Tag Archives: Doug Harvey

A Happy Bunch

Circa 1954 Canadiens’ players, wives and girlfriends get together at Butch Bouchard’s Cabaret to enjoy some pops and chuckles.

Bouchard (in glasses), Maurice and Lucille Richard, Ken Mosdell, Doug Harvey, Elmer Lach and the rest of this happy bunch let off some steam during those glorious days when the Habs were close to embarking on five straight Stanley Cups.

Harvey’s in the forefront at the head of the table, and just behind Bouchard and to Elmer Lach’s left is Gerry McNeil with wife Theresa.

At the back, being served by the waiter, appears to be Bernie Geoffrion (with Marlene), and Ken Mosdell is directly across from Boomer.

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Stuff – Including Max Makes Team

I’m at work, I’m very busy, and I can only offer the following, which isn’t much.

Puck drops at 8:30 ET tonight in Dallas, and the question lingers – will the Canadiens continue to smell? We can only wait and see.

The U.S. Olympic team was announced following the Bridgestone Winter Classic, and George Parros isn’t on it.

But Max Pacioretty is.

First a baby boy, and not long after, an Olympic roster spot announcement.

Congrats Max.

And about the Winter Classic, with more than 105,000 fans in attendance at “The Big House” in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

The smallish yet shifty right winger skated casually out of his own end, and suddenly without warning, he burst in. It was like the others were standing still.

You can’t see the 105,000 fans here. They were far, far from the action, which has been my annual beef since these outdoor things began. Even the first row is probably a lousy view for the paying public, considering it’s about fifty feet from the boards.

But that’s their choice so maybe I’ll just shut up.

Anyway, the big rush.

Training Camp Blues

With training camp fever in the air, I just thought I’d add another training camp story after posting one the other day about a bunch of the ’66-’67 Leaf players not quite ready to report after suffering from aches and pains during the summer Training Camp

This next story is from the article below, about Doug Harvey returning for another season in New York and injuring himself before training camp started. The print’s a bit small so I’ll just copy it for you:

“Meanwhile, Harvey was conditioning himself for the start of training camp but ran into an unexpected obstacle when he broke a knuckle on his left hand while instructing a bunch of kids on how to play – football.

Harvey, it seems, was making a point with a piece of chalk on a blackboard when he stubbed his finger. A cast was placed on the hand but the hockey star said he was certain he would be all right by the opening of training camp.”

And hey, why not bring out the old Punch Imlach letter to Jim Pappin about reporting to camp ready for some push ups, sit ups, and golf – Training Camp Invitation

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Denis S. On The Ceiling

When I was at the Montreal Canadiens Hall of Fame at the Bell Centre the other day, I had a good look at all the honored members’ images on the ceiling in the lobby. They’re all in circles, so it’s kind of dizzying.

It took me a couple of days to figure out why Denis Savard is part of this. And make no mistake, I though Savard was a great player, a stickhandling demon. A guy with all kinds of slick moves. He’s a Hall of Famer because he was a great player with 17 years under his belt.

But he only played three years in Montreal, one where he scored just 16 goals. His glory years were in Chicago. It was unusual to see him lumped in with Vezina, Morenz, Richard, Harvey, Beliveau, Lafleur and the boys up there on the ceiling.

Ralph Backstrom, on the other hand, played 13 seasons in Montreal and won six Stanley Cups. But he’s not up there.

But after a couple of days, I figured it out. The Canadiens are honoring those who wore the CH and are in the Hockey Hall of Fame. So that was that.

Tony Esposito seems to be the only HOFer not on the ceiling. But he only played 13 games for the Canadiens and it’s not enough I guess. Whatever the minimum number is.

 

What’s Wrong With This Picture?

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What’s wrong with it? The great Doug Harvey is wearing a Rangers uniform, that’s what’s wrong with it.

Doug Harvey was a Canadiens from 1947 to 1961, winning six Norris Trophies in the process. He was the best of the best, but because he and Detroit’s Ted Lindsay started wondering out loud if  the owners were above board with players’ pension money, Doug was traded to the New York Rangers for Lou Fontinato at the end of the 1961 campaign. (Lindsay was banished to Chicago).

Doug’s first year as a Ranger was as player-coach, and he captured yet another Norris, his seventh. P.K. Subban has a ways to go.

What’s wrong with this picture. He should’ve retired as a Hab, because he was the Canadiens greatest defenceman. Usually it’s only Boston’s Bobby Orr that folks agree was as good or possibly better, and Orr in a Hawks uniform, a team he joined in 1976, didn’t seem right either.

Harvey’s sweater was retired by the Habs in 1985, which was about twenty years too late, but at least it got done. Although how could it not?

In a 1985 Tim Burke Montreal Gazette column, he writes that when Harvey was informed that his sweater would go up to the rafters, he was asked how he rated himself as a player. “I don’t know,” he replied. “I never saw myself play.”

Burke’s complete and interesting story about Harvey and the news of his sweater retirement can be seen here – Doug Harvey’s number 2 To Be Retired

I don’t like change. That’s why I’ve decided to stop aging. And I miss the young Sophia Loren, when she was only 65 or 70.

Here’s Orr, gone from the Bruins to Chicago, when his knees were shot. Like Harvey, a different uniform just wasn’t right. And below that, a fellow who never looked right in a Leafs uniform.

And then there’s the guy below him. I could on and on.

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Four Things

Congratulations to Chris Chelios, Brendan Shanahan, Scott Niedermayer, Women’s player Geraldine Heaney, and coach of the ’70s Broad St. Bullies, Fred Shero.

I remember reading the headline in the Montreal Gazette when Chelios was first called up to the Canadiens. “The Coming of Chris” it heralded, which I thought was a fun headline. Several years later when I was in Leningrad I mentioned that headline to a couple of Russians and they had no idea what I was talking about.

Good for the inductees. It’s a good crop, even though Shero was at the helm of those Broad St. maniacs.

I’m also one of those guys waiting for Paul Henderson to get the call.

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I’ve made it through a total of six days so far at Classic Auctions, which I think is a substantial number for a new guy. Today, among other things, I wrote about Jean Beliveau, Doug Harvey, Claude Provost, and Ted Harris 1960s game-used sticks. And a rhinestone brooch given to players and executives’ wives after the Habs won the Cup in 1946.

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Georges Laraque talks too much, and I think him saying George Parros isn’t intimidating enough in a competitive division isn’t very nice. George should stick to what he’s good at – smiling and wearing tight t-shirts.

Georges told La Presse, “I’m sure that when the Canadiens signed Parros, the Bruins and Shawn Thornton were relieved. In Ottawa and Toronto, they were relieved.”

Yes Georges. And you weren’t exactly Attila the Hun when you were playing. Especially when you were a Hab. You were a peacenik, even though you weren’t supposed to be. You hated beating up people so you stopped doing it. But you were being paid to beat up people.

Stop criticizing the new sheriff. It’ll be tough enough trying to live up to the expectations of Habs fans without being trashed by peers..

“He’s a good guy, but in the NHL you have to intimidate,” Laraque continued. “He has a good technique, but he’s more like a wrestler than a finisher…Florida wouldn’t let Parros go if he was doing the job.

Georges wouldn’t stop.

“Knowing the Montreal market, people will begin to wonder why they got this guy after two or three beatings. I know the guy – I know them all. But those who don’t believe me will see for themselves.”

Georges, you’re not being nice. Be quiet and run for politics.

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I’m going to say this anyway. I hate cell phones. Bring back the phone booth.

The Book’s Cover

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I’ve mentioned a few times over the years about the time I got a book for Christmas when I was kid, called Let’s Play Hockey, which my father sent away to Montreal and got signed by pretty well every Montreal Canadien player from the 1958-59 season, with just Doug Harvey’s signature missing.

Not long after, my dad took me to a Habs-Leafs game in Toronto and he brought the book, took it down by the Canadiens dressing room, found Toe Blake, and asked Toe if he would take the book into the room and have Harvey sign it for me, which Blake did. That’s Harvey’s autograph over on the left, on its own.

As you can see, Jacques Plante’s at the bottom, Toe Blake’s at the top, along with Maurice and Henri Richard, Jean Beliveau, Dickie Moore, Boom Boom Geoffrion, Jean Guy Talbot, Claude Provost, Tom Johnson, Marcel Bonin, Ralph Backstrom, Phil Goyette, Bob Turner, Ab McDonald, Don Marshall, Andre Pronovost, and Ian Cushenan.

This team, of course, was a Stanley Cup winner.

The brown marks are from scotch tape which I’d used to protect the signatures with plastic back then.

Just recently while going through some old programs, I found an ad for this book, and as you can see, it cost a whopping $1.50 back then, which was probably a couple of hours work for my dad. The dust jacket for my book is long gone, so discovering this ad was cool. I’d forgotten what the cover looked like.

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When They Were Young

My almost complete (missing four) 1954-55 Parkhurst set. And yes, it’s not a mint set and that’s fine. I like them just the way they are.

Detroit won the Stanley Cup this season, defeating Montreal four games to three in the finals. But the Canadiens were without Maurice Richard, who was on the sidelines serving a suspension which had triggered the infamous Richard Riot on March 17, 1955.

The next season, Montreal would begin their run of five straight Stanley Cups.

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Canada Storms Back Against Slovaks

Team Canada found themselves down 3-1 to the Slovakians midway through the second period before switching to fourth gear, pumping in five unanswered big ones, and ending up with a nice, convincing 6-3 win over this somewhat disciplined Eastern European club that favours a bottling-up type of game that can often be effective, as shown in their 3-2 overtime loss to the Russians the other day.

It certainly didn’t work today, though, because Canada showed patience, wherewithall, and the proverbial intestinal fortitude to storm back. It’s what Canada does. Always has, always will. We’re proud of this.

Canada also showed a bit of an edge which will have Nail Yakupov saying “See, I told you so!” J.C. Lipon took a five minute penalty, plus a game misconduct, for a crisp elbow to a Slovakian noggin, and later on, Anthony Camara was sent off with a five and game for charging which saw Slovak Patrik Luza leave on a stretcher. Not good, but anyway……

Canada now meets the U.S.A. on Sunday (4:30 a.m. eastern), which should be fun, with Alex Galchenyuk suiting up for the enemy. Galchenyuk managed one assist in his U.S. team’s 2-1 loss to Russia, and hopefully on Sunday he shines in a losing cause..

Little Known Fact:

The city of Ufa’s original name was Unrestrictedfreeagentgrad, but was shortened to Ufa when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. Unrestrictedfreeagentgrad was founded by Ivan the terrible, also known as defenceman Ivan Irvin, who played four games with Montreal during the 1952-53 season. Irvin ended up in what would become Unrestrictedfreeagentgrad after Montreal veterans Doug Harvey and Butch Bouchard hilariously decided to put the drunken rookie on a ship bound for Europe instead of the team train going to Chicago, as a rookie initiation joke.

Players back then were certainly a fun-loving bunch.

 

Smythe And Kid

When you see a building being built that takes maybe a year to finish, think about this; Maple Leaf Gardens was built during the depression in just five months.

It takes me that long to build a fence gate.

Conn Smythe recruited several rich buddies to invest in the Gardens, and when the money fell short by several hundred thousand dollars, he convinced the workers to trade twenty percent of their wages for shares in the building. The thing got built and the workers’ shares, that were bought for a dollar apiece, quickly increased by a hundred-fold.

Smythe was one powerful hockey man. After building Maple Leaf Gardens and a successful Leafs franchise, he was offered the presidency of the entire league, basically so the other owners would finally have this loud and forceful bully out of the way. But Smythe said no way was he becoming a yes-man to the owners. So they hired Clarence Campbell, who was the definitive yes-man and a guy the owners, especially Smythe, could manipulate like a puppet.

Think about the St. Patrick’s Day riot in 1955 in Montreal, when Campbell suspended Rocket Richard for the remainder of the season, plus all of the playoffs. Owners, especially Smythe, had been fed up with the Rocket causing havoc with officials throughout the league and wanted him reined in. Happily for them, they had Campbell to do their dirty work for them, who turned around and handed Richard that gigantic suspension that we still talk about every St. Patrick’s Day.

Years later, someone asked Stafford Smythe, Conn’s son who succeeded dad as Maple Leaf president, why they didn’t get rid of Campbell, who would, from time to time, piss the owners off. Stafford replied, “Where would we find another Rhodes scholar, graduate lawyer, decorated war hero, and former prosecutor at the Nuremberg trials, who will do what he’s told?”

Stafford seemed to be a man disliked by almost everyone who knew him. Howie Meeker punched him in the face during a disagreement about certain players when Howie was coaching the Leafs, and it seems whenever there’s mention of Stafford in various books, it involves bullying and manipulating, and it’s obvious the man had issues. Just not a nice person. Rude to the players’ wives. A tax evader, a fraudster, and a stealer of company funds.

Dad had more class than son.

Conn had a beautiful apartment built in the innards of the Gardens where he lived much of the time and where he called in many Gardens employees to yell at and often fire. How cool would that be? You don’t have to go out in the cold when you go to the games.

He also owned a thriving gravel pit where some of the Leafs worked, and a ranch where he raised prize racing horses.

Smythe held firm when it came to the players’ idea about forming a players association, and managed to prolong it for ten years, mostly by convincing all the teams to trade the main instigators, like Ted Lindsay and Doug Harvey, to other teams. He was very proud of this accomplishment. A union of course wouldn’t jive with Conn. He needed full control. He needed to be able to treat his players and coaches as he saw fit, and pocket much of the profits while being cheap about giving small raises to deserving players.

I wonder if Gary Bettman has a picture of him taped to the ceiling above his bed.

The old bastard also lobbied for years to stop Harvey Busher Jackson, one of his star players throughout the 1940′s in Toronto, from being inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame because he disapproved of Jackson’s drinking and womanizing. Smythe would quit hockey completely when Jackson was finally inducted in 1971.

He also didn’t like Roman Catholics and was mortified when son Stafford fell in love with and married one.

Conn Smythe was a piece of work, but raised countless dollars for crippled children. So he had a good side of him, I suppose. Although it doesn’t excuse him for all the other stuff. And that includes fathering Stafford.