Category Archives: Doug Harvey

Firecrackers In The Church With Doug Harvey Junior

  

Last year I had nice, long chat on the phone with Doug Harvey Junior. He’s 58 now, and he told me great stories about how the Rocket, Moore, Beliveau and all the boys would come over to the house. He told me about going to games at the old Forum and having to wait with his mother as dad signed every autograph for every fan. Doug Junior is a really good guy.

I wrote a story about this conversation and it was posted here last January, called ‘Remembering Doug Harvey.’ (You can find it in ‘search’.)

Just recently, a man read this story and sent in a comment, explaining that he lived two doors down from the Harvey’s in Montreal when he was a kid, and Dougie Junior was his best friend.

The fellow, Peter Galoska, was kind enough to let me share his comment with you in today’s post.

“I lived at 4560 St. Ignatius Avenue, two doors down from Mr. Harvey, and Dougie Junior was my best friend. Along with Johnnie Beatty, another boy on our dead-end street located between Somerled Avenue and the Loyola campus, we terrorized the neighbourhood. It was typical boy-kid mischief stuff like ringing doorbells and running away, throwing snowballs at city buses, and lighting firecrackers off in the local church (OOPS – I wasn’t supposed to give that one away!).

I will never forget Mr. Harvey’s generosity with his time – he was quite often the guest speaker at our Coronation Park hockey league’s year-end banquet and I would burst with pride being able to tell my friends that I knew him personally!

Dougie Jr. and I were always in trouble for some mischief or other – finally, when I was 11, in 1961, my family moved away from St. Ignatius and out to Pointe Claire – this slowed down the amount of time that Dougie and I spent together and we finally drifted away from each other.

It was good to hear him quoted in this article after all these years…one thing that I do remember about Dougie was that he really did seem oblivious about his dad being a star – he never used it to be better than anyone else and he couldn’t really understand why we thought it was such a big thing!”

Peter Galoska

Guest Writer Has His Say About Roy’s Sweater Being Raised

A guest writer delves into the ‘Patrick Roy’s sweater being retired’ saga. 

 

Take it away, Jim.

 

“Pro sports are sexy for a variety of reasons, but perhaps their most attractive quality is that they are so readily apprehended. Things are pretty straightforward, excluding the usual geeky obsession with stats – God bless The Schwab, a brilliant trivia geek, but frankly I have to agree with Noam Chomsky here when he says in effect that the brains of such people could be put to much better use.

 

A simple concept that I’m interested in touching on here is that of the relationship between team and player and championships. In all team sports, WINNING CHAMPIONSHIPS is the ultimate goal, the ultimate measure not only of the team but of the individual player. Aguably, winning the Stanley Cup is the most demanding, most arduous, most difficult championship to capture, and being a member of a Stanley Cup championship team is the crown glory of any player. This simple fact is born out by the players themselves who to a man agree that they would trade any number of individual achievements, any amount of accolades just to win one cup – to my knowledge, no player has yet declared they preferred being a star to winning a cup.

 

In this respect, Lanny McDonald and Dave Andreychuk spring immediately to mind.

 

Are individual stats relevant?

 

Of course they are. For example, Marcel Dionne and Mike Gartner were great players and derserved to be in the Hall of Fame even though they did not win any cups. Conversely, many players such as Mario Tremblay and Rejean Houle, who won several cups with the Habs, do not, in my mind, belong in the Hall.

 

In other words, membership in the Hall is very much a function of individual accomplishments in the game, although inductees who have won cups are, I believe, a cut above those who did not – the single most significant yardstick for measuring the greatness of a player is how many cups he has won. Period.

 

However, being inducted into the Hall is not the same as having one’s sweater retired by le Canadien. The Habs are not only the greatest team of all time, they are one of the greatest sports teams of all time. What this means is quite simply that the standards and expectations that apply to other teams and their players are not applicable to the Habs.

 

My point re Roy? Winning a mere two cups hardly qualifies Patrick Roy to be placed in the company of greats such as Beliveau, the Richards, Cournoyer, Plante, Lafleur, – who each has great stats as well as multiple cups. Note that they are all Hall Of Famers, unlike Houle and Tremblay. And the argument that Roy single-handedly won the two cups and therefore merits special treatment not only flies in the face of the win-as-a-team/lose-as-a-team maxim but it is insulting to the great players on those cup teams – look ’em up!

 

It’s a cliche, which doesn’t mean it isn’t so, to say that teams only go as deep into the playoffs as their goalies take them. Of course goalies are crucial components on any cup-winning team, but this sure doesn’t lead to the conclusion that all cup-winning goalies should have their sweaters retired. But if we assume that Roy did literally win the cup by himself, then, applying the same logic, it’s reasonable to to assume that he therefore lost many more cups than he won. Hey, isn’t Price getting heat for ‘losing’ to the Flyers? Never mind the goalposts and poor shooting of the rest of the team. Hmmm, makes Roy a big choker rather than a big hero, n’est-ce pas?

 

Put him in the Hall, sure. Roy was a good goalie and he did have an impact on the game. But he definitely did NOT accomplish enough as a Canadien to warrant having his sweater retired. It’s a cynical marketing play that diverts attention from the fact that we have not won a cup in 15 years! And please, spare me the bs about the modern game and parity.  The Wings have won 3 in 11 years and could easily have won more and we’re supposed to be happy to make the playoffs. What a shameful betrayal of all the great Hab players and builders who triumphed regardless of the era in which they played. Hell, mug shots of Sammy Pollock and Scotty Bowman belong up there, not Roy’s sweater.

 

In Habland, cups first and persoanl stats a distant second – gotta luv Gainey and Harvey and Robinson and Savard, eh? And yes, the criteria that qualify a player of Hall of Fame induction do apply. As well, intangible considerations other than cup wins are also relevant.: leadership (suck it up, dig down, and play even better), charisma (Morenz, Richard, Beliveau, Lafleur), grit and determination (not a quitter among the sweaters up there now), loyalty (Roy? hmm..), et al.

 

Re Morenz, okay, I’ll be arbitrary here and say 3 cups is the minimum necessary to qualify to even be considered for having one’s sweater retired. I’ll also point out that Morenz, aka the Statford Streak, was called the Babe Ruth of hockey and as such he transcended the sport in much the same way Ruth did baseball, something that Patrick can not lay claim to. Morenz was a star whose brilliance far exceeded that of Roy. Also, unlike Roy, Morenz did not quit the Habs in the throes of a hissy fit over a chilish spat with a patently hostile and incompetent coach who would have clearly been turfed in favour of Roy. Morenz was a true Hab who died well before his time from an injury sustained while wearing the bleu, blanc, et rouge.

 

PS  No player will ever publicy say that other players do not deserve whatever honours team and league choose to bestow on them.

Canadiens Didn’t Put On A Show, But Bruce Blake Put On His Dad’s Fedora And Cardigan Sweater

I’m not going to go into great detail about tonight’s 3-2 shootout win over the Carolina Hurricanes, other than it was a bit of a sloppy affair, with the Habs being outshot 33-25 by the quick-skating Canes. The boys also took several bad penalties, including a puck over the boards by Carey Price with two minutes left, that almost cost them the game.

But Saku Koivu pulled it out in the shootout.

My feeling is, the homestand was too long, and a little road trip, beginning Thursday in Minnesota, then back east for stops on Long Island, Columbus, and Toronto, can’t come soon enough.

There’s things to be worked on, that’s for sure. Yes, I know, it’s only October. I’m an impatient man.

But they got their two points, and that’s what we see on paper when all’s said and done.

What I really want to talk about is something that happened before the game began. The Canadiens honoured their three most successful coaches – Dick Irvin, Toe Blake, and Scotty Bowman, and when I saw Toe’s son Bruce, my heart did a little dance.

Bruce Blake came out for the ceremonial faceoff wearing what probably was his dad’s old team cardigan sweater. And if that wasn’t good enough, he put on a fedora which also probably belonged to his dad. So there he was, dressed like his dad dressed in the good old days of the 1950’s and ’60.

It was a tremendous moment, and I hope the younger generation picked up on this.

Last year I had a nice long talk, for about an hour, with Doug Harvey’s son, Doug Jr., and he told me that when he was growing up in Montreal, his best friend was Bruce Blake. Imagine being young kids with dads who were members of the famed Montreal Canadiens of the late 1950’s?

Bruce and Doug Jr. were. (Although Doug said it was like growing up the same as any other family, which is hard to imagine.)

And Doug Jr. told me that Bruce still has all those huge players’ murals that hung in the old Toe Blake Tavern, which sat just down Ste. Catherines Street from the old Forum.

Coming Up:

Thursday’s game in Minnesota should be an interesting affair. Montreal’s record after eight games is 6-1-1 for 13 points. The Wild’s, after seven games, is 6-0-1, also for 13 points.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who Are These Baseball Players With The Hollywood Good Looks?

         

  Most hockey players have always been big baseball fans. In the old days, they probably loved playing it even more than golf! And because hockey players are usually athletic in many ways, they are usually great ball players too. Doug Harvey, for example, could’ve played some level of pro. Later on, Larry Robinson was a long-ball hitting centerfielder with the highly-ranked Turpin Pontiac fastball team in Ottawa.

In these 1950’s photos gleaned from my old scrapbook,  Marcel Bonin, Maurice Richard, and Jean-Guy Talbot might be discussing what to do with a man on first and third with nobody out. In the other photos, Jacques Plante and Dollard St. Laurent prepare to hit the long ball.

The Canadiens players barnstormed throughout Quebec and eastern Ontario in the summers, playing charity games that were always big hits. And the Rocket, in this photo, was in his second from last season with the Habs and his weight had ballooned to well over 200. In the the prime of his career, his playing weight was 185.

So baseball, which the Rocket loved, was also a way to fight the battle of the bulge. But he never did get back to 185 and in 1960, the Babe Ruth of hockey retired.

 This is my old scrapbook. My dad and I started it in about 1957 and I stopped it in the early to mid 1960’s when my teenage hormones took over and girls and music came into my life. My dad was a sign painter and he painted the cover.

 

 

Continue reading Who Are These Baseball Players With The Hollywood Good Looks?

Jacques Plante Thought It Would Be Nice To Have A Face

All you have to do is sit behind the net to fully understand why goaltenders wear masks. It’s not hard to figure out. They wear masks because they want to have a reasonably normal face to look at in the mirror. They also want to remain alive.

 That little black rubber puck hurts. When you sit behind the net, you see that the thing explodes off sticks, ricochets like bullets off steel and often is virtually impossible to see. It’s like batting against Nolan Ryan, and every pitch is at your head. Yes, there’s no doubt about it. A puck can do serious damage to a goalie’s movie star good looks.

 So imagine the time when goaltenders didn’t wear masks. It was a time when teeth were lost, cheekbones and noses flattened, and they lived in fear. It was rarely a problem when they could see the puck–they could handle that. It was the time when they couldn’t see it, when it was deflected or hard to find, that it became scary. Then, they knew the infirmary was only down the corridor.

 But in 1959, one goalie, against his coach’s wishes, finally put the mask on, because he was sick of looking in the mirror and seeing blood and bandages. His name was Jacques Plante, and every goaltender of every age, in every rink in every town, should say a quiet thank you to the man.

 Plante was a different kind of a guy, as goaltenders can be sometimes. He wasn’t particularly close to most of his teammates, and many wondered about his hobby. When Harvey and the Rocket and Boom Boom were playing poker and having beers, Plante was knitting scarves and sweaters. They would wonder about that. But they never had to wonder about him on the ice, because he happened to be one of the greatest of all time and he helped his team win. So they let him be with his knitting.

 But coach Toe Blake was another matter. Blake didn’t like Plante or his individual streak. He hated when the goalie would roam almost to the blueline with the puck. He didn’t understand the knitting. And there was no way in the world this coach was going to let his crazy goalie put on a mask. No way. Too cowardly.

 But Plante had been toying for awhile with different ideas and styles of facewear and would sometimes try one out in practice, probably when Blake wasn’t around. But during games, it would remain in the dressing room. It just wasn’t time.

 Everything changed in 1959 when Plante and his team were in New York. The Rangers at the time had a sharpshooter named Andy Bathgate, who had perfected one of the first slapshots, and his was like a cannon, hard and heavy. In the game, Bathgate wound up and his shot smashed into Plante’s face. The goalie was helped off the ice, spent 20 minutes in the clinic, was stitched up, and then announced he was ready to go back out. Only this time, with his sweater caked in blood, he was wearing his mask. Blake let him be, and in the games following the one in New York –with his mask on– Plante was still a star, and the mask stayed.

 Jacques Plante wasn’t the first to try the mask. Clint Benedict had put one on in 1930, but found it uncomfortable and quickly took it off. But Plante was the first to wear one on a permanent basis. He showed guts to defy his coach.

 But pucks hurt, and this was a goalie who was tired of that.

The Best Jobs In The World. Yes – Better Than Your Job.

1. Retired Famous Race Horse. You were Northern Dancer and Secretariat, and you were the toast of the town. You retired on top of the world and were given a fancy stable and told to get out into the field and make love to the finest fillies out there. Whenever you feel like it. Every day.

2. Guy Who Crashes Cymbals In A Symphony Orchestra. You’re in Carnegie Hall, and the horns and violins are working their way up to big crescendo. The crowd is enthralled, and then, at the precise moment, you crash your cymbals.
That’s it! And for this you get to wear an expensive tuxedo, make lots of money, and probably even sign a few programs!

3. Red Fisher. Play poker with the Rocket, Beliveau, Harvey, and Geoffrion on trains to Chicago, Boston, and the rest. Go for a cold one after the game with Lafleur, Savard, and Robinson, and talk shop. Cover the Montreal Canadiens and become just one of the boys for nearly fifty years. HE MAKES ME SICK.

4. George Martin. He’d put on his cardigan sweater, jump into a limo to take him to studios like Abbey Road, and help the Beatles weave their magic on their recordings. He was there almost from the start, and he also made zillions doing it.

5. Playboy photographer. Do I really need to explain this one?

6. Phil Pritchard. Phil’s job is to babysit the Stanley Cup, 12 months a year. He takes it all over North America and Europe so players from the winning team can show it off where they live. He brings it out onto the ice with his white gloves on when a team wins it in the final game. He’s practically married to it, and it never talks back.

Free Stuff For A Guy Who Doesn’t Need Free Stuff

Business people in Vancouver have decided to sweeten the pot for Mats Sundin, as if twenty million just might not be enough for this aging star.

 

People who make in a year what Sundin tips at his favourite restaurant are offering, among other things, free luxury cars from two different dealers, and a lifetime of free dental work, including all the fancy stuff like bridgework and dental surgery. Another has offered a lifetime of cosmetic work for His Worship’s girlfriend, like facials, nails, and whatever else it is that women get done. Then there’s the usual free meals, free drinks, free clothes, free this, free that.

 

In fact, it looks like an absolute free ride for Sundin if he chooses the Canucks.

 

Montreal, on the other hand, has offered seven million dollars a year, but their extra enticements seem a little more tempting. There’s that chance for Sundin to finally win a Stanley Cup. There’s the opportunity to wear the fabled Montreal Canadiens sweater. He can hang around with Jean Beliveau and Dickie Moore. If he did excel, he’d join the list of great Habs like Richard, Beliveau, Harvey, Moore, Lafleur, and Mahovlich, instead of a list that includes Smyl, Linden, Rota, and Kurtenbach. He’d play in the most exciting rink in the best hockey city in the world. And he’s three thousand miles closer to Sweden than Vancouver is.

 

Surely that should be more than enough.

 

But if he decides to play, wherever he goes, he’d better be good. It’s getting a little silly.   

Andrei Kostitsyn Will Stay, A Scary Habs Story, And A New Site That Looks Like The Old One (Almost)

Several things to talk about on this sunny west coast day. And don’t worry, It won’t take long. I know you have a lawn to cut.

(Please note – I’m on a new site now  dennis-kane.com, so please add this new address to your favourites. More about his down below. Thanks.)

Reports say that Andrei Kostitsyn has said his plans are to stay with the Montreal Canadiens and not accept any offers from certain Russian teams with fat wallets. He likes Montreal, he likes the team, and he likes playing with his brother Sergei. Andrei was a free agent and could’ve bolted on us, but isn’t going to now. He’s a star in the making, and we need him for the Quest for the Cup next year. So hip hip hooray to Andrei Kostitsyn!

We like Andrei. He’s a good Hab.

Now a shocker of a tidbit. Are you ready for this?

Sometime around 1950, the Habs were returning from Toronto by train when their car suddenly derailed while crossing a bridge over ice waters of the Ottawa River. Had the car been flung to the right instead of to the left, which threw several players from their berths, the entire team would have plunged into the river.

I didn’t know this before but have just read it in a Terry Sawchuck biography. Imagine. We could’ve lost the entire Montreal Canadiens in one fell swoop. This is all quite unnerving.

Now, the news I’ve been waiting to tell you. You might see a few changes in the look of this blog. With the help of computer whiz Robin Murray, my old site was transferred lock, stock, and barrel over to a new one (although it looks the same) and I have a new domain address. It’s dennis-kane.com.

You have been automatically switched over to the new one through the wonders of technology, and this will always happen but you might, at some point, want to remember the new address, dennis-kane.com.

I moved it to this new one so I can have more freedom. I’ve included tasteful ads, and a world map showing where people live who have gone on my site. There’s CBC daily sports news updates, a whole bunch of Habs videos you can watch, and other cool things.

This blog is very important to me and I want it to grow, and it is. It was stressful doing these changes because I basically didn’t have a clue, but Robin took on the challenge, and with great patience and know how, came through for me. He never got angry at me with all my questions and obvious stress showing all over my face and voice, and he just carried on with a smile, tweaking and suggesting, and getting it done.

I grew up with typewriters, and so Robin became more important than you can imagine. If you have any questions for this great guru, he’s at greatoutdoorstoday@gmail.com. He’s a friendly sort.

Lovely Habs Wives In The 1950’s (Part 2 of 5)

Jacques Plante, with wife Jacqueline and boys Michel and Richard, singing and forgetting about flying pucks that hurt when they hit your face. Plante also liked to knit, and made his own socks and toques.

 

Dickie Moore and his lovely wife playing with their little baby. Such a fine looking couple. One of Moore’s daughters, and it could be the one in this photo, is dating one of Doug Harvey’s sons right now.

 

Bert Olmstead showing his beautiful family his scrapbook, just like the Rocket did. Scrapbooks were all the rage back then, and probably very cool when the scrapbook was about yourself. A few years back, I looked up Olmstead in the Calgary phone book, phoned him and asked him if he’d mind talking about the old days with the Habs. He hung up on me.

Ted Lindsay Means Well, But Vlad Konstantinov Was No Bobby Orr Or Doug Harvey

I’m sorry, but Ted Lindsay’s 82 years old now, and so some of his reality must have packed it in. Vladimir Konstantinov was a better defenceman than Bobby Orr?
Sorry, Ted. No one was better than Bobby Orr.
And he says Doug Harvey was the greatest ever before Konstantinov but didn’t have the bodychecking ability Konstantinov had?
Sorry again, Ted.
Harvey could not only bodycheck with the best of them in an era when bodychecking was much more prevalent than in the modern game, but players from the other original five teams knew they’d better not mess with Harvey because he was big, strong, mean, and an amateur boxer.
Good for Ted Lindsay for testifing during the accident lawsuit. He means well. But Konstantinov was no Bobby Orr, and no Doug Harvey. These two controlled the game. Everyone else comes in second.
The following are excerpts from Lindsay’s testimony, published in the Detroit News and Detroit Free Press. 

Lindsay delivers emotional testimony at Konstantinov/Mnatsakanov lawsuit

Posted by George James Malik May 12, 2008 17:33PM

The Detroit News’s Paul Egan says that Red Wings legend Ted Lindsay testified that Vladimir Konstantinov was perhaps the best defenceman in hockey when he was injured in a limousine crash that’s resulted in a federal lawsuit by Konstantinov’s family and the family of Sergei Mnatsakanov against Findlay Ford Lincoln Mercury, which the Konstantinov/Mnatsakanov suit alleges had defective seat belts:

May 12, Detroit News: “He was the greatest machine in the world,” Lindsay told the jury of five men and three women. Today, “I see this vegetable and to me it just kind of makes me sick (compared) to what was the greatest hockey player in the world. It’s a shame.”Lindsay said he continued to work out in the Red Wings weight room following his hockey career and became good friends with Konstantinov and other team members.

He described Konstantinov as “a gifted person,” a skilled bodychecker who was a magnificent skater and had the ability to go up ice and act as a fourth forward and still get back across his own blue line in time to defend.

Lindsay said Doug Harvey of the Montreal Canadiens was the greatest defenseman he ever saw before Konstantinov, but “Doug didn’t have the gift of Vladi with the bodychecking.” The only other defenseman he compared Konstantinov to was Bobby Orr of the Boston Bruins, whom Lindsay said was a great skater who again was not as physical as Konstantinov.

Lindsay said he understood the chauffeur had been unable to keep the limousine on the road. “People like that, they should be shot,” he said.

 

The Detroit Free Press’s Bob Swickard confirms:

May 12, Detroit Free Press: Hockey Hall of Famer Ted Lindsay testified today that the Red Wings easily could have won at least two — and perhaps five – more Stanley Cups if Vladimir Konstantinov hadn’t been disabled by 1997 limousine crash.”That’s how good he was,” Lindsay, 82, told a federal jury in Detroit considering a claim against Findlay Ford, the Ohio dealership that sold the limo to a metro Detroit company.

“There was none better,” he said, adding that Konstantinov topped even the legendary Bobby Orr as a physical body-checking defenseman.

“He was best in the world. No doubt about it”,” Lindsay said