Tag Archives: Didier Pitre

Cannonball Pitre

Didier Pitre, nicknamed ‘Cannonball’, was a huge and gentlemanly player who played defence, rover, and forward for the Canadiens, and was the first Hab signed in the 1909 National Hockey Association.

Pitre’s career ended in 1923 while with the newer NHL, which had formed in 1917. He skated for a while on a line with his old friend Jack Laviolette, who had assembled the team in the first place, and another original, the great Newsy Lalonde.

It seems there was a slight problem back then with the uniform budget.

Regardless, in my mind the big fellow looked like a million bucks.


Habs Handle Caps

Old mitts. Maybe older than you.

The Canadiens held on and edged the Washington Capitals 2-1 on Caps ice, and displayed a fine rebound game after their pathetic effort Friday against the San Jose Sharks.

Artturi Lehkonen and Jeff Petry scored for Montreal, and Carey Price made his own personal statement.

After the Canadiens’ great start, especially in October when they racked up eight wins and a shootout loss, each win now makes their chances of making the post season even more secure.

It also means that although they have their down moments, like the Sharks game, or that 10-0 thing in Columbus, once the playoffs start you’ll forget completely about the regular season.

You say you won’t but you will.

And if you look at last year, the year of The Nightmare (also known as The Worst Habs Season Ever), you’ll see that the collapse to end all collapses began in December, when they won the first game of the month, then dropped the next four, won again in the middle of the month, then lost another six, and then won just once more before falling in their final game of December.

Three wins in December and three times in January. And the sky did fall.

But I’m now happy to report that the 2016-17 team has won four times already in December, with six games to go, and they remain top of the heap with Pittsburgh and a couple of other pretenders.

So they’ll make the playoffs (yes they will), we’ll forget about anything else, and then they’ll win the Stanley Cup because everyone will be healthy (Andrei Markov left early tonight) and Brendan Gallagher and Tomas Plekanec will see their luck change and light several lamps as the CH steamrolls everyone in their path..

Oh, you have your doubts? Well you obviously haven’t been talking to Sprague Cleghorn and Didier Pitre like I have.

Where Were You In 1910?

This is a 1910 Canadian large cent. Pennies were bigger back then and only became the size they are now in 1920.

The Montreal Canadiens played their first hockey game on January 5, 1910 against the Cobalt Silver Kings. The team won, but only barely, squeaking out a tight 7-6 win over the Cobalters.

Maybe this penny was in the pocket of someone who was at the game! Maybe it belonged to Jack Laviolette or Didier Pitre or Newsy Lalonde! Maybe it was in the pocket of one of those scoundrel Cobalt fans.

Montreal Canadiens born in 1910 include Jack Riley, Jean Pusie, Jack McGill, Bob Gracie, and Wilf Cude, and you can be forgiven for not knowing most of these names as Riley played just 10 games in total from 1933 to 1935; Pusie played only 38 games between 1930 and ’36; McGill managed 134 games over three years – 1934 to ’37; and Bob Gracie played just 7 games in a Habs uniform in 1938, although he did rack up about 400 NHL games in total with other teams.

Wilf Cude, however, had more of a solid Habs career. He was a goaltender for the Canadiens between 1933 and 1941 and suited up for 249 regular season games with the club, managing 22 shutouts and a 2.90 goals against average.

Also born in 1910! Mother Teresa, Jacques Cousteau, and Bonnie Parker of Bonnie and Clyde fame.

Introducing The Coin Collection

I ‘ve carried around a certain amount of pride for much of my life – that I was one of the youngest paperboys in Orillia with one of the biggest paper routes.

Religiously, after school, I would push and ride my bike up and down hills, putting first the Toronto Telegram and later the Toronto Star and Orillia Packet and Times, between doors. I’d collect weekly payments from the stay-at-home moms and I also enjoyed that the older women took a liking to me and gave me big tips and chocolates at Christmas as a thank you.

I also developed a habit when I was a paperboy. I began to look closely at the change, and ended up with a nice little coin collection.

In 1920, as a result of people having sex in 1919, many babies were born, including Mickey Rooney and the great saxophonist Charlie Parker. Prohibition raised its ugly head that year,and it’s a sad thing indeed when we see old clips of the feds in their fedoras pouring illegal booze down drains.

My father was also born in 1920. He’ll be 90 in October.

In the news that year, Babe Ruth was sold by the Boston Red Sox to the New York Yankees for $125,000 which must have sucked in a big way for Red Sox fans, and Canada introduced a 1% Federal sales tax.

In hockey, the Ottawa Senators beat the Seattle Metropolitans in 1919-20 to win the Stanley Cup, and in 1920-21, those same Senators won the Cup again by beating the Vancouver Millionaires.

The 1920 Montreal Canadiens iced a fairly respectable team with Newsy Lalonde, Georges Vezina, and Didier Pitre in the lineup, but they ended up third overall behind the Ottawa Senators and Toronto St. Pats and didn’t make the playoffs.

Curiously, I could only find three Montreal Canadien players born in 1920 – Jack Adams, who played just one year in the NHL in 1940-41, Marcel Dheere, a left winger who managed 16 games for the Habs in 1942-43, and the great Emile “Butch” Bouchard. (Although there seems to be some confusion with both Dheere and Bouchard, who may have been born in 1918 and 1919 respectively. My dates come from Claude Mouton’s book, The Montreal Canadiens.)

100 Years Of Heroes And Dreams

001A hundred years of heroes and dreams. A hundred years of men donning the sweater and taking to the ice.  A hundred years of kids watching and reading about, dreaming and becoming. From the time Didier Pitre took a pass from Jack Laviolette and slid it over to Newsy Lalonde, little boys donned the sweater, the bleu, blanc, et rouge, and they became Pitre and Lalonde and all those who came later. kids-sweater1-150x150

From the time Georges Vezina began stopping pucks for Les Canadiens, little kids wanted to stop pucks too, on lakes and ponds and old rinks throughout, and when they wore the sweater, they made the saves with people cheering them, and for all those winter nights near their homes, they were Georges Vezina.

Like magic they became Howie Morenz and Aurele Joliat, Toe Blake and George Hainsworth. They wore the sweater on nights so cold it should be illegal, slapping old rubber balls into snowbanks, stopping cow pies on slews, deking friends and sisters and little kids on the pond. wearing the red or white sweater with the simple and beautiful CH crest sewn on front.004

They became the Rocket, and Lach, Bouchard and Harvey, and they saw the game in their dreams. Behind the skaters they were Durnan and Plante crouched by the net, and when the time came, they were the Boomer and Big Jean scoring on the power play. It unfolded at the Forum and the Olympia and Conn Smythe’s old barn and the outdoor rink frozen in winter at the baseball field. And kids heard them on the radio and saw them in black and white and shuffled their bubblegum cards, wearing the sweater and becoming anyone they wanted to be, just when they wanted to be. 003

The wore the sweater when the Pocket Rocket wouldn’t give up the puck, when the Boomer boomed, and when the Gumper kicked out his pads. They opened boxes at Christmas and there was one to put on right away, and they were Ken Dryden and Lafleur and the Big Bird. And their kids and kid brothers wore the sweater when Patrick Roy and the Little Viking, and then Kovalev and Koivu, graced the ice. Now new guard takes their place, and kids are becoming them too.


They said goodbye to the Forum and to the Rocket and all those others who went when it was time and when it wasn’t time, and they wiped little drops of tears from their sweater. And they smiled and clapped and looked above as they watched the sweaters of their heroes raised triumphantly to the rafters.


Now, every night, the Bell Centre is packed with young and old, still wearing the sweater of the Montreal Canadiens. It’s been a dream for a hundred years. We are Georges, Howie, the Rocket and Guy. We’re Patrick and Saku and Price and Gionta and Markov.

We wear the sweater whether we have a sweater or not, and we celebrate. 002





Introducing The 2009-2010 Habs Third Jersey

Now that I have more than $150 and several readers willing to take part with me, I’m probably very close to making Molsons an offer they can’t refuse, and buying the Canadiens. And because of that, I need to get ready, so I’ve decided to go ahead and make a few changes – changes I feel will be a nice touch for our team.

Below, as part of the ongoing centennial celebrations, a model displays the new retro uniforms which I will be introducing at a press conference to be held at a later date. I like to call it the game-used look, and I wouldn’t be surprised if other teams embrace my idea and do a version of their own. (And by the way, as owner, I may be the lone wolf who votes to move the Phoenix Coyotes to Canada.)


Didier Pitre Looked Splendid Anyway

Didier Pitre, nicknamed “Cannonball,” was a huge, gentlemanly player who played defence, rover, and forward, and was the first Montreal Canadien player signed in 1909 in the National Hockey Association. Pitre’s career ended in 1923 with the newer NHL, which had formed in 1917.  He skated for a while on a line with his old friend Jack Laviolette, who had assembled the team in the first place, and another original, Newsy Lalonde

This great photo is from the recent Sports Illustrated special edition, “The Canadiens Century” and it seems there was a slight difference back then when it came to the uniform budget. Regardless, the big fellow looked like a million bucks.