Harvey Did It Often And Got Away With It


Please excuse the glue stains on the picture but it’s the only one I have that shows what I’m about to go on about.

As great as Doug Harvey was, and most agree it’s him and Bobby Orr as the best-ever on the blueline, he had one slightly daring habit that drove first coach Dick Irvin, and then Toe Blake, crazy. And I understand them. It would drive me crazy too.

Harvey had the breath-stopping habit of taking the puck directly in front of Bill Durnan or Jacques Plante or whoever else was in goal, on his way out of his end. Sometimes even through his own crease. Defencemen are taught from an early age never to do this. When it happens, the crowd gasps and the coach shakes his head. It’s a dangerous play and chances are, the player might ride the pine for a few shifts after that. Not to mention the other team could end up scoring in several different ways.

But Harvey, because he was so great, did it often and got away with it. But it didn’t mean his coaches had to be thrilled by it.

Dickie Moore, in Dick Irvin Jr’s wonderful book “The Habs”, tells this story:

“When Dick was coaching he was always after Doug about the way he would handle the puck around our goal crease. One night in Detroit, Dick went after him pretty good on the bench. The next shift he gets out and cuts in front of the net and nearly lost the puck to one of their guys, but he didn’t. He kept carrying it along by the boards, passed by where Dick was, and said, “See, coach, he missed me.” And this is right in the middle of a game against Detroit. We all started to laugh and so did Dick. How many guys would do that?

6 thoughts on “Harvey Did It Often And Got Away With It”

  1. Hey Dennis;I dont remember watching Harvey play but I’ve seen many clips of him darting down the ice,he was a great defenceman that is a given.The way his life after hockey went kinda sucks ,but he has a talent for the game that people wished they had.I bet that there were many more colorful moments that went on with the team in the years past,before things got so serious and money focussed.

  2. Derry, there’s tons of stories and I plan on mentioning dozens and dozens as we go along. Things are completely different now. For young guys coming to the league, and even to Montreal, it’s only about contracts and agents and getting the best deal or moving on. Rarely will you hear of someone saying that it was all about putting the sweater on. Back then they had fun on the trains and they went out together as a team,(except for Plante), and although they still needed to have a second job in the summer, they knew they were better off than most and were paid to do something they would’ve done practically for free. And back then when they signed an autograph, you could read it. Not like the scribbles they do now. Much has changed but things will be different when I become owner.

  3. I can’t wait to see you as Owner. You’ll be great! I might even had to travel and cheer your team. (Can’t when they play the B’s, conflict of interest!)

  4. well there is something posotive to look forward to in the nhl,maybe you could help vote bettman out on his ass as soon as you get the team

  5. “Rarely will you hear of someone saying that it was all about putting the sweater on.”

    The power of the sweater. It stirs the passions of Hab fans young and old…


    JM should have all his players watch this classic.

  6. Doug Harvey was so good that on December 7th he was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame by their Veterans Committee for Managers and Umpires.

    Diane, I recommend travelling to Montreal and cheering for the Habs. But the best experience is cheering for them against the Bruins. Come on, try it, you’ll really like it.

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