Montreal Canadiens: 100 Years, 100 Moments (Part Two)

Lisa BoychukSenior Analyst INovember 19, 2008

Here is the second installment of the 100 greatest people and events in Canadiens history.

21. Carey Price

When the Habs drafted unknown goalie Carey Price fifth-overall in the 2005 NHL entry draft, it sent the province into an uproar.  Montreal was supposedly well-stocked in the goalie department—why pick up another? 

Little did we know that Bob Gainey knew exactly what he was getting himself into. 

You could call Price the Triple Threat of 2007.  First, he led Montreal's farm team, the Hamilton Bulldogs, to the Calder Cup.  Also that year, he earned the title as Tournament MVP and top goaltender at the Under 20 World Junior Championships, after leading Team Canada to a nail-biting gold0medal victory.  Then, Price signed on with the Habs, making his debut on October 10, 2007. 

At just 21 years of age, he earned the role as the starting goaltender.  He just may be their next Patrick Roy or Ken Dryden.


22. The Kostitsyn brothers

On December 13, 2007, Sergei Kostitsyn made his Canadiens debut, joining his brother, the already-Hab Andrei Kostitsyn.  This duo became the thirteenth pair of brothers to be on the Canadiens roster, something that had not happened since the times of Pete and Frank Maholovich. 

Not only are they on the same roster, they are sometimes paired up on the same line.


23. Scotty Bowman

It was Mr. Bowman that led the Habs to their 1970s dynasty, the most memorable and noteworthy dynasties in NHL history.  There is nothing wrong with being second- winningest coach of the Habs. Nothing wrong with that at all.


24. Toe Blake

Hector "Toe" Blake was both a famous player and coach of the Habs.  He got to play with the team on the "Punch Line," his linemates being Elmer Lach and Maurice Richard. 

Just seven years following his retirement as a player, he became the coach of the Canadiens. He still holds the most wins for a Habs coach, and the second-most all-time in the NHL.


25. Bob Gainey's loss

Yet another saddening moment to the Canadiens' history was on December 8, 2006, when 25-year-old Laura Gainey, Bob's daughter, was swept off the deck of a ship.


26. Trent McCleary

A rather frightening moment happened during a game back on January 29, 2000. Trent McCleary went down to block a shot, and caught the puck in his throat, requiring an emergency tracheotomy right there at the arena.  It ended his career, but saved it his life.


27. Elmer Lach

Lach was a man of his times, beginning his career as a Hab in the 1940-1941 season.  He was one of the easiest to remember due to his time on the "Punch Line," playing together with Toe Blake and Maurice Richard. 

Try finding a line like that in modern times.  You can't.


28. Lyle Odelein

Odelein has had one key game throughout his career, and it came with the Montreal Canadiens.  On February 20, 1994 he tallied five assists during a game against the Hartford Whalers, tying a record for Habs defensemen.


29. Jacques Demers

While his stint as the Canadiens' coach was short (lasting just four seasons), his rookie year as the club's coach was the most successful—bringing home the 1993 Stanley Cup.


30. Jan Bulis

Some of us may fail to remember that he once was a part of the Canadiens' organization, but nobody could forget his rare, career-highlight game against the Philadelphia Flyers on January 25, 2006—the day he scored four goals on four shots.


31. 1916

Though the league was technically not yet the NHL, the 1915-1916 victory over the Portland Rosebuds of the Pacific Coast Hockey Association was the first ever Stanley Cup for the Habs.


32. Georges Vezina

Not enough could possibly be said about this name. He still remains the most influential goaltender out there.  His commitment is hard to replace—playing 15 full seasons for a total of 367 games. 

Vezina suffered a tragic death at the age of 35, and one has to wonder what would the club would have been like if he had lived.  He rightfully deserves to still have the award given each year to the NHL's top goaltender named in his honour.


33. The cancelled Stanley Cup

The Habs were one of the teams vying for the Cup in 1919.  While some of the record books count this is a victory, it was never really decided. 

The NHL season was smack in the middle of being affected by the influenza epidemic.  The fans had to wear masks to attend the games, and some players ended up being killed by this flu outbreak—at the very least, almost all of the athletes were severely ill. 

The league decided to cancel the series. This has not happened again since.


34. Howie Morenz

Yet again, the Canadiens managed to have a player with incomparable capabilities.  He has been nicknamed "the Babe Ruth of hockey," and in 1950 was voted as Canada's Outstanding Hockey Player for that 50-year period (1900-1950).


35. Maurice Richard's five-goal night

As if Maurice Richard did not do enough during his infamous career, he managed to set playoff history—against the Toronto Maple Leafs, of all teams.  On March 23, 1944, Richard scored five goals in that game.


36. 12 strong

Though the 1955-56 to 1959-60 Stanley Cup dynasty has already been mentioned, it is noteworthy that for all of those five straight Cups, the roster had twelve of the same players on their lineup for each.  In modern day, even if a team does not win the Stanley Cup, never will you see the same teammates play for that many consecutive years.


37. Habs vs. Leafs, playoff-style

As intense as the modern-day rivalry between the Habs and the Maple Leaf is, gone are the original days—the times when the two teams could battle it out for the Stanley Cup.  This lasted until the 1960s, before the rules and league setup began to change. 

Nevertheless, it was these clubs fighting for the Cup that sparked the fire between them.  No alterations in league rules will ever change that, and no rivalry could ever be stronger.


38. Sam Pollock

Pollock became the General Manager of the Canadiens in 1964 and led them to nine Cups in just 14 seasons (including their 1970s Dynasty).


39. "Boom Boom"

Bernard Geoffrion by far had one of the most attention-grabbing nicknames of hockey.  It made sense, too—Geoffrion had one of the hardest slapshots known to man. 

Boom Boom's life almost seemed to be planned for him—he passed away on March 11, 2006, the day his jersey was retired by the Canadiens.


40. 99-percent Canadian Hall of Famers

An interesting statistic reveals that the Canadiens do believe in home-grown talent.  All of the Habs alumni who have been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame but one (Joe Hall, from England) are Canadian.