Category Archives: Terry Harper

Curtain Comes Down On The Old Scrapbook

This is the final installment of The Old Scrapbook.

It’s been a treat for me because I’ve always been proud to show it off, right from the time it was new. I was talking to an old friend the other day who had come across my blog by accident, emailed me, and the next thing we knew we were chatting on the phone. We hadn’t seen each other since grade eight and one of the things he mentioned was that he remembers coming over to my house when we were about 12 and looking through my scrapbook.

Once again it’s a potpourri of Habs universe, ending off with a glossy photo of the Rocket scoring his final NHL goal, his 626th, which occurred on April 12, 1960. I had written to one of the Toronto newspapers right after it happened and asked for a copy of the photo, which they sent.

Thanks for having a look at this old book. I’m very proud of it, and like I’ve mentioned before, if you go over to “Categories” on the right side and scroll down to “The Old Scrapbook”, you’ll see all the entries.

Carry On Wayward Scrapbook

This edition of the scrapbook shows players’ kids, fights, action shots, and a veritable cornucopia of many things Habs.

Hey Scrapbookin, Whatcha Got Cookin?

This episode begins with a reply from Sam Pollock after I’d asked the team when I was a kid if I could be stick boy for one game. Good old Sam said if they did it for me they have to do it for others too so I’ll just have to be content to watch and enjoy instead. Give the letter a couple of clicks and make it bigger.

Also, Jean Beliveau does some modeling at Christmas, and a host of other things I hope you like.

And for any of you who may not know, all of my scrapbook posts can be found by going over to “Categories” on the right-hand side and scrolling down to “The Old Scrapbook.”

The Old Scrapbook Choo Choo Train Chugs Along

A few things to mention as we continue down the old scrapbook trail. Included in this post is an old letter I’d written asking if a crest I saw on one of the Rocket’s sports jackets was available to the public but Frank Selke Jr. wrote back and said it wasn’t.

The huge face of the Rocket you see is from an old Vitalis sign that was in the barbershop window in Orillia that the barber gave to me. It’s made of thick cardboard and because of its thickness, it was the beginning of the pages starting to come apart.

Also in this edition is a picture of Jacques Plante and it appears to be autographed, which I didn’t know about until now. I researched this picture and could only find the same thing minus the signature. I suppose it’s possible that when the Canadiens sent me these pictures, they included the signed Plante, which I never noticed.

The Hills Are Alive….With The Sound Of Scrapbook

Just when you least expect it, I hit you with more scrapbook. And once again, I’ll just mention that all of my previous scrapbook posts can be found over in “Categories” under “The Old Scrapbook.” I’ll also mention again, although you probably know this, that the pictures can be enlarged by clicking on them.

Terry Harper Doesn’t Know How Much We’re Suffering

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I phoned Terry Harper this morning, just to say hello and also to take him up on his invitation from several months ago to call him again after I’d had a nice long chat with him back then. Shooting the breeze with Terry Harper

He said “call me again” and so I did.

He was a tall, stay-at-home defenceman of the Canadiens of the 1960’s, big number 19, when we were proud of the team and weren’t mad at them on an almost nightly basis. His regular defence partners most of the time were either Jacques Laperriere or Ted Harris and all three were towering skyscrapers when the league didn’t have a lot of towering skyscrapers. Terry was one of my favourites growing up, but then again, every player on the team was one of my favourites.

He also had a good brushcut.

Anyway, I wanted to make it a quick call because I don’t like to bother people but Terry is salt-of-the-earth, friendly as friendly can be, so I knew he wouldn’t mind.

He didn’t. In fact, when saying goodbye he told me to call again!

I told him I saw him introduced during the Centennial celebrations at the Bell Centre in December and I mentioned he looked great and hasn’t changed a bit from the old days. He said I must have been wearing some 3-D glasses or glasses that were the wrong prescription. And he said it was a fantastic night, seeing so many old teammates like Bobby Rousseau, Ralph Backstrom and Jean Beliveau, and everyone stayed in the same hotel and it was all done up right for them and their wives.

He said it was also great seeing not just old teammates but so many old friends from Montreal. But he did mention that there was no chance he’d be moving back there anytime soon because it’s just too cold. (He and his wife live in California.)

I did, however, also want to ask him about the struggling Habs now, but because he gets very little news and isn’t much of a computer guy, he isn’t really up to date on the problems we see as tormented Habs fans. So all he could say about the team being in trouble is he wouldn’t want to be Bob Gainey and that the goaltending situation is almost impossible to really know how to handle.

And that was that. A quick chat with Terry Harper. And yes, it could’ve been more in-depth. But it wasn’t which means I’ll never be asked to work for 60 Minutes or The Fifth Estate. But like I say, I didn’t want to bother him.

You can see Terry’s years in the NHL right here.


Habs Stomp On Bruins To Kick Off The Next 100 Years

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007It began with heart-warming moments. Onto the ice in full uniform came Guy Lafleur, Ken Dryden, Pete Mahovlich, Larry Robinson, Bob Gainey, Steve Shutt, and a host of others. It was like seeing a 1976 pre-game warmup.

And the best was yet to come. Others were introduced, and for me personally, seeing Ralph Backstrom, Bobby Rousseau and Terry Harper come out were special moments. I wanted to play like Backstrom and couldn’t, so instead I got a brush-cut like him. I wanted to shoot like Bobby Rousseau but few could, and anyway, I had a nice brush-cut like Backstrom. And I recently had a friendly and interesting chat on the phone with Terry Harper, who also had a brush-cut when he played.

But it was great seeing all the players. A whole cross-section of those from different decades, like the 1940’s Bob Fillion, Elmer Lach and Emile Bouchard, right up to modern times with guys such as Vincent Damphousse, Pierre Turgeon and Mike Keane. Coaches were there – Scotty Bowman, Claude Ruel, Jean Perron, Jacques Demers. And crusty old trainer Eddie Palchak came out in his trainers jacket and threw a couple of pails of pucks on the ice, like he did so many times in the past.

Next in line was seeing Lach and Bouchard finally have their numbers 16 and 3 sent up to the rafters. And as a capper, Ryan O’Byrne gave up his number three forever when he took it off and presented it to Bouchard, and O”Byrne is now number 20.

And then, to top everything off, the Habs trounced Boston 5-1, with Mike Cammelleri scoring three times. The team was solid, although a few less penalties would’ve been nice. And Carey Price was terrific, turning back 37 shots fired at him and looking like Ken Dryden and Patrick Roy, who surely were pulling in a big way for the youngster from their private box.

Such a turnaround after the zombie-like performances against Toronto and Buffalo. But I suppose when you’re playing in front of all those legendary figures up above watching, you need to bring your ‘A’ game. And they did and it was the best birthday present the team could give themselves. And us.

Ken Dryden said it perfectly, as he always does. When he speaks, it’s like he’s writing a book, his words flow with grace and smarts. Dryden said the 2009-10 team can never be the team of the 1950’s or 1970’s or any other year. For the players, it’s now their team, their century, and it’s up to them to create their own history.

The team of today must have heard Dryden, and they came out with a huge win on a huge night. The birthday party is ending, and a new team is born.

Random Notes;

Along with Cammalleri’s three goals, Glen Metropolit and Jaroslav Spacek also lit the lamp.

Gordie Howe came out carrying a Maurice Richard jersey. This is very poignant because they were never friends and Howe said many times he wasn’t crazy about the Rocket, even long after both had retired.

Philadelphia’s in town Monday. This is a team in slight disarray and it would be an excellent time to take advantage of their fragility.

Nice to see wooden sticks the old players carried, and Dryden’s mask.

I’m thinking about getting a brush-cut.

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It’s Good To Be Bubbly

Carey Price will be in nets, as you probably already know, for the 8:30ET game in Chicago.

We usually don’t know if this is good, bad, fantastic, disappointing or frustrating until the game is over. Because that’s the way it is when you watch the Canadiens.

But being the bubbly, effervescent, power-of-postive-thinking kind of guy I am,  I know exactly that our young goalie will be just fine as the team rolls over the Hawks and then destroys the Leafs tomorrow night.

Is This The Team? Maybe, Maybe Not. And What About PK Subban?

It would be nice if we could look at the existing Habs lineup and go through it and examine and say, yes, that’s it, should be good. But there seems to be no sense yet in doing this, because this might not be the final team. Bob Gainey has hinted that an impact player may still be in the works, which means a trade is possible. And to get an impact player, it generally means a bundle of players would be on the move. Which means players like Tomas Plekanec, Ryan O’Byrne and the Kostitsyn’s better start (a) having a brilliant training camp, and (b) suck up to Bob a bit more.

So the lineup we see today could change in the near future.

It also seems that as impressive as young defenceman PK Subban has looked in rookie camp and before, he still won’t hit the big time. Not yet anyway. Hopefully the young fellow realizes there is no rush for Habs brass to bring him up – that there’s still fine tuning to be done, things to be worked on, and a slight maturing yet to develop.

Teams are usually in no hurry to bring up fresh-faced defencemen. They must bide their time. Terry Harper told me that he was called up to the Canadiens after being captain of the Regina Pats, and quickly learned what the press box looked like. He said he’d spend five games or so up top in the box, then be given a train ticket to Hull-Ottawa or Quebec where he’d continue to hone his craft, then called up later only to spend another five games or so in the press box before it was time to get back on another train. Or he’d watch the Habs from the box on Saturday night, then play for the Montreal Royals on Sunday. He did this for two full years before finally cracking the big team lineup.

Of course Subban may see action sooner if someone doesn’t perform to expectations and change is needed, and it would be interesting to see how how he looks. But all we can do now is wait for him to notch a minor pro year on his belt and then come out strong when he’s ready.

And of course, there’s always the thought that he could be part of a package Gainey puts together to land a big fish, which would be fodder for armchair critics for years to come.

Only time will tell when it comes to PK Subban’s NHL career, but it looks good. Looks good, indeed. As long as he’s wearing a Canadiens uniform.

Montreal’s 2009-2010 team looks like this so far. As you can see, there’s a few too many, so either being traded or sent down are the only two options for a couple of these guys.

Up front – Mike Cammalleri, Scott Gomez, Brian Gionta, Max Pacioretty, Tomas Plekanec, the Kostitsyn brothers, Guillaume Latendresse, Maxim Lapierre, Travis Moen, Glen Metropolit, Georges Laraque, Matt D’Agostini, Greg Stewart, and Kyle Chipchura.

On the blueline – Andrei Markov, Roman Hamrlik, Jaroslav Spacek, Paul Mara, Josh Gorges, Hal Gill, Ryan O’Byrne, and Yannick Weber. (And insert PK Subban just for fun.)

And last but not least – Carey Price and Jaroslav Halak

Waking Up To A Wonderful Email

This very special email arrived this morning;

“Your recent interview with Terry Harper was excellent. You are an exceptional writer. It was such a pleasure to read his comments and his thoughts on his fellow players of his era. He always was a down-to-earth, good guy. It is very nostalgic to revisit the 6 team era with memories being shared by the former players of that time. In the early to mid 1960’s I was a student at McGIll and saw many of the Leaf’s-Canadiens games as I was friends with Jim Roberts and many of the Leafs. I was the late Carl Brewer’s life partner.”

Susan Foster

I was really touched by this and so I wrote her back and asked if I could put this on my site. She replied;

Hi Dennis:

Yes, you certainly may publish my note to you.

You have excellent taste being such a ‘Habs’ fan all these years!  There hasn’t been a finer franchise in the history of the league and they certainly treat their former players with respect and dignity as well. I hope you never change elegance.

Best regards,

Susan

And about her life partner, Carl Brewer? He was a steady defenceman for the Toronto Maple Leafs in the days of the Original Six, with a solid career beginning in 1957 and lasting until 1980. He locked horns with coach Punch Imlach many times during the 1960’s simply because he wasn’t a slave to any master. He was his own man, and stood up for himself and others often during these days when players had almost no say whatsoever with management. Brewer also spent time in Detroit and St. Louis, was a member of the Canadian National team for a year, and even became player-coach of the Finnish National team. He was eventually inducted into the Finnish Hall of Fame, although he was Canadian through and through.

Carl Brewer was also one of hockey’s most intelligent hockey players. He was a learned man, scholarly like Ken Dryden, and when he was interviewed between periods on Hockey Night In Canada, you’d think you were listening to a university professor, not a hockey player. He was so well-spoken, so insightful, so original.

Brewer also spearheaded the fight against his former agent Alan Eagleson, which resulted in jail time for the disgraced agent who had defrauded millions of dollars from his clients like Brewer and Bobby Orr. Many players from that era can thank Carl Brewer for fighting the good fight for them.

A short biography of this great man can be seen here.

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