The Montreal Canadiens are celebrating the centennial anniversary of the team this upcoming '08-'09 NHL season. Many ceremonies will surely take place at the Bell Centre this year; a motion picture detailing their history is scheduled to come out this winter. All the while, celebrating all 24 Stanley Cups the team has won, all the great players who have worn the journey, and the fans that have stood behind them since day one.
Well, for every Guy Lafleur, Henri Richard, and Jean Beliveau on the Stanley Cup, there are hundreds of lesser known players who have put their mark on this team. There surely will be dozens of best of all-time lists this year from experts and non-experts alike.
I would like to share with you some of the men who have helped shape this greatest of hockey teams.
One Hell Of A Second Banana
Quick, name five goalies who have backed up Patrick Roy when he was with the Canadiens. Not as easy as it seems, even if you are a rabid Habs fan. Pat Jablonski, Andre "Red Light" Racicot, and Patrick Labrecque are just a few who tried to fill in for one of he greatest goalies in the history of the game.
One name though, escapes many fans minds, and he's none other than the Anaheim Ducks' analyst, Brian Hayward.
As an unheralded free-agent signee out of Cornell University by the Winnipeg Jets, he quickly established himself as the Jets' No. 1 goalie, a spot he held for two years, even establishing a team record 33 wins.
In 1986, he was acquired by Montreal for embattled goalie Steve Penney, and for the next four years, he and Roy formed arguably the best tandem in the history of the game, playing in 141 games, 71 of which he won, and sharing the William Jennings trophy for three years running.
In the '86-'87 playoffs, he played in 13 games as he lead the team to the Conference finals.
Wanting to be a full-fledged No. 1 goalie in the league, Hayward was traded to Minnesota in 1991, but due to a serious back injury, his career was cut short, as he only played a total of 51 games for the rest of his career.
Once retired, he entered the broadcasting booth working for CBC, ABC, NBC, ESPN, and ESPN2. He even had the chance to interview Bill Clinton during a Washington Capitals game.
Patrick Roy is arguably the greatest goaltender of all time, surely of the last quarter century, and one of the men he has to thank for his ascension to the top was Brian Hayward, a forgotten Habs hero.