Flashback: Habs made Garry Monahan historic first draft pick in 1963

Garry Monahan in his first Canadiens photo.

The Gazette
First published: Monday, June 29 2009

Thirty young men were called to the floor of the Bell Centre on Friday night, the simple act of pulling on a hockey jersey and cap forever changing their lives.

The two-day, seven-round NHL entry draft began with a made-for-TV gala, every drop of suspense wrung from all 30 first-round selections that launched the proceedings.

Garry Monahan would like to tell you he remembers the league’s first amateur draft, held on June 5, 1963 at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel. He was the Canadiens’ No. 1 choice, thus the first-ever pick in the NHL’s organized dispersal of young talent.

But Monahan, 62, recalls nothing of it, despite the history it made. This was the first time teams could draft priority rights to junior-age amateur players, who until then belonged to the NHL club that sponsored their junior or minor-league teams.

The Montreal Star devoted four brief paragraphs to the ’63 amateur draft, in which 21 players total (all Canadians) were selected by the NHL’s six clubs. The Gazette ignored it entirely.

Not that there was much to cover. The six clubs held the draft behind closed doors and it wasn’t until some days later that the names of the drafted 16-year-olds, and the teams on which they played, were announced.

There were few blue-chip prospects in the pool that June and for a few years to come, most of the best young players already tied to NHL clubs by way of junior-team sponsorship or signed C-form commitment.

And the ’63 amateur draft, at the tail end of three days of NHL meetings, took a back seat both to a quiet inter- league draft that preceded it and a blockbuster Canadiens trade, Montreal sending goaler Jacques Plante and forwards Don Marshall and Phil Goyette to the New York Rangers for goalie Gump Worsley and forwards Dave Balon, Len Ronson and Leon Rochefort.

“I was 16 at the time. What did I know?” Monahan says today of being the NHL’s milestone No. 1 selection. “I didn’t know anything. I didn’t know there was a draft. Certainly my parents and my older brother didn’t know.

“The phone rang after the fact, and I don’t even remember if it was the next day or the next week. We were all sort of flabbergasted.”

Monahan’s father, Patrick, took the call from incoming Canadiens general manager Sam Pollock, listened to the news that his son had just been drafted by Montreal, then asked Pollock what the word “draft” meant.

“My recollection is that my dad then told Sammy: ‘You mean Pat, Garry’s (18-year-old) brother?’ ” Monahan recalls, laughing. “Pat was the better player.”

But it was Garry the Canadiens had selected, and soon here came Pollock and Scotty Bowman, then the Canadiens’ head scout for eastern Canada, pulling into the Monahan driveway in Toronto-suburban Scarborough. For this, he remembers, his family became instant celebrities.

The two executives laid out Monahan’s options: play with the Junior A Peterborough Petes, then managed by the Canadiens, or join the Baby Habs in Montreal. Monahan’s father encouraged Garry to finish up at St. Michael’s College School in Toronto, then play with the Petes.

“I’d been thinking: ‘I’m a third-line guy. Drafted? What the hell is this? I’m not very good,’ ” Monahan recalls, saying he was more bewildered than disappointed to be drafted by the Canadiens while growing up in the heart of Maple Leafs country.

In fact, hockey hadn’t even been on the radar of the teenager, who tried out for the St. Mike’s bantam club on a whim and made it. He’d always skated two years ahead of himself as a tag-along on Pat’s minor-league teams, a third-liner at best.

Only at 19, in his third and final season with the powerhouse Petes, did Monahan emerge from the shadows, scoring 30 goals and 54 assists in 47 games.

He graduated from the Petes in the spring of 1967 and reported “scared skinny” that fall to the Canadiens’ Forum training camp, in the first season of an expanded NHL. Monahan recalls dorm-style living with maybe 20 fellow hopefuls in the windowless basement of the downtown Martinique Hotel, battling with fellow rookie Jacques Lemaire for the team’s fourth spot at centre.

He was one of the few left standing when camp broke and bodies were farmed to the Central league’s Houston Apollos or back to their junior clubs, “and it was then that it became very intimidating, with Toe Blake the coach and Jean Béliveau the captain.”

Monahan was paid $8,000 to sign and $10,000 for the season, riches he’d never imagined. His wife-to-be, Barbara, was earning $4,000 as a teacher.

He spent more time with Houston than Montreal during his two seasons here, though he recalls practising through the playoffs with the Canadiens as they won their 15th and 16th Stanley Cups.

There were tough moments, but even those are fond memories.

Monahan remembers largely fending for himself, nearly missing an overnight train to New York then unknowingly crawling into a lower berth that was reserved for Béliveau.

He recalls hobbling lamely onto a team bus, on a foot nearly broken, then being verbally undressed by Blake for arriving 30 seconds late.

By now, Lemaire was on his way to stardom and Monahan was a commodity. Pollock packaged him to Detroit with Doug Piper for Peter Mahovlich, a former teammate at St. Mike’s who went second to the Red Wings in the 1963 draft, and Bart Crashley on June 6, 1969.

It was six years and a day after Pollock had drafted Monahan into the NHL.

“Sammy finally realized his mistake,” he jokes, “so he traded me for Peter.”

Molded into an efficient checking centre, Monahan would play 734 NHL games for Detroit, Toronto and Vancouver before enjoying three seasons in Japan, absorbing a new culture while skating for a company team in Tokyo.

He and Barbara, who would lose her battle to cancer, finally settled back in West Vancouver, where he did radio work for the Canucks and branched out into stock brokerage and, his current career, real estate. His three sons have given him two grandchildren.

Through the years, Monahan hasn’t set an alarm to watch the NHL’s annual entry draft.

But he tuned in Friday night when another Torontonian was chosen No. 1 overall in a Montreal ceremony that was a little flashier than his own of 1963.

“Clearly a big change from my experience,” he suggests.

And there would be no need for anyone to phone Joe Tavares to advise him about the future of his son, John.

Monahan’s first shift lasted 10 seconds
Debut in 1967 marked by getting steamrolled by Bruins’ Eddie Shack,
being hit in the face by a puck

Garry Monahan vividly remembers his National Hockey League début, which is remarkable given that he was knocked unconscious about a dozen seconds into it.

The Canadiens had made Monahan, then 16, their first selection in the NHL’s historic first amateur draft in June 1963. He arrived in Montreal for training camp four autumns later, having played one season at St. Michael’s College School in Toronto and three more with the major-junior Peterborough Petes, which in the mid-’70s would send Bob Gainey and Doug Jarvis to the Habs.

Monahan latched on with the Canadiens organization in the autumn of 1967, shuttling between Montreal and the club’s Central Professional farm team, the Houston Apollos. He’d play only 11 games that season with the Canadiens, who were blessed at centre with captain Jean Béliveau, Henri Richard, Ralph Backstrom and rookie Jacques Lemaire.

It was Oct. 21, 1967 at the Forum, the first time Monahan had been dressed for a regular-season game, and he recalls warming the end of the bench as the Canadiens pulled away from the Boston Bruins. With Montreal up by a few goals late in the game, Monahan felt the hand of coach Toe Blake on his back.

“I’d been on the bench for two and a half periods when Toe came down and said: ‘Monahan, take off Béliveau,’ ” he said, laughing at the memory. “I climbed over the boards, already out of breath, my legs like ice, and I’m panting just getting to the faceoff circle. I say: ‘Okay, Jean, take a rest.’

“Ten seconds later, I have the puck behind my own net, for some reason. I’m a centreman, so I’m not sure why I’m back there.”

He was sure, however, that he was about to be freight-trained by Boston newcomer Eddie Shack, so he fired the puck along the boards to a teammate at the blue line. Monahan braced for impact, he and Shack crumpling together in a heap.

But the young Canadien scrambled to his skates, “again out of breath, from nerves.”

Whoever had received Monahan’s pass at the blue line decided to return it, with some force, high along the glass. The puck was felt before it was ever seen.

“It hit me flat, on the cheekbone near the bridge of my nose, and cut me in three different places,” he said. “Down I went. I remember dropping my gloves. There was (defenceman) J.C. Tremblay, and I recall grabbing at his sweater as I sunk to my knees, out cold.

“They dragged me off after a shift of about 10 seconds. That was it.”

The injury looked worse than it was, but its timing was dreadful. A day or two later, a photographer from the Topps company arrived at the Forum to shoot that season’s bubblegum cards.

Monahan, who would wear No. 20 for each of his 11 Canadiens games that season and No. 11 for his final three games in 1968-69, was inexplicably given a grab-bag of equipment for the photo.

With an ugly red welt beneath his left eye, Photoshop not yet invented, he was snapped in Yvan Cournoyer’s No. 12 jersey while wearing Gilles Tremblay’s No. 5 gloves to hold a stick stencilled with Dick Duff’s No. 8.

Monahan still has the card today somewhere in his West Vancouver home, “probably in the attic.”

So what, he figures, if the card might fetch just 20 bucks in near-mint condition. Or that Topps forgot an “r” in his first name.

The memories of his NHL début with the Canadiens are what matter most. There’s no putting a price on “okay, Jean, take a rest.”

Garry Monahan in his David Bier team portrait and his rookie card:


  1. SeriousFan09 says:

    Winnipeg’s first-round pick will be given a Black and Grey NHL Sweater apparently, the new ownership group apparently still can’t decide what to name the franchise other than Jets so they can begin their greedy cash grab on what’s likely going to be lousy apparel if it’s taking them this long to get a design up for their team.

    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.
    SF09 on Twitter

    • TomNickle says:

      My thoughts exactly. I understand that they don’t want to rush to a decision and make a mistake. But all reports indicate that they’ve been working toward getting a franchise for a number of years. How can they not have had a group working on potential logo design, name or jerseys? And how can this man preach that he’s all about the fans and Winnipeg and ignore the overwhelming majority who want to see them back as the Jets. Just pay for the name. Alienating the fan base wouldn’t be a good start to the year.

  2. 2011-12 schedule is out. http://www.nhl.com/ice/page.htm?id=69865&navid=mod-rr-headlines

    Some highlights from the Habs’ one:
    -open up in Toronto, per usual
    -two three-game homestands in October
    -a six-game road trip in December
    -close out the year at home against Toronto

    And for those curious, we host Winnipeg on Wednesday, 4 January and Sunday, 5 February.

  3. Neutral says:

    would like to see G-Man try to outskate Pouliot. 1 lap around the ice they’d be calling 911, not sure he can even skate

  4. naweed235 says:

    Just to add somthing to the Poo conversation… I understand that he was a high draft pick and because of that the expectations are high but give the guy some slack… he spent most of the year in JM’s dog house and played 4th/3rd line minutes and yet he scored 13 goals and 17 assists… what more can u expect from a guy playing those minutes? He did not get a real chance on the top 2 lines and never got any PP minutes…
    if you are not gonna put him on the top line put him on a 3rd line with offensive minded players and watch him produce…
    I say:
    Pouliot – DD – Darche OR Pouliot – Eller – Kostytsin

  5. HardHabits says:

    I wouldn’t mind seeing the Habs select any of the following players if available when their turn comes up:

    Who they should not pick under any circumstances:

    • TomNickle says:

      Pass on Jenner and Phillips. Not picking high enough to get Zibanejad or Scheifele.

      • HardHabits says:

        Pass on Morrow. The last thing the Habs need is to pick a defenseman. The team needs to find a #1 centre or another power forward. Something that can’t be found via trade or costs too much in the UFA market.

        • TomNickle says:

          You don’t often find Andrei Markov’s on the free agent market Dave.

          • SeriousFan09 says:

            Andrei Markov is about the best Russian defencemen to ever play the NHL after Sergei Zubov, saying Morrow is the next Andrei Markov is pushing it Tom.

            One of the worst things to put up with on Draft Day is all the 1st-round pick comparisons to All-Stars and HOFers.

            – I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.
            SF09 on Twitter

          • TomNickle says:

            Allow me to apologize for the presumption. But it’s no more of a stretch to say that Morrow is the next Markov than it is to say that Scheifele is the next Lecavalier or Pacioretty, that Oleksiak is the next Chara or that Puempel is the next Cammalleri.

            These players draw comparisons in style of play, not necessarily hall of fame or all-star credentials.

            The Habs will need a good to elite two way defenseman who can play the left side in five years and Mac Bennett doesn’t project as that kind of player. More like a Weber without the shot.

          • HardHabits says:

            If he was the next Andrei Markov the Habs would get him in round 6.

            Morrow is more like the next Paul Coffey. He needs work on his defensive game.

            And I disagree about puck moving defensemen. Isn’t Wisneiwski available? Also, isn’t that what the Habs have in abundance in their system already?

            The team’s glaring need is size up front.

          • TomNickle says:

            The Habs have no puck moving defensemen among their prospects other than Mac Bennett. And he’s a long shot to make the NHL.

          • habs03 says:

            Question to both TomNickle and SeriousFan, since both are good with prospects, what are your thoughts on Brandon Saad, Habs don’t have much depth on LW, big bodied, people have him in the 15-20 range, or possibly Mark McNeill?

          • TomNickle says:

            Saad was incredibly inconsistent this season and that’s one of the biggest red flags for players who should be dominant in junior.

            McNeill probably won’t make it to us and he’s been a bit inconsistent but he’s a dream package with skill, speed, size and willingness to use it.

          • SeriousFan09 says:

            Brandon Saad is flagged pretty badly for having a lack of a physical game or willingness to take hits from what I’ve read. I know MTL needs scoring talent but we need a guy who isn’t a total marshmellow.

            – I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.
            SF09 on Twitter

        • habsfansince91 says:

          I don’t think the habs should draft another centerman. We already have Plekanec, Eller and Leblanc (for the future). IMO we should draft a winger with our first pick

    • HalifaxHabs says:

      I would be absolutely shocked if Scheifele or Zibanejad were available for the Habs to draft.

    • SeriousFan09 says:

      Throw in Matt Puempel. People say we need to score more 5-on-5, there are few players with natural scoring talent like Puempel after 5th overall in this draft. Not overly gritty, but he does go straight to the hard areas to get goals.

      – I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.
      SF09 on Twitter

    • Mike D says:

      Some of the mock draft/ranking stuff I’ve has McNeil placed around 17th. From stuff I’ve read on here previously he might also be a good pick, but I don’t this stuff as much as some others.

      – Honestly yours

  6. SmartDog says:

    HOLY CRAP!!!

    Did SOMETHING just HAPPEN???
    Wait a minute… wait just a minute… Wow!
    Oh.. hang on now… oh no it didn’t.

  7. TomNickle says:

    Winnipeg has chosen Claude Noel as their first head coach and the bottom feeding continues.

    I feel terrible for those fans who are having their hopes and expectations raised with each passing day. It seems their owner is more interested in hiring men who will do what he wants rather than men who will do the best job.

    • shiram says:

      So one less place for Muller to go… AHL seems most likely.

    • mrhabby says:

      promoting from within ..he coached the moose right. i don’t see to much wrong with it.

      • TomNickle says:

        Other than Chevaldayoff, all they’re doing is bringing Moose personnel up to the NHL. Not a bright move in my opinion. There’s a reason that the guys they’ve brought up have been in the minor leagues for twenty years. Their team president started out as an equipment manager.

        Having Vancouver’s draft picks like Hodgson, Schneider, Sweatt, Baumgartner, Schroeder, Bolduc, Oreskovich and other players like Tanev, Tambellini and Oberg can make the job of the AHL coach a lot easier.

        They aren’t hiring people who have had success in the NHL, but rather people who have toiled in mediocrity in the AHL.

        • G-Man says:

          And we are worried about that because…?

          • TomNickle says:

            No particular reason. I just feel bad for those fans who’ve been teased for the better part of a decade, after having their franchise stolen from them of course. And now it would appear that they’ll be under incompetent management.

            Just my opinion.

          • HabFarmer says:

            I see the knives are out already – oh wait, this is a Montreal Web site. Going to have trouble having two teams to support, I guess.

            In defense of Noel, he’s a good coach with a ton of experience, and Heisinger was an equipment manager who’s worked his way up the ladder. Used to be that was the way you did it in business.

            And the Moose weren’t mediocre in the AHL – they were one of the best. Having the Nucks as the Mother Ship wasn’t easy because all those great prospects were basically here for a cup of coffee on their way up.

            “No, I see. The monkey’s out of the bottle now!”

          • TomNickle says:

            If Montreal cleaned house tomorrow and hired nothing but personnel men who haven’t been able to get to the NHL for more than 10 games in a prominent role. I would have some major concerns my friend.

            Especially if they were ignoring successful NHL executives in the process.

    • HabFarmer says:

      You guys are a Greek Chorus, you know that? You know what a Greek Chorus is right?

      Kinda like those owls in “Rango”, can’t wait to get started right in on the tragedy!

      “No, I see. The monkey’s out of the bottle now!”

    • bwoar says:

      Tom, you’re digging yourself a big pile of crow. Save room for it, because you’ll have to start eating by December if you want to finish it before someone else wins the Stanley Cup.

      If you had ever watching or followed the Moose, or knew anything about the people being hired, or the organization as a whole, you might not talk so big. Those of us who are familiar with that team are pretty confident in these moves. You’re welcome to berate them, obviously, but you’re speaking from ignorance.

      Not that that stops anyone on this site.

      • TomNickle says:

        You assume I’m speaking from ignorance but their resumés speak for themselves. I’m not berating anyone. It’s very clear that Cheveldayoff’s choice for the next coach was not Noel and that Mark Chipman and Craig Heisinger pulled rank.

        I’m sorry if you have an emotional attachment to the Winnipeg franchise or more specifically the Moose franchise, but these additions stink of an owner looking to bring his AHL team to the NHL and not worrying about experience at the most elite level.

        Having somebody on board to mentor the new faces would be different, but he doesn’t have that.

        • bwoar says:

          You’re feelings are noted but yes, I’m afraid you are speaking from total ignorance. And pretending you’re an authority, which is why it comes off so poorly. Have a little humility and realize that you may not actually know what you think you know.

          Having watched the Jets since the WHA days, having lived through the Moose, I can honestly say that for the first time I can remember, we actually have intelligent owners and a proper management team in place instead of a clown squad.

      • HabFarmer says:

        I’ve always been a big Habs/Peg supporter. It was easy to do because they weren’t real rivals and there was a linkage between the two that went back a long way. When Serge Savard showed up to play I was ecstatic. I spoke briefly with John Ferguson before he passed away at the AHL Allstar ceremonies – totally made my year. And I got his autograph as well.

        I like both teams, I would hope that the supporters of the Habs on this site will at the very least take a wait and see attitude to what’s going on here. If all these moves turn bad well, I guess I’m just a wide eyed back country hick. But believe it or not we Manitobans do kind of know what we’re doing at some things.

        Go Habs! Go Whatever-Your-Name-Is-Just-Don’t-Make-It-The-Polar-Bears-Because-That-Would-Suck!

        “No, I see. The monkey’s out of the bottle now!”

  8. CMAC1978 says:

    Honestly I think that Ben should be given at least one more shot. When the guy works hard, he looks like that Power Forward we’ve been dying for… then again he falls on his butt more often than not. If he can turn into a 25 goal guy he’d work out well on the third line.

    Has anyone put thought into an offer sheet on Bobby Butler? wouldn’t be too much money and picks going the other way… although I guess Ottawa would matach.

    • TomNickle says:

      Your first paragraph is possible. An offer sheet to Bobby Butler? Am I correct in assuming you live in Ottawa?

    • geo_habsgo says:


      no one can deny his skill it’s just about his inability to tap into his limitless potential on a consistent basis. Pouliot is like the hot girl in high school who teases and flirts incessantly yet never puts out.

      Everyone knows he’s got the fire deep down somewhere, they just don’t know when he will let it surface. I just hope he’s still on our team when it does happen.

    • ooder says:

      but how long can you wait for this guy.. he dissapears for long stretches.. trip over the blue line.. and has never done anything in the playoffs.. in fact he has 2 point sin 21 games for the habs

      Gomez: 36 and counting!

      • geo_habsgo says:

        It is frustrating for sure. My patience is waring thin too but I imagine that I’m stuck in the same crossroad as many others where I believe he’s played himself off the team yet still think he can turn it on and save his career.

        • ooder says:

          well if you let him go and he turns into the player he can be a la latendresse then it sucks… but otherwise we never have tos ee a player trip over invisible ropes again 🙂

          Gomez: 36 and counting!

          • HalifaxHabs says:

            “well if you let him go and he turns into the player he can be a la latendresse then it sucks”

            maybe I misinterpreted what you wrote, but it seems like you are saying that Latendresse has turned into something special since we dumped him, and that’s certainly not the case.

          • ooder says:

            well Latendresse has put up more points in 55 games with the wild last season then he has ever with the habs, by scoring 25 goals and adding 12 assists… not superstar material but deffinately and improvement

            Gomez: 36 and counting!

          • HalifaxHabs says:

            I hear ya, and 25 golas in 55 games is an impressive number, but this feels like an example of how stats can be misleading.

            he scored those 25 goals 2 years ago, and he piled up most of them in his first 30 games in Minnesota. (I seem to remember Benny was also on fire when he first got to Montreal and potted like 10 or 15 goals right off the start.)

            Last year Latendresse had 3 goals in 11 games. I wouldn’t characterize that as anything special. I know injuries are injuries, and maybe he’ll be back next year ripping it up, but I still wouldn’t charterize him as someone who’s career has sky-rocketed since we moved him.

            But that’s just my opinion of him, and I totally see your point.

          • ooder says:

            hey, im no latendresse super fan.. just pointing out that once he was moved (and he deffinately should have been moved) he started playing better…
            and it’s frustrating that he couldn’t be that power forward for us

            Gomez: 36 and counting!

  9. TomNickle says:

    My Mock Draft. Enjoy, critique, assault, whatever……

    1. EDM – Ryan Nugent Hopkins
    2. COL – Jonathan Huberdeau
    3. FLA – Sean Couturier
    4. NJD – Adam Larsson
    5. NYI – Dougie Hamilton
    6. OTT – Gabriel Landeskog
    7. WPG – Ryan Strome
    8. CLB – Ryan Murphy
    9. BOS – Duncan Siemens
    10. MIN – Mika Zibanejad
    11. COL – Sven Baertschi
    12. CAR – Jonas Brodin
    13. CGY – Mark McNeill
    14. TOR(VIA DAL) – Mark Scheifele
    15. NYR – Vladislav Namestnikov
    16. BUF – Boone Jenner
    17. MTL – Joe Morrow
    18. CHI – Tomas Jurco
    19. EDM – Oscar Klefbom
    20. PHX – JT Miller
    21. OTT – Jamie Oleksiak
    22. ANH – Nathan Beaulieu
    23. PIT – Nicklas Jensen
    24. DET – Joel Armia
    25. DAL(VIA TOR) – Brandon Saad
    26. WAS – Tyler Biggs
    27. TB – Phillip Danault
    28. SJ – Connor Murphy
    29. VAN – Matt Puempel
    30. TOR – Ty Rattie

    • Hobie Hansen says:

      I will print off the list and attack you the moment the draft is done!!!

    • SeriousFan09 says:

      Haven’t read much suggesting that Oleksiak would last until the 20s, although better have taken a tumble like that and Puempel going at 29th seems a stretch, when a guy has natural scoring touch teams are usually feeling pretty good about picking them up in the 1st.

      What is your reasoning to picking Morrow btw? Seems a bit high for 17th from what I’ve read, you think MTL would go a bit off the board for him?

      – I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.
      SF09 on Twitter

      • TomNickle says:

        I think he fits the mold of what the Habs will be looking for as a replacement for Andrei Markov.

        They’re picking a bit too high to grab Jensen and a bit to low to get somebody like Namestnikov, Scheifele or Baertschi.

        On Oleksiak, I don’t see a way that he can be taken in the top 15 with the talent available. But perhaps Tyler Myers and Jarred Tinordi will push a team to leap for his services.

        Puempel and Jurco could easily flip spots. I just think that Stan Bowman will prefer Jurco’s size and style of play.

        • SeriousFan09 says:

          I’ve considered MTL trading down tommorow as well which might have them making a different choice, depends who is on the boards because after the Top 8 or so, place your bets really.

          Personally I’m still much more in favour of MTL taking Forward talent in the draft, 2012 coming looks to be a much better year to tap defensive talent in the 1st round.

          – I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.
          SF09 on Twitter

          • TomNickle says:

            The only lock after the top 5 is Calgary taking McNeill if he’s available.

          • TomNickle says:

            I would love Montreal to trade down and acquire a second round pick in addition to a late first.

    • Sean Bonjovi says:

      What else did the Leafs give up to get that #14 pick? 🙂

      * Ville Leino would make Sergei Samsonov look like Alex Kovalev *

      • TomNickle says:

        The Leafs are trying to move up in the draft and I identified the single dumbest GM in the NHL and made a fantasy trade to Brian Burke’s liking. Swapping picks and maybe some fringe prospect who will never play is something that I feel Nieuwendyk will gladly do for Burke.

    • HalifaxHabs says:

      Thanks for the effort on that Tom, can we get your reasoning/breakdown for the Habs taking Morrow?

      edit: oh look you just did that above

    • Talik Sanis says:

      Fairly reasonable. I mostly agree with your top ten, though not entirely with the order. I don’t see Landeskog falling to sixth. His stock is too high at the moment and Couturier’s is to low.

      What you think Dallas will get for their first? I don’t think they would move it for the 25th and a second.

      I believe that his lacking a defensive game and skating ability will not stop Armia from going in the early teens.

      As for our pick, I doubt we’ll be taking a defenseman, barring an excellent one being available.

      • SeriousFan09 says:

        Landeskong’s stock is built on that he can play in the NHL next season, but his offensive ceiling compared to Couturier’s is notably lower. Physically mature with NHL talent, but not a ceiling like Strome or Couturier.

        – I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.
        SF09 on Twitter

        • Talik Sanis says:

          I don’t disagree; Landeskog’s stock is not necessarily in keeping with his talent or upside. I still believe that his stock will push him above Couturier this year, however, and my comment was not about the ranking of the players’ talent. Likewise, Oleksiak’s stock is very high right now, and I see him being drafted fairly early, as teams pass by better players in favor of his size and physical maturity, much as the Rangers selected Mcgilrath far too early last year.

    • mrhabby says:

      and with the 17th pick…habs select tyler biggs….big and mean, drop the gloves at anytime has no fear.

    • habsfan0 says:

      Joe Morrow? Any relation to Vic Morrow?

    • If Joel Armia falls that far and the Habs don’t take him I’d like to see some scouts slapped.

  10. Habitoban says:

    One of the jobs of a coach is …. well… to coach. Where there is unrealized potential, it is their job to mine it. Case in point being Jose Bautista of the Blue Jays, who was an inconsistent hitter for years and thought he had plateaued, until the batting coach and Cito Gaston (a former batting coach), who recognized his potential, worked with him on his hitting mechanics and now he’s among the best hitters in baseball.

    Maybe our coaching staff have done that type of thing with Benny, but somehow I doubt it. Although I have to say that, once moved down to the bottom 6, his defensive play seemed to improve a lot over the course of the season.

  11. Bugs says:

    Readin all the comments on my boy Poolio. Food for thought, certainly.
    No need to rehash all that I said about’m; y’all know where I stand. Suffice it to say that I think he has magical talent and only needs to be properly mentally conditioned to reach his full potential. I’m talkin 40 goals, 1st-line centre potential. That’s what I see when I watch him skate, control the puck, pass and shoot. Of course, the mental conditioning aspect is easier said than done…
    But at the same time, whether by conspiring events against’m or just plain bad luck, no one can say that he’s presented himself in the finest light this season.
    And should he be moved, sadly, I won’t be able to complain with much vehemence.
    Imo, he needs to play with a dedicated warrior who can encourage him to surpass himself and who can rebuke him without stressing him. To unleash his savoir-faire.
    Mathieu Darche.
    We’ve seen it with our own eyes; when he’s confident, he’s dominant. Darche makes him feel confident.

    Gone figuratively fishin filibusts L. B. Potter, esq.

    • TomNickle says:

      It’s a damn shame Bugs. I think he has the most talent of anyone on the roster.

      • Bugs says:

        I think it too.
        I also thought the same of Malakhov, mind…

        Gone figuratively fishin filibusts L. B. Potter, esq.

      • coldness81 says:

        you’re making a big case for a guy who was given up on by the wild and seems to fall down when he skates or when he gets bumped.

        Maybe he was a 4th overall pick but he has not once in his career played like one and i fear he might never live up to his daft position or to your expectations. especially not in montreal

      • avatar_58 says:

        There’s no way pouliot has better hands than Cammalleri or Plekanec, sorry.

        Poutliot’s skills are when he dekes and blasts a shot he has no business of scoring with. He’s also not a bad fighter when he needs to drop em (albeit he picks his battles wisely).

        He needs to learn how to skate and pass though

    • shiram says:

      Here’s a link to Lecavalier not wanting to play in MTL Bugs, in case you miss it in the other thread : http://www.cbc.ca/sports/blogs/2009/01/lecavalier_wants_to_stay_in_ta.html

      Pouliot stuff now :
      A fourth line of Pouliot and a combo of either Moen/Darche/White might help spark him up, I agree.
      It will be interesting to see how his case is handled by the Habs brass.

      • Bugs says:

        NOWHERE in there does he say he wouldn’t want to play in Mtl, Shira. He only says he PREFERS to stay in Tampa.
        “For a day, I really thought about it – what would it be like?,” Lecavalier said. “That night I slept and I woke up and I thought: you know what? I want to be in Tampa. I like Montreal and it would be very special,” he said, “but my heart is in Tampa.”
        Which is a FAR CRY from your statement as “someone on record saying he did not want to play here.”
        Completely erroneous in fact, yes?

        Gone figuratively fishin filibusts L. B. Potter, esq.

        • shiram says:

          He also says he wants to finish his carreer in Tampa.
          So that excludes any other team in the NHL including MTL.

          If you read the whole piece you get the feeling that he is being politcally correct about MTL, but that de does not want to come play here.

          Here’s another one where he says there’s no other place he’d rather be than Tampa.

          • Bugs says:

            That’s your PERCEPTION, Shira, and NOT what he said “on record”.

            Gone figuratively fishin filibusts L. B. Potter, esq.

          • shiram says:

            ok hair splitting time I guess…
            This is what I said : “Didn’t he say he did not want to play for MTL as well? ”
            And I think the 2 clippings I posted support that, even if it is not word for word.
            So I don’t mind saying I was not a 100% on this, and from my first statement, I admit it, as I pose it as a question.
            You say you can post reports of him wanting to play in MTL, but I have not seen those.
            But it’s moot, and mostly just pointless discussion, that guy won’t be moved unless we offload Gomez etc…
            Hope that satisfies you, as I don’t feel I can bring much more to this!

            Passe une bonne St-Jean!

          • Bugs says:

            I asked you to produce the RECORD when you said he was “someone on record saying he did not want to play here.”

            Gone figuratively fishin filibusts L. B. Potter, esq.

    • avatar_58 says:

      When have you seen him skate? I always see him coast on his ass once he falls over at the blueline

    • Stuck_in_To. says:

      Pouliot finds seams and scores goal scorer goals. He is clearly a head case currently and if he disappeared from the NHL map few would miss him. But he is untapped potential and it is too soon to give up on him. I’m just not sure Martin is the coach to help him find himself.

    • Sean Bonjovi says:

      I don’t need 40 goals from Pouliot. If he could play the kind of game Dan Cleary plays in Detroit he’d be a very useful player, and IMO it’s “not” unreasonable to think he could do that.

      the word “not” was added at 3:45 EDT, but I intended to include it the original post.

      * Ville Leino would make Sergei Samsonov look like Alex Kovalev *

  12. TomNickle says:

    Can we please stop assuming what Pouliot does or does not deserve in terms of treatment, icetime and his role within the team.

    He controls what kind of role he’s given, he controls his icetime, he controls how the coach treats him and relates to him.

    Anyone remember Pacioretty saying on the radio that if he wants a top 6 role that he has to make it impossible for Martin, Muller and Pearn to demote him to a bottom six role or back to Hamilton? That’s the reason Pouliot has a passenger seat on this team, he doesn’t make it difficult to give somebody else a shot in the role that he should be filling.

    If he played consistently, with effort and discipline, he would be in a top six role, but he doesn’t, so he doesn’t get the icetime afforded to those who do.

    Is that unfair treatment? I don’t think so. If he wants a prominent role on this team, it’s on him to earn, not on JM to hand it out like so many bottles of gatorade.

    • shiram says:

      Would you give him a qualifying offer though?

      • HalifaxHabs says:

        I completely agree with Tom, and to answer Shiram, yes I would. One more year for him to prove himself a consistent threat, and he’d be easily movable during the year if it didn’t work out, or let him walk next summer.

      • TomNickle says:

        Yes I would, because I feel that he has immense upside. If you can see his talent and I can see his talent. 29 General Managers can see his talent, and General Managers often think they can fix a player. I would look very seriously at moving him for an upgrade in our top six forward group. I would be targeting players like Setoguchi, Hartnell, Sutter, Oshie and Perron.

        Surely we would have to include other asset(s) but giving Plekanec and Cammalleri a consistent right winger should be Gauthier’s #1 priority in my opinion.

    • christophor says:

      How about a 3rd line role on a team with 3 scoring lines? I don’t think he needs to be on the top two lines or nowhere at all.

      And, yes, to an extent he controls how the coach treats him and relates to him, but the coach also does the treating and relating. It goes both ways, not to say JM is a total flop.

      Instead of arguing that it’s all up to the player, you should recognize that it’s half up to the coach and half up to the player, then show how the coach lived up to his end and the player did not. Regarding last year, you probably have a decent case. But my point is that you should give him one more shot IN SPITE of last year.

      Give him a couple months even. He’s cheap enough to get rid of via trade or waivers or minors.

      • TomNickle says:

        There really is no room for him at this point. Unless it’s in a fourth line role.

        • christophor says:

          Does Eller start the season or does he need a month of it for rehab? If he needs a month, that’s Pouliot’s chance, playing on the 3rd line beside DD and AK (if PG gets a first-line winger). I don’t like him on the 4th so, yes, it’s 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or nowhere.

          • TomNickle says:

            I don’t think anyone knows when Eller gets back at this point. It’s four to six months. I’d say he’ll be ready two weeks into the season in a worst case scenario.

    • Hobie Hansen says:

      Has a rumor come across the board in the last 24hrs because I believe Pouliot is still on the outside looking in?

      I think White has the edge on Pouliot. Moen is still under contract and everyone is of the belief that another free agent forward will be added to the mix.

      Not to mention that Desharnais and Darche were signed.

      I have to imagine that Gauthier made the decision to sign Desharnais over Pouliot and he’s not coming back?

    • Habitoban says:

      I may have it wrong, but my recollection was that Max said he had no interest in coming to the big team unless he would get top 6 minutes. At the time people were shocked by his audacity and thought that he had burned his bridges. But in the end, it all worked out for him, largely because he did back it up with excellent play.

      • TomNickle says:

        In that same interview he said that it is his responsibility to earn that role. Not their responsibility to give it to him.

      • Hobie Hansen says:

        I saw nothing wrong with what Pacioretty did. I believe he made that statement on the Team 990?

        Just like when a pitcher gets pulled from a ball game and gets angry; Pacioretty was angry about his playing time.

        Shows he’s got some fire in him!

    • HabFanSince72 says:

      The issue is not fairness.

      The issue is how can the Habs maximize their assets.

      Coaches needs to get the best out of the players.

      This is Jacques Martin’s biggest weakness. The only way he could sap young players’ confidence more is if he made them play naked.

      • TomNickle says:

        Desharnais, Subban, Eller. They have any problems earning their icetime and trust?


      • SeriousFan09 says:

        Subban, Pacioretty, Eller, Desharnais, White all play pretty confidently out there. Andrei Kostitsyn’s defensive game has come a long way since JM came to town.

        It isn’t JM’s fault Pouliot has some head issues that he can’t seem to get around. He’s been given opportunities but if this kid’s confidence is so fragile a benching makes him a more wobbly skater than most kids in minor midget than he’s not cut out for the NHL, let alone the bright lights of the Bell Centre.

        – I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.
        SF09 on Twitter

      • Hobie Hansen says:

        Is it a weakness of Martin’s…maybe?

        But anybody who doesn’t see that Martin doesn’t have the superstars to work with like many other top teams do and the results he gets, is crazy.

        I think Martin gets the absolute best results out of our current roster and more than any other coach possibly could.

        My opinion…

      • HabFarmer says:

        Actually I’m thinking a way he could sap their confidence even more is if he coached naked ……. .

        “No, I see. The monkey’s out of the bottle now!”

    • SeriousFan09 says:

      Agree, Pouliot has to get over his headcase issues. I doubt he’d be benched so often if JM wasn’t suspicious he’d fall down each time he had to make a turn on the ice. It’s in his head and he has to sort it out with real off-season help because I maintain, there is no way Pouliot is this terrible a skater and at any time gone 4th overall in the draft.

      – I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.
      SF09 on Twitter

      • TomNickle says:

        He didn’t blow the doors off in junior Robert. He’s a classic high upside pick who showed enough offense to warrant a high pick. His size, speed, puck handling and offensive creativity are out of this world. But it’s on him to realize consistency like you say because he’s been given the opportunities.

  13. christophor says:

    Last time I tried to post this it had to wait forever for moderation, so I’ll post one link at a time:

    #1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lM0Uhf9LI70

    • christophor says:

      #4: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rpFjEv8V2h4

      These reasons, plus his price tag (which is low enough that he can be shipped out or demoted a couple months into the season if need be), plus his skill set that might eventually synthesize with the material between his ears, are why I think he should be retained.

      • shiram says:

        Pouliot is not a fighter, Krejci and Ferrence are definately smaller than him… And if we retain him because he fights, that means fourth line, small TOI and a different kinda game for him.

        But mostly it’s a spot on the team, and you have to think if you can improve over him.

        • christophor says:

          Because he has an edge to his game, yes, but I also gave other reasons, if you read again. But anyways, that edge is what makes him able to play on the 3rd line. He’s not one of those top-6-or-bust players. What’s an improvement over him at the same price?

          • shiram says:

            I’ll give you that he has alot of upside, he can bring it offencively, and he can play with that edge, but usually that only means he falls down!
            Could not resist that joke.. eh.
            MaxPac was a definite upgrade for him last year, for sure.
            I’ll grant you that I can’t think of another player right now, but it’s not like BP achieved anything remarkable in his time in the nhl.

          • christophor says:

            Remarkable is now the standard for a good 3rd line player (with the potential for more)? If he’d have done something remarkable already, we wouldn’t be talking about potential, yes? But he kind of already did something remarkable for the first few months he was here. I know it was a while ago but at least we know he can do it. It’s not like a prospect that you hope can do it. We know! As for his skating, totally embarrassing, for sure, but I think that stems from a problem in his head – decision making that results in spills – not just skating issues. Though, a leg press and a skating coach this summer wouldn’t hurt. Maybe add a shrink in there.

          • shiram says:

            Future, potential, past success and present problems are common theme for Benoit Pouliot.
            The truth is he is a risk in that, right now, you do not know what he will bring in a game.
            I’d like to keep him, I think he could find his game and perform, but I doubt it will be with the Habs.
            The guy is kind of an enigma, and those usually don’t work out well in this market.

      • issie74 says:

        Thank You Christophor.


    • Marcusman says:

      Here’s a better reason to sign him and just let him play. If you watched this game, he worked his butt off on this play.


      Sign him and let him play with DD and Ak46

      • issie74 says:

        Thank You Marcusman.


      • christophor says:

        What I love about that goal is how quickly he got that shot off. The wind-up was short but the speed of the shot didn’t suffer. Not many can do that, especially on the third line.

        • Marcusman says:

          It was a great goal, there was a fierce determination to gain the zone. HE HAS ALL THE TOOLS it’s up to the coach to figure out how to use him.

          Really begin to think that Martin is the problem. After all it was JM that gave Gomez the 20 mins per game…

          • christophor says:

            I don’t have faith in Gomez, and I wish Pouliot had 5 games with Plek and Cammi to see what he’s got, but it’s hard to argue with a coach who gets way more out of his team than he should.

          • shiram says:

            He got 9g/9a for 18 points with the coaches from the Wild, in 65 games.

      • avatar_58 says:

        That’s the Pouliot that we all want. Unfortunately he seems to have a real hard time showing up every game.

        Much like AK46 he seems to forget he even has that shot. If these two shot at the rate Gionta did…..look out

  14. Habitoban says:

    A charming window on Habs player development, or lack thereof, in the 1960s. Not sure much has changed since. I guess Monahan didn’t make the most of his “opportunities” and management didn’t show much patience.

    Speaking of player opportunities and management patience, Max Pac has played 123 games over 3 seasons as a Hab, is -9 with 49 points. Pouliot has played 118 games over 2 seasons as a Hab, is +10 with 54 points.

    • HalifaxHabs says:

      “Max Pac has played 123 games over 3 seasons as a Hab, is -9 with 49 points. Pouliot has played 118 games over 2 seasons as a Hab, is +10 with 54 points.”

      wow crazy!!! that statement perfectly proves how misleading stats can be, and how relying on them can burn you.

      not one GM in the NHL would take Pouliot over Max Pac.

      • Hobie Hansen says:

        You could prety much trade Pouliot for a goon at this point…which i’d take 😉

        • Tony McLean says:

          Pouliot beat Redden and KO’d Krejci, if he fights in his class he surprises people. WAY too early to give on the kid, he’s got hands, size, a wicked shot, time for the 13th place Adams coach of the year to step forward or is he incapable of developing young talent?

          “Rebuilding since 1979.”

          • nek25plus says:

            We should not give up on Pouliot…Patches has had the opportunity to come into the league the right way. He went through the AHL. Gained experience and strength. Pouliot could have used the same…it would have helped him immensely. He too good to give up on just yet.

          • G-Man says:

            Maybe if he was sent for skating lessons….

          • issie74 says:

            Thank You Tony.


          • ed lopaz says:

            13th place – nice job JM.

            doesn’t matter.

            he gets a $500,000 BONUS every year the Habs make the playoffs.

            thats 500 big ones!!

            Habs hockey is “smart” hockey – we play 5 man defence, not just 2 – we move up the ice as a 5 man unit, we back check with 5.

        • issie74 says:

          I do not want the Habs to become a goon squad(Boston).


      • Habitoban says:

        Agree. My point was about the need for management patience, which has been shown in the case of Max.

        • HalifaxHabs says:

          I hear you, and I’m thinking the reason MaxPac has been given the time is because he has demonstarted the intangibles that get coaches & GM’s frothing at the mouth, where as Benny has not.

          If he gets another year here, and I hope he does(unless he’s part of a trade) hopefully it works out.

          • HabFanSince72 says:

            If Benny could only learn to stay on his skates…

          • Habitoban says:

            I believe the full list of intangibles can be found on that piece of paper that JM annoyingly pulls out of his breast pocket during the game.

          • Marcusman says:

            At this point I have to figure that Benoit lipped off to the coach, it must be more of a discipline thing than skills and stats. They will trade him, he’ll get regular shifts and get into a grove and score 30 goals one day.

          • HalifaxHabs says:

            HFS72 – My thoughts exactly

            Habitoban – LOL, youre probably right

    • SmartDog says:

      The BIG difference is that Pouliot did a quarter of his scoring in his first 10 games. Max has done most of his scoring in the last 30 games. One is (or was) getting much better, the other seems to have peaked two years ago and has been in the shadows since.

      • christophor says:

        The guy’s 24 years old. You sure he peaked at 22?

        His last RFA year is cheap. I say give it one more go. Ship him out a couple months in if need be. It’s not like it’s a high-risk gamble: 1.5ish mill.

        I’m not ok with throwing out potential when it’s cheap.

        • SmartDog says:

          I agree with you. I think Pouliot should stick around. He’s getting paid what he’s worth and not more, and if he blossoms even better. Don’t ship him out to develop into an impact player elsewhere like so many have.

          I was just disagreeing with the logic of saying Pouliot and Maxpac are equivalent when you lump all their stats together.

          • Habitoban says:

            There, we all agree! My point wasn’t equivalency of production, it was about equivalency of treatment in terms of managment patience as noted in my post above.

          • G-Man says:

            Grabo and SK impact players? Wait, before I judge them I’ll check their playoff stats.
            Woah, impressive! NOT.

          • christophor says:

            Taken. And @Habitoban: your point about equivalency of patience rests on your point about equivalency of production, but good to know some people don’t want to run Pouliot out of town.

        • HabFanSince72 says:

          I agree we should keep him for one more year. If I was GM though I’d wait before signing him. There’s no rush (he isn’t getting an offer sheet) so why not wait to see what the UFA market brings.

          The real problem though is we will have the same coach who thinks rule number one in hockey is make no mistakes.

          • christophor says:

            I’ll be pissed when that kid leaves and someone else puts his head on straight, turning him into that big winger we wanted all along.

          • HabFanSince72 says:

            Jacques Martin needs to go.

        • Habitoban says:

          Damn logicians!

  15. nek25plus says:

    Great story…

    Neutral – by weakest do you mean defensively responsible? Gill and Jorges are very good at what they do. Wiz has a lot of offensive upside by is a liability on the defensive side. I’m not sure “weakest” is the description you should use.

    • habs03 says:

      Exactly, shows that stats don’t tell the whole story. I like Wiz and I wanted the Habs to get him last offseason when the Ducks were looking to trade him, but anyone paying more than 4M over 4 years is going to be disappointed. Plus he knows this is pay day, he won’t take any discounts unless its for a team where he can golf all season long.

  16. Neutral says:

    A little off topic, however getting back to defence if you’re looking at stats our best 5 defencemen excluding markov are, subban, Hamrlik, wisniewski, spacek and weber Gorges and Gill are the weakest, you may look at them in a different way, myself I look at production, sure helps the forwards.

    • Hobie Hansen says:

      Stats are not important. Maybe points are important for an offesnive defenseman like Markov, Subban or Wisniewski but generally their job is to get the puck on their stick and out of their end and onto a forward’s stick or at least into the netural zone.

      Spacek is completely brutal at that and Hamrlik can struggle as well.

      Gorges and Gill are two of the best.

    • G-Man says:

      So, Rod Langway and Craig Ludwig and Rick Green do not make your team. Defense is more than offensive stats. Talk about DOH!

  17. secretdragonfly says:

    What an awesome story! It’s great to hear some of the history of what’s gone before and it’s easy to forget these guys are not just commodities but human beings first.

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