Category Archives: Elmer Lach

Friday’s Washington Game

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.

Pre-Punch

Tony

That’s Tony Demers on the left, circa 1942, with a couple of youngsters named Elmer Lach and rookie Maurice Richard.

Kind of a pre-Punch Line.

But it wouldn’t become the Punch Line because (a) Toe Blake filled that role nicely, and (b), Tony Demers ended up in the penitentiary.

You can see Tony’s situation right here – Eight Years in the Big House

Tony was born and raised in Chambly, not far from where I’m living right now. He died in 1997, and if he was still alive, he’d be 96.

HOF Post Game Comments

The Hockey Hall of Fame Induction ceremony went off swimmingly, except for the time maybe when Mats Sundin pronounced Elmer Lach’s name “Latch,” and Patrick Roy took a swipe at the Canadiens, saying they decided to trade him, which only sort of happened after Roy told Ronald Corey he’d never play another game with the team. Maybe he’s upset he wasn’t hired as coach or GM.

The speeches went smoothly, although Bill Hay’s seemed long and drawn out, but I thought Pavel Bure’s was excellent, as were the others..

And to cap off a fine night, Gary Bettman looked tired, hollow, concerned, pale, and not a happy camper whatsoever, and the women looked lovely.

Lots In The Lineups

You can look at the Nov. 25, 1950 program lineups for the Habs and Leafs and see a few cool things.

This was Montreal’s 20th game of the season, and they would lose 4-1 to the Leafs in Toronto on this night. (Okay, that wasn’t so cool).

Gerry McNeil is in goal for Montreal in his rookie year after Bill Durnan retired after the previous season.

Number 5 for Toronto is Bill Barilko, who would score the legendary Stanley Cup-winning overtime goal for the Leafs in game 5, against these same Habs, to cap off the season. Barilko would be killed that summer when his plane crashed in Northern Ontario.

Hal Laycoe, number 12 for the Habs, would be traded to Boston later this season and was a major player in the 1955 Richard Riot.

Rocket Richard has ten goals at this point, more than anybody else on the team.

Habs #14 Billy Reay would eventually coach for 16 NHL seasons, two with Toronto and 14 in Chicago. I have a game-used stick of his from two years prior to this, signed by the entire Habs team.

Elmer Lach, number 16, is still playing and would play three more years after this.

Golly gee willikers, that’s Howie Meeker, number 11 for the Torontonians.

And Turk Broda, who was at the opening ceremonies for the brand new Orillia Arena that year, has one more shutout than McNeil at this point.

 

 

 

A Big Game At The Bell, Which You Already Know About

The Canadiens take to the ice tonight against the Winnipeg Jets, and we all know what an important game this is considering the Habs have been skydiving to earth with a flimsy parachute.

But there’s nothing I can add to what has and is being written everywhere I look. And to paraphrase that great Habs fan Bob Dylan, I’m not going to “simplify the Habs, classify them, deny or crucify them. Analyse, categorize, finalize, or advertise them. Disgrace them or displace them, define or confine them. Select them or dissect them, or inspect them or reject them. All I really want to, is baby, be fans of them.”

So having said that, and because there’s nothing I can add to what has already been said a million times, I’ll just post a couple of old Rocket Richard hockey cards I have. They’re in terrible shape but I don’t care. Because I’m not going to dissect, inspect, or reject them.

The Rocket and Elmer Lach card is from 1953-54. The other is from 1954-55.

 

 

 

A Train Carrying The Canadiens….

I feel quite safe in saying that when hockey fans everywhere heard the news that the plane carrying Yaroslavl Lokomitiv had gone down, there were immediate thoughts about their own teams. Losing the Montreal Canadiens for example…. I have no words.

Shockingly, there was a moment in time when we almost did lose the Montreal Canadiens, but it wasn’t from a plane crash. Instead, it was from a train almost plunging into an icy river. And we’re talking the Rocket and Doug and Butch and Elmer and some mighty fine teammates.

The Canadiens had fallen to the Toronto Maple Leafs 6-1 in Toronto on December 20, 1950, and hours later were heading back to Montreal. Just 35 miles from the city, in the morning, the train began to cross the Dorion bridge high above the St. Lawrence River, but a cracked wheel bearing caused the baggage car to hop the rails. Quickly the next four cars also left the track, and I remember reading once that members of the Canadiens moved to one side of their car to try and keep it from tipping.

Finally, after a few harrowing moments, the rest of the train, with the Canadiens on it, managed to hug the ties and make it across. Barely.

Several passengers were injured although all of the Canadiens players were fine, and everyone was brought back to Montreal by another train and some buses.

But it was as close as can be to losing the entire Montreal Canadiens when their train came within a whisker of hurtling into the cold St. Lawrence below.

Is this a gruesome story or what?

 

 

 

 

 

Elmer Kept The Big Wheels Turning

Noticed this in an old Forum program I have and I thought I’d add a few words.

Elmer retired from the Canadiens after the 1954 season and spent a couple of years as a successful coach of the Montreal Royals of the Quebec Hockey League. From there, in or around 1957, he joined Maislin Transport as a sales and public relations guy.

I’m guessing this job paid way more than what he earned as a star centre with the Habs.

Maislin Transport began in 1945 and was run by seven Maislin brothers and a brother-in-law. The company eventually closed shop in 1982 but has morphed into what is now known as Maisliner, which does most of its business in the U.S.

Elmer’s fantastic career spanned 14 years with the Canadiens, beginning in 1940, and his numbers can be seen yes, right here.