Canadiens Historical Websitehttp://www.canadiens.comRSS Feed from the Canadien's centinnial websiteen-caMon, 20 Oct 2014 00:23:14 -0400Mon, 20 Oct 2014 00:23:14 -040030Copyright/rss/Canadiens Historical Website <![CDATA[Richard’s Rockin’ new year]]> Tue, 14 Oct 2014 00:00:00 -0400
Younger brother to a legend, “The Pocket Rocket” had by that time begun to establish a legacy of his own, but in his third season there were still some who questioned his toughness. By the time that evening’s game had ended, the critics had been silenced.

“It’s one of those things that gets embellished every time it gets retold,” Richard recalled modestly. “The stories are a lot bigger than the event itself was at the time.”

At the midpoint of the second period, with the Canadiens and Bruins deadlocked at 2-2, the benches cleared, gloves dropped and players paired off. It took

14 minutes and the efforts of Boston’s finest before order was restored.

The 5-foot-7, 160-pound Richard had at least three different dance partners during the battle royal. Despite giving away between three to five inches and up to 30 pounds to his trio of Bruins adversaries, he came out of the melee with a winning record.           magazine’s January 13, 1958, issue notes that a half-dozen stitches were needed to close a gash on Richard’s forehead, but also makes mention of similar repairs made to Boston’s Leo Labine. It refers to Jack Bionda’s “mashed hand”, while another account claims Bionda suffered a broken nose. Only Fern Flaman, who fought Richard to a draw, seems to have emerged unscathed from his respective scrap with “The Pocket Rocket”.

“In those days you had to make your own place in the league,” Richard explained. “I was small, but I wasn’t afraid. A lot of good players couldn’t stick in the NHL because they let themselves be intimidated.”

After his tussles, Richard showed what he could do with his gloves on, notching the go-ahead goal on the way to a 4-3 Canadiens victory.

Richard led the NHL with 52 assists and recorded a career-high 80 points in 1957-58, emerging fully from his famous sibling’s shadow on the ice. Outside the arena, however, the Hall-of-Famer has always been known primarily for his relation to “The Rocket”.

“To many people, I’m still Maurice’s brother,” Richard chuckled. “Even today, people introduce me as his such. After 60 years you get used to it. I don’t think it’ll change now.”

For that one night in Boston, though, the odds were good Henri left the Garden as “Mr. Richard” in the minds of everyone who saw him perform with his gloves on, or off.

See also
Montreal's Merry Prankster
A Sticky Situation
The old switcheroo
Mikey Scissohands
The Bear Essentials
One of a kind
Joy and pain
Stuck on you]]>
<![CDATA[A White Welcome]]> Tue, 07 Oct 2014 00:00:00 -0400
Renowned as much for his ability to execute the perfect prank as he was for his talent as part of Montreal’s “Big Three” on the blue line, Guy Lapointe struck early and often with any target he could find.  Word has it, when general manager Irvin Grundman or team president Ronald Corey did make a rare trip down to the Habs’ dressing room, “Pointu” never missed his chance to make sure he left a lasting impression.

“Back then, all of our executives used to wear these dark blue Canadiens blazers everywhere they went,” recounted former Habs defenseman Gaston Gingras, who was Lapointe’s teammate for three seasons.  
Strolling into the room in their perfectly-pressed sport coats, any special guest in the team locker room had no choice but to eventually stride past one stall in particular. 

“Someone important like Mr. Grundman would come down to the room and Pointu would get to work,” recalled Gingras. “He would squeeze some baby powder into his hand, give him a big pat on the back and say something like ‘Nice to see you again!’”

While his teammates struggled to stifle their laughs, Lapointe remained stonefaced as he watched dust from the powder form a little cloud over his victim. In some cases, it would be hours before his unsuspecting mark noticed the souvenir he had received from Lapointe. 

“Poor Mr. Corey - Pointu got him a few times like that," Gingras reminisced with a laugh. "He would be walking around for the rest of the day, going into meetings or whatever, with no idea that he had a big baby powder handprint right on his dark blue jacket. Guy would do it to Mr. Molson, Mr. Grundman, anyone - with Lapointe, no one was off-limits.”

See also
Boss' Orders
Birds of a Feather
Howe could you?
Three players, one name
A history of numbers and pride]]>
<![CDATA[Where are they now? Eric Desjardins]]> Tue, 30 Sep 2014 00:00:00 -0400
Where do you live now?
I’m actually living in Blainville now.

What are you up to these days?
I don’t have what you would consider a fill time job, but I’m pretty busy. I keep up with what’s happening in real estate and the restaurant industries. I’m also a shareholder of Scandinave Spa which is doing really well. I’m very involved in minor hockey in Blainville, too, organizing clinics and training camps for the players here.

How often do you lace up the skates per year?
In addition to being on the ice with minor hockey players, I play two or three times a week in a garage league. Our games are in the morning so it lets me do my thing during the day and then spend time with my family at night.

Are you still in touch with your former teammates?
Not really, no. I’ve been able to see Patrice Brisebois and Vincent Damphousse a few times recently. I played in a couple of alumni games last year and I got to see a lot of familiar faces during the team’s Centennial celebrations.

How many Canadiens games do you watch each season?
I probably watch about 40 games a year. Last year, I had a half-season pass so I went to 10 games at the Bell Centre, too.

What was the last game you watched at the Bell Centre?
I remember the last game I saw really well. It was during the playoffs, Game 6 against the Washington Capitals. Jaroslav Halak was spectacular and I was sitting right behind the Habs’ net for two periods.

Who is your favorite player on the current roster?
It’s tough to pick just one. I like Brian Gionta, Michael Cammalleri, Josh Gorges and Andrei Markov. They are amazing players who play with intensity and determination game in and game out. They play hockey the way it’s supposed to be played.

What’s your most valued souvenir or piece of memorabilia that you’ve held on to since your playing days?
The mini Stanley Cup replica we got for the 1993 win. It’s in my office at home and every time I look at it, those great memories come flooding back.

Where do you keep your Stanley Cup ring?
I can’t tell you that – it might get stolen! (laughs)  

Read also
Where are they now? P. Goyette
Where are they now? A. Racicot
Where are they now? G. Lapointe
Where are they now? M. Bonin
Where are they now? M. McPhee
Where are they now? P. Mahovlich]]>
<![CDATA[Dude, where’s my car?]]> Tue, 23 Sep 2014 00:00:00 -0400
That’s a lesson Habs rookie Mario Tremblay had to learn the hard way in 1974-75 when he started showing up to practice in his shiny set of wheels. The 18-year-old forward loved nothing more than speeding up to the Montreal Forum and parking his brand-new toy in the exact same spot every morning. That was his first mistake.

Looking to prove to head coach Scotty Bowman that he deserved a spot in a lineup that included the likes of Guy Lafleur, Jacques Lemaire and Yvan Cournoyer, the eager young winger was always willing to put in a little overtime on the ice when practice was over. 

“The other guys would get off earlier but all of the rookies used to stay out longer to get more ice time,” explained Tremblay, who was totally oblivious to what the wily veterans were cooking up in the dressing room without him. “A week after I bought my brand-new car, they found the keys in my pocket and took them while I was still on the ice.”

When he strolled over to his usual spot to find his car – and the registration documents that were inside – missing, Tremblay sprung into action to declare the car stolen. He wasted no time calling the dealership in Lac-Saint-Jean to get copies of the serial number and license plate before pouring himself over a mountain of paperwork for the next two days to try to get his car back.

“The guys started to see how crazy I was getting about losing my car. At first, they thought the whole thing was hilarious,” recalled Tremblay with a smile. “But with all the annoying stuff I had to go through to process the police report and everything, they decided to throw me a bone and send me an anonymous message.”  

The little birdie informed Tremblay that his ride hadn’t been stolen afterall – just temporarily “misplaced”. Eventually, the stressed out rookie found the car parked safely in the Alexis Nihon plaza lot just down the street. Though he’ll never know for sure, Tremblay has an idea of which of his teammates was the mastermind behind the caper.

“For sure it was Guy Lapointe,” chuckled Tremblay of the notorious prankster. “Who else could it have been?”

See also
Flower Power
Tom and Dickie
The Welcome Wagon
A Sticky Situation
The old switcheroo
Mikey Scissohands
The Bear Essentials]]>
<![CDATA[Luck of the draw]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 00:00:00 -0400
No time of year is more intense for a hockey player than the NHL playoffs. Simply making it to the postseason itself is hardly a guarantee.

In just his second year in the league, Dionne learned quickly that when it comes to hockey’s second season, every detail matters.

“My stall at the Forum was right between Patrick Roy and Guy Carbonneau back then. The dressing room was pretty small, so you didn’t really have a ton of space to get ready,” described Dionne of the close quarters he shared with his All-Star teammates.

“I was still on the ice for the warmup before one of our games in the conference finals against the Islanders,” he recalled. “Patrick had already gone to the dressing room and carefully placed his mask, blocker and trapper on the floor in front of him.”

Having spent his share of time next to Roy in the room, the 22-year-old winger was well aware of the future Hall-of-Famer’s keen attention to detail. And with a five-game overtime winning streak to maintain, Dionne had no intention of messing with the star netminder’s preparation.

“When I came into the room, I lightly and accidentally grazed his glove as I was walking to my stall,” shared Dionne with a chuckle.

A stickler for routine, noticing his equipment wasn’t exactly as he had left it, Roy did what any rational NHL netminder would do: he made his teammates go back on the ice so he could re-start his ritual from the beginning.

“Patrick just looked at me and said ‘Get back out there’. So that’s exactly what I did,” he laughed.

Never one to question an order from his elders, the Drummondville native snapped to action, replacing Roy’s trapper to its original position before making his way out of the room as instructed.

“Even though I was the one who was at fault, all the other guys who were on their way to the dressing room had to turn around, too,” cracked Dionne, who helped lead the Habs to a league-record 10 straight overtime wins that spring. “A few minutes later, Patrick came to see me, gave me a wink and said, ‘Ok, I’m ready. You can come back now.’

“We were all a little superstitious, but we had a good time with it and we all got along really well,” he added. “The funny thing was, the biggest superstition of all was one we just ignored completely; we had no problem at all touching the Prince of Wales Trophy after we won the conference finals. It worked out, though – we won the Cup a few weeks later!”

Roy's classic glove saves
1986 Cup - The final seconds]]>
<![CDATA[Where are they now? Brian Savage]]> Tue, 09 Sep 2014 00:00:00 -0400
Where do you live now?
I’ve been living in Scottsdale, AZ, for a couple of years now. My wife and I bought a house over there in the summer of 2002, a couple months after I got traded to the Phoenix Coyotes. In the summertime we bring our three kids to Sudbury, ON. My wife and I are both from there and we usually spend two months back home every summer.

What are you doing now?
I’m a regional director and independent business owner for ACN in Scottsdale. I first got involved with ACN about two and a half years ago. Jeremy Roenick introduced me to it. It’s a great business and it’s going really well for us. I never thought about doing this while I was in the NHL. This opportunity just sort of came out from nowhere. I’ve also been coaching minor hockey since I retired. I’ll be coaching two of my sons’ hockey teams this year.

How many times per year do you lace up the skates?
Between both kids, I’m on the ice usually four or five times a week. I enjoy watching them develop into good hockey players.

Are you still in touch with any former teammates?
I talk to Vincent Damphousse often. We golf together from time to time. I also talk to Saku Koivu and Craig Rivet a lot. I’ve also spoken quite often to Turner Stevenson the last little while.

Do you still follow the Canadiens?
Oh yeah, I follow them all the time even though I’m in Arizona. They got a good nucleus there and they should be good for years to come.

When was the last time you were in Montreal to watch a game?
I went back four of five times this year. I went to Quebec City with my team for the International Pee-Wee tournament last February and I brought a bunch of kids and their parents to the Bell Centre to catch a Montreal-Boston game and a Montreal-New Jersey game couple days after. We got to do a tour of the dressing room and the kids got to meet Larry Robinson who was an assistant coach for the Devils at the time.

Who is your favorite player on the current roster?
I like Carey Price. I like his demeanor on the ice. He’s very calm and he really matured over the last few years. It’s a tough position for a goalie to come in and be a starter in Montreal.

Is there a game in particular from your career with the Canadiens that stands out the most?
I would say the game where I got six points against the Islanders in 1998. We weren’t even supposed to play that game because of the big ice storm that winter. We actually flew out the day of the game, which is very rare. We got to Uniondale late, everybody was scrambling. We finally got to the rink and it was just one of those nights where everything clicked. If I’m not mistaken, it’s still a team record for a road game. Scoring the first ever hat trick at the Bell Centre was also pretty neat.

What is your favorite piece of Canadiens memorabilia that you own?
I kept everything. Obviously the plaque with the puck of one of the four goals I scored during that six point night. I’ve also got tons of sticks; I used to collect sticks from players I played against back in the days. I got about 250 of them at my place in Scottsdale.]]>
<![CDATA[Old-time hockey]]> Tue, 26 Aug 2014 00:00:00 -0400
Fans arriving early to the Forum for a 1987 playoff game between the Canadiens and Flyers got a pre-game show for the ages when a 15 minute barn-burner of a brawl broke out between the teams before the puck had even dropped to start the match. Intensity always tends to run high in the postseason, but with the defending cup-champion Habs down 3-2 in the series and facing elimination at home, tension was through the roof.

While it’s admittedly more than a little unusual for a quarter-hour of royal rumbling to erupt prior to the singing of the national anthems, according to Habs alum and starting goaltender that night, Brian Hayward, the teams had been heading in that direction ever since the beginning of the conference finals.

“I remember that it was a really emotional series to play,” shared Hayward, who helped man the Canadiens’ crease for four seasons in the late 80s. “There were a lot of cheap shots thrown. I believe that was the series when Craig Ludwig knocked out Brian Propp, and Ron Hextall had been involved in a couple of brawls too. I remember once skating the length of the ice to get involved in one of those brawls, but I was taken down by a ref before I could even get into it.”

With the general dislike both teams clearly shared for each other already front-and-center, it didn’t take much to ignite the powder keg that had been brewing for five games. Habs forwards Shayne Corson and Claude Lemieux had a pre-game routine that involved firing a puck into the opposing net before skating off and heading to the dressing room. Having seen the ritual play out in previous games, two members of the Flyers took exception and warned the duo about their antics ahead of time. When their opponents finally left the ice, Corson and Lemieux snuck back out and skated in for the empty-net goal. Within seconds the two Flyers were back, and heavyweight enforcer, Ed Hospodar, was raining blows down on Lemieux while Chico Resch grappled with Corson. Word got back to the locker rooms and seconds later, both teams, half-dressed – some without shirts and wearing shower shoes – poured out onto the ice, throwing haymakers at one another with no refs in sight to keep the situation from escalating.
“I forget how many guys they had dressed for the warm up, but the whole thing had obviously been planned. It seemed like they had 29 or 30 guys out there. The feeling was that they were essentially trying to cherry-pick some of our players and get them out there,” expressed Hayward, whose team, in comparison, had only dressed 18 skaters and two goalies. “I was the starting goaltender that night and I remember Larry Robinson grabbing me and saying, ‘Get the hell off the ice!’

“It was just a really a razor’s edge type series,” he continued. “I don’t know if that brawl in particular even really changed out mindset in that game, because similar stuff had been going on between the teams for the whole series. It was nasty.”

The officials did eventually pick up on the fact that a full-scale war was taking place on the ice, but by the time Andy van Hellemond, Wayne Bonney and Bob Hodges jumped in to the mix, things were already well out of control. Players had paired off in every direction and while the officials did what they could, there was very little to actually be done. The only thing missing from the melee, other than Hayward, was a stick-swinging Ron Hextall, as the Flyers’ starting goalie was somehow also remarkably kept off the ice.

After 10 minutes of scraps, wrestling matches, pile-ons and general beatings, the exhausted teams finally appeared to be calming down and began to head back to their respective rooms… until Corson unexpectedly charged Don Nachbaur and punched him in the face (8:19 of the video, see below for link), reigniting the on-ice festivities for another five minutes before the refs finally got control. Many players later called it “The Brawl That Never Happened” since no penalties were assessed, as everything took place several minutes before the game even started.

“The thing I remember most is the referees coming into the room afterwards and admitting that they had no idea what to do,” said Hayward, reminiscing on the aftermath of the events that led to a 4-3 Canadiens loss and a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals for the Flyers.

“We didn’t know if there were going to be five or six guys tossed and not eligible to play in the game. Then they basically ended up saying, ‘We don’t know what to do, so nobody’s going to be suspended for tonight’s game’,” finished Hayward. “The rest of us could pretty much only look around in disbelief.”

See the a full video of the brawl HERE.]]>
<![CDATA[Where are they now? Karl Dykhuis]]> Tue, 19 Aug 2014 00:00:00 -0400
Where are you living these days?
For the last several years, I’ve been living on Montreal’s North Shore in Blainville.

What kind of work are you involved in?
For the past year and a half, I’ve been working for Réserve & Sélection, a wine agency. We were recently purchased by Trialto Wine Group Limited. When my playing career was over, I still wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I worked in the media for a bit, doing some radio and television, but it didn’t really get me engaged. Looking to do something I could be passionate about, I decided to take a sommelier training course, and I liked it a lot more than I thought I would. My real passion for wine started when I got my NHL career going with the Phildelphia Flyers. One night when we were on the road, Craig MacTavish invited me to dinner with him and some other teammates. I was used to ordering the house wine at restaurants. I thought they were good. But, during that meal, the waiter poured me a glass from one of the better bottles of wine ordered by the other players. Right from the first sip, I never thought any liquid on Earth could taste as good as that. That’s where my interest in wine began.

During your playing days, did you give your teammates advice on wines?
When I arrived in Montreal in 1999, more than a few players on the team already knew even more than I did about wine. Guys like Brian Savage, Craig Rivet, Saku Koivu, Patrice Brisebois and equipment manager Pierre Gervais were really interested in the bigger wines from around the world. Often, when we were on the road and there wasn’t much to do, we went into big wine stores to find a few gems. It was like a treasure hunt between us in each city!

How many times a year do you lace up your skates?
I didn’t hit the ice for the first two years after my retirement. But, for the past few years, I’ve been lucky enough to play many games with the Canadiens alumni. Last year, I played in about 40 games and this year I’ll play in at least 30 games. I feel privileged to still have the chance to head back out on the road with those guys. It’s a lot of fun to travel to many different cities and help people because the majority of the time, we’re playing for charitable causes.

Do you still follow what’s going on with the Canadiens?
When I retired, I didn’t miss a single Canadiens game on television. I was working in radio at the time. But, since I’ve been working in my current position full-time, I’m not as consistent when it comes to watching games as I was before. Still, every morning I take some time to check out the sports headlines to see if they won and get up-to-date on the latest news about the team.

Is there one game in particular that stands out from your stint with the Canadiens?

The games that we played against Toronto or Boston stand out for me, but especially the games  against the Maple Leafs. The atmosphere in the Bell Centre was electric. It’s really difficult to name just one. I’m emotional just thinking about it. 

What is your favorite Canadiens collectible among those that you own?

I’d say the bottles of wine that I bought on the road at the time! Back then, I was able to buy some really good wines. I’ve still got a lot of them in my wine cellar, but I’m not looking to open them up anytime soon. I won’t have a choice in the next few years though!

You played for a few teams over the course of your career. Where would you rank your stay in Montreal?
I lived many great moments in Montreal and at the Bell Centre. The team has so much history. My brain gets going at 100 mph just when I think about all the different emotions I experienced when I played for the Canadiens. I really enjoyed living in Old Montreal and on Nun’s Island, talking to the people and being surrounded by the incredible Montreal fans at each game. There were some games that were easier than others, but those were unforgettable moments.]]>
<![CDATA[The Bear Essentials]]> Mon, 26 May 2014 00:00:00 -0400
Standing 5-foot-10 and tipping the scales at a modest 170 pounds back in the day, Bonin didn’t inspire fear on the ice but as Tony Schneider would attest, you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.

Schneider was the Western Hockey League bruiser who went up against Bonin and left the battlefield with a broken nose and fractured jaw. Bonin didn’t have a mean bone in his body, but he was extremely strong and absolutely fearless.  

He picked up the moniker l’Ours de Joliette after taking to the ring in an attempt to pin a wrestling bear when a traveling carnival came to town. Though the $1,000 prize was a more-than-adequate incentive, Bonin failed to go the distance and walked away with nothing but a new nickname. To say the least Bonin, who was known to eat glass on occasion for the entertainment of his teammates, usually made life interesting.  

While he picked up a very respectable 272 points in 454 games, Bonin’s greatest career moments were owed to Maurice Richard, or more precisely, to “The Rocket’s” absence. Borrowing the injured Richard’s new gloves in 1959, he seemed to magically inherit his captain’s nose for the net. Bonin scored 10 times in 11 games and capped the season with the Stanley Cup.  

Asked to comment on his incredible playoff run, Bonin jokingly declared, “If I’d known how it was going to turn out, I’d have borrowed Rocket’s jock as well.”

See also
One of a kind
Joy and pain
Stuck on you
Attention to detail
Welcome to the Rock
Hull's not-so secret admirer]]>
<![CDATA[Playing Through Traffic]]> Mon, 12 May 2014 00:00:00 -0400
The idea of hitting the ice alongside hockey legends like Guy Lafleur, Larry Robinson and Bob Gainey would be intimidating enough for any young Habs player. But as Ludwig headed to the rink to make his Canadiens debut in September 1982, he had a few other things to worry about first.

“I was taking part in my first NHL training camp with the Canadiens and I was already really nervous,” recalled Ludwig. “Then, while I was driving to the Forum for my first-ever preseason game, I got in a car accident around the corner from the rink.

“The other guy ran a red light and T-boned me and I was thrown clear through the passenger side window,” he described. “Next thing I know, I’m lying right in the middle of Atwater street.”

Ambulances arrived on the scene to find the 21-year-old Habs defenseman picking pieces of glass out of his freshly-pressed suit. A shot-blocking specialist throughout his career, Ludwig wasn’t about to let a few bumps and bruises keep him from his teammates. The paramedics urged Ludwig to come with them to the hospital for more testing, but the rookie blue-liner convinced them to drop him off down the block for an important detour first.

“I finally made it to the Forum and the first person I ran into was Gaetan Lefebvre,” explained Ludwig, who went on to play eight seasons in Montreal. “He looked at me standing there, covered in blood, and was just like, ‘What the heck happened to you?’ After explaining the situation to him, he hustled me into the dressing room to get ready.”

Arriving at his stall at 6:00 p.m. for the 7:00 p.m. game, Ludwig hurried to suit up before anyone noticed his tardiness. Unfortunately for the rookie defenseman, someone else was strolling through the hallway at the exact same time.

“Bob Berry was the coach at the time and he saw me come rushing in. He just looked down at his watch then back up at me,” recalled Ludwig with a chuckle. “I thought I was going to be benched, for sure. Bob just laughed and said, ‘Better hurry up, kid – warmup is about to start.’ That was definitely an interesting welcome to the NHL!”]]>