Category Archives: Montreal Canadiens

Bobblehead Blues

They came in a couple of different sizes, with the one I have (below) being about five inches high while a rarer version stands more than six inches.

As you can see by the ad, they could be ordered, but I think many kids also had their dads buy them at big league rinks. At least that’s what I did, at Maple Leaf Gardens all those years ago. A nice Habs one which I ended up breaking because, after all, I was a kid.

It was a bummer that I broke it and I made sure I got another one, although it took about 50 years.

And yes, they’re worth slightly more than a $1 now.

Tough Night For Roger

Roger Leger, who was in the running to replace Dick Irvin as coach of the Canadiens, a job Toe Blake was eventually given, also managed to get his bridgework stuck in his throat one night against Detroit in 1948 which caused the team to lose the game.

The Canadiens were winning by one goal late in the game and as the puck came back to Leger on the blueline from a faceoff, Ted Lindsay rammed his elbow into Leger’s mouth, forcing the guy’s bridgework down his throat. Leger left the puck sitting there as he choked and panicked and skated for the bench and a Detroit player grabbed the puck and tied the score.

Soon after, the Wings popped the winner.

 

Toe’s Place

I took this photo years ago:

You were served your cold quarts of beer by middle-aged men in white shirts, at plain tables with ashtrays and cigarette burns, with nice, big artwork of different Canadiens’ players lining the walls. A thick haze of smoke filled the air, and people huddled at tables, talking Habs and solving world problems.

Except for the pictures on the walls, it could’ve been just another plain and slightly rundown beer parlor in any town or city, filled mostly with men who took their drinking and hockey seriously.

But of course it wasn’t just any old tavern. It was Toe Blake Tavern on Ste Catherine St. in Montreal, where many went before the short walk to the Forum to see the big game.

Sometimes Toe himself would be there, although I never saw him. My buddy Ed Wolk did, though. And the pictures on the wall? Apparently they’re safe and sound at Toe’s son Bruce’s place.

Toe Blake Tavern opened in 1952 and closed in 1983.

Don’t Mess With Rocket

Hall of Famer Tom Johnson, who toiled on the blueline for the Canadiens from the late 1940s to the early 1960s, told the Montreal Gazette back in 1996 about the time a group of Habs shaved Rocket Richard’s chest during a train trip. “He was a strong guy and it took eight of us to hold him down,” Johnson said. “But he got his revenge while we were sleeping the next night. He took one shoe from each of us and threw it off the train. We arrived in Montreal and it was snowing – and here we were walking through the station with one shoe each.”

Doing the Magazine Shuffle

I used to work for BC Ferries and every so often a tractor-trailer driver, on his way on or off the ferry, would slow down and hand me his copy of Canadiens magazine.

This trucker and I kind of bonded back then, not only because we were both Habs fans, but also because for 20 years while living in Ottawa and Calgary, I too had driven semis for a living.

From one of the magazines my friend had handed me, certain Habs, including Carey Price, Max Pacioretty, and Tomas Plekanec, who were with the team in 2011 of course,  were asked who (girlfriends and wives excluded) would they want as their arm candy on a red carpet kind of evening.

It’s also kind of fun to see the other names.

So who would they want as their dates?

Jaroslav Spacek said Britney Spears.

Mike Cammalleri said either Eva Mendes or Shakira.

Max Pacioretty, Tom Pyatt, Carey Price, and PK Subban said Megan Fox.

Yannick Weber said Charlize Theron.

Tomas Plekanec said Jennifer Aniston.

David Desharnais said Halle Berry.

And Benoit Pouliot, Hal Gill, Alexandre Picard, and Alex Auld said Mom.

When I look at these, I’m on the same page with Weber (Charlize Theron), and Desharnais (Halle Berry). Although I like the mom choice too.

Below- my choices – Charlize and Halle. When I own the team they’ll be invited to my private box so I can teach them about bodychecking.

Muzz’s Thoughts

When Jacques Plante decided to wear a mask so he’d still have his nose, teeth, and eyesight like other people, hockey’s movers and shakers at the time weren’t thrilled with the idea.

Coach Toe Blake grudgingly went along with it as long as Plante continued to play well, which Plante did, but others voiced strong opposition to this new development.

For instance, Muzz Patrick, then general manager of the New York Rangers, spoke up:

“Our game has as greater percentage of woman fans than any team sport I know. I’m talking about real fans – ones who give you the scoring averages and the All-Star lineups. Those woman fans want to see men, not masks. They want to see the blonds, the redheads – and the bald spots. That’s why I’m against helmets and masks. They rob the player of their individuality.
We start out with goalies wearing masks. Every club has a defenceman or two who goes down to smother shots. Soon they’ll want masks. All the forwards will wear helmets. The team will become faceless, headless robots, all of whom look alike to the spectators. We can’t afford to take that fan appeal away from hockey.”

Below, Muzz Patrick posing for his Beehive photo during his playing days. He had a fine head of hair, kept nice because of no helmet of course.

Oh Well, Habs

On January 7, after the Canadiens had won two straight, the numbers came out in various places that said the team would need to go 26-11-3 for the remainder of the season to hit 95 points, which could possibly give them a playoff berth.

Since then, they’ve won two and lost six (2-4-2).

Bobby Hab

If there’s one thing that would cause smoke to billow from Bruin fans’ heads, it would be the idea of Bobby Orr in a Habs uniform. That would just suck.

So several years back I emailed my multi-talented stepson in St. Petersburg, Russia and asked him if he could put Bobby in Habs colours.

Here’s what he sent. And Bobby, dream all you want, but you can’t have number four. It’s taken.

Now That’s a Sweater

This little card is an ad for a dinner and auction sponsored by Classic Auctions in February of 2008 in support of the Jean Beliveau Foundation, which helps disabled children throughout the province of Quebec.

I have a bunch of old Canadiens sweaters from years gone by, mostly children sizes, and at one time I had about 15 of them. But I’m now down to 6. It’s sort of a childhood memory thing.

The one the boy in the picture is wearing is the type I’ve been looking for, for a long time.

For me, this is the Holy Grail of Habs kids sweaters. It’s from the days when Morenz, Joliat, Mantha, and Hainsworth took to the ice. It also predates the era of Roch Carrier’s “The Hockey Sweater” by about 20 years.

In the back recesses of my mind I seem to think that I found out who this kid was when I was working at Classic Auctions several years ago. I’m unclear, but I’ll keep thinking about it. At least until I can’t remember what I was trying to remember, which could be soon.

He could’ve been the mascot, or the coach’s son, or the stickboy. Whatever he was, he was a lucky kid.

Maybe that’s him in the middle of the 1926-27 Habs.