Tag Archives: Henri Richard

Habs, Leafs, And Beatles

On August 17th in 1966, the Beatles played an afternoon show in Toronto at Maple Leaf Gardens.

I was there and I’m pretty darn proud of it.

I was 15 years old and had a summer job as a highway construction slave labourer, but the boss let me go early and I went down to Toronto from Orillia with a disc jockey my sister worked with at the local radio station. She had got word to me just that morning that the DJ was going and asked if I would like to go with him.

I didn’t have a ticket, but believe it or not, they were still available when I showed up at the Gardens, and I got a $5.50 ticket in the very last row on the floor.

It was madness, of course. There were about six bands in the lineup, including the Ronettes, the Cyrkle, and Bobby Hebb, and the Beatles in the finale played for about 40 minutes with girls screaming and fainting and carrying on.

That fall, hockey season began, and the next spring, the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Habs in six games to win their last Stanley Cup.

The Leafs were an old team with guys like Terry Sawchuk, Johnny Bower, Red Kelly, and Allan Stanley, but Montreal wasn’t that young either. Henri Richard was 30, John Ferguson 27, Claude Provost was 32, Dick Duff 30, Ted Harris 30, Jean-Guy Talbot was 34, Jean Beliveau was 35, and the goalies, Gump Worsley and Charlie Hodge, were 37 and 33 respectively.

Of course, Montreal also had the kiddies. Yvan Cournoyer was all of 22. Claude Larose was 23. Jacques Laperriere 24. And Serge Savard and Carol Vadnais were just 20.

John and Ringo were 26, Paul 24, and George 23.

The Habs and Beatles remain in the hearts of millions.

The Leafs continue to suck.

Canadiens Lose Rematch With Canes

They gave it the old college try I suppose. But one night after demolishing the Hurricanes in Quebec City, the Habs return to the friendly confines of the Bell Centre, hit some posts from time to time, don’t show an overabundance of oomph, and it becomes three exhibition losses in four games after dropping a 3-1 contest to the Canes.

But it’s still only preseason so there’s to be no judging or whining from me. I’m taking it easy, like I just had a session with the Maharishi.

We won’t see the real team until the dust settles. Until prospects pack up. Until set lines and set defence pairings are in place.

And hopefully we won’t see any more 0-8s on the power play.

Jarred Tinordi laid the body on a few times tonight and dropped the gloves, and it’s this sort of thing that’s going to earn him a true spot in the lineup where he can relax and rent a nice condo in Old Montreal and become a solid mainstay on the Habs blueline for many years. He hits hard, he does it well, and with him and Alexei Emelin in the lineup, along with some bone crushing from P.K., we have a team that punishes and it becomes a massive step on the way to a strong and dynamic team.

Up front, when you see Ryan White jawing and smiling and such, do you get the feeling this is a guy who will serve up another year’s worth of stupid penalties to put us behind the eight ball on way too many occasions? I find his act wearing thin.

Carey Price played the full game and I thought he looked good. He didn’t seem shaky and he shouldn’t considering he’s the number one guy, a veteran now, and if he’s shaky, we’re in big trouble.

Although it remains to be seen. He’s already been shaky this preseason. So we keep our fingers crossed.

Michael Bournival scored the lone goal for the Habs, his fourth in this preseason, and how can you send a guy down when he’s your leading scorer? Bournival is forcing his way into a regular spot and that’s how it works.

The Canadiens weren’t sure about Henri Richard when he reported to his first camp, but when Henri owned the puck in training camp and no one could take it away from him, he won the job and the rest is history.

Eleven Stanley Cups kind of history.

Random Notes:

Montreal outshot Carolina 42-27.

Next up – Monday, when New Jersey is in town.

Two more after that, a home and home with Ottawa on Wednesday and Thursday, and then we can say goodbye to all this preseason stuff and get on with the nitty-gritty.

 

The Bell Tour, Habs HOF, And Jerry

Walked 11 kilometers today through the streets of downtown Montreal, the third time I’ve done this. Although my beer gut doesn’t seem to be shrinking, and I’d like to know why.

Excuse me while I go to the fridge for a beer.

I began at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel, where I believe I stayed the first time I was in Montreal, when I was about 12. Although it seems swankier than I remember. Maybe it had a lobby facelift in the past 50 years. Maybe I just think I stayed there.

It’s also where John and Yoko staged their Bed-In for Peace, so of course I rode the elevator to the 17th floor so I could see the door.

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John and Yoko

I walked for blocks, sort of in a big circle, and I stopped in at the Bell Centre where I visited the Habs Hall of Fame. I loved it so much. It just wasn’t big enough, that’s all.

When I saw game-worn sweaters of Morenz, Joliat, Emile Bouchard, Rocket, Beliveau, Harvey, Pocket Rocket, Lafleur, and others, I got quivers down my backbone.

When I saw Aurele Joliat’s little cap he wore while playing, I got the shakes down the kneebone.

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Joliat

Rocket's sweater

Harvey

Then I took a tour of the Bell Centre, which was another lucky thing. I didn’t know I’d be doing any of this when I approached the building. I was just kind of casing the joint and everything happened to be open.

And the weirdest thing happened during the tour.

Several years ago, a guy in San Jose named Jerry Chan emailed me and told me he grew up in Montreal and was a Habs fan when he was a kid, and from that email, we struck up a friendship, emailing back and forth often about hockey and Montreal and all kinds of good stuff. Then I didn’t hear from him for about a year.

Midway through the tour today, a  fellow from the group walked over and asked me if I had a blog. Then he asked my name. Then he said he was Jerry Chan! Imagine that! He said the only picture he’d seen of me was from a few years ago that I had posted from a time when I was in Russia, but for some reason, he figured it was me.

Real nice fellow, Jerry Chan. It was great to meet him after so many emails. Especially by accident like that.

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seats

This, of course, is the Canadiens’ dressing room, which, the tour guy said, is the smallest dressing room in the league, partly because they wanted to keep it as similar as possible to the Forum dressing room. The other part I don’t remember. Something about moving from the Forum after the season had already started.

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More Long Weekend Hockey Coin Stuff

Ditto to yesterday’s post Long Weekend Hockey Coins, where the key words were “exhausted, 1961-62, Shirriff, and 140%.” And maybe “couch.”

Today, replace 1961-62 with 1962-62, and definitely include the words exhausted and 140%.

Hockey coins back then were a big success. I personally bought so many bags of Shirriff potato chips to get them, I probably paid for one of their new fancy potato slicing machines.

Below, my nice 60-coin 1962-63 metal set from Shirriff.

Burp.

The previous two years to this, coins were plastic.

The whole idea of hockey coins, along with with car coins, baseball coins, airplane coins etc, that came out during these years, was just fantastic. We had so much fun with these, at school and flipping against walls, and trying to get them all. Beautiful.

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Pocket’s Place

At one point in the latter part of the 1970s, my first wife and I, with our friends Mike and Diana Williamson, drove to Montreal from Ottawa and took in a game at the Forum.

Maybe if I had a few more memory cells I could remember the year and the team the Habs played. Maybe even who won. And other things that took place.

After the game, or maybe before, the four of us went to Henri Richard’s Tavern for food and beer. And lo and behold, the Pocket was there with his family. At least I think it was his family. Pretty sure it was. Maybe it wasn’t.

I had the card below signed on the back, and again, if my memory was somewhat normal, maybe I’d remember why it was that Henri happened to have his postcards with him. Did he usually take them with him when he went to dinner with his family? Was there a stack of them sitting on the table between the quarts of beer and the lamb chops? (Just guessing about the lamb chops).

Maybe I’d brought the picture with me.

Really, I can’t tell you a thing about any of this, but hopefully it’s slightly interesting anyway.

And as an extra bonus to this sensational story, I’ve included, at the bottom, an ad I saw on eBay of Henri modeling a cardigan sweater.

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The Other Scrapbook

Over the years I’ve shown my old Montreal Canadiens scrapbook many times, and can be found under “The Old Scrapbook” in the “Categories’ section. But I haven’t mentioned often that there is another scrapbook, an older one, that my dad and I made just before we started the big one.

And like the bigger scrapbook, the cover was painted by my father who was a sign painter.

It’s falling apart, most of the pictures in it are loose, but here it is, with a few samplings of what was in it.

The first two are of Claude Richard, the Rocket and Henri’s brother who is a year younger than Henri and born sixteen years after Maurice. Claude, also known back then as Vest-Pocket, never made it to the NHL, but he came close, and joined his two brothers in training camp on the same line for a short time.

From the Hockey Hall of Fame website: “In 1958, a third Richard brother came close to cracking the lineup with the Montreal Canadiens. Claude Richard had been a terrific goal scorer with the junior Ottawa-Hull Canadiens team that featured future Canadiens Bobby Rousseau, Ralph Backstrom, Gilles Tremblay and J.C. Tremblay. “Claude had pretty well everything you need to play in the NHL except he wasn’t a good skater. He had a good shot. Then, there were only six teams. If it had been the seventies, he might have made the NHL,” shrugs Henri.

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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.

book

 

 

 

 

A Night At The Station

Happy St. Patrick’s Day to everyone. On this day you’re an Irishman no matter what your roots are, and that’s a good thing. Except for the hangover you might have tomorrow morning.

I’ve talked many times about the Richard Riot that took place on March 17, 1955, and today, instead of going on about what you already know, I’d like to show a recent comment here from a fellow named Eric Buch.

Here’s what he wrote. It’s just one sentence, but it’s a beauty.

“The first game that my brother ever went to see at the Forum at the age of nine (March, 1955) featured the “Richard Riot” – tear gas, cars turned over and store windows smashed for many blocks down Ste. Catherine Street.”

I felt that was so fantastic. Imagine, the first time you go to an NHL game and you find yourself in the middle of history being made.

Eric also tells us about the time his teacher took the class down to the Westmount station one night to meet the Habs, and lo and behold, they all showed up.

Again, here’s Eric:

“Every year she would take the girls in her class to see the Ice Capades at the Montreal Forum and the boys to a Montreal Canadiens game. Her husband was a conductor for Canadian Pacific Rail and was able to find out which station the Habs would be leaving from to head to their next game. We went to Westmount station just before midnight (we were about the only ones there) and, sure enough, within minutes the entire Canadiens team came into the waiting room. It was Nirvana – seeing our hockey heroes, talking with them and getting their autographs – and a night that I will never forget.”

“By my calculation, it would have been January or February of 1965. Beliveau was the Captain and other players I recall meeting that night included Richard (“Pocket Rocket”), Backstrom, Rousseau, Laperriere, JC Tremblay, Cournoyer, Provost, Ferguson and ‘Gump’ Worsley. They don’t make ‘em like that any more.”

 

Rangers Again

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Above, Rod Gilbert and Jean Ratelle battle for the puck with Henri Richard. The Pocket Rocket stood only 5’7″ and weighed just 160 pounds or so, but he was one tough hombre and had no problem holding his own against bigger guys. He was also a skilled playmaker and is the proud owner of eleven Stanley Cups, the most of any player ever. He doesn’t have enough fingers for all these.

Meanwhile, just four days after the Habs and Rangers last met, in which Montreal beat the Broadways 3-1 and N.Y. coach John Tortorella said it was “just two bad teams playing,” they meet again, this time at the Bell Centre. Maybe the Habs will impress the guy a little more this time out.

And of course there was that slight collapse on Thursday against the Islanders that can’t be allowed to fester.

Here’s a nice interview with former Ranger and valuable new Hab Brandon Prust in the NY Daily News just prior to Tuesday’s game at Madison Square Garden -  Prust talks about …..Yes it’s a little late, but it’s still interesting.

24CH Shows Wonderful Moments

I was fascinated by the first episode of 24CH, and I need more. And more are coming, I just don’t know when yet.

To hear the speeches from Marc Bergevin and Michel Therrien to the boys. To give Dr. Mulder a mulligan by Therrien for walking on the crest on the floor, but told to never do it again; to see an incredibly serious Alex Galchenyuk told by Bergevin and Therrien that he’d made the team.

To see 17,000 Habs fans, who stood in the bitter cold before the free scrimmage at the Bell Centre, and as many came in a certain entrance, there was the entire team was standing in a line to greet them, along with Guy Lafleur, Rejean Houle, and Henri Richard, plus, I’m sure, many others I didn’t see.

To hear Geoff Molson tell us he’d had a lot of time to think about and talk to others about what went wrong last year, and to hear the coach and the general manager say that this year will not be like last year, that there will be no more excuses, that in a shortened season there will be surprises, and it’s the team’s job to be one of those surprises.

I’m all choked up. I could watch about four hours of this stuff.

Can’t wait for the next one.