Category Archives: Bernard Geoffrion

A Happy Bunch

Circa 1954 Canadiens’ players, wives and girlfriends get together at Butch Bouchard’s Cabaret to enjoy some pops and chuckles.

Bouchard (in glasses), Maurice and Lucille Richard, Ken Mosdell, Doug Harvey, Elmer Lach and the rest of this happy bunch let off some steam during those glorious days when the Habs were close to embarking on five straight Stanley Cups.

Harvey’s in the forefront at the head of the table, and just behind Bouchard and to Elmer Lach’s left is Gerry McNeil with wife Theresa.

At the back, being served by the waiter, appears to be Bernie Geoffrion (with Marlene), and Ken Mosdell is directly across from Boomer.

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We’ll Take Fifty Please

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I was reading Le Journal de Montreal the other day, or trying to read it. It helps me learn a bit of French. I find the cartoons work well.

In Saturday’s paper was this drawing which I like, and which happens to have a Stephane Richer poster on the wall.

Stephane Richer scored fifty goals for the Canadiens twice – 50 in ’87-88, and then 51 in ’89-90.

It’s been twenty-four years since Montreal had a fifty-goal scorer. Twenty-four years since we had someone who knew how to light the lamp on a regular basis.

We’re not even close to having a guy who puts terror in the hearts, eyes, and groins of opposing defencemen and goalies.

The opposition isn’t the least bit uptight now from our guys who jump over the boards, except for P.K. Subban who sends missiles from the blueline. The team is small, is 29th of 30 teams when it comes to regular-strength goals, and our leading point-getter, P.K. isn’t even a forward and is 64th in the league with 36 points.

Our top goal-scorer, Max Pacioretty, has 21 which isn’t bad, but he won’t come close to fifty. Tomas Plekanec, next in line, has 16 and may or may not reach 25.

We have two superstars in our midst – Subban and Carey Price, who’s a goalie. Although Price has two assists, which ties him with Douglas Murray and Ryan White.

I want a guy at the top, or near the top, in scoring. A guy fans in other rinks buy tickets to see.

He’d be so good, even CBC announcers would say nice things about him.

Fans in the seats would point him out to their sons and daughters. Look, they’d say, there’s Gaston LeBois. He’s the best.

Instead, we have guys who go games without a shot on net. They can’t find the back of the net but they always manage to find their pay cheques.

This isn’t THE Montreal Canadiens. Not even close. The is the Montreal Journal de Montrealers. Featuring the women from the fashion and society pages.

We need a big scorer, and I know it’s easier said than done. But I could care less. We need one. End of story.

Could it be Alex Galchenyuk? Maybe. He’s just turned 20 years old, and we won’t really know what we have in him for a few more years.

And if it’s not him, how many more years before one comes along? Twenty? Forty?

Here’s the Habs who managed to light the lamp 50 or more times:

Stephane Richer – 51 – 1989-90
- 50 – 1987-88
Guy Lafleur – 50 – 1979-80
- 52 – 1978-79
- 60 – 1977-78
- 56 – 1976-77
- 56 -1975 76
-53 – 1974-75
Pierre Larouche – 50 -1979-80
Steve Shutt – 60 – 1976-77
Bernard Geoffrion – 50 – 1960-61
Maurice Richard – 50 – 1944-45

Gaston LeBois – 61 – 2029-30

Canada Loses In Shootout

Another one of those fun to watch World Junior games. Unfortunately, at least for those of us cheering for Team Canada in today’s game against the Czech Republic, the good guys would lose 5-4 in the shootout.

They kept falling behind and tying it, but in the end it wasn’t to be.

So much skill and passion from these kids. It never gets old watching them. And the Canadians had their chances but it just wasn’t to be.

There’s going to be some criticism I guess. Maybe the goaltending could’ve been sharper. Maybe Anthony Mantha shouldn’t have touched the puck when going off the ice which led to a too many men penalty and a Czech goal.

Regardless, all these kids in this tournament are brilliant and I’m full of admiration for the whole bunch of them.

Some Habs connections:

Alma, QC’s Charles Hudon drafted 122nd in 2012, tied the score at four apiece.

Zachary Fucale could be between the pipes on Monday when the boys clash with Slovakia (11:30 ET). Fucale, from Rosemere, QC, was taken 36th by the Canadiens in the 2013 draft.

Anthony Mantha’s grandfather is Andre Pronovost, a solid defensive forward with the Canadiens from 1956 to 1961, who would collect four straight Stanley Cups as a member of those late ’50s juggernauts.

The book my dad got signed for me in the late-50s includes Pronovost’s autograph, halfway down, just below Boom Boom Geoffrion’s. (My son has the book now. Otherwise I’d take the picture again and make it bigger).

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Happy Habby Wives

Of course Carey Price is playing much better. He’s married now. That’s what often happens.

Josh Gorges scored a goal in Vancouver. He got married this summer too.

Women are amazing and mysterious creatures. They turn four walls into a home just by adding a couple of flowers and a table. They help struggling hockey-playing husbands find their game. They open up the fridge door, pull out a carrot and a jar of relish, and half an hour later there’s a gourmet meal sitting there.

Unless your wife’s a lousy cook of course. In that case, disregard the last sentence.

Habs wives need to be happy and comfortable. If the Canadiens have the happiest wives and girlfriends, the team wins the Stanley Cup. That’s how it works and in my next life when I’m smart I’ll go to university and do a thesis on this very subject.

Look at the picture below. That’s Ken Mosdell, Boom Boom Geoffrion, and the Rocket, happy as can be with their really happy wives. Except for maybe Boomer. What’s wrong, Boomer? (Maybe they told him to stop singing).

Habs and wives

 

Five Men And A Cardinal

More proof God loves the Habs.

The boys and Cardinal Leger in 1953.

Butch Bouchard, Maurice Richard, Boom Boom Geoffrion, Dollard St. Laurent, and a fellow on the left whom I don’t recognize – meet with Cardinal Leger, who most certainly was in tight with God, which tells me God is a Habs fan.

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John And Yoko On The Power Play

My friend Robert Lefevbre sent me these pictures today of John Lennon and Yoko Ono in Montreal in 1969 for their seven-day Bed-In for peace.

I’d never seen these before. I love them.

Bernie Geoffrion wore number five from 1951 to ’64, and in 1968 Gilles Tremblay donned the sweater for two years, retiring just before these photos were taken.

Lennon, being a huge hockey fan of course, said the following. Or maybe I was on acid and just think he said the following.

“I don’t mind Fergy playing a rough style, but I can’t stand what Ted Green does, especially with his stick,” said John to the room packed with all types of people. “This sort of thing should be taken out of the game. That’s why I’m here for this Bed-In. To end violence in hockey. Give peace a chance.”

John and Yoko then started humming the Imperial Oil Hockey Night in Canada theme, joined by Tommy Smothers and Timothy Leary, two other huge hockey fans.

Boom Boom Lennon

John Lennon and Yoko Ono Receiving Gift

50 Or More; And That Curved Stick

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Up until this December 1964 Hockey Pictorial question was posed, just three players had ever scored 50 goals in a season – Maurice Richard in 1944-45, Bernie Geoffrion in 1960-61, and Bobby Hull during the 1961-62 season.

Who would finally score more than 50 in a season?

As you can see, five of the six players polled thought it would be Bobby Hull, while Jacques Laperriere figured Jean Beliveau would be the man.

The answer would come the following year, when yes indeed, it was Bobby Hull, who scored 54 in 65 games.

Hull would also bulge the twine 52 times in ’66-’67 and 58 in ”68-’69.

And how did the Golden Jet explain his talent for scoring? He mostly credited the introduction of the curved stick, which allowed him to blast howitzers at panic-stricken goaltenders. And although that’s a very credible explanation, it doesn’t do Hull complete justice. He was a beautiful skater, strong as an ox, and one of the greatest ever. The curved stick only added another huge element to Hull’s game.

Not long after Hull’s feats, the numbers would get out of hand. Phil Esposito would light the lamp 76 times in 1970-71, and during the 1980-81 campaign, eight players would score 50 or more, including Mike Bossy with 68 markers.

But it would be the 1981-82 season when goal scoring really blossomed, led by Wayne Gretzky, of course. Ten players cracked the 50-goal mark that year, with Gretzky notching an amazing 92 goals.

And back to the curved stick -

Andy Bathgate says it was he who was the first to use it, but it was Hull’s teammate Stan Mikita who is generally regarded as the inventor, although it came accidentally.

As explained in Bruce Dowbiggin’s book “The Stick,” Mikita’s stick cracked during practice, and he tried to break it and throw it away, but it wouldn’t snap completely. Mikita then jammed the stick into the door at the bench and it ended up looking like a boomerang.

While he waited for his trainer to get him another stick in the dressing room, which was several minutes away down the steps at the old Chicago Stadium, Mikita, out of anger, slapped a puck with the broken stick and the puck took off. He slapped another and it was the same thing. He was amazed, even at the new sound the puck made hitting the boards.

Back in the dressing room, Mikita started bending all his sticks, but they were breaking, until someone suggested making them wet first, which he did. He then left his new, curved sticks overnight, and the next day at practice he started shooting. The first shot was like a knuckler in baseball. It dropped and veered, and the next shot did all sorts of weird things too.

Bobby Hull was watching all this, and began bending his too.

Coach Billy Reay wasn’t impressed. He figured they wouldn’t be able to control their shots, and he was right. In Hull’s first game using this new banana blade, his first shot went right over the glass. In another game, Hull hit Ranger goalie Gump Worsley in the head, and when asked if he feared the curved blade, Worsley replied that he thought fans behind him were in more danger than him.

And about Andy Bathgate saying he was the first.

Bobby Hull said he always remembered Bathgate as having a bit of a curve to his sticks, even in the late ’50s, but it was Mikita who pioneered the whole idea of it. Bathgate has said that when Chicago was playing his Rangers one night, his trainer had lent Mikita one of Bathgate’s sticks (which is unusual to say the least), after the Hawk had run out of his own, and Mikita had liked the curved stick.

Mikita disagrees and talked to Bathgate about this, and in Dowbiggin’s book is quoted as saying, “I told Andy to his face that he’s – well, let’s say I talked to him about it. I might have borrowed some sticks, but I sure don’t remember any curve.”

And one final note: It was a Bathgate shot that smashed into Jacques Plante’s face, causing Plante to come back out wearing his mask for the first time during a game.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More Long Weekend Hockey Coin Stuff

Ditto to yesterday’s post Long Weekend Hockey Coins, where the key words were “exhausted, 1961-62, Shirriff, and 140%.” And maybe “couch.”

Today, replace 1961-62 with 1962-62, and definitely include the words exhausted and 140%.

Hockey coins back then were a big success. I personally bought so many bags of Shirriff potato chips to get them, I probably paid for one of their new fancy potato slicing machines.

Below, my nice 60-coin 1962-63 metal set from Shirriff.

Burp.

The previous two years to this, coins were plastic.

The whole idea of hockey coins, along with with car coins, baseball coins, airplane coins etc, that came out during these years, was just fantastic. We had so much fun with these, at school and flipping against walls, and trying to get them all. Beautiful.

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Long Weekend Hockey Coins

You’re partying, opening up the cottage, slacking off, laying on the couch, picking your toenails, practicing yoga, drinking beer, while I’m giving my usual 140% at work, making sure travelers get on the ferry boat in fine fashion.

Naturally I’m exhausted, and because of this, I’ll just take some pictures of my 1961-62 hockey coins which I had collected when I was a kid and am lucky enough to still have now. I don’t have the energy for anything else. 140% is a lot.

It took a lot of Shirriff potato chips and Salada jello and pudding, but I managed to get the entire set, then the shields to complete it.

You relax and enjoy the holiday weekend. I’ll just go to work.

Habs

Leafs

Hawks

Rangers

Wings

Bruins

An Old Molson Photo Shows Up

It’s the beauty of the internet.

I think about a year ago, Don, a fellow I knew back in Orillia when I was young, found me through my blog and we’ve had some nice chats. He lives in Houston, Texas now, and over the past several weeks has sent me several hockey books, including a couple about Bobby Orr, and two dealing with Alan Eagleson.

Today the mail arrived, and along with the normal bills was an envelope from Don which had one of those great old Molson team pictures in it.

The Canadiens used to send these 7 x 10 photos out to fans who wrote, and I have two in my scrapbook, from the 1961-62 season and 1959-60. Don’s, as you can see, is from the ’62-’63 campaign, and you can see how the back looked, which is impossible with the ones in my scrapbook because they’re glued in.

These are nice things to have. Big and beautiful glossy team pictures from Molson. Nowadays, the team sends out photos about half this size. The more money they make, the smaller things get. Like programs. And team pictures.

Thanks a lot, Don. It’s coming to a loving home.

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These are the two I have in my scrapbook.

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