teammates in the SI Archives.

Elsewhere on this Day…

1918: The Canadiens lose for the first time in the NHL at the Jubilee Arena. The Habs dropped a 4-3 decision to Ottawa, despite Joe Malone extending his goal-scoring streak to 10 games.

1954: Bernie Geoffrion’s scores his third career hat trick and Elmer Lach had a five-point night (1G, 4A) in the Canadiens 5-1 win over the Chicago Black Hawks.

1975: Guy Lafleur and Peter Mahovlich each score three points (1G, 2A) and Ken Dryden records his 16th career shutout in Montreal’s 7-0 win over the Minnesota North Stars. The win extended the Canadiens unbeaten streak to 7-0-5.

Habs Born on This Day: Mario Roberge (1964), Francois Groleau (1973), Frederic St-Denis (1986)

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Today in Habs History: January 22nd Edition



(photo: Montreal Gazette: Jan 27,1966)

If you were at the Montreal Forum on this day in 1966, you likely didn't notice anything different about the visiting team’s sweaters. They sure looked and played like Roger Crozier, Gordie Howe and the rest of the Detroit Red Wings, but something was a little different on this night.

Prior to their Saturday night game against the Canadiens, it was discovered that 45 of the Red Wings sweaters, both red and white, were stolen from the Detroit dressing room at the Montreal Forum. The theives made off with them following an old-timers game the night before. According to Red Wings publicity director Ron Cantera, the sweaters were valued at $20 a piece.

Detroit GM Sid Abel felt that maybe the Canadiens players or staff were playing a prank. “If it’s a joke, we’re not laughing,” he said.

Turns out it was a prank played by University of Montreal university students, who were on a obscure scavenger hunt that timed in with the upcoming winter carnival. The students’ take included the sweaters, kidnapped go-go dancers (photo), a small bear from the Lafontaine Park Zoo, a painting of the Queen from the Queen Elizabeth Hotel, paintings from the Forum, motor vehicles and other items.

The students displayed their wares on the flank of Mount Royal. One student appeared on the first page of the Montreal Gazette, a couple days later, wearing Howe’s sweater. Reportedly the mischievous lot also had the bear wear the famous Number 9, before returning it to the zoo.

The students then swarmed the Forum ice, following the Canadiens – Chicago Blackhawks game the following Wednesday, all wearing the stolen Red Wings sweaters. Thirty-three students were rounded up off the ice and charged with theft.

A day after they appeared in court, the Canadiens and Red Wings announced they would not press charges as the sweaters and paintings were returned safely. Montreal police did continue the investigation into the other student shenanigans.

The concern for the Red Wings though was the fact that they had no sweaters to wear that Saturday night, and may have been forced to forfeit.

Fortunately for “Mr. Hockey” and the boys, the the theft was discovered overnight and Detroit’s farm team, the Hamilton Red Wings of the Ontario Hockey Association, wore identical garments. The junior Wings were able to hastily fly in theirs to loan in time for the puck drop at the Forum.

The Canadiens would rather the students had taken the Red Wings skates and sticks, as the visiting club out played them all night and capitalized on Montreal miscues. Paul Henderson scored what would be his 8th game-winning goal of the season, as he stepped out of the penalty box and intercepted a Henri Richard pass. The Wings forward, who as we all know had a knack for crucial goals, broke in alone and beat goaltender Gump Worsley.

Howe added a power play goal and another errant Montreal pass led to the Red Wings third goal. Crozier stopped 31 Canadiens shots for his 7th shutout.


Elsewhere on this day:

1931; George Hainsworth records his 56th career shutout in a 3-0 Habs win over the Ottawa Senators.

1950: Dick Irvin becomes the first coach to win 500 NHL games and the Canadiens defeat the Boston Bruins 4-3.

1958: Jacques Plante’s 33rd career shutout leads the Canadiens to a 2-0 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs.

2013: Alex Galchenyuk scores his first career goal as the Canadiens defeat the Florida Panthers 4-1. Brendan Gallagher assisted on the goal for his first career point,

Born on this Day: Bill Durnan (1916), Elmer Lach (1918), J.C. Tremblay (1939), Serge Savard (1946)

Monday, 21 January 2013

Today in Habs History: January 21st Edition


1887: Georges Vezina was born in Chicoutimi, QC. The first NHL goaltender to record a shutout, the first to record a point, 175 career wins, all with the Canadiens, and two Stanley Cups in 16 seasons. His 328 consecutive games played, which ended due to tuberculosis that would take his life, was a record that stood for over 30 years. The Vezina Trophy was named in his honour and he was among the inaugural inductees into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

1945: Maurice Richard scores his 7th career hat trick in Montreal’s 6-3 win over the Detroit Red Wings.

1950: Bill Durnan becomes the first Canadiens goaltender to record 200 wins, in a 3-1 win over the Boston Bruins. He was the 8th NHL netminder to reach the milestone.

1951: Bert Olmstead’s two goals leads the Canadiens to a 3-2 victory over the Chicago Black Hawks.

1953: Gerry McNeil records his 7th shutout on the season in a 1-0 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs.

1973: Peter Mahovlich scores his 100th career NHL goal in the Habs 3-2 win over the Atlanta Flames.

2002: Yanic Perreault scores his 4th career hat trick in the Canadiens 7-5 loss to the Florida Panthers. Jose Theodore recorded and assist, becoming the first Habs goalie to record an assist in consecutive games.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Today in Habs History: January 20th Edition



When you think of a Montreal Canadiens wearing the number 19 sweater and delivering punishing checks, the name Larry Robinson immediately comes to mind. But over a decade prior to the Hall of Fame defenceman taking the ice for Les Glorieux,  Lou Fontinato wore it briefly for two seasons in Montreal with a similar physical reputation.

Fontinato was born on this day in 1932, and was one of the most feared rear-guards of his time.

A visit by opposing forwards, who failed to keep their heads up in the defensive zone, was often met with a thunderous hit. His first four NHL seasons were with the New York Rangers, where he backed up any challenges to his checks, and protected the smaller players, with his fists.

He was given the nickname “Leapin’ Louie” for one of two reasons, he left his feet on some of his hits or he was seen jumping up and down in protest to a penalty.

One of his famous battles came in 1959 in a bout with Gordie Howe. Frustrated with Howe roughing up Eddie Shack through the game, Fontinato jumped “Mr. Hockey”  and got in a few shots from behind. Howe responded and managed a couple haymakers that wound up breaking his opponent’s nose. Rangers goalie Gump Worsley claims his teammate stepped on a stick and lost his footing, allowing Howe to land his punches. There’s been much debate on the melee, and who really won, depending on where or in which city newspaper you read the story.

The rugged defender led the league in penalty minutes twice with New York and was the first NHL player to crack the 200 penalty minute barrier, with 202 in his first full season (1955-56). Fontinato never had a season under 100 penalty minutes afterwards.

Fontinato was traded to the Habs following the 1960-61 season, in the deal that saw Doug Harvey go to the Blueshirts. His reputation followed him to Montreal, where he led the NHL in penalty minutes with 167 for the 1961-62 season.

He had another 141 minutes in the sin bin as the 1962-63 season was winding down. But his season, and career would come to a halt on March 9, 1963.  Fontinato was in a race for the puck with the Rangers’ Vic Hadfield as it headed into the corner, behind the Canadiens net. In his attempt to beat his opponent to the puck, and block him out in the process, Fontinato tucked down and missed as his Hadfield skipped around him. The Canadiens defender crashed head first into the boards. You can see the incident in the video clip below, as the silenced Forum crowd looked in shock.

Fontianto suffered a broken vertebrae and damage to the backbone at the base of the neck that left him paralyzed for a month. It would be another three months until he could get full feeling in his arms. Unable to play at the physical level that he once did, Lou Fontinato was forced to retire.

A feature on Fontinato that originally appeared in a Rangers game program during the 1958-59 season.


Also on this day…

1955: Maurice Richard scores his 23rd career hat trick and adds an assist in the Canadiens’ 6-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Born on this day: Chuck Lefley (1950)

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Today in Habs History: January 19th Edition



Today’s edition comes in a timely manner, as the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs prepare to drop to puck and start the delayed season. It also incorporates why I started this web site, to have a place for fans to share their favourite Canadiens moments.

On this day in 1972, as they will tonight, the Habs and Leafs were again carrying on their long storied rivalry. The game had no significant milestones, but it stood out in the mind of my friend Dennis Kane, when I asked him what his favourite Canadiens goal was.

Kane grew up north of Toronto in the small community of Orillia, Ontario. He often shares his hockey memories and pages from his scrapbook, that he assembled growing up in the town pinched between Lakes Couchiching and Simcoe, on his blog. If you haven’t visited it before, I strongly suggest you make it a habit.

In January of 1972, he found himself living in Toronto. At the time he was unemployed and renting a small upstairs room of a house on Broadview Avenue, with just his clothes and a small radio as his only possessions.

On the evening of January 19, he sat alone near the top of the stairs that led to his room. In the living room below, the tenants and their family took in the Canadiens hosting the Leafs on their TV. Kane could hear the family in conversation below as the game progressed. For a small town boy alone in the big city, it had to be something he dearly missed.

After a while, someone from the living room noticed Kane sitting atop the stairs, and invited him down to watch. “Maybe they heard me cough or something,” Kane said. “I was hoping they would invite me to watch. Seeing the game in a family setting was a wonderful setting.”

The game itself had been a goaltending dual between the Leafs Bernie Parent and the Canadiens’ Ken Dryden.

Both goaltenders were destined to join the Hockey Hall of Fame. Parent was in his second season with Toronto, having been traded from the Philadelphia Flyers. He shared his time between the pipes in with the legendary Jacques Plante, who became a great friend and mentor to the young goalie.

Dryden was coming off an outstanding Stanley Cup playoff performance the season prior and was well on his way to a Calder Trophy. The Canadiens goalie had missed the last dozen games with a back injury before that evening’s game. “It was like starting over again,” Dryden said on the layoff. Montreal had gone 5-7 during Dryden’s absence over that span.

The game remained scoreless and seemed to be headed to a 0-0 deadlock, with Dryden making 32 saves to Parent’s 26. With eight seconds left in the game, an icing call against Toronto would prove to be the game breaker.

Unable to make a line change, Leafs coach John McLennan was forced to sit his top faceoff centers Dave Keon and Norm Ullman on his bench and let Jim Harrison take the draw. Canadiens coach Scotty Bowman had the luxury of sending out captain Henri Richard, still one of the league’s best faceoff men, to line up to the right of Parent. “I wanted Henri out there, because he shoots right, “Bowman said after the game, “and he was to get the puck back to Frank Mahovlich in the slot.” The Canadiens coach also replaced Richard’s usual winger Claude Lariose with center Peter Mahovlich to give added size in front of the Leafs crease.

It didn’t go as planned for Bowman, but the end result would be the same. The younger Harrison surprised Richard, winning the draw, and forcing the puck into the corner. In the process the Leafs center’s stick struck Richard in the forehead. “The Pocket Rocket”, never to give up on the puck, still managed to wrestle past Harrison, retrieve the puck and dished it into the slot. The puck bounced off the skate of Leafs defenceman Brad Selwood. “It’s between my legs, and I’m trying to find it, when Pete Mahovlich finds it and pushes me out of the way,” Selwood said “He shoots it and it goes off my skate and into the net. God, what a disappointment.”

“I thought there was no way to beat Parent,”coach Bowman said. “He was as sharp as he’ll ever be.”

“That’s the kind of game you need,” Richard said. “It could be the thing that brings the whole team together, particularly on the road.” It couldn’t have been farther from the truth as with that win, Montreal went 21-5-9 to close out the regular season. There fortune would carry the Canadiens to repeat as Cup champions. They would fall to the New York Rangers in a six-game first round series.

For Kane though, some forty years after that Wednesday night game, the long missed feeling of family made that night just as important as any Game Seven. “The family was pissed, but I jumped for glory,” he said. “I’ll never forget that evening. Thank-you family on Broadview, and thank-you Pete.”

Also on this day…

1929: George Hainsworth picks up his 10th shutout of the season, and 37th of his career, in a 0-0 tie with the New York Rangers. Johnny Roach picked up the whitewash in the Rangers end.

1952: Dick Irvin becomes the first NHL coach to reach 1000 games, but his Canadiens came out on the losing end of a 4-2 decision to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

1957: Jacques Plante earns his 24th career shutout and Maurice Richard had a three point night (2 goals) in the Canadiens 5-0 win over the Rangers.

1958: Bernie Geoffrion’s two goals make him the 6th player in club history to score 200 goals. “Boom Boom” added two assists in Montreal’s 6-2 win over the Boston Bruins.

Friday, 18 January 2013

Today in Habs History: January 18th Edition


On this day in 1967, the 20th NHL All-Star Game is held in mid-season for the first time on a regular basis. It was the first time an event like this occurred mid-season in the NHL since the Ace Bailey Benefit Game in 1934.

The defending Stanley Cup Champion Canadiens defeated the All-Stars 3-0. John Ferguson scored two goals for the Habs while Charlie Hodge and Gary Bauman shared the shutout. Henri Richard was named the game’s MVP, with the game-winning goal and an assist.

Also on this day..

1950: Bill Durnan records his 7th shutout of the year in the Canadiens 1-0 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. It was the 33rd shutout of his career.

1958: The Canadiens fall to the Boston Bruins 3-0. More importantly, Willie O’Ree breaks the color barrier, becoming the first black player to play an NHL game.

1978: The Canadiens tie an NHL record with their 8th straight road win. Guy Lafleur and Jacques Lemaire each had four points in the 7-4 win over the Cleveland Barons.

1986: Doug Soetaert records his 3rd shutout of the season, as the Canadiens defeated the New York Islanders 3-0. It would be Soetart’s last NHL whitewash.

1997: Representing the Canadiens at the All-Star Game, Mark Recchi scores a hat trick in the Eastern Conference’s 11-7 win over the Western Conference.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Today in Habs History: January 10th Edition


1920: Newsy Lalonde scores a club record six goals in the Habs 14-7 win over the Toronto St. Pats. The 21 goals was an NHL record for combined goals by two teams in a game. The Edmonton Oilers and Chicago Blackhawks tied the record in a 12-9 Oilers win on December 12, 1985.

1928: George Hainsworth earns his 20th career shutout in the Canadiens 3-0 win over the Ottawa Senators.

1943: Toe Blake’s four points (1G, 3A), leads Montreal to a 7-4 win over the New York Rangers.

1951: Maurice Richard’s 16th career hat trick gives him 324 career goals, jumping ahead of Howie Morenz for #2 on the all-time NHL list. Rookie golatender Gerry McNeil got his 6th career shutout in the 3-0 win over the Rangers.

1959: Jacques Plante recorded his second straight shutout, and 42nd of his career in the Canadiens 1-0 win over Chicago.

1973: Henri Richard breaks a 49-game goal-less drought with two goals and two assists, leading the Canadiens to a 6-0 win over the Minnesota North Stars. Ken Dryden recorded his 13th career shutout.

1996: The Canadiens become the first team to play 5000 regular season games in the NHL, in a 2-2 tie with the Vancouver Canucks.

2001: Scotty Bowman is awarded the Lester Patrick Award for outstanding service to hockey in the United States.

2002: Jose Theodore recorded his 11th career shutout in a 4-0 win over the New York Islanders.

2004: Sheldon Souray sets a Canadiens record for points by a defensemen in one game. Souray scored a goal and added five assists in the Habs 8-0 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Happy Birthday to the Big M: Frank Mahovlich turns 75 today!

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Today in Habs History: January 9th Edition


It didn’t have the dramatic story line of a player, tired from moving all day coming back to set an NHL scoring benchmark. Nonetheless, it was on this day 1954 that the Canadiens Bert Olmstead scored four goals and added four assists to tie Maurice Richard’s then NHL record and current Canadiens record for points in a single game.

Ken Mosdell recorded a hat trick and Jean Beliveau, in his first full season, added two goals and three assists as the Habs dismantled Chicago 8-1. The Rocket aslos contributed to the scoring with four assists.

It was also the last time both Olmstead and Mosdell would record three or more goals in a game in their careers.

Of note that during this game, NHL president Clarence Campbell was in attendance. Fans booed the man that the Rocket had referred to as a “dictator,” and told Campbell to “go home,” when they weren’t cheering for the Canadiens. Keep in mind this was over a full year before the infamous “Richard Riot.”

Elsewhere on this day..

1958: Bernie Geoffrion records his 6th career hat trick and adds two assists in an 11-2 win over Chicago. Bert Olmstead added a goal and four assists.

1969: Captain Jean Beliveau’s four-point night (1G, 3A) leads the Canadiens to an 8-4 victory over the Oakland Seals.

1971: Rogie Vachon records his 12th career shutout in a 1-0 Canadiens win over the Los Angeles Kings.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Today in Habs History: January 8th Edition

It was on this day in 1971 that the Big Bird officially landed in the NHL. Future Hall of Fame defenseman Larry Robinson made his regular season debut on this day in 1973.
The Canadiens faced the visiting Minnesota North Stars and drew a 3-3 tie. The rookie defenseman was kept off the score sheet in his first game

Robinson was drafted by the Habs in 1971 in the second round and had seen some pre-season NHL action in the fall of 1971 and 1972. Lacking some self confidence that he would ever play in the NHL, and considered a diamond in the rough, he honed his pro skills with the Nova Scotia Voyageurs for two seasons.
Francis Bouchard, a fellow habs history buff, was able to find a pic of Big Bird, wearing the number 21 during a 1971 pre-season gam eagainst the Boston Bruins. The picture is from Stan Fischler’s book, “The Conquering Canadiens.”
Robinson21 (2)

In his autobiography, “Robinson: For the Defense,” the transition fro the AHL to the NHL reads, “A boy named Robinson went to the 1971 training camp of the Canadiens. A year later when they called my name, a man answered.”

He was disappointed to get sent back to Nova Scotia in the fall of 1972, but with a strong crop of defenders in Montreal, he would at least get ice time and further seasoning in the minors
Robinson’s patience would pay off that January. The defense corps was starting to pile up with injuries. Pierre Bouchard and Jacques Laperriere were both out of action and Serge Savard and Guy Lapointe were missing a game here and there due to “routine” injuries.

With goaltender Ken Dryden also hurting, the Canadiens didn’t want to take any chances and wanted the extra defenseman. The 6’4”, 200+ lb Robinson was called up, and given a pep talk from Voyageurs coach Al MacNeil, “Make your size work for you. Go up there and play tough, hit everything that moves.”

When Robinson got there, he never went back. He would spend time watching games from the press box, and saw little ice time to start out. After a couple of weeks, Canadiens coach Scotty Bowman called the rookie rearguard to his office. Bowman told Robinson to call for his family. He was staying put in Montreal. “Don’t worry about your ice time,” Bowman said. “Work hard in practice and you’ll get your time in. Count on it.”
Robinson would play 36 games (2G, 4A) to close out the season and earned the first of six Stanley Cups with the Canadiens that spring. Robinson noted scoring an overtime goal in the playoffs against the Philadelphia Flyers as a highlight in his career.

He never missed the playoffs after that, playing for 20 consecutive years in the playoffs, an NHL record.

He would certainly get the ice time Bowman promised, becoming one of the most feared defensemen in the league. Along Savard and Lapointe, the trio would become one of the most dominant defensive corps in NHL history, commonly known as the Big Three.
Robinson would pick up two Norris Trophies in his career (1977, 1980) as well as a Conn Smythe Trophy in 1978.
He would would enter the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1995.

A great write up on Big Bird at Greatest Hockey Legends.

Other notes on this day…

1959: Jacques Plante records his 41st career shotout in a 3-0 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs.

1961: Jean Beliveau records his 300th assist in a losing effort, as the Canadiens lose 4-2 to the New York Rangers.

1986: Larry Robinson sets up three Canadiens goals in a 5-3 win over the Boston Bruins.

1998: Brian Savage has a six-point night (4G, 2 A) to lead the Habs past the New York Islanders 8-2. Savage was the first Canadiens player, since Joe Malone in 1917, to score six points in a road game.

Monday, 7 January 2013

Today in Habs History: January 7th Edition


1928: Howie Morenz records his third career hat trick, which included his 100th career NHL goal, in the Canadiens 9-1 win over Toronto. The Canadiens became the first NHL club to keep their opponents to two goals-or-less for 20 straight games.

1933: George Hainsworth records his 70th career shutout in 1-0 win over the Ottawa Senators.

1954: Maurice Richard scores his 21st career hat trick as the Habs defeat the Toronto Maple Leafs 7-3.

1961: The Canadiens earn their 500th win during Frank Selke’s tenure as General Manager with a 6-3 win over the New York Rangers. Selke became the fourth NHL GM to reach 500 wins.

1969: Tough guy John Ferguson’s four-point night (1G, 3A) leads the Habs to a 6-3 victory over the Minnesota North Stars.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Today in Habs History: January 6th Edition


Well, we can start off by saying that there at least will be a 2012-13 NHL season as the league and NHLPA came to a tentative agreement this morning.

A Happy 82nd Birthday to one of the Canadiens all-time greats. Dickie Moore was voted to the Canadiens 75th Anniversary Dream Team as the left winger.

Moore won six Stanley Cups with Montreal and led the NHL in scoring, setting a then league record with 96 points in the 1958-59 season.

1963: Canadiens goaltender Jacques Plante records his 300th career NHL win in a 6-0 shutout win over the New York Rangers. Plante remains the only Habs netminder win 300 regular season victories.

1971: J.C. Tremblay scored a goal and added three assists in the Canadiens 7-3 win over the Vancouver Canucks.

1979: January 6th apparently not a good day for the Canucks to play in Montreal as Ken Dryden records his 45th career shutout in 2-0 win over Vancouver. Guy Lafleur scored both Habs goals.

1986: Rookie Kjell Dhalin records his first career hat trick in the Canadiens 9-2 win over St. Louis. Dhalin  set e team rookie record for goals that season (32) and tied Mats Naslund’s rookie point record (71). He finished second in Calder voting to Gary Suter.

This date was a great one for Habs captains for future captains…

1983: Rookie Guy Carbonneau scores his first career hat trick in 11-3 romping of the Los Angeles Kings.

1996: Pierre Turgeon records his 12th career hat trick, and his 300th goal in a losing effort. The Sabres defeated the Canadiens 7-6 riding on Jason Dawe’s first career hatty.

1997: Vincent Damphousse earns his ninth career hat trick, including his 300th career NHL goal,  in 5-4 win over the Hartford Whalers.

Friday, 4 January 2013

Skinner Poulin: The Habs First Overtime Hero


There have been many memorable overtime goals in the history of the Montreal Canadiens. While many names an moments have graced team’s 103 year history, the name George “Skinner” Poulin is not as commonly mentioned among those memorable goals that feature names such as Lach, Richard or Lafleur.

A native of Smith Falls, Ontario, Poulin was recruited by the newly formed Montreal Canadiens of the NHA. He had been a prominent player in the professional leagues in Manitoba, and had moved to play for Galt in the Ontario Professional Hockey League (OPHL) to start the 1909-10 season. he had a couple games under his belt, when Canadiens player-coach and general manager Jack Laviolette drew him to Montreal.

On January 5, 1910 the Canadiens took to the ice for the first time. Far from the rosters in today’s NHL, the “Flying Frenchmen,” were a seven-man squad with Poulin, Laviolette, Newsy Lalonde, Didier Pitre, Ed Decarie, Art Bernier  and goaltender Joe Cattarinich.

A capacity crowd of 3200 spectators took in the game at the Jubilee Rink, with several people turned away at the gates, hoping to get a glimpse of this new, francophone hockey club in Montreal. Their opponents on the night were the Colbat Silver Kings. At one time the Kings boasted a roster that featured new Canadiens, and future Hockey Hall of Fame members, Lalonde and Pitre. But the visiting squad on this night was a hastily formed one, that hadn’t even had a chance to practice together.

The fans settled in and the game was underway, with the puck dropping at 8:40 pm. There wouldn’t be a goal until 17 minutes into the first 30-minute half, when Lalonde, falling and sliding on his back, put the puck behind Kings goalie Joseph “Chief” Jones.

Lalonde assisted on the Canadiens’ second goal by Poulin and put them ahead 3-0 with his second goal on the night. Cobalt replied with a goal late in the first half.

With Lalonde forced to retire for the night with an ankle injury, the Kings battled back with three unanswered goals in the second half. Art Bernier stopped the bleeding briefly for Montreal, but the visitors tallied two more goals to take a 6-4 lead.

The Canadiens took advantage of some ill-timed Colbalt penalties late in the game to tie things at six goals apiece. The clock ran down, and there seemed to be no format, during the league formation, on what to do in the event of a tie. The officials sent the teams to their respective dressing rooms, but after cries of “Fake!, Fake!, Fake!,” from the crowd they recalled them back to the ice.

The game was restarted and Poulin closed out what was later described in the Montreal Gazette as, “a wild hurrah from start to finish,”  with the game-winner 5:35 into the overtime period.

Montreal had won it’s first game, but it wouldn’t hold up in the official record for long. When the NHA’s rival, the Canadian Hockey League (CHA), folded after just a few weeks, the NHA absorbed the surviving teams and the league was restarted on January 19.

Poulin finished his first season in Montreal with eight goals in a dozen games. He returned the next year, before playing in the Pacific West Coast League for four seasons. When the 1915-16 NHA season started up, Poulin was back with the Canadiens and took part in the team’s first Stanley Cup championship. He retired  in 1921, after playing two seasons in Saskatoon

So Who Is This Guy?

Just for a little fun.

See if you can name former Habs player, from this 1975 Montreal Gazette photo, as the Habs played the Washington Capitals.