Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Remembering When Canadiens Turned 100

Things are startinf to get back to normal after all of the excitement marking the 100th anniversaty of the Montreal Canadiens.

Over the past year we have done features, podcasts and more about the team and just what it represenst to so many people. That can be found by kicking aorund

Here we present a summary of those marking the occasion (courtesy of the Montreal Gazette and The New York Times):

The excellent Dave Stubbs called this video to our attention:

There's more, cortesy of Mr. Stubbs, at: especially this look form Dick Irvin:


"...If you didn’t see the Canadiens’ 100th-anniversary celebration on Friday night, you missed something special. It started with their former legendary equipment manager Eddie Palchack dumping a couple of buckets of pucks on the ice…

…and many of the greatest in Habs history skating out for a short pregame warm-up. Even Ken Dryden, who hadn’t put on goalie pads since his last game in 1979, when Montreal beat the Rangers for the Stanley Cup, took shots. The hourlong ceremony, with words from Serge Savard, Patrick Roy, Guy Lafleur, Gordie Howe and Jean Beliveau, is worth seeing and it is on CBC’s Web site (video). Plus, there are some great interviews from former Canadiens on Habs Inside/Out (the Dryden interviews on CBC and Habs Inside/Out are especially illuminating, of course).

In a night full of surprises, the Habs retired the numbers of their oldest alumni, Emile “Butch” Bouchard, a defenseman and captain in the post-World War II era and his teammate, another former captain, Elmer Lach, the center of the famous Punch Line with Rocket Richard and Toe Blake:

When he retired in 1954, Lach was the leading scorer in N.H.L. history, and that should have been reason enough for the Habs to celebrate his career long ago. Even the team that leads the world in ceremonies somehow missed that one until now.

While critics may have felt the Canadiens overdid the whole anniversary thing for the last 15 months, there’s no denying that every ceremony was exceptionally well planned and executed and this one ranks with the closing of the Forum in 1996 as the best. And it inspired the home team to play one of their better games of the season.

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