From time to time lately I’ve been showing pages from my old Habs scrapbook. Here’s more.
And at the risk of sounding like a broken
record MP3, just click on the photos to make ‘em bigger.
My dad and I started the scrapbook together when I was little and he gradually bowed out and let me carry on.
It’s old now, many of the pages are loose, and it’s battered and beat up. But it’s my treasure. I used to invite friends from the old neighbourhood over – “Hey, you wanna come over and see my scrapbook?” and they would and then we’d play road hockey and pose like the players we had just seen in the book.
Here’s the first few pages. The cover was done by my dad, who was a sign painter.
The photos enlarge when clicked on.
Shown often on Facebook, other websites, and on TV before and during game one of the Habs-Bruins series was the iconic photo of Rocket Richard and Sugar Jim Henry shaking hands after one of the greatest playoff goals ever scored.
It even hangs on the wall of the TD Garden in Boston.
I have some slight connections regarding that famous photo that was taken by La Presse photographer Roger St. Jean, but first, a brief look back at the story behind it.
It was the second period of the seventh game of the 1952 Cup semi-finals between Montreal and Boston, on April 8th at the Forum, when the Rocket collided with rugged Bruins d-man Leo Labine, followed by a headfirst plunge into Bill Quackenbush’s knee.
Richard lay motionless on the ice, folks in the building thought his neck may have been broken, and blood flowed from his forehead.
Richard was taken to the infirmary in the Forum where he was applied stitches and probably smelling salts. Slowly he came around, and in the third period he got up from the table against the doctors’ wishes and made his way back to the bench.
On the bench, Elmer Lach told him the score was tied 1-1 with four minutes to go, Rocket told coach Dick Irvin that he was okay, and Irvin sent him out.
Rocket then proceeded to take the puck in his own end, ducked by the first forechecker, eluded the two other Bruins’ forwards, held off Quackenbush with his left arm as he swooped in, fooled the other defenceman Bob Armstrong, and came in on Sugar Jim Henry, who himself had suffered a broken nose and two black eyes earlier in the game.
Henry dove, Rocket pulled the puck aside and blasted it home, which won the series for the Canadiens.
It was just after, when players were shaking hands, that the photo was taken.
Back in the dressing room, Rocket sat unsmiling and quiet, and suddenly broke down. The doctor put a needle in his arm, and it was two hours before he was in shape to get up and finally leave.
Rocket had scored that series-winning goal while being semi-conscious.
I decided, when I was 13, that I needed an 8 x 10 glossy of the Rocket and Sugar Jim Henry so I went right to the top. I wrote a letter to La Presse and it ended up on the desk of editor-in chief Gerard Pelletier.
And who is Gerard Pelletier, you might ask? Well, aside from being editor at the Montreal French-language daily, and according to Wikipedia, he, his buddy Pierre Trudeau, and Jean Marchand were recruited by Prime Minister Lester Pearson to help derail the rising Quebec separatist movement.
Later on, Pelletier would become a cabinet minister in the Trudeau government, and would eventually take the role of ambassador to France, and then ambassador to the United Nations. He was also awarded the Order of Canada.
So as you can see, he was quite a big shot.
I think it was mighty nice of him to write to me, considering his paper had been on strike. And yes, he did pass my letter on to the sports department, because at some point, my 8 x 10 glossy showed up at my house.
Indirectly related to the goal –
One of my 75 Group two, 1944-64 Montreal Canadiens Bee Hives, Paul Masnick, who played a part, sort of, in that picture.
Paul Masnick was a journeyman centre who was with the Canadiens from 1950 to 1954 before going to Chicago and then Toronto.
In total, he played 161 games with Montreal. And it was because of him, indirectly, that there is the famous photograph.
In game six of the 1952 semi finals, it was Masnick who scored the winner on Sugar Jim Henry off a Doug Harvey rebound. This led to game seven, when the Rocket, coming back on the ice after being bloodied and knocked unconscious, scored the big goal which eliminated Boston and got Montreal into the finals against Detroit.
And it was after this Boston series that Masnick helped win, that the famous photo was taken.
And today –
Have a look at that huge framed picture behind Rocket and a couple of fellows at his appliances shop, the one of Rocket and Sugar Jim Henry.
That very picture, which measures 34″ x 44″, now hangs on a wall in my office!
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.
Couldn’t see all of the Friday night Habs-Washington tilt, I’m in Ottawa at a family reunion,, and all I know from glancing back and forth from time to time was that Alex Galchenyuk looked good playing on the right side with Morenz at centre and Joliat on left wing.
I also thought the pairing of P.K. Subban and Doug Harvey on the blueline was a good fit, especially on the power play when Harvey outsmarted three Capitals, sent it over, and PK blasted one home.
Max Pacioretty, playing on a line with Jean Beliveau and Maurice Richard, dinged more than one biscuit off the post and apparently enjoyed a fine night all round. Playing with Le Gros Bill and Rocket seems to really agree with Patches, and I hope Toe Therrien keeps them together.
I also hope Toe sticks with the Lach, Bournival, and Lafleur line as well. I see good chemistry there. And anytime now I’m expecting the Steve Shutt, Lars Eller, and Brendan Gallagher triumvirate to finally break out of the doldrums.
The problem is, neither Peter Budaj in the first two periods and Jacques Plante, who replaced Budaj in the third, could handle Alex Ovechkin, who had the two netminders’ numbers in a big way. And it certainly didn’t help when John Ferguson was sent to the box for goalie mugging and shortly after, Brandon Prust for tripping, and it was left to Claude Provost and Tomas Plekanec to kill unnecessary and ill-timed penalties.
Although I must admit, I enjoyed seeing Sprague Cleghorn coldcock the obnoxious Mikhail Grabovski, even though it put us behind the eight-ball once again.
The team really has to get it together. Bobby Orr and the big, bad Bruins are well ahead in first place, and Tampa Bay continues to play well. And if Phil Kessel and Dave Keon continue their torrid goal scoring pace, Toronto’s going to be tough.
Habs get it done/not done in Washington Friday night. And they’ll have their hands full when the Penguins come to town on Saturday.
It’ll be nice when Cournoyer finally gets back.
With training camp fever in the air, I just thought I’d add another training camp story after posting one the other day about a bunch of the ’66-’67 Leaf players not quite ready to report after suffering from aches and pains during the summer Training Camp
This next story is from the article below, about Doug Harvey returning for another season in New York and injuring himself before training camp started. The print’s a bit small so I’ll just copy it for you:
“Meanwhile, Harvey was conditioning himself for the start of training camp but ran into an unexpected obstacle when he broke a knuckle on his left hand while instructing a bunch of kids on how to play – football.
Harvey, it seems, was making a point with a piece of chalk on a blackboard when he stubbed his finger. A cast was placed on the hand but the hockey star said he was certain he would be all right by the opening of training camp.”
And hey, why not bring out the old Punch Imlach letter to Jim Pappin about reporting to camp ready for some push ups, sit ups, and golf – Training Camp Invitation
These cufflinks were made by Swank in the 1950s for the Canadiens players. I know because Classic Auctions had sold them in the past. I have no reason not to believe that this set didn’t belong to a Hab from then. Maybe they belonged to Moore or Harvey or Plante or Beliveau. Maybe even the Rocket!
Maybe it was the stick boy.
I’ll never know. I found them on eBay recently, and they weren’t expensive. Not by a long shot. I couldn’t help myself, and Luci, if you’re reading this, I got them pretty darn cheap. Seriously.
Swank also made coloured brooches in the form of the “CH”for the players’ wives back then. I saw one at work recently and they’re beautiful.
Seeing Gaston with something so classy just doesn’t jive. He’s always been such a little asshole.
When I was at the Montreal Canadiens Hall of Fame at the Bell Centre the other day, I had a good look at all the honored members’ images on the ceiling in the lobby. They’re all in circles, so it’s kind of dizzying.
It took me a couple of days to figure out why Denis Savard is part of this. And make no mistake, I though Savard was a great player, a stickhandling demon. A guy with all kinds of slick moves. He’s a Hall of Famer because he was a great player with 17 years under his belt.
But he only played three years in Montreal, one where he scored just 16 goals. His glory years were in Chicago. It was unusual to see him lumped in with Vezina, Morenz, Richard, Harvey, Beliveau, Lafleur and the boys up there on the ceiling.
Ralph Backstrom, on the other hand, played 13 seasons in Montreal and won six Stanley Cups. But he’s not up there.
But after a couple of days, I figured it out. The Canadiens are honoring those who wore the CH and are in the Hockey Hall of Fame. So that was that.
Tony Esposito seems to be the only HOFer not on the ceiling. But he only played 13 games for the Canadiens and it’s not enough I guess. Whatever the minimum number is.
What’s wrong with it? The great Doug Harvey is wearing a Rangers uniform, that’s what’s wrong with it.
Doug Harvey was a Canadiens from 1947 to 1961, winning six Norris Trophies in the process. He was the best of the best, but because he and Detroit’s Ted Lindsay started wondering out loud if the owners were above board with players’ pension money, Doug was traded to the New York Rangers for Lou Fontinato at the end of the 1961 campaign. (Lindsay was banished to Chicago).
Doug’s first year as a Ranger was as player-coach, and he captured yet another Norris, his seventh. P.K. Subban has a ways to go.
What’s wrong with this picture. He should’ve retired as a Hab, because he was the Canadiens greatest defenceman. Usually it’s only Boston’s Bobby Orr that folks agree was as good or possibly better, and Orr in a Hawks uniform, a team he joined in 1976, didn’t seem right either.
Harvey’s sweater was retired by the Habs in 1985, which was about twenty years too late, but at least it got done. Although how could it not?
In a 1985 Tim Burke Montreal Gazette column, he writes that when Harvey was informed that his sweater would go up to the rafters, he was asked how he rated himself as a player. “I don’t know,” he replied. “I never saw myself play.”
Burke’s complete and interesting story about Harvey and the news of his sweater retirement can be seen here – Doug Harvey’s number 2 To Be Retired
I don’t like change. That’s why I’ve decided to stop aging. And I miss the young Sophia Loren, when she was only 65 or 70.
Here’s Orr, gone from the Bruins to Chicago, when his knees were shot. Like Harvey, a different uniform just wasn’t right. And below that, a fellow who never looked right in a Leafs uniform.
And then there’s the guy below him. I could on and on.