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10 seconds in the NHL
 
MONTREAL | February 24th, 2014
10 seconds in the NHL
While Garry Monahan may have played 748 games in the NHL, his first game among the professional ranks is one he’ll never forget.

After spending the better part of the 1967-68 season in the CPHL as a member of the Houston Apollos, Monahan finally made the trip to Montreal to hit the ice for the first time in a Habs jersey. Finding himself in a locker room packed with legends like Béliveau, Cournoyer and Henri Richard, it didn’t take long for the 20-year-old’s nerves to get the better of him.

On Jan. 13, 1968, the Bruins were paying a visit to the Forum to face off against the Habs. With the Montreal squad up by a score of 4-1 in the middle of the third period, Toe Blake called on Monahan to get into the play. For the young center, the chance to prove what he could do had finally arrived.

“I jumped out on the ice and headed towards Jean Béliveau to take his place by the faceoff circle. My legs were actually shaking. To this day, I’m still not sure if that was because of the stress or because of the 40 minutes I had just spent sitting, doing nothing on the bench.”

Monahan can remember every last detail from the events that transpired over the following 10 seconds.

“After the faceoff, I ended up behind our net. When I saw Eddie Shack from the Bruins barrelling at me with a full head of steam, I decided I’d get rid of the puck and shoot it around the boards, like a defenseman’s supposed to do.”

Monahan then squared himself up to receive the check, never realizing what was about to happen.

“The moment we collided, we both ended up falling to our knees. I’m not exactly sure what happened next, but when I got up, someone shot the puck up around the glass and it bounced off and hit me directly in the eye.”

The result was an unconscious Garry Monahan lying on the ice, knocked out cold after only 10 seconds in the NHL. “And that was my start in the National Hockey League,” laughed Monahan, who would go on to bounce back nicely from his rocky start.

“The worst thing about the whole story was that when I woke up the next morning with a huge, ugly black eye, it also happened to be the same day we were scheduled to do a photo shoot for our hockey card pictures.”

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