Of the countless Habs photos in this crazy, mixed-up world of ours, this one for me ranks right up there near the top. The close-up action, the fans watching intently (I see one woman), Jacques Plante still almost two years away from putting the mask on.
It’s Dec. 18, 1957, Madison Square Gardens in New York, and Plante and Tom Johnson are working on thwarting a Rangers attack.
The Rangers in front of Johnson are Camille (the eel) Henry and Leapin’ Lou Fontinato wearing number 8. Fontinato would be dealt to the Habs in 1961 for Doug Harvey, who had fallen out of favour with the Canadiens mostly because of his player/union work.
This great photo, slightly adjusted, appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated on Feb. 17, 1958, and here, a Habs player wearing #27 is included. But I don’t have a clue who this guy might be because my records show that no one did before Frank Mahovlich, who wore it from 1971 to ’74.
However, one could suggest that it could actually be #22, and if that’s the case, Don Marshall wore this number. But Don had way less hair than this guy and a different shaped head.
Here’s an even wider frame that includes a sprawling Claude Provost in front of Fontinato, plus a couple more women in the crowd.