Today marks the 100th anniversary of the first game played by the Montreal Canadiens, just one month after the 50th anniversary of Canadiens’ goalie Jacques Plante first wearing a goalie mask. I recently took a tour of the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto where they had set up a beautiful tribute to the Habs’ centennial. My attention, of course, was centered on the goalies featured in the exhibit. In case you didn’t get a chance to visit the HHOF before the exhibit ended you can at least view the important parts here.
What a great way to enter the Habs Centennial exhibit! If you watched the Habs during the 1970's the only image more lasting than Ken Drydens's famous pose is that of the Cup being lifted again and again. And then again and again and again and again. What's the opening bid for this statue when the exhibit ends?
Tim Thomas offers some words of encouragement to Carey Price after Price suffered the wrath of Canadiens' fans in game four.
Montrealers like to think of themselves as sophisticated sports fans, especially when it comes to hockey. In truth they are ignorant, arrogant and obnoxious hockey snobs who view the Stanley Cup as their birthright. Nevermind the fact they chased the Expos out of town by ignoring them, or the fact their CFL franchise died twice before moving to a minor league stadium, leaving the city with just one major league team to obsess over. They were at their moronic best in mocking Carey Price as the Canadiens were swept by the Bruins.
Watch for the split screen toward the end of the video comparing Price’s actions with those of Patrick Roy in 1995.
The comparisons to Roy’s antics when he was left in net to face an onslaught by the Detroit Red Wings were easy and immediate. Will Montreal fans boo Price out of town the same way they did with Roy? Or will both the fans and the goalie shake it off and forget about it? Price will likely shake it off but I can’t imagine the Montreal media will let him forget about it as they will be seeking scapegoats for why the 100th Anniversary season went awry. Coach and GM Bob Gainey defended his goalie immediately after the game but Habs fans have long memories.
No hockey player ever wants a long summer simply because it means he had a short season, but this summer might not be long enough for Price to escape the wrath of Montreal’s fans and media. Price has one year left on his contract before becoming a Restricted Free Agent. Assuming Gainey is taking the long view and that Price can shake this off there should be no need for either side to be considering a change of scenery. But if the Canadiens’ greatest goalie in team history can be run out of town then anything is possible.
With apologies to Patrick for rubbing salt into a wound long since closed, this video shows the low-lights of his last game in Montreal, concluding with his verbal attack on then-president Ronald Corey.
Last March I wrote that Patrick Roy’s number 33 would eventually hang above the Bell Center in Montreal in recognition of his performance in Montreal. It took the Canadiens 28 years to so honor Ken Dryden so I hypothesized that fans’ memories of Roy’s bitter departure from the team in 1995 would eventually fade and his importance in bringing two Stanley Cups to Montreal would result in a jersey ceremony in the next 20 years. I was off by only 19.5 years.
The Canadiens announced this week that Roy’s jersey number will be retired this November prior to a game against the Bruins. Expect to see “33” painted behind each net and the Habs players to be wearing Roy jerseys during the introduction. Apparently we can also expect to see a public kiss-and-make-up between Roy and former Canadiens’ president Ron Corey. This reconciliation has obviously taken place in private otherwise the ceremony would never be happening but it would be fitting to have Corey congratulate Roy from his favored seat immediately behind the Habs’ bench.
Roy’s jersey will be the 15th to be retired in Montreal and the third goalie; Jacque Plante’s # 1 and Ken Dryden’s # 29 are the others.
Did Patrick Roy tarnish his image in last week’s fiasco in Chicoutimi or simply entrench it? Patrick’s career in the NHL never saw him shy away from theatrics or a good fight. The former exemplified by his Statue of Liberty save against Detroit that ended up as a goal after the puck rolled down his arm and into the net, and the latter demonstrated by his toe-to-toe slugfests with Mike Vernon and Chris Osgood.
Not many Junior A backups end up making it to the NHL so let’s set aside for the moment what this means for Patrick’s son Jonathan. .
If it hadn’t been Patrick as the coach and Patrick’s kid as the goalie, this incident would not have made the news outside Quebec. So the real story is what does this do to Patrick’s legacy? Continue reading