Category Archives: Jean Beliveau

Habs Make It Eleven In A Row Over Boston. So I Have A Gift For You

I’m having a good night tonight. I got home from work and my wife had a roast and a six pack of Heineken waiting for me. I start four days off. Then I watched the recording on my new TV of the Habs winning their eleventh straight win against the Boston Bruins (eight this year), and in doing so, stay on top of the heap in the eastern division.

So, because I’m in such a good mood, and it’s Easter, I’ve decided to give you a present. Just click the link below and enjoy a five and a half minute video of a 1971 Montreal-Boston bench-clearing brawl. Beliveau’s even in there, tugging and pulling. This is a huge brawl involving fans, police, Derek Sanderson, Phil Roberto, Gerry Cheevers, and a cast of thousands. Historically, Montreal and Boston like to rumble with each other. Here’s the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UBkvn4SsR5A&feature=related Watch it pick up momentum as it goes.  You don’t see this kind of thing any more.

I Was Only $28,500 Short Of Getting The Sweater

Johnny ‘Black Cat’ Gagnon played for the Montreal Canadiens, (and also the NY Americans and Boston Bruins) from 1930 to 1940. He wasn’t a big star (120 goals, 141 assists in 451 games) but enjoyed success playing alongside Howie Morenz and Aurele Joliat.

Just a few days ago, Classic Auctions in Montreal, which is the foremost hockey auction house on the planet, sold Gagnon’s Montreal sweater #14 for $28,551. I really wanted this sweater, and I thought I had a chance. But then it went past fifty bucks so I had to bow out.

Here’a few other Habs items that sold in the auction. It must be nice to be a collector who happens to be a rich bastard. Must be lawyers snapping these things up.

Here’s what I mean:

Carol Vadnais’ 1993 Montreal Canadiens Stanley Cup Championship ring – $23,102.

Jean Beliveau’s 1969 Montreal Canadiens game-worn sweater – $22,013.

Beliveau’s 1972-73 Stanley Cup ring – $32,211.

Henri Richard’s ’73-74 jersey – $13,500

Original 1978-79 Stanley Cup banner which hung from the Forum – $6000.

Player’s sweater worn during the 1937 Howie Morenz Memorial game – $7,150

Guy Lafleur’s 1981-82 game-worn sweater – $11,000

None of Dennis Kane’s Byer’s Bulldozers Orillia Midget team items were available, but I’m sure they’re worth quite a bit. 

Classic Auctions is unbelievable. Two or three times a year they hold these amazing auctions that always include things like letters from Lord Stanley, important sticks that belonged to Morenz and the Rocket, for example, and just about anything else you can think of that is worth more than what you and I can afford.  Classic is the Sotheby’s or Christies of the hockey world. I wouldn’t mind getting a job there.

The Montreal Canadiens Might Be Calling Me Up!

To:

Bob Gainey – General Manager, Montreal Canadiens

Pierre Boivin – President

Dear Sirs,

The other day, the New York Yankees allowed comedian Billy Crystal to not only work out with the team in full uniform, but to also take a full at-bat during a spring training game against the Pirates. The Yankees are a world-class organization and know what they’re doing.

But the Montreal Canadiens are also a world-class organization, and therefore, I’m taking this opportunity to request the chance to dress for an exhibition game next fall.

Although I haven’t had skates on in ten years, and am almost as old as Billy Crystal, I haven’t smoked in quite some time, and I feel I could contribute on right wing, possibly in place of Michael Ryder. Or, if you need me on defence, I’m sure there will be a few openings in the fall (Patrice Brisebois, Mathieu Dandenault etc.) You could even schedule me for when you meet the Senators. I know I could stop Jason Spezza. No one seems to able to do this job now, so why don’t you let me try. I can’t be any worse.

I’m not asking for much, just an exhibition game. However, if I own the puck the way Henri Richard did in his initial season, you may feel free to keep me.

When I was about 13 years old, I wrote to Sam Pollock asking to be stick boy for a game at the Forum, and Mr. Pollock promptly wrote back saying that if he let me do it, he’d basically open up a can of worms, and I must be content to watch my favourite players from a distance.

I’ve stewed over this for decades, as I feel I would have been exceptionally fast in giving a new stick to Mr. Beliveau or Mr. Rousseau if they had broken one during the action.

I sort of feel I was cut from the team.

So now’s your chance to make good and clear my mental issues that came from rejection all those years ago.

If the Yankees can do it, so can you.

Oh, and if you don’t mind, can I please wear number 6 for the game? I’ve always felt I was a Ralph Backstrom-type player, smallish but speedy, and I’m sure Mr. Kostopoulos wouldn’t mind sitting out, as he does it quite often anyway.

Thanks a lot.

Dennis Kane.

Remembering Doug Harvey

The following is my column in the Powell River Peak, published March 3, 2008. doug.jpg                           

Unless you’re very young, or have never paid particular attention to hockey, you probably know who Doug Harvey is. You might know only that he was a hockey player a long time ago. But maybe you know he’s rated as the sixth greatest player of all time, and it’s between him and Bobby Orr as the game’s best defenceman ever.

He played for the Montreal Canadiens alongside Rocket Richard, Jean Beliveau, and the rest of the cast of iconic 1950’s characters, and he was, with the Rocket, my boyhood hero. When I was a kid, my dad even corralled coach Toe Blake one night at Maple leaf Gardens in Toronto to go into the dressing room and get Harvey’s autograph for me.

Doug Harvey’s gone now, but I still think about him, so a few weeks ago, I did what I had to do. I phoned his son in the Maritimes.

Doug Harvey Jr. is 57 years old, is proud of his dad, and he was happy to talk about him. What was it like, I asked, being the son of such a star? “It was probably just like you and your dad,” he said. “We were just a family like everyone else. Kids at school didn’t treat me any different, and when I played hockey, there were no names on the sweaters, so no one gave me a hard time at the rink. “I guess one thing that might be different was that players would come over to the house quite often – Dickie Moore, Jean Beliveau, Jacques Plante, the Rocket a few times. When dad was building our house, most of the team helped him.”Even the kids of the Montreal Canadiens found a connection, probably because they had so much in common. “We lived near a lot of the players,” continued Doug Jr., “and I was a good buddy with Toe Blake’s son. And it’s funny too, my brother has been dating Dickie Moore’s daughter for a few years now, and dad and Dickie were best friends.”Doug Jr. remembers too how sometimes his dad’s job interfered with a family trying to have a normal life. “My mom would get upset with dad because we’d go to games on schools nights from time to time, and for an eight o’clock game, he’d be at the old Forum at 5:30 and stay for a couple of hours afterward signing autographs for people. We wouldn’t get home until after midnight and we had to get up in the morning for school.”

Doug Harvey was a genuine free spirit, a practical joker, a fun-loving guy, a kind-hearted person, and a supremely gifted hockey player. He dominated on the ice in the old ‘original six’ NHL, controlling the game, slowing it down or speeding it up, making precise passes, setting the pace, and was a leader among men.

He was a general on the ice, and won the Norris trophy for best defenceman a remarkable seven times.

Slowly though, over the years, his health began to fail, and then, in 1989, at 65 years of age, the great Doug Harvey passed away.

“I remember visiting him in the hospital and he was usually in good spirits,” said Doug Jr. “One time I was in the corridor and I heard laughter coming from his room. Inside, Bobby Orr and Don Cherry were there cheering up my dad.”

And I’m sure, after all I’ve read, and after talking to Doug Jr., the man with the big heart was cheering them up too.

Dramatic Win Against The Devils. Up Now, A West Coast Road Trip for the Habs.

palm-trees.jpgMontreal showed the hockey world tonight that they can play any style, against any team, and are a team to be reckoned with as playoff time draws closer.

A close, well-played 2-1 win against the tight-fisted Devils just may have finally woke up those on the TSN panel and elsewhere that Montreal needs to be included in the elite pack who could win the Stanley Cup. After all, Les Canadiens now are the proud holders of first place in all the east.

I was just as proud of my team tonight as I was the night they came back from 5-0 against New York to win 6-5.

After tonight’s game, the boys hop on a plane and fly to sunny California and Arizona for games Monday in San Jose, Thursday in Phoenix, Saturday in LA, and Sunday in Anaheim. Ryan O’Byrne will be in bed reading his Gideon’s bible by 10 PM every night during this road trip.

nabokov_playerimage.jpg      gretz.jpg    kings.jpg    rubber-duck.jpg    beer.jpgOf course every game’s a big game, and it’s great that the team can get out of Montreal where there’s been so much snow and deepfreeze, but these warm- climate trips can often be a problem. Montreal’s record in Florida over the years has been less than stellar, and the latest escapade in Tampa Bay with O’Byrne capped it. And California hasn’t always been kind to our guys either.

It’s pretty hard to concentrate on the task at hand when there’s pool-side sitting, bikini- watching, and golf-playing to be had. The home teams down in these areas are used to this less-than-hockey world lifestyle, but for the Habs coming down from the great white north, it’s like a kid in the candy store.

I hope it rains, a hurricane comes up, a tornado blows in, hail falls, sleet whips across, and the south-west experiences the coldest March in history. Just so they don’t lose focus.

Maybe Jean Beliveau will come along and babysit. But I don’t believe they’ll need it. Montreal’s on a mission. I haven’t seen them play this well in years.