Gainey’s No. 23 joins immortals tonight

Updated Saturday 7:10 a.m.

The Canadiens will retire Hall of Famer and current general manager Bob Gainey’s No. 23 during a pre-game ceremony tonight, prior to the Canadiens-Blue Jackets game. Veteran Gazette hockey writer Red Fisher takes a look back at the life and career of a remarkable player who becomes the 14th Canadien to have his number retired by the oldest franchise in hockey.

Details of the special Gainey night:



  1. TC says:

    For those who seem to forget Dickie Moore won the scoring title in two consecutive years (something that Yvan Cournoyer never achieved once), and in one of those years with a broken hand. No offense to the above poster but Dickie Moore never got anything because of anybody else’s credentials and to suggest so is to insult the man’s many accomplishments.


  2. Bean says:

    Cheers, JT. Love this suggestion, just added my little bit for this great man and great foundation.

  3. Lurker_Girl says:

    Excellent suggestion J.T., thanks. Consider it done.

  4. Chuck says:

    And Georges Vezina.


    “All bow down before the Komisaurus Rex!”

  5. Chuck says:


    A wonderful suggestion, J.T.!


    “All bow down before the Komisaurus Rex!”

  6. The Teacher says:

    I canNOT believe he still hasn’t had his number retired. A shame.

    3rd member of the infamous Punch line. Toe, Rocket and Elmer.

    Elmer Lach

    664 GP 215 G 408 A for a total of 623 points with 478 PM from 1940-1954.

    He scored 19 goals and added 45 assists for 64 points in 76 games during the playoffs, winning three Stanley Cups.

    He also retired as the All-time NHL assist leader, only to be passed by Gordie Howe.

    Source- Canadiens Legends : Montreal’s Hockey Heroes, by Mike Leonetti with a foreword from Jean Beliveau.

  7. 24 Cups says:

    So as I was saying, outside of three other guys……

    This has not been my best HIO day. The Habs better win tonight or I’ll be really depressed!!

    The Original 24 Cups

  8. Mike Boone says:

    What about Howie Morenz? Larry Robinson?

  9. 24 Cups says:

    Sulemaan – How could I have missed Robinson?! As for Morenz, I wasn’t around in those days!

    The Original 24 Cups

  10. Sulemaan says:

    Great post Steve. I completely agree.

    (One thing though – you can add Robinson to the list of non-Quebec playes whose number joined the others in the hallowed rafters.)

  11. RH says:

    Sorry, I had to check. Howie Morenz was born in Ontario so, that makes three non-Quebecers(Quebeckers for those Globe&Mail nuts), who’ve had there #’s retired by the Habs.

  12. Naila Jinnah says:

    I’m in!

  13. showey47 says:

    same here, actually i’m gonna donated $23.23

  14. 24 Cups says:

    Retiring Bob Gainey’s number tonight is not only special but also quite unique. Outside of Ken Dryden, he is the only non Quebec player to have him number retired. He is also the only player who wasn’t a ‘star’ in the popular sense of the word (I think you could say the same for Savard and personally I think Moore’s number is only retired because of Cournoyer). Bob Gainey is being recognized for not only his skill but also the intangibles he brought to the game and the team. He never led the league in scoring and he was never voted onto an all-star team. He led the team in a different way. He epitomized what a defensive forward was and defined the requirements for the Selke Award, which is essence was the Gainey award. He led with his leadership, his poise, his tenacity, and his respect for the honour of being a Hab. He knew the true meaning (and responsibility) of the tradition of carrying and passing on the torch.

    We’ve had quite a few numbers retired recently as we bring the team forward into the 21st century. I’m sure that Patrick Roy will be given serious consideration for next year. After that there really isn’t anyone left that deserves the honour – certainly not from the past. Koivu is still playing and probably will for at least another three years. So that’s a a question for another day, a day that’s well down the road. Personally, I’m happy that we’re not retiring too many numbers – to do so would defeat the entire purpose. We don’t want to become the Hockey Hall of Fame where politics and cronism reigns supreme. This is a special honour that is befitting only to very special Montreal Canadien players. Bob Gainey is one of those very special Habs.

    The Original 24 Cups

  15. Sami says:

    Fantastic idea JT! I’m on it

  16. J.T. says:

    You know what would be a nice gesture? If those of us who can manage it could donate $23 to the Gainey Foundation today as a tribute to him. I think you can do it online at the Foundation website.

  17. TC says:

    Watching Bob Gainey take his rightful place amongst the honoured Habs tonight one can’t help but think how fortunate the Canadiens have been to have Gainey play his entire career here and then come back and help restore a faded team to it’s rightful place.

    Tonight while watching the ceremony it will be also tough not to think of the legendary Sam Pollock. A man who surprised and shocked the hockey world by taking an unknown from Peterborough, Ontario with his his first round pick in the 1974 draft. And while the “experts” questioned this pick, Pollock saw just a little bit quicker than everybody else, what we’d all come to recognize later.


  18. earl says:

    As someone who has seen Gainey’s entire career, I think he’s one of the most influential players of all time.

    At some point the Selke trophy should be renamed the Gainey trophy, it’s only fitting this be done. But first it’s meaning must be restored to ensure it honours a player of great work, dedication, and committment.

    Gainey left his mark on the game, there aren’t many players you can say that about, and it’s only fitting he be recognized with one of the greatest honours in hockey – having your number retired by the Montreal Canadiens.

  19. Habsrule1 says:


    Latendresse is 20 years old!

    He may need a stint in the minors, but it would be totally reatarded to trade him. He’s going to get better and better, and he really has not been that bad.

    Send him down, let him tone his skills, and he’ll be back up and be a very good player in the near future.

    Go Habs Go!!


  20. TradeRyder says:

    Everyone is wrong now and then. And Lats may develop into a good player. But right now he should be sent down. He seems to have run out of gas.

    Let the kids play… let the non-performers watch or walk.

  21. Dan23 says:

    I cannot wait to get to the Bell Centre tomorrow, proudly wearing my own Number 23 jersey. It’s always been a classic, now it will be officially recognized as such.

  22. Wamsley01 says:

    Are you really comparing a 20 year old to a 28 year old?

    It is called expectation, Lats is in his second year, Ryder is a 2 time 30 goal scorer who is
    not going to match his previous standard. Lats is probably going to at least match his rookie goal total.

    I guess you would have traded Bertuzzi away at 22 because he wasn’t producing at the level of Smolinski, Travis Green, Derek King, Marty McInnis etc?

    Where was Ryder at 20? Oh yeah, playing for the Tallahassee Tiger Sharks and Mississippi Sea Wolves of the ECHL

  23. habsgod says:

    congratulations mr.gainey this honour is very well deserved!!thank-you so very much for all the memories in the 70’s era that i grew up in!also thank-you for the job your doing with our team!and i know you will cement your legend even more when you win us the stanley cup as our g.m.!!

  24. DAVE. N says:

    I’m assuming that there will be no trades until after BG’s # is in the rafters…were he to make an unpopular trade, I’m certain it would not be the sweater being
    Seriously, when you were once named the best player in the world,playing for a dynasty team is this not a just move in a sports world that normally accepts mediocrity now,that hilights legal battles instead of athletic ones?

  25. Cousin Al says:

    What a great player, a great G.M. and a great man!! I will never forget, in a playoff series in the late 1970’s, with two dislocated shoulders, he played like a man possessed and was instrumental in bringing us yet another cup. We couldn’t have a better man leading the way now and he richly deserves the honour about to be bestowed on him on Saturday.

  26. zooziff says:

    I agree, I remember many complaining about John LeClair before he was traded. GIVE HIM TIME!!!!!

    “This is just chocolate and nuts right now.” – Alex Kovalev

  27. Rogie30 says:

    KJ david, I believe you like Price, a suggestion, if I were a goalie coming into the league, I would watch alot of tape of Brodeur, as he is the best.

  28. TripleX says:

    Why Why Why…..Is Smokes Playing? WTF?

  29. Rogie30 says:

    Why do you call him a whipping boy, he has had a terrible year, and some fans simply have pointed that out.

  30. Habifax says:

    Hossa in the line up for Atlanta tonight.

  31. Jonnyboy says:

    Lats is big and will take longer to develop. Would have you traded Lecav. in his first year. 13 goals and 15 assits. Lats was better last year.

    What about the 37 point 2001 season.

    Lats will take time.

    1998-99 TAMP, NHL 82 13 15 28
    1999-00 TAMP, NHL 80 25 42 67
    2000-01 TAMP, NHL 68 23 28 51
    2001-02 TAMP, NHL 76 20 17 37
    2002-03 TAMP, NHL 80 33 45 78
    2003-04 TAMP, NHL 81 32 34 66
    2005-06 TAMP, NHL 80 35 40 75
    2006-07 TAMP, NHL 82 52 56 108
    2007-08 TAMP, NHL 60 32 45 77

  32. Habs_008 says:

    same lineup as last game, except Huet is starting instead of Price.

  33. RudeMood19 says:

    Oh true I see, he should have been scratched at least a couple games this year. Who are the scratches for tonight and is Huet or Price starting?
    1. February 19th, 2008, a day which will live in sublimity.

  34. Habs_008 says:

    I dont hate the kid, I bought his Juresy! I will wear it on Saturday and Represent! haha. I think he is going to be a great player in a few years. Patience people!

  35. von says:

    I don’t “hate” him, I just don’t understand why he doesn’t get scratched at all while a guy like Ryder, who can actually score, does.

  36. RudeMood19 says:

    Why do people hate Latendresse so much, he’s only 20!
    1. February 19th, 2008, a day which will live in sublimity.

  37. Habs_008 says:

    KeepRyder, let me tell you, I Live in T.O, i have seen Habs game in T.O. And they are great, the atmosphere is ok. BUT the crowd in Montreal, NOTHING LIKE IT. You will never forget that day. The fans, the team, the atmosphere, and the icing on the cake, BG Retirement. You cant ask for more then that. You will never forget it. see you there!

  38. Habs_008 says:

    So I guess i should’nt wear my Latendresse Jursey on Saturday nite. haha

  39. ZepFan2 says:

    It’s not tonight, it’s Saturday night.

  40. Rogie30 says:

    Substitute Ryder for Higgins, and we do the deal, just add a pick.

  41. von says:

    Who should we really be trying to trade????

    2007-2008 Regular Season
    SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
    A. Kovalev 61 29 32 12 61
    T. Plekanec 61 21 33 7 54
    A. Markov 61 12 35 -1 47
    S. Koivu 60 11 32 -6 43
    M. Streit 61 10 32 -7 42
    A. Kostitsyn 57 18 22 5 40
    C. Higgins 61 18 18 3 36
    M. Ryder 51 11 11 -1 22
    G. Latendresse 57 14 6 -8 20

    R. Hamrlik 56 3 16 4 19

    Too bad Ryder is the whipping boy of MTL. Guy has been classy all year about struggling. Meanwhile, a bum like Latendresse gets a free ride. Sure, he makes more money… But I’d take Ryder instead of Latendresse in my line up any day!

  42. von says:

    Oh, ok. Not bad, even though the draft is supposed to be pretty good these next couple years so I’m not sure if it’s worth given up those picks…

  43. KeepRyder says:

    This will be my first game seeing the Habs! I can’t wait.

    48 hrs. to go!
    It can only get better!! Go Ryder, Go Habs!

  44. habs12345 says:

    i was more looking at the other trade ideas there inparticularly the holik to montreal

  45. cautiousoptimist says:

    Wish I could go tonight – I’ve got a lot of respect for that man.

  46. von says:

    Only way I’d give up Higgins and Grabovski for Hossa is if he agrees to resign… No way if it’s just for a rental…

    P.S. I’d really hate to see Higgy go :(

  47. Habs_008 says:

    I will be in attendence, when it was annoucned in the summer i made sure I would be ther when Gainey gets his number up in the rafters. Very excited, I have never been to Montreal when they retired a number. I have only been to a couple of games in MTL, i was amazed both times.. This one will be one to remeber forever.

  48. A. Berke says:

    Yes indeed, I also equate Gainey to excellence on and off the ice and I’m very glad that he’s going to be honoured Saturday night.

    In the meantime, I hope that the team will rise to the occasion and deliver excellent and hard working games along with a win in each case, tonight and Saturday night.

    Thank you again Mr. Gainey for the memories as well as the excellent job you’re doing right now with our beloved Habs.


    Ali B.

  49. Sbah Reverof says:

    My favourite player finally honoured. Everything he has done in his life has been about excellence and hard work. I’m sure even now he would fit nicely on the second line.
    Bravo, Bob.

  50. Rogie30 says:

    Does anyone remember a playoff game at MSG during our four years 1970s run, where Gainey hit a Ranger player along the boards, stole the puck and scored to either tie the game or put us ahead, it was such a great play. Funny, but the kind of player I say we need is exactly like Gainey.

  51. Erik says:

    whats with this columbus jersey thing? huh

  52. HABSFAN - NJ says:


  53. habs12345 says:

    the canadians are pretty deep on farm talent though as it is they can afford to give a draft pick (not even a first) for a guy who will increase there odds of going all the way this year

  54. martin says:

    lats should sit awhile, sloinski should be gone with breeze

  55. Rogie30 says:

    Isent a donation as a Christmas gift, we are lucky to have him. Congradulations Bob.

  56. Dave Stubbs says:

    Wonderful gesture. And a good thing for you guys that Bob didn’t wear Andrei Markov’s number.

    Dave Stubbs

    Habs Inside/Out
    Sports Feature Writer, Montreal Gazette


  57. Robert L says:

    And Gretzky charges $9,999.99 to attent his camp!

  58. Robert L says:

    How about Dryden?

  59. The Teacher says:

    Two words,

    Elmer Lach.

  60. Robert L says:

    Two words – you’re right!

  61. Wayne says:

    Congratulations Bob Gainey! Enjoy the night.

  62. Wayne says:

    Enjoy the game, good luck and have fun guys! Have a safe trip.

  63. Rogie30 says:

    Remember these are Gaineys picks, so having Lars must mean they see something in him, what the heck it is, I dont know.

  64. Xtrahabsfan says:

    Look-it,it’s one thing to be a fanatical Habs fan” which I am guilty as well”and another to be a realistic Habs fan,the team needs more… I know that,you know that ,Carbo knows that ,Bob knows that…let it be so,Habs rule!!!

  65. Peter Young says:

    Congratulations to Bob Gainey on a well-deserved honour. The single quality that has distinguished Gainey’s career in hockey–whether as a player or in management–is character. That character he displayed in many ways, of course, but above all in always putting the team first.

    And congratulations to the Canadiens for recognizing that this superb player deserves to have his jersey number retired although he did not rack up the huge goal and assist numbers usually considered essential for extending high honour to a forward. The game is as much about defending as it is about attacking. Gainey was perhaps the greatest two-way player ever.

  66. dicktracy says:

    is there any live broadcast of the ceremony tonight

  67. Dave Stubbs says:

    RDS live at 6 pm ET. Bob should meet the media between the first and second periods. Check Inside/Out around the end of the second period for the full audio of that; we’ll also have a photo gallery tonight and links to other Gainey news and features.

    Dave Stubbs

    Habs Inside/Out
    Sports Feature Writer, Montreal Gazette


  68. Robert L says:

    Once you have gone through the excellent pieces posted on Gainey at the Gazette, I’d like to invite you to check out my own tribute to Bob.

    I have posted 23 links with 23 pics that cover Bob past and current.

    The chances are slim, but wouldn’t it be great if Gainey pulled off a trade on this day. Could you just imagine the frenzy he could create by simply pulling a cell phone from his jacket as his banner was being raised to field a call!

    The Habs For Breakfast – All About Bob Edition

    The excellent idea of donating 23 bucks to the Gainey Foundation will be added at the bottom of my post as well.

    Thanks for the inspiration J.T.

  69. dicktracy says:

    perhaps one of Gaineys gm freinds will show some class and give him a gift tonight….

  70. hummer37 says:

    My little tribute to BG

    Truly a class gentleman who has been through more than any one person should have to deal with. Congratulations Mr. Gainey, You are a genuine inspiration.

  71. tony d says:

    this will be a very emotional night, given what Bob has been through over the last few years, both professionally and privately
    All in attendance should feel especially proud and privileged.
    Cheers Bob and God Bless
    Thanks for steering our boys in the right direction….good to have you at the helm.

  72. The Teacher says:

    Won’t miss this…

  73. ONTARIO HAB says:

    It will be glorious Poor Columbus they will get distroyed

  74. krob1000 says:

    I hope they save room because eventually they’ll have to retire a suit for him as well for his g.m. accompishments. I wonder why a Sam Pollock type has never had sopmething like that done???? I am only half joking here.

  75. gabe. says:

    Will RDS be broadcasting the ceremony?

  76. N.B.habs fan says:

    Hi gabe,yes the game is on RDS at 830 eastern, Welcome aboard ,I use to live in Halifax.

  77. P St. Pierre says:

    I hope that the Canadiens play a very sound game and beat the Blue Jackets. I’m sure Gainey’s old linemate Carbonneau will have the guys pumped for that one.

    Bob Gainey is one of, if not the, classiest individuals in hockey. He is a man who never panics and who seems to be able to excel in whatever operation he undertakes. Here’s to Gainey and his legacy with the Canadiens.

  78. Cable Guy says:

    I can’t wait for the game Saturday, it will be the first game I’ve attended this year. Montreal is absolutely gonna destroy Columbus..

  79. Exit716 says:

    There’s a typo in the press release…Peterborough’s Mot Valuable player?

  80. Blitzen says:

    I’m really hoping the guys come out flying tonight and win or make a very good game against the Pens. I would hate for some yahoos to show up on Saturday booing Gainey because the team is on a one-game losing streak.

    As I said during the chat on Tuesday, I could kiss Gainey and Timmins right about now. Haven’t enjoyed watching the Habs this much for 20 years.
    Remember February 19th: The Comeback

  81. Blitzen says:

    I put this up:

    Not sure if it’ll have any legs but I thought I’d do it just out of respect for Gainey. Hopefully, the guy gets to read it at some point. Add your thoughts if you wish!
    Remember February 19th: The Comeback

  82. Blitzen says:

    There’s the famous picture of the team hoisting Gainey on their shoulders after the 1979 Cup win in La Presse. On a team full of superstars, that was a great tribute to his worth.
    Remember February 19th: The Comeback

  83. frank81 says:

    It’s also being broadcast live on for those without access to RDS.

  84. J.T. says:

    I’m fairly certain the team’s communique is incorrect on Gainey’s birthday. I think it’s December 13, not November.

  85. Ali says:

    I have never had the pleasure and honour of watching Bob Gainey play hockey, but ever since he took over the GM duties of our club, I have seen him handle himself through many obstacles, ordeals and tragedies, both professional and personal, with immense class and dignity.

    We have all watched him from afar slowly but surely bringing this team back to its proper respect and glory, but for tonight none of that is relevant. Tonight is about him. The fact is that this man has sacrificed blood, sweat and tears for this organization, and is absolutely deserving as any for this honour.

    I never had the chance to watch Bob Gainey play, but I still have tremendous respect and admiration for the man for what he has done and given to this city. There are only a few other people for which I can say that is true, and their names will soon be joined by his high in the rafters of the Bell Center.

  86. Rogie30 says:

    May I simply say if we didnt have the player Gainey, we wouldnt have won all those Cups, and if we didnt have Gainey, the General Manager, we would be floating into oblivion.

  87. Blitzen says:

    Sorry you didn’t get to see him play. He was – and still is – the poster boy for hard work. The Habs had ridiculously good teams in the 70s who could score at will and prevent goals with the likes of Gainey.
    Remember February 19th: The Comeback

  88. Da Hema says:

    What can one say about Mr. Gainey? I was fortunate to have seen him play, and to realise that he was a special player. Perhaps it is best to quote from Ken Dryden’s “The Game.”

    It is a great temptation to say too much about Bob Gainey. It comes in part from a fear, guilt-edged in all of us, that Gainey, a fifteen-goal scorer in a league full of do-nothing thirty-goal scorers, goes too often unrewarded. But mostly it is admiration. If there is such a thing as a “player’s player,” it would be Gainey. A phrase often heard and rarely explained, it is seldom applied to the best player of a sport, as Gainey is not, for performance is only a part of it. Instead, the phrase is for someone who has the personal and playing qualities that others wish they had, basic, unalterable qualities–dependability, discipline, hard work, courage–the roots of every team. To them, Gainey adds a timely, insistent passion, an enormous will to win, and a powerful, punishing playing style, secure and manly, without the strut of machismo. If I could be a forward, I would want to be Bob Gainey.

    An “enormous will to win.” That seems to describe Mr. Gainey.
    “Respect your efforts, respect yourself. Self-respect leads to self-discipline. When you have both firmly under your belt, that’s real power.”
    –Clint Eastwood

  89. Bean says:

    OK gang, I’ve got my awesome custom Gainey tshirt, courtesy of my talented craft-y goddaughter, and am ready to go! Aforementioned goddaughter and I are making the pilgrimage to the Bell Centre to share in this special night.

    Dave Stubbs, we’ll do our best in helping bring the roof down to meet his banner 😉

    Thank you, Mr. Gainey, for so much. I’m already a little misty-eyed.

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