The Montreal Canadiens are celebrating their centennial anniversary during the upcoming '08-09 NHL season.
Many ceremonies will surely take place at the Bell Centre this year, and 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:
While Cal Ripken will always be remembered as the man who broke Lou Gehrig'a record for consecutive baseball games played, and while Brett Favre's passing records may one day be surpassed by Peyton Manning, Jarvis' string of over 250 games started in a row may stand the test of time.
Drafted by Toronto in 1975, Jarvis was obtained in one of the greatest robberies in the history of the game—a trade for Greg Hubick, who played a total of 77 games in the NHL. With lifelong friend Bob Gainey by his side, he became one of the game's best defensive forwards, effectively shutting down opponents' top lines while being able to chip in on offence.
A winner of four cups with the Canadiens, he was lauded for his work ethic, never missing a game in his seven seasons with the club.
In a trade reminiscent of the one that brought him to Montreal, Jarvis was obtained by the Capitals and proceeded to remain a defensive force, culminating in his Frank Selke Award in 1984. Playing another six seasons, he finally passed Garry Unger's record game streak, ending his career with a total of 964 games.
Upon retiring, Jarvis joined Minnesota as an assistant coach—and in classic Jarvis manner he went on to serve with the team for a near-record 14 years, winning a Stanley Cup in Dallas. With his old friend Gainey now General Manager of the Canadiens, he returned to his roots, and became the head coach of the Habs' AHL affiliate in Hamilton before joining the Canadiens as an assistant coach, a position he has held since 2005.
Though players like Lafleur stole the spotlight in the '70s, Jarvis was a true beacon of what the team really stood about—a guy who showed up every game, who played hard, and who understood the true meaning of teamwork.
Doug Jarvis is the ultimate Iron Man in pro sports. He never missed a game in his career.