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The Essentials: Montreal Canadiens Edition

Greg Wyshynski
Puck Daddy

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(This month, Puck Daddy asked bloggers for every NHL team to tell us The Essentials for their franchises — everything from the defining player and trade, to the indispensable fan traditions. Here's Kevin van Steendelaar and Habs Eyes On The Prize, chronicling The Essentials for the Montreal Canadiens.)

By Habs Eyes On The Prize

Player: Maurice "Rocket" Richard

Lafleur lead the league in scoring, Beliveau was the captain and Roy the biggest impact on his position but The Rocket is the one they make movies about. "Hockey is a religion in Quebec, and the Rocket was bigger than the Pope." - Red Storey

Season: 1976-77

Just eight losses in the regular season (1 at home), and 12-2 in the playoffs, sweeping two series, including the Final against Boston. Of note: All but one player (Peter Mahovlich) came through the Canadiens were either drafted and immediately part of the team or came up through farm system.

Game: December 31, 1975

Montreal against the Soviet Union's Central Red Army team. Still viewed by many as the greatest game of hockey ever played.

Goal: Guy Lafleur, May 19, 1979

With the Bruins on the verge of defeating the Canadiens in Game Seven of the semifinal, the Bruins take a costly too many men penalty with less than two minutes to play. Guy Lafleur would tie the game with a slap shot past Gilles Gilbert. Yvon Lambert would win the game in overtime. Bruins coach Don Cherry took responsibility for the penalty, ending his coaching career in Boston.

Trade: Acquiring Guy Lafleur

The Best Trade: January 26, 1971 Sam Pollack sends Ralph Backstrom to the Kings to secure the number one pick and assure the rights to Guy Lafleur.

The Worst Trade: The Patrick Roy trade, Not just for itself but signifying a permanent fall from grace. That was the moment they became an ordinary franchise.

Unsung Hero: Elmer Lach

Even when his jersey was retired he played second fiddle.

Franchise Villain: Boston Bruins

For teams the Canadiens play it's he Boston Bruins.... of Clarence Campbell for suspending the Rocket.

In the eyes of the Canadiens opponents: The late John Ferguson, toughest player of his era, and created the enforcer for a team.

Fight: Larry Robinson takes out Dave Schultz

It happened on Feb. 17, 1974 (link) in a Flyers/Habs game, where Robinson took out Dave Schultz

Runner Up: Good Friday Massacre vs. Nordiques on April 20, 1984

Coach: Scotty Bowman

He was able to control the egos and talent of the '70s dynasty and was never afraid to bench a top player for underachieving.

Broadcaster: Danny Gallivan and Dick Irvin

Arena Behavior/Tradition/Trend

"Halte-là, Halte-là, Halte-là, les Canadiens sont là, les Canadiens sont là "....but of late, "Ole, Ole Ole Ole"

Arena Food

Hot Dogs at the old Forum.

Swag (jersey, hat, shirt, gear, etc.)

The sweater a.k.a. La Sainte Flannelle , Le Bleu-Blanc-Rouge, Le Tricolore

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