The Canadiens have called a news conference for Thursday morning at which time they will unveil details concerning the retirement of Hall of Famer Guy Lapointe’s No. 5 during the 2014-15 season.
As part of the Canadiens’ Big Three on defence during the 1970s — along with Larry Robinson and Serge Savard — Lapointe won six Stanley Cups and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1993, seven years after Savard and two years before Robinson. Lapointe still holds the record for most goals by a Canadiens defenceman in a season with 28 in 1974-75 and ranks second in career goals by a Habs defenceman with 166, trailing Robinson’s 197. Savard scored 100 goals with the Canadiens.
In Ken Dryden’s classic book, The Game, here’s how he described Lapointe:
“In the early and mid-1970s, except for Bobby Orr, Guy Lapointe was the best defenceman in the NHL,” the Canadiens’ Hall of Fame goaltender wrote. “He was strong and powerful, an explosive skater with a hard, low shot, but what made him unique was the emotion he could bring to a game. During flat, lifeless stretches, uncalculated, he would suddenly erupt with enormous impatient fury, racing around the ice, daring and inspired on offence and defence, giving the game a new mood; turning it our way. It is a rare ability, and even as (Denis) Potvin and Robinson matured in mid-decade to push him onto second all-star teams and beyond, it was a skill that even they couldn’t match.”
Lapointe’s daughter Stephanie, who had started an online petition last year to get her father’s number retired, wrote on Twitter after the Habs made the announcement: “I am beyond proud of my dad! Finally he is being awarded this honour!”
Lapointe will become the 18th Canadiens player to have his number retired. The No. 5 has already been retired in honour of Bernard (Boom Boom) Geoffrion, but this won’t mark the first time the Habs will retire one number in honour of two players.
Here’s the complete list of Habs retired numbers:
1. Jacques Plante
2. Doug Harvey
3. Emile (Butch) Bouchard
4. Jean Beliveau
5. Bernard Geoffrion (Guy Lapointe)
7. Howie Morenz
9. Maurice Richard
10. Guy Lafleur
12. Dickie Moore and Yvan Cournoyer
16. Henri Richard and Elmer Lach
18. Serge Savard
19. Larry Robinson
23. Bob Gainey
29. Ken Dryden
33. Patrick Roy
(Gazette file photo)