Tag Archives: Jean Beliveau

Remembering Jim Roberts

Forum program

I’d just turned 15 and was at the Montreal Forum for a game between the Habs and New York Rangers. My first visit to the shrine a handful of years before it was renovated, after seeing so many games from my living room and on those old Molson films we’d see at banquets or at the Hall of Fame down at the CNE.

I’ve mentioned before about this trip, about how I was a bit drunk when my dad picked me up at the bus station when I came back to Orillia. But the bus was full of older guys, all with bottles, and I had no choice.

When the siren sounded to end this game in Montreal, my friend and I wandered down to rinkside to look at the big CHs at centre ice. This is what I’d wanted to do as much as see the game. Go down to ice level and be close to the logos that I had only seen on grainy television.

We also saw trainers wheel out the players’ equipment bags on carts from the corridor near the dressing room. I can picture this like it was yesterday, and at the time it was very cool. A couple of trainers and a bunch of duffle bags lives on in my memory.

Nearby I spotted Jim Roberts, the all-important defensive forward who sometimes played defence, talking to someone, so I went up and asked him to sign my program, which he did and which you can barely see in the photo of the program above, just below Jean Beliveau and Jim Neilson.

Roberts was extremely nice and chatted with me, asking where I was from and such. He had no idea how much this impressed me. So much so that I decided to start a Jim Roberts Fan Club. It would be almost like being on the team for goodness sakes. Inside the Habs inner circle. What a fantastic idea this was.

The next step was writing Red Fisher, and I told him of my plan to start a Jim Roberts Fan Club. Red wrote back, (I had this letter for years but don’t anymore), and he said he’d mention this to Roberts the first chance he got.

I never heard back. Maybe Jim Roberts was waiting for me. Maybe he waited all season for his fan club to begin. Maybe Red forgot to tell him. Regardless, soon enough I realized I couldn’t start a Jim Roberts Fan club. I had school and hockey and the British Invasion bands were invading. I didn’t have time for this.

Where was I going to get stuff to send to members? How could I afford stamps? What would I write about, other than the fact that Jim Roberts was a good player and was nice to me when I asked for his autograph?

Jim Roberts passed away on Friday from cancer at age 75. He was a key member of five Stanley Cup teams in Montreal – 1965, ’66, ”73, ’76, and ’77, and a smart and hard worker whose true value came from shutting down big guns on other teams, much like Bob Gainey and Doug Jarvis, two guys who probably learned plenty from playing alongside Jim in the 1970s, would.

He was never a huge star. But his star shone brightly for me, not only for what he did while wearing the CH, but because he was so nice to me when I was young. I’m very much saddened by his passing.





Streak Reaches Four!


Now that’s some kind of season-opening road trip.

Four games, four wins. Success in Toronto, Boston, Ottawa, and a tidy 3-2 win in Pittsburgh on Tuesday. Road bonding. Kanata nightlife. Four goals during the stretch for new captain Max.

Now it’s the friendly confines of the Bell Centre on Thursday where this 2015-16 edition of the Canadiens will be introduced before tackling the visiting Blueshirts, who at this moment are considering calling in sick.

Zack Kassian, presumably watching this unfold, must be feeling lousy. He’s missing all this good stuff, and we could’ve used him to smash Chris Kreider’s ribs into bone dust.

And the game in Pittsburgh? Two goals by captain Max, beginning with the opener in the first frame after some nice work by Brendan Gallagher to get the puck over, and with Tomas Plekanec causing fine havoc in front.

The Pens would even things in the second after Nathan Beaulieu was caught at the enemy blueline, allowing Beau Bennett to skate in. (I hadn’t realized that parents named their kids ‘Beau’ nowadays, but apparently they do. They don’t seem to call them ‘Dennis’ though.)

But then it happened (in the game, not the kids’ names). Not only did Max’s second goal put his team ahead again, it was also on the power play of all things. A power play that was nicely quarterbacked by Jeff Petry. A power play that went 1/2 on the night and now stands at 2 for 16. Maybe Petry is the key to untangling this mess.

That’s one small step for the power play, one giant leap for mankind. Or something like that.

Later in the second, a bit of a deflection from far out fooled Carey Price, and the game was tied once again. It’s weird to type that – “from far out fooled Carey Price.” 

But we forgive him. And we’ll probably forgive him two or three more times this season.

The Canadiens won it in the third period after a broken play saw Dale Weise miss David Desharnais with a long stretch pass, but wee DD hustled to the corner, grabbed the elusive biscuit, and sent it to newcomer Tomas Fleischmann who made no mistake. And which kept the beauty of a streak alive and well..

A fine win, capped off by Price robbing Sidney Crosby with just 2:17 left in the game.

What a start to the season, and they have a chance to extend it to five in front of a rip roaring Bell Centre crowd on Thursday.

Again, Zack can’t be feeling great about this. It must be like being locked in a room while your buddies are splashing in the pool with Playboy bunnies.

Random Notes:

Pittsburgh outshot Montreal 33-30.

Everyone on the team has at least a point, except for Tom Gilbert, Alexei Emelin, and Devante Smith-Pelly. Max leads the team with 6, while Markov, P.K., and Galchenyuk sit at 4.

This, from Mike McKim on Facebook –

Knock, knock,
Who’s there?
Foreign who?
FOUR and OH!




Orr Town

I dislike the Boston Bruins as much as anyone. Can’t stand them. Hate the uniform. When I see someone on the street wearing a Bruins sweater or jacket I say to myself, yep, there’s the friggin’ enemy.

I’m a Habs fan, so these are natural feelings. I have no control over this.

But disliking the Bruins has never stopped me from feeling that Bobby Orr is the greatest to ever lace ’em up. Better than Gretzky. Better than Howe and Lemieux and Beliveau. And yes, better than my lifelong idol, the Rocket.

Any of this can be debated. I just don’t have the energy.

Orr was magnificent, the Norris Trophy was his for eight straight seasons, but his career lasted just nine full seasons because of those wretched knees. It’s one of the hockey’s true tragedies.

Below, some photos I took in Orr’s hometown Parry Sound while driving from Powell River to Montreal to start my job at Classic Auctions back in 2013. Parry Sound is about 60 miles northwest of Orillia, where I grew up.


-A sign on the highway, of course.
-The house Orr grew up in. The Seguin River, where he honed his skills, is just across the street.
-The name of his street, Great North Rd. (He lived just three houses around the corner from the main drag).
-Orr’s Deli, owned by his dad’s brother. A couple of his nieces work there.
-A big wooden sign in the deli. Too bad about the uniform.
-And outside the Orr Hall of Fame, which was closed.

Orr sign

Orr's house

Orr street


Inside deli

Orr hall of fame

Readable Shin Pads




You can say to yourself, after looking at these pictures, that wow, skates in the 1937-38 Eaton’s catalog were only a couple of bucks,  sticks a buck or less, sweaters just two bucks or so, and  jock straps at $1.95 for top of the line Protex.

Beats those $350 sticks and $800 skates and all that.

But the average wage then hovered around fifty cents an hour and folks had just suffered through the Dirty Thirties. A buck or 50 cents was still a lot, unless your name was Babe Ruth or John Dillinger.

And instead of buying shin pads for 98 cents, more often than not, kids strapped on these Eaton’s catalogs for free and they worked just fine.

You’ll noticed that Toronto Maple Leafs star Red Horner endorsed the top of the line, $4.95 skates. Horner starred for the Buds from 1928-29 to 1939-40.

You can also see, in the second photo, Montreal, Toronto, Chicago, and New York Americans sweaters, but without the crests. This kind of explains why it’s so difficult to find crested sweaters from those days. If Eaton’s didn’t sell them, who did?

Speaking of sweaters, the Canadiens are going with the laced-neck style this upcoming 2015-16 season, something the boys wore (aside from a couple of years in the mid-forties), from 1943-44 to 1974-75, after which they went with the v-neck.

Good to see these back. Maybe the boys will play like Richard, Beliveau and Harvey with them on.

Do you say ‘sweater’ or ‘jersey’? I’ve always said ‘sweater’, although my son says that’s truly uncool and old fashioned and everyone says ‘jersey’ now and I should get with the times. But I’m uncool and old-fashioned, so I’m sticking with sweater.

I scored these great catalogue pages from good old Kouli the Greek in Vancouver, a man who lists some of the coolest hockey stuff on eBay. Check him out hereKouli the Greek

Well I Woke Up Sunday Morning

It’s Sunday morning and although the grass needs cutting, I can’t get out there and do it because a little baby is sleeping. What a fantastic excuse!

Nathan Beaulieu has signed a two-year contact with the Habs, at a million per. Great to  have this done, it doesn’t break the bank, and it should inspire the young fellow to be all he can be and ink a whopper in a few years.

It seems like only yesterday that we debated the idea of who would win a full-time job first, Beaulieu or Jarred Tinordi, but Beaulieu came through with his skating, puckhandling and poise, while Tinordi lagged behind because of his tentativeness with the puck. But we can’t give up on the big fellow, mainly because he’s a big fellow.

And regarding Beaulieu and his dad’s assault charge in 2013, it came to light only recently that the two had heard someone at a party saying Kane’s blog sucked and they naturally took matters into their own hands. “Nobody says that and gets away with it,” said papa Jacques Beaulieu.

The Leafs have signed former Leaf Wally Stanowski to a one-year deal. Stanowski, 96, says he’s anxious to suit up as it’s been awhile, and if someone can help him onto the ice and then off again, he feels he should be at least as mobile as Dion Phaneuf, and probably a better fighter.

Below, Wally at a recent press conference. “With Montreal inking Beaulieu, we felt this signing was necessary to keep pace,” said Leafs president Brendan Shanahan. “All we ask is that he quits smoking.”


Other tidits: The Chicago Blackhawks have taken a 3-2 series over Tampa Bay, the Arizona Coyotes are in building lease trouble, and NBC’s Sports Chairman Mark Lazarus says playoff beards should go.

It’s hard to know which is the most important of the three. Probably the Cup Final, although as a Habs fan, any playoff passion has been squeezed out like that last drop from a bottle of Four Aces. And then, of course, the Coyotes situation, which everyone should be used to by now, and which could possibly end with Quebec getting their well-deserved team.

But the beard thing is definitely important too.

“I just don’t like the beards,” said Lazarus. “You can’t see their faces. Although, for that very reason, it was good when Brad Marchand grew one.”

For me, I don’t know what to think. The Rocket and Beliveau never grew playoff beards. What about that?

Below, Lazarus at his recent press conference, explaining the beard problem.


Hey Ghosts, Break’s Over

Sent over by Mike McKim, this article in Grantland.com – Battling the Ghosts by Sean McIndoe, talks about the Habs/ Lightning series, the old Forum and it’s replacement the Bell Centre, along with the distance between the two barns in different ways.

McIndoe also notes the apparent absence of Forum ghosts who were suppose to pack up and move over when the old cathedral closed its doors, but seem to be taking their time. If they came at all.

Contrary to what many think, I believe the Forum ghosts did make their way over to the Bell Centre in 1996, but they’ve had so much fun reminiscing, with the hangovers never ending and good times just rolling along, and they simply haven’t gotten around to modern day Habs teams yet, except for some fine times against Boston.

And they were on the job in the 2010 playoffs, at least for a few magical rounds. But all in all, they’ve really slacked off.

I can’t blame the ghosts. They welcome old buddies almost non-stop, so they party hard and tell tall tales, and lately, with Jean and Gilles and Elmer and Dollard and coach Ruel moving upstairs, there’s way too much to do in just a short amount of time.

Guys have to come from all corners of heaven to meet at the rebuilt Toe Blake’s Tavern. Fedora’s have to be dusted off. Someone has to be in charge of cigars at the corner tobacco store. It’s been tradition to have music greet the new guys, so Benny Goodman or Sinatra or Elvis have to be rounded up and sent to Toe’s.

So much to do, and we expect them to do more? Yes we do, because we believe in a serious work ethic from our ghosts,

It’s time to get off your behinds, ghosts. The boys down below need some guidance. Morenz only took 7 years after passing before lending a helping hand. What’s going on, Rocket? What’s the holdup?

And surely Toe and Dick Sr. can get the power play in sync, although it appears they might already be working on it.

All of you. Coffee break’s over. Up and at ’em.





R.I.P. Dollard

A little late getting to this but I’ve been tied up, and not in that good way.

Winner of four Stanley Cups with the Canadiens, including three during that magnificent late-’50s run by the team, defenceman Dollard St. Laurent has passed away at age 85.

St. Laurent, who wore the CH from 1951-52 until 1957-58 before moving to the Chicago Black Hawks, leaves us just after our Canadiens family said goodbye to Elmer Lach, Claude Ruel, Jean Beliveau, Gilles Tremblay, and Carol Vadnais.

Not a good time as far losing great Habs go. But I’m thinking a Stanley Cup this year in their name will help with the healing.

Below, a picture from an old Hockey Pictorial magazine, showing a fine intersection in Hull, Quebec, back in the late ’50s.

And below that, Dollard on the far right, and to his right Boom Boom Geoffrion, Cardinal Leger, Maurice Richard, Butch Bouchard, and what appears to be John McCormack.






Well Whaddya Know


I’ve been looking around my house for this Star Weekly picture for several years, and I found it.

Tucked between the pages of The Hockey News that I wrote about yesterday.

There’s a crease running across but I don’t care.

Look at the hardware parked in front – from let to right, the Norris Trophy (won by Tom Johnson), the Vezina (Jacques Plante), the Stanley Cup, the Prince of Wales (NHL regular season championship), and the Art Ross (Dickie Moore, NHL scoring champ).

Missing is the Calder Trophy for rookie of the year, won by Ralph Backstrom (third row, left, next to trainer Hector Dubois, who’s wearing a jacket similar to one I have. Very proud of my jacket).

Scattered throughout, of course, are the Richard brothers, Beliveau, Moore, Geoffrion, Talbot, Provost, coach Toe Blake, and on and on. And the second greatest defenceman ever, Doug Harvey, is top row, third from left.

It was the club’s fourth consecutive Stanley Cup, with one more to follow. A beautiful team. One of the best ever.

It’s nice that I can now stop looking for this.


An Old Collier’s Shows Up

A friend of mine, James Duncan in Toronto, mailed me a gift which came yesterday.

It’s a Jan. 4, 1957 edition of the American magazine Collier’s, featuring Princess Grace on the cover, and inside, along with stories about the princess and teenagers and fictional crime, is a nice piece on 25-year old Jean Beliveau.

Wikipedia says the magazine was founded in 1888 and the last issue was on Jan. 4, 1957, which is this particular one. (It would start back up in 2012).

So it’s the final issue, with a beauty of a three-pager on our Jean Beliveau, which mentions that only four men in the league match Jean’s 6’3″, and no one equals his 205 pounds.

Gump Worsley, playing with the Rangers at the time, is quoted as saying “With Beliveau, you don’t bother to figure. You just wait, knowing he’s simply going to overpower you.”

The writer, Tom Meany, compares Jean and teammate Maurice Richard, saying the Rocket “has the flamboyant showmanship of Babs Ruth, while Beliveau has the effortless grace of Joe DiMaggio. And between them, the Rocket and Le Gros Bill leave Montreal’s knowledgeable – and rabid – fans limp”.

It also has a paragraph on legendary Montreal sportswriter Jacques Beauchamp, who donned goalie pads for some of the Canadiens practices, and who says, “I happened to tell Boston goalie Terry Sawchuk recently that Beliveau’s shots were so terrific I closed my eyes when they came at me.” Sawchuk replied, “I got news for you. We all do.”

I can’t thank James enough. He’d found this old mag somewhere, thought of me, and sent it out. Such a nice gesture.

collier's 1

coll. 2

collier's 3

Hometown Heroes

B-JPwuYCIAAmdff.jpg large

Two fine hometown boys, Hall of Famers Gilbert Perreault (inducted 1990) and Mr. Beliveau (inducted 1972).

Perreault was born and raised in Victoriaville, Quebec (pop. 43,462), and Jean moved there with his family when he was six.

From the HHOF’s “One on One”I was a Montreal fan,” admits Perreault. “The Canadiens were our main team in the NHL. They had so many great players. I admired Jean Beliveau. I watched him a lot. I liked his style, I liked the way he moved and I liked his stickhandling.

Anyone who saw this great Buffalo Sabres star play knows just how how talented he was, with an extraordinary slickness when it came to handling the puck, just like Jean. Simply an incredible player with the Sabres from 1970-71 to 1986-87, notching 512 goals and 814 assists along the way (1326 points in 1191 games).

Perreault starred for the Montreal Junior Canadiens for three seasons before joining the Sabres, and when you see him with the Junior Canadiens (as in the Youtube video below), it’s a definite reminder that he would’ve looked good in a Habs uniform.

Thanks to Kathleen in Maryland for sending me the picture above  via Twitter @bflosenrab, and she adds that her sources say it was taken in good old Victoriaville.