Habs forgive Hawks in planning tribute

From left: Chicago greats Bobby Hull, Stan Mikita, Bill Hay and Glenn Hall during a 1964 Montreal Forum practice.
Mac Juster, Montreal Star files

The Canadiens roll out their well-walked red carpet tomorrow night for a pregame, pre-centennial tribute to another Original Six rival. A we-don’t-hold-a-grudge gesture, really, considering it was the Chicago Blackhawks who derailed the greatest dynasty in National Hockey League history.

Meanwhile, The Gazette’s Pat Hickey asks today whether Canadiens goalie Carey Price isn’t in a Catch-22 position: he must play more to play better, and he must play better to play more.

Canadiens GM Bob Gainey delivers his mid-term report card at 10:30 a.m. today. Inside/Out will provide coverage later today. 


  1. Peter Young says:

    I know what you mean, but I don’t think Mikita was so much overlooked–see all those all-star nominations and Hart MVP trophies he got–as he was overshadowed by Hull. Many knowledgeable hockey people of the time considered Mikita more valuable to the Hawks than Hull and said so. But there was no sight more awe-inspiring in the hockey of the Sixties than the Golden Jet flying down the ice at full tilt and letting loose his amazing slap shot. He was pure power in motion, power personified. And so he, not Mikita, became the poster player for the NHL of the Sixties. Mikita’s contributions were slightly less dramatic, although far from subtle.

    One innovation these two players popularized was the curved stick. At one point they were using a stick blade that looked very peculiar, almost like a jai alai stick. Then the NHL stepped in and limited stick curvature. The curved stick certainly increased the velocity of shots, although it also made handling the puck more difficult.

  2. WindsorHab-10 says:

    I hate those pre-game tributes. It seems like we always end up on the losing end.

  3. HNS says:

    I know about all the past history of these two teams and what these ceremonies are all about, but I wish the Habs would concentrate on kicking these team’s butts in and showing them who is the boss in the present time. Till that happens………

  4. habfan53 says:

    A couple of years ago Bobby was in town for a charity golf tournament and he said that he never wanted to leave Chicago and management and ownwrship had nothing to do withn it. It was his word. After several offers by Ben Hatskin had been turned down Hatskin asked Bobby what it would take to get him to Winnipeg. Bobby told him 1 million dollars after Hatskin came up with the money Hull felt bound to his word.

  5. 24 Cups says:

    What a player. I just looked it up – Mikita won two Lady Byng trophies, two Harts , and four Art Ross scoring titles. He’s got to be one of the top 50 players of all time.

    The Original 24 Cups

  6. 24 Cups says:

    You’re right about the timeline – brain cramp on my part. It’s just you would have thought that someone in Chicago would have had a clue as to the potential of Esposito. Heck, even Hodge and Stanfield turned out to be better players than Pit Martin and Marotte (a little unfair seeing he was a defenseman.) It all seemed so petty with Hull and the hassles over money. A few years later lots of guys were starting to get big money. Indirectly, Bill Wirtz had his own salary cap back in those days!

    Leclair and Desjardins for Recchi – ouch! But you’re right, Recchi was a star in those days and we were desperate for a goal scorer.

    The Original 24 Cups

  7. Peter Young says:

    God, how I hated the Black Hawks (as they were then, not the Blackhawks). Reading last weekend one of the late Milt Dunnell’s columns on the abortive transfer of Frank Mahovlich from the Leafs to the Hawks for a million bucks in 1962 reminded me just how much. I seethed, my blood was boiling, when I first heard of the prospective deal and that it still might go through. Just a few years earlier, in the mid-Fifties, when the Hawks kept finishing last in the six-team league, the Canadiens had helped them out, giving them a few players, including Eddie Litzenberger who went on to have a couple of 30-goal seasons. And now the Hawks were trying to buy their way to stay on top. Just not fair.

    Stan Mikita was never a goon. He was a chippy player, he got a lot of penalties for cheap shots, he lost his temper a lot. He was a bit like Ted Lindsay in that regard, although with Lindsay you always had the feeling he could contain himself if he wanted, that his temperamental outbursts were deliberate. But Mikita soon realized that he had the talent to be a top NHL player without all the dirty play and that the cheap penalties only detracted from his potential. So he calmed down and became a Lady Byng Trophy candidate.

  8. habfan53 says:

    AHHHHH!! the ’60s Blackhawks. Favorite team favorite sweater after the HABS.
    I remember a friend and I going to the Forum for a Sunday afternoon game against Chicago when Bobby had his jaw broken. Claude Provost would’nt let him go to the bathroom alone he was watching him that closely. Anyway late in the second period John Ferguson goes into the corner and gets HAMMERED by Bobby, Fergy turns around and is ready to throw a right without looking sees its Bobby with a broken jaw and throws the punch wide. The next day another friend is telling me Ferguson is such a dirty player for hitting Hull I tried to tell him that Fergy pulled the punch but he just went on and on about how dirty he was and he wishes Fergy was there because he would tell him (12 yr old bravado)so.
    When I look into the reflection of the Dominion’s we were going into I said he’d be to chicken to. He said he was’nt chicken So I told him to turn around when he did Ferguson was standing behind us with the BIGGEST smile on his face.

  9. habfan53 says:

    Actually the Esposito trade was 4 years before Hull went to the WHA and at that time he was on the 3rd line. Alot like when we traded John Leclair to Philly It looks brutal in retrospect but at the time it made sense.

  10. krob1000 says:

    The Hawks and Leafs of those day were probably the worst owners in the history of the sport.

  11. krob1000 says:

    They were thinking about their ongoing chess match with the Maple Leafs to see who can have a better celebration party for the longest cup drought.

  12. 24 Cups says:

    Has there been a worse blunder in Chicago hockey history than letting Bobby Hull go to the WHA? And then to follow it up with the Esposito trade with Boston? What were they thinking?!

    The Original 24 Cups

  13. Ian G Cobb says:

    I get to watch some games here in Belleville with the Golden Jet, and his transplanted hair is holding up fair. But I remember his golden hair in the Forum streaming behind his ears as he would wind up in his own end and fly down the ice coast to coast, It was beautiful to see and absolutly scarey for our D and goaler. The three 9s, Rocket, Gordie, And Bobby, I just have to close my eyes, and my heart races !!

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