Category Archives: Dick Irvin

Maybe We Only Live Once, So I Splurged

The billionaire developer who bought the Paul Henderson jersey wasn’t the only one who got what he was after in the recent Classic Collectables Auction.

I bought something too! For $330. (plus the usual extra fees.)

You should know that I’m not a rich man by any stretch. Heck, my wife and I might have to live in a tent when we’re retired, or in Hobo’s spare room near Peterborough. But I was watching the auction carefully, I had my eyes on one thing in particular, and I told myself that if  the thing didn’t go crazy, I’d dearly love to get my hands on it.

With my wife’s blessing, I was going to go for it and work a little overtime here and there and not eat for a month so it wouldn’t hurt too much.

I splurged and bought a beauty.

I was the winning bidder of Billy Reay’s game-used stick from the time he played on the 1948-49 Montreal Canadiens, (he was leading point-getter for the Habs that year, ahead of the Rocket, 45 to 38), and it’s signed by most of the team including the very rare and valuable signatures of coach Dick Irvin and goalie Bill Durnan, along with Doug Harvey, Maurice Richard, Reay, Murph Chamberlain, Elmer Lach, Butch Bouchard, Ken Reardon, George Robertson, Ed Dorohoy, Joe Carveth, Howard Riopelle, Ken Mosdell, Bob Fillion, and Jacques Locas.

To me, it’s a Hall of Fame piece and I’m very proud.

And if you think I’m nuts, think again. Two years ago I paid $200 for a ticket stub from game eight of the 1972 Summit Series in Moscow and one similar to mine but not as nice just sold for $4000 in this recent auction. There’s been other times too where I’ve come out far ahead.

Harvey Did It Often And Got Away With It

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Please excuse the glue stains on the picture but it’s the only one I have that shows what I’m about to go on about.

As great as Doug Harvey was, and most agree it’s him and Bobby Orr as the best-ever on the blueline, he had one slightly daring habit that drove first coach Dick Irvin, and then Toe Blake, crazy. And I understand them. It would drive me crazy too.

Harvey had the breath-stopping habit of taking the puck directly in front of Bill Durnan or Jacques Plante or whoever else was in goal, on his way out of his end. Sometimes even through his own crease. Defencemen are taught from an early age never to do this. When it happens, the crowd gasps and the coach shakes his head. It’s a dangerous play and chances are, the player might ride the pine for a few shifts after that. Not to mention the other team could end up scoring in several different ways.

But Harvey, because he was so great, did it often and got away with it. But it didn’t mean his coaches had to be thrilled by it.

Dickie Moore, in Dick Irvin Jr’s wonderful book “The Habs”, tells this story:

“When Dick was coaching he was always after Doug about the way he would handle the puck around our goal crease. One night in Detroit, Dick went after him pretty good on the bench. The next shift he gets out and cuts in front of the net and nearly lost the puck to one of their guys, but he didn’t. He kept carrying it along by the boards, passed by where Dick was, and said, “See, coach, he missed me.” And this is right in the middle of a game against Detroit. We all started to laugh and so did Dick. How many guys would do that?


A Couple Of Simple Solutions To Scoring Five Goals

The only thing Bobby Rousseau ate all day on February 1, 1964 was five doughnuts. He then went out that night and scored five goals against Chicago.

Twenty years before that, Maurice Richard was tired after moving furniture into his new apartment and had only slept a few hours that night. He asked coach Dick Irvin if he could have the night off but Irvin said no. The Rocket then went out and scored five goals and three assists against Detroit.

Bobby Rousseau played 643 regular season games with the Habs, scoring 200 goals and adding 322 assists for 522 points.

Rocket played 978 regular season games, scoring 544 goals and adding 421 assists for 965 points.

Below – Rousseau then and now.

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