Tag Archives: Montreal Canadiens

Horror Movie or Hockey Player?

Who’s Behind This Mask?

Jacques Plante 1st mask 1946 1 23Though your first guess of who might be behind this frightening mask may be Hannibal LecterJason or Leatherface, it is actually hockey player Jacques Plante.

The legendary Montreal Candiens goalie was not the first to use a mask for protection, but Jacques Plante was the player to introduce the goalie mask as everyday equipment. Before Plante, the only goalie previously to wear a mask was the Montreal Maroons’ Clint Benedict who wore one briefly in 1930 to protect a broken nose.

This Associated Press photo was taken January 23, 1948 when Plante was just 19-years-old. He was playing organized hockey for the Quebec Citadelles and was still five years away from his NHL debut with the Canadiens.

This leather and fiber mask Plante wore in 1948, was used only in practices because there were so many pucks coming at him at once.

photo via sb nation habs eyes on the prize Plante hurtPlante first donned a mask in a game on November 1, 1959 against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden. Plante was struck on the left side of his  nose and upper lip in the first period on a shot from Andy Bathgate. The game was delayed 20 minutes as Plante left the ice, received seven stitches and returned wearing a plexiglass mask (not the one seen in the photo above).

photo via sb nation habs eyes on the prize Plante bloodiedMontreal coach Toe Blake, a traditionalist, had been an ardent opponent of Plante wearing a mask. Continue reading

Hockey Legend Jean Beliveau Dies At 83

Jean Beliveau – The Epitome Of Grace And Power

Jean Beliveau puts his arms around teammates Ken Dryden and Frank Mahovlich following their victory over the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 6 of the 1971 Stanley Cup Finals on May 16, 1971, at the Montreal Forum. photo: B Bennett / Toronto Star

Jean Beliveau, who won 10 Stanley Cup championships playing for the Montreal Canadiens from 1951-1971 died Tuesday, December 2, 2014 in Longueuil, Quebec at the age of 83.

Beliveau was among the smoothest and fastest skaters I have ever seen. His hockey skills were extraordinary in every way. He dominated the game like only a handful of players have ever done. He had a wrist shot that was keenly accurate and was among the best play-makers to ever lace up a pair of skates in the NHL.

Jean Beliveau (No. 4) scores a goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs October 15 , 1959. Goalie is Johnny Bower. Canadiens won the game 4-2 - photo: UPI

Jean Beliveau (No. 4) scores a goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs October 15 , 1959. Goalie is Johnny Bower. Canadiens won the game 4-2 – photo: UPI

Beliveau amassed 507 goals and 712 assists in 1125 games. In 162 career playoff games he tallied 176 points. A two-time Hart Trophy (league MVP) winner, he was the captain of the Montreal  Canadiens for the final ten seasons of his career.

Besides his greatness as a player, what people will remember about Jean Beliveau was that he was a modest gentleman, both on and off the ice.

Teammates, opposing players, coaches and fans respected and admired Jean Beliveau. He carried himself with class, the way few athletes do nowadays.

Adieu, Jean Believeau.

Bernie “Boom Boom” Geoffrion Gets Angry – 1967

How To Get A Three Game Suspension

Bernie Geoffrion cross-checking linesman Walter Atanas February 8 , 1967

Bernie Geoffrion cross-checking linesman Walter Atanas February 8 , 1967

Bernie Geoffrion was one of the all-time hockey greats. In 1960-61 he became the second player in NHL history to score 50 goals in a season, following his teammate Maurice “Rocket” Richard who had accomplished the feat in 1944-45. Geoffrion, who was one tough player, broke his nose six times and received over 400 stitches playing hockey. The “Boom Boom” nickname however came from his hard slap shot not from pounding other players. After playing his entire career with the Montreal Canadiens from 1950-1964, Geoffrion retired. But two years later Geoffrion came out of retirement to play with the New York Rangers during the 1966-67 season.

On February 8, 1967 Geoffrion lost his cool during a game at the Boston Garden. In the closing seconds of a game that the Bruins would end up winning 2-1, angry Ranger fans littered the ice with debris over a perceived missed penalty call.

After a ten minute delay to clear the ice play resumed with two seconds remaining on the clock. There were three false starts that linesman Walter Atanas claimed were caused by Geoffrion going offside. Atanas and Geoffrion started yelling at one another and Geoffrion then allegedly slapped an empty beer can in Atanas’ direction.

Atanas skated over to referee John Ashley to have Geoffrion assessed a ten minute misconduct penalty. Geoffrion followed Atanas across the ice, cross-checking him twice. Geoffrion later claimed he never cross-checked Atanas, but had merely tripped on an empty beer can. The photographic evidence proved otherwise.

One week later, NHL President Clarence Campbell suspended Geoffrion for three games. Campbell said, “I consider his actions in cross-checking official Walter Atanas to be completely inexcusable and a product of his own temperament, which has gotten him into similar trouble on at least two other occasions.”  Geoffrion was also fined $25 and $50 for the misconduct and game misconduct penalties.

The previous two times that Geoffrion was suspended was when he was with the Montreal Canadiens. Both incidents also involved altercations with officials.

Geoffrion finished the season with 17 goals and 25 assists in 58 games. After the 1967-68 season Geoffrion retired for good. He was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1972.