Those TSN Guys Sure Can Be Kidders Sometimes.

This came out in the Edmonton Journal, written by John MacKinnon, and it’s quite amazing. Somehow, some place, the TSN gang must have got together and dropped some acid. MacKinnon’s story is entitled…

“Habs’ Dream Team Falls Flat With Imagination Shackled”  

So, in honour of the Montreal Canadiens centenary, TSN has assembled the “Ultimate Canadiens Team,” and it’s pretty much a laugh riot.

The TV folks put Jean Beliveau at centre between Dickie Moore and Maurice Richard on the first line. Fair enough. Then things got weird.

Saku Koivu between John Ferguson and Bobby Rousseau on the second line was an odd decision, and Brian Skrudland between Andre Pronovost and Jim Roberts on the ‘energy’ line, was a stretch, no offence to those splendid gentlemen, Cup-winners all.

The checking line of Guy Carbonneau between Bob Gainey and Claude Provost is OK, if you really need a checking line on a fantasy team. But the sublime Doug Harvey partnered with Mike Komisarek as the top defensive pairing? Ted Harris and Craig Ludwig as the third duo?

Michel (Bunny) Larocque backing up the incomparable Jacques Plante in goal?

Obviously, TSN was using some sort of ghost roster format to sort through 100 years of excellence. The network tried to inject a dash of realism — a questionable measure when the point is to indulge in fantasy — by limiting the number of Hockey Hall of Famers on the team to eight.

Still, an all-time assemblage of Les Glorieux with none of Guy Lafleur, Jacques Lemaire, Howie Morenz, Aurele Joliat, Henri (Pocket Rocket) Richard, Joe Malone, Yvan Cournoyer, Newsy Lalonde, Guy Lapointe, Chris Chelios, Jacques Laperriere, Emile (Butch) Bouchard, Tom Johnson, Sprague Cleghorn, Lorne (Gump) Worsley, Frank Mahovlich, Pete Mahovlich, Georges Vezina, Bert Olmstead, Dickie Duff, George Hainsworth, Ken Dryden, Patrick Roy, Steve Shutt, J.C. Tremblay, Rod Langway, Mats Naslund and Boom-Boom Geoffrion suiting up is mighty light on glory.

So how do you get to the right answer? That’s not so easy.

In this company, 50-goal scorers Pierre Larouche and Stephane Richer, or two-time 40-goal man Mark Napier, sit far down the list.

Others who wouldn’t make the cut:

Vincent Damphousse, Kirk Muller, Bobby Smith, Hall of Famer Buddy O’Connor, who centred the Razzle Dazzle Line, on and on.

To simplify, you could go with an all-native Montrealer team and start with the Richard brothers, Geoffrion, Lemaire and Moore up front with Harvey, Savard, Bouchard and Cleghorn on the back end, and the Gumper and Jose Theodore (Hart and Vezina Trophies in 2002) in goal.

How about the entire ’59-60 team, which capped off the five-in-a-row dynasty, or the ’76-77 edition, the best of the four-straight gang of the 1970s. You wouldn’t be wrong, either way.

Selecting Fergie, Skrudland, Harris and Ludwig ahead of a busload of Hall of Famers might be a bizarre conversation starter, but sifting through the Canadiens greats is quite a discussion, no matter how you attack it. With no right answer, finally.

8 thoughts on “Those TSN Guys Sure Can Be Kidders Sometimes.”

  1. Dennis,

    Imagine someone who doesn’t know their hockey .. hehe, the average canucklehead, say. They look at that team and how are they to know what’s what? What makes the exercise interesting to me is that it illustrates two very powerful constraints on our ability to `understand’: one) form can and does dictate content; two) control the terms of reference and you control the meanings.

    That `tuff’ guys are disproportionately represented is to be expected of TSN, eh?

  2. Does this mean the Canadiens fans are the Canuckleheads you refer to?

    Origin and Roots

    “Many dictionaries say simply ‘orig. unknown.’ The term is in little use today among us,.One may, on occasion, run into a jocular person (possibly in a U.S. bar) who will say, “oh, a Canuck, hah?” but the word seldom features in ordinary conversation. (It has been traced) through U.S. dictionaries as Canuck, Canack, Cunnuck and Kanuck, the last one (1835) meaning a Dutch or French Canadian. A Dictionary of Americanisms defines Canuck, Canack, and Cunnuck as “colloquial slang appellations for a native of Canada, although (within Canada) almost solely understood to be a French Canadian.

    There is a theory that the word is derived from Connaught, a term said to be given by French Canadians to the Irish. There is a suggestion that it may come from the first syllable of Canada, combined with an Algonquin noun ending in –uc. The Oxford Companion To The English Language (defines the term as): “Canuck, 1820’s. Probably from the Iroquoian canuchsa and taken into French as canaque, perhaps being originally applied to French Canadian canoemen. A nickname for a Canadian…but in the U.S. Northeast pejoratively referring to French Canadians.”

  3. If someone were to make a dream team out of the best Habs… well, there are too many players to pick. He’d have enough for a 30-team league and then some… All Habs League? Hmm….

    Anyway, it’s TSN. I don’t usually pay attention to what they say ;)

  4. Beatnik, U made a fool out of yourself once and now again. “One may, on occasion, run into a JOCULAR person …” Hehehe, I guess I’m American. Yeah, I’m a linguistic major and, yeah, guess what, I do know all that irrelevant nerdy etymological stuff. So what? Contemporary usage determines meaning. LOL. Wow! U took the time to research what everybody already knows – canucklehead is not a compliment. Hello, Lawrence, jordy, Jan! But, hey, U seem to like research, so check out Captain Canuck. Better yet, look up Tim Burke, a sports writer, and read what he had to say about `canuck’. LOL

    p.s In my `idiolect’ lower case `c’ refers to the fans. Upper case, the players. RLFMAO

  5. Dennis, I think the point was to fill each position with someone who played that position for most of his career or was at least designated for that type of work. Why anyone would care who the best career backup goalie in Canadiens history was is my problem with this article, along with a few others.

  6. I understand what they were trying to do. How do you have Patrick Roy as a backup, when he was never one in his career?

    Anyways, like the new layout.

  7. Unlike Dennis, I am not and never was a fan of Red Fisher. I have my reasons, several in fact, but I never thought that he didn’t know his hockey. And his article, posted on the NHL site on Beliveau, in which he lists his choice of the top 10 Habs is, I think proof of this. Yeah, his guys are my guys.

  8. How in the world do you not include “Big Bird” Robinson,Serge Savard,Guy La Pointe but include Craig Ludwig & where’s Tom Johnson. How do you not include a 11 Stanley Cup winner like Henri Richard,gee’s he was on almost 50% of our Cup winners ! On acid more like PCP !!
    Cheers from the East !!!!

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