Greatest Montreal Canadiens Players of All-Time (Part IV)

Patrick Roy was one of the greatest goalies for the Montreal Canadiens. 

Goalie: Patrick Roy

Blame it on Ronald Corey.

He was the one who fired general manager Serge Savard and coach Jacques Demers four games into the 1995-96 season. They really wouldn’t have made the mistakes that their successors did. 

Corey then appointed Mario Tremblay as a coach and Rejean Houle as GM, even though Tremblay had never coached in his life. 

Six weeks into his coaching career, Tremblay left Patrick Roy in the net for nine goals against the Red Wings. Roy, who had a serious dislike for Tremblay even before he was hired to coach the Canadiens, requested a trade. 

Houle, the rookie general manager, was now put in the difficult position of having to trade one of the most well-liked players to ever represent the city of Montreal. The move he made with the Colorado Avalanche was one of the poorest decisions in NHL history. 

Roy, with his two Stanley Cups and 289 wins, as well as captain Mike Keane, was let go for Martin Rucinsky, Jocelyn Thibault, and Andrei Kovalenko. 

Even though Roy had already played in 551 games with the Canadiens, his career was far from over.

He would go on to enjoy eight seasons in Colorado and would improve his career record to 551-315-131. He had career goals- a .912 save percentage a .912 save percentage and against average of 2.54. In addition, he had 66 shutouts. 

From the time Roy left the Habs until he retired, the Canadiens would garner only two playoffs series. The Avalanche earned two Stanley Cups. 

Roy is always in debate as being the best goaltender to ever play the game of hockey. Therefore, he is worthy of being named Montreal’s all-time greatest netminder, regardless of how quickly his Canadiens career ended. 

Now, if only Ronald Corey hadn’t fired Savard and Demers…

 

Greatest Montreal Canadiens Players of All-Time (Part III)

Maurice Richard really made an impression on the ice.

Right Wing: Maurice Richard

When Maurice Richard came into the league in 1942-43, he scored five goals in 16 games before a broken leg finished his season. He had shown promise, but no one in the NHL at that time could have known what he would go on to do. 

When he came back to the ice the next season, The Rocket swiftly became the most thrilling player the NHL had witnessed in a very long time. His offensive skill set had never been observed before. Defenders didn’t know how to stop him.

Richard is famous as the first player in league history to score 50 goals in a season. He accomplished it in only 50 games and in only his second full NHL season. For his career, The Rocket scored 544 times in the regular season and an incredible 82 times in the playoffs. Both still are Canadiens’ records. 

Richard helped in bringing eight Stanley Cups to the city of Montreal, five straight from 1955-60. The Rocket played his last game in 1960 and was quickly voted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. 

Defense: Larry Robinson

Simply put, Larry Robinson was one of the best offensive defensemen to ever play hockey. 

A steal in the second round of the 1971 amateur draft (where the Habs also picked Guy Lafleur first overall), “Big Bird” would go on to play 17 amazing seasons with the Canadiens. 

After 1,202 career regular-season games played in Montreal, Robinson is perched near the top of all the Canadiens’ major offensive records. His 883 points put him fifth on the all-time list, while his 686 assists put him at fourth. 

Additionally, he was pretty good in his own end, completing his career a plus-730 (plus-700 with the Canadiens). 

Robinson earned two Norris Trophies, six Stanley Cups, and one Conn Smythe in his 17 seasons with the Canadiens. In 1992, he retired from playing hockey. 

Greatest Montreal Canadiens Players of All-Time (Part II)

Jacques Plante was one of the best goalies for the Montreal Canadiens. 

Goalie: Jacques Plante 

The pioneer of the modern-day goalie mask was also a great keeper himself. He’s the all-time leader in Canadiens wins with 314, completing his career with 2.23 goals-against average. Also, he won six Stanley Cups and posted 58 shutouts. 

Plante edges Ken Dryden as runner-up primarily due to the fact that Dryden’s career was way too short. 

Center: Jean Beliveau

Jean Beliveau is the most beloved Canadiens figure of all time and the best center in the history of this fabulous organization. 

Beliveau’s offensive statistics lead all centers to ever put on the red, white and blue. He earned 1,219 points (507-712) in 1,125 regular-season games. He sits second to only Guy Lafleur in career scoring with the Habs. 

Le Gros Bill played his first game in 1953-54 and would go on to play 20 seasons with the Canadiens. Ten of those seasons he served as captain. 

His celebrated career included two Hart Trophies, 10 Stanley Cup championships, an Art Ross and a Conn Smythe. 

He was an incredible hockey player and an even better human being. He’ll forever be known as not only one of the best centers to ever play the game but one of the most respected too.  

Left-Wing: Steve Shutt

Steve Shutt was a greatly recruited amateur who had a difficult time getting into the NHL. Until he was put on a line with Guy Lafleur. 

Once coach Scotty Bowman put wingers Lafluer and Shutt with center Peter Mahovlich, things just clicked. In their first year together, Shutt had 35 assists and 30 goals as a third-year player in the league (Mahovlich had 117 points and Lafleur scored 53 times). 

After 13 seasons, Shutt retired in 1983-84, but not before earning five Stanley Cups. In 1993, he was named to the Hockey Hall of Fame. 

 

Greatest Montreal Canadiens Players of All-Time (Part I)

These hockey players are some of the best players for the Montreal Canadiens. 

In pro hockey, the Montreal Canadiens are considered one of the all-time greatest organizations. Picking the best player at every position is no simple task. However, it is still fun to do. 

Here are the all-time greatest Montreal Canadiens at each position.

The All Runner-Up Team

Center: Henri Richard 

The “Pocket Rocket” is 3rd in all-time Canadiens scoring with 1,046 points. Also, he has a club record of 1,256 regular-season games. His 11 Stanley Cup rings signify more championships than any other athlete in North American pro sports.

Left-Wing: Mats Naslund

Naslund was the first European to play for the Habs. He is remembered as one of the most thrilling left-wingers in Canadiens’s history. In spite of playing only eight seasons in Montreal (617 games), Naslund accrued 612 points, including 243 goals. He is still the most recent Canadien to score 100 points in a season, earning 110 in 1985-86.

Right Wing: Guy Lafleur

The Flower would be thought of as the best right winger in almost any other organization’s history, but the Canadiens had a Rocket who played this same position. Lafleur is the all-time top point-getter for the Habs with 1,246 in 961 regular-season games. He won five Stanley Cups in the 1970s as well as earning two Hart Trophies.

Defense: Guy Lapointe

Lapointe played 14 seasons in Montreal and aided the team in winning six Stanley Cups. He was one of the best offensive defensemen in club history and ranks second in points by a defender with 572.

Defense: Serge Savard

Savard will always be known for his famous “Savardian Spin-o-Rama. But he was way more than just a defenseman. He played in 917 regular-season games, earning 412 points from the blue line while completing his career at plus-492. He was a huge part of eight championship teams and earned the Conn Smythe in 1968-69.

In-Depth with Meghan Huertas

Meghan Huertas is from Florida.

In the hockey world, things change rapidly. Now Meghan Huertas is living in the Northeast practicing two nights a week and playing hockey on weekends.

She’s from Florida, went to college in Vermont, went to college in Minnesota. How’d did she get into hockey and make her way around the country for love of the game?

A little background on her family: no one played hockey. Her dad was born and raised in Cuba, she was born and raised in South Florida and when she was about four, her parents took her to a Florida Panthers game and she quickly fell in love with it. She was begging them that she wanted to play hockey. 

Her parents began panicking like ‘What in the world is this?” They took her to learn to skate and half the ice was figure skating, the other half was ice hockey. They put her on the figure skating side and her mom said she’d stand on the center ice red line staring at the hockey side. Her mom said ever since then she would not let it go. They let her play and ever since then she’s never stopped.

Meghan Huertas graduated from the University of Minnesota-Duluth. Huertas, whose dad is from Cuba, grew up in Florida. Primarily, it was her sport of choice, not her race, that made her stick out.

First Hockey Game

When he first took her to a hockey game and she begged them to let her play, they were like, ‘What do we do? Why, out of all the sports, do you want to play this?’” As she grew up in the sport, she swiftly realized that neither Floridians nor anyone with Hispanic/Latino heritage was famous in ice hockey.

This is why Huertas wants to be famous for who she is: a Cuban American.

 Trailblazer Blake Bolden

These women were incredible hockey players. 

Blake Bolden is a professional women’s hockey player who became the 1st black player in the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL). She has won championships in the NWHL with the Boston Pride. She also won with the Canadian Women’s Hockey League (Boston Blades). She currently plays for the Buffalo Beauts of the NWHL. Bolden was a player for four seasons at Boston College. She was captain of the team in 2012-2013.

The defenseman had 13 points (one goal, 12 assists) during the regular season for the Beauts, who were sadly defeated by the Minnesota Whitecaps in the Isobel Cup Final. 

How It All Started

Bolden became acquainted with hockey by a white man her mom dated when she was younger who had a somewhat different take. He liked that she was the only black girl. Her father told her to forget about the boys. Do what she wanted to do. 

Growing up, she didn’t see folks who looked like her playing hockey. It never mattered to her. She’s in it for the love of the game. She might have had a bit more to prove than others due to her race and gender. She believed if she worked hard and let her talent shine through, she would get the respect of her teammates and the folks around her, regardless.

Looking back, she feels the voice in her head may have said, “this game isn’t for folks that look like you.” However, that line of thinking was not part of who she was. Bolden has been successful throughout her development because of her positivity. She’s a hockey player as much as anyone else on the ice is. This is a game for anyone, and talent is everywhere and within everybody. She hopes her journey helps encourage other young girls, and young women of color, to get involved in hockey and show the world what they can accomplish.

Trailblazer: Kaliya Johnson

 

The Arizona-raised, California-born Johnson was one of the more fascinating hockey stories of the 2014-15 hockey season. Before the season, she learned that she had a Chiari malformation, a rare structural condition of the spinal cord and brain that contributes to a tinier than normal space for the brain, pushing it downward.

Mainly, her brain was sitting under the base of her skull. It was something she was born with. She had symptoms all her life, small things such as migraines and pressure headaches. She thought they were a normal part of her life. 

Johnson had surgery in September 2015 that she stated opened up some space and eliminated the first vertebrae in her neck so there was more room to breathe.

The NWHL

As hyped as Johnson was about joining the NWHL, Blake Bolden, a Black defenseman for the league champion Boston Pride and a former teammate of Johnson’s at BC, was hyped about the possibility of the two being reunited in Boston.

Johnson said it was great having her by her side and Bolden teaching her all she knows. She felt that it would have been an added bonus for her playing in the NWHL with Bolden. Sadly, it didn’t work out that way.  But Bolden is a solid competitor, and she’s excited about playing against her because she’s a good player.

Kaliya Johnson ended up signing as a free agent with the Connecticut Whale of the NWHL.

The NWHL has four teams – the Whale, the Pride, the New York Riveters, and the Buffalo Beauts. Players are paid and the teams stick to a salary cap that was somewhere around $270,000 in its original season.

The salaries aren’t anything to live on. Therefore, players have to get regular employment to supplement their incomes. Still, most, like Kaliya Johnson, are proud to be called a professional hockey player.

Unusual Terms Used in Hockey Matches

Part of what makes professional sports so much fun is the lingo that is used amongst fans. Even veteran hockey fans don’t know all the unusual terms that apply in the game.

Today, we’re writing about five common phrases, as well as what they mean. By the next game, you’ll make quite the save after having a breakaway conversation.

While many other unusual terms exist, these get thrown around a lot. When in doubt, visit us to decipher all your sports-related lingo.

Yard Sale: Everything Must Go

Do you remember getting injured in Sonic the Hedgehog and watching his rings spill out? The Blue Blur isn’t the only one to experience a yard sale while competing.

When a hockey player gets hit hard enough, they end up dropping everything. Sticks, pads, their helmet, even jerseys can be left behind on the ice. After a while, it starts looking like a yard sale is being held. 

Deke: A Very Canadian Slang Word

Canada also gifted us the term “hosers,” so of course, there are other lingo entries from them. The Great White North abbreviated the word “decoy” to give these unusual terms their life.

It’s a fairly common phrase, and one used to describe a fake-out. During football matches, it would represent when a quarterback attempts a false pass to trick others.

Usually, a successful deke gets an opposing player away from their position. When that happens, it makes it easier to score the next goal.

Cheese: More Than a Snack

The term cheese in hockey is not referring to a quick snack. It refers to a skillful play.

The upper corners of a goal are the most challenging shots to block. Because of this, it’s a desirable spot to focus your skill as a player.

Because it’s where the good stuff gets held, sometimes it’s called the Top Shelf, also. Whatever you call it, it’s as desirable as a nice plate of cheese.

Gong Show: Don’t Get Gonged

Since the 1970s, American TV has brought, canceled, and rebooted the Gong Show. This unique talent show brought on many contestants, from stay-at-home moms to bail bondsmen.

A Gong Show in hockey is a different talent spotlight, one that sees tons of action. Once a team starts racking up points, we’ve entered the Gong Show.

Sometimes, it means that several fights are happening. When that happens, some fans change to use different unusual terms, as the term Meat Show.

Power Play

No one likes getting penalized, especially when it costs players. The other team can’t wait to enjoy a Power Play at your expense.

Unlike other sports, you can see your side dwindle due to penalties. Once they go into the penalty box, you’re short a man or two.

That means that the other team has a steep advantage. While it may sound silly, it’s one of the more important unusual terms we listed.

 

Asian Hockey Players in the NHL (Part V)

These Asian players went down in history on the ice.

Martin Kariya

Martin Tetsuya Kariya is an ice hockey right-winger. Former NHL left-winger Paul Kariya is his older brother.

Hiroyuki Miura

Miura became the 1st Japanese player to be drafted to the NHL, as the Montreal Canadiens chose him in the 11th round of the 1992 NHL Entry Draft. Miura came to North America and played in the ECHL with the Wheeling Thunderbirds, for only six games before going back home and playing with the Kokudo Keikaku HC.

Zachary Yuen

Zachary Yuen is a Canadian Chinese professional ice hockey defenseman. He is presently playing for Kunlun Red Star of the Kontinental Hockey League. Yuen was the 1st player of Asian descent to be drafted in the NHL Entry Draft. 

Jomar Cruz

Jomar Cruz played in four leagues over the course of his hockey career. 

Ryan Kuwabara

Ryan Kuwabara is a Japanese ice hockey player. He competed in the ‘98 Winter Olympics. 

Matt Oikawa

Matt Oikawa played in three leagues over the course of his career. 

Shim Kyuin

Kyuin Shim played in five leagues over the course of his career. 

Steve Tsujiura

Steven Ken Tsujiura is a Canadian former professional ice hockey center who played in the Swiss National League A, the American Hockey League, and the Japan Ice Hockey League. He played in the ‘98 Winter Olympics for Japan.

Matt Dumba

Mathew Dumba is a Canadian ice hockey defenseman who is presently playing for the Red Deer Rebels in the Western Hockey League (WHL).

 

Spencer Foo

Spencer Foo is a Canadian professional ice hockey forward presently playing for HC Kunlun Red Star of the Kontinental Hockey League. In 2017, Foo turned professional by signing an entry-level contract with the Calgary Flames of the NHL as an undrafted college free agent.

Asian Hockey Players in the NHL (Part IV)

These hockey players represented their Asian Heritage.

Larry Kwong

Kwong, the 1st athlete of Asian heritage to play in an NHL game, battled discrimination and racism as he made a name for himself on the ice. He paved the way for future ice hockey players of Asian descent.

Larry Kwong’s time as a player for the NHL lasted less than 60 seconds but was a crucial moment in hockey history. In 1948, Kwong became the 1st athlete of Asian heritage to skate for the NHL when he played a really short time for the New York Rangers in a game against the Montreal Canadiens. Kwong died in 2018 at the age of 94. It was only a couple of days after the 70th anniversary of his one and only NHL game.

Jim Paek

Paek became the NHL’s 1st Korean-born player when he joined the Penguins in the 1990-1991 season. He helped Pittsburgh’s defense during the team’s back-to-back Stanley Cup run in 1990-91 and 1991-92.

David Tanabe

David Michael Tanabe is an American former professional ice hockey defenseman. Tanabe was drafted in the 1st round by the Carolina Hurricanes in the 1999 NHL Entry Draft. After being made to retire early because of an injury, he went to work for the USA Hockey National Team Development Program.

Mike Wong

Michael Anthony Wong is a retired ice hockey who played forward in 22 games for the Detroit Red Wings. Additionally, he was a former Minnesota Golden Gloves boxing champion. He went 7th in the 1975 NHL Amateur Draft. Wong is of Chinese descent.

Torrie Jung

Torrie Jung is a goaltender for the Laredo Bucks of the Central Hockey League. He was drafted 183rd by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft. However, he didn’t sign with them. Jung decided to just become a free agent.