Team Profile: The Montreal Canadiens

Les Canadiens de Montreal, le Club de hockey Canadien, Le Bleu-Blanc-Rouge, Les Habitants…as one of the oldest teams in the league, the Canadiens, or Habs as they are known by most fans, have a history rich in pride and tradition. Of course with any team, especially one as old as this one, they have seen their ups and downs. 

As always, here’s the brief overview:

  • Located in the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference
  • Founded in 1909
  • Located in Montreal, Quebec
  • Play at Centre Bell
  • Owned by the Molson Family
  • GM: Marc Bergevin
  • Head Coach is somehow still Michel Therrien
  • Captain: Max Pacioretty
  • Minor League Affiliate: St. John’s Icecaps
  • Stanley Cups: 24 (yes, 24)

The Montreal Canadiens were founded on December 4th, 1909. They predated the NHL, and played as part of the National Hockey Association. The Habs were to be the team of the Canadian Francophone community, composed of only French Speaking players and coaches.

They won their first Stanley Cup in 1916 (keep in mind there were only 5 teams competing for the Cup at this point).

In 1917, the Habs, along with 4 other teams, formed the NHL. In 1924 they won their first NHL Stanley Cup.

The Habs were lead to further success in the 1940’s by what is known as the “Punch Line”; Maurice “Rocket” Richard (who lends his name to the NHL trophy awarded to the league’s highest regular season goal scorer), Toe Blake, and Elmer Lach.

From 1953 to 1960, the Habs won 6 more Stanley Cups, with 5 of those being in consecutive years. (League parity, not really a thing then). They dominated with players such as Jean Beliveau, Dickie Moore, Doug Harvey, Bernie “Boom Boom” Geoffrion, Henri Richard, and Jaques Plante.

And then from 1965 to 1979, the Habs won 10 more Stanley Cup Championships (Dynasty, anyone?) Their most recent Stanley Cup Championship was won in 1993.

Patrick Roy, the star goaltender who as a rookie had led his team to the Stanley Cup Championship and had been a franchise player for the team, departed in 1995 under some less than favorable circumstances. The Habs had hired Mario Tremblay as head coach, who had a strained relationship with Roy. All of this came to a head during Montreal’s worst home game in franchise history, where they lost 11-1 against the Detroit Red Wings. Roy had allowed 9 goals on 26 shots, and was forced to remain in net. After finally being pulled in the second period, Roy informed then President, Ronald Corey, that that would be his last game in Montreal. Roy said in interviews that Tremblay had purposely kept him in net to humiliate him. He was traded 4 days later to the Colorado Avalanche by new GM Rejean Houle (he had only been GM for 40 days). So Habs management decided to side with its’ questionable head coach instead of one of its’ star players….I’m sure they learned their lesson, right?

Coincidentally, the Habs did not do so well from then on, failing to make it past the second round of the playoffs until 2010.

The Habs have a strong rivalry with the Toronto Maple Leafs, as well as a heated one with the Boston Bruins.

They are the first team in NHL history to reach 3000 victories. They also hold the record for most points in a season as well as fewest losses in 1977.

For the record, the “H” in their logo stands for “Hockey”, not “Habitants”.

This year the Montreal Canadiens failed to make the playoffs.

So far in the off-season, they have acquired notable winger Andrew Shaw from the Chicago Blackhawks. Oh, and they traded P.K. Subban for Shea Weber. That’s a pretty big deal (See Caitlynn’s last post).

Notable Players:

  • Maurice “Rocket” Richard
  • Guy Lafleur
  • Jean Beliveau
  • Jacques Lemaire
  • Guy Lapointe
  • Henri Richard
  • Larry Robinson
  • Steve Shutt
  • Saku Koivu
  • Patrick Roy
  • Carey Price
  • P.K. Subban (now of the Nashville Predators)
  • Max Pacioretty
  • Brendan Gallagher
  • Alex Galchenyuk

The Montreal Canadiens have a great history, but recent mediocrity and questionable choices by management hint that they will continue to decline before making it back to the glory from previous decades. But really, what do I know? For the sake of their fans I hope not.

Maurice “Rocket” Richard 

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