Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Today in Habs History: June 4th Edition



1963: Frank Selke makes a blockbuster deal moving Jacques Plante, Don Marshall and Phil Goyette to the New York Rangers for Lorne "Gump" Worsley, Dave Balon, Leon Rochefort and Len Ronson. The trade was ranked No. by the Hockey News in 2012, in their Top 10 Off-Season deals of all time.


It was felt that Plante’s time had come in Montreal, though his professional career would carry into the early seventies, and his coach and teammates had become frustrated with him. “It might have been a surprise when he was traded,” said Habs center Henri Richard, “but nobody complained”.


Plante didn’t even know of the deal, until he heard the news driving in his car. The Hall of Fame goaltender was quick to share his thoughts on the deal, and his former team. “The Rangers are on their way up and the Canadiens are on their way down”, Plante said at his first press conference. “Geoffrion doesn’t have as hard a shot as he used to. Beliveau has been sick, Henri Richard loses too many scoring chances trying to pull the goalie out of position and Tremblay shoots off the wrong foot.” Geoffrion and the Canadiens defeated Plante and the Rangers 6-2 in their first meeting the next season.


Fans in Montreal were in disbelief. They were even more so frustrated when Worsley was injured early in the season and demoted to the Quebec Aces for the remainder and also spent part of the 1964-65 season in the minors.


Long-term the trade favoured Montreal, who would win four more Cups with “Gump’s” assistance and Plante never found the lights on Broadway, eventually demoted himself then retiring for three seasons.


Selke also deals Brian Smith, Wayne Boddy, Fred Hilts, Lorne O'Donnell and John Rodger traded to the Springfield Indians (AHL) for Terry Gray, Bruce Cline, Wayne Larkin, John Chasczewski, Ted Harris and the loan of Gary Bergman. Harris would play with the Canadiens for seven seasons, winning four Stanley Cups.


On the same day, the Hockey Hall of Fame announces it’s newest members. Former Canadiens owner Leo Dandurand and  GM Tommy Gorman are among the inductees in the Builders category.


Habs Born on this Day: Don Smith (1887), Jean-Claude Campeau (1923), Michel Laraocque (1952), Francois Beauchemin (1980)





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