Happy birthday to Jacques Lemaire

Jacquesweb

Happy birthday to former Canadiens Hall of Fame player and coach Jacques Lemaire, who turned 67 on Friday.

When Red Fisher did a feature series in 2009 on the Top 20 players he covered during his career, Lemaire came in at No. 12.

Here’s Red’s story explaining why:

PUBLISHED IN THE GAZETTE ON OCT. 9, 2009

RED FISHER
THE GAZETTE 

The Canadiens were in Philadelphia, where they had just completed a surprising victory over the Broad Street Bullies, but Jacques Lemaire was unhappy – an astonishing reaction from a player who had scored three goals on this night against a rough-and-tumble team that normally struck fear into the hearts of the opposition. The colour was high in Lemaire’s cheeks while answering questions from reporters.

He had a question for me: “Did I miss the team bus tonight?” he snapped.

The question wasn’t an unreasonable one, because earlier in the day my pregame report on the Canadiens’ visit to Philadelphia noted that Lemaire normally did not play well against the Flyers … that more often than not he “missed the team bus” against a team that made a career out of winning with intimidation.

People in my business learn quickly that professional athletes rarely thank you when they’re applauded and almost always react unhappily when they’re criticized. Lemaire’s question didn’t merit a reply.

Much later, he approached me on the team charter: “Can we talk?” he asked.

“No problem,” he was told.

“I shouldn’t have said that,” he suggested quietly.

“No sweat.” “Can we talk about the game?” he asked.

Lemaire, the player and later a head coach with the Canadiens, New Jersey Devils and Minnesota Wild, was thin-skinned to an uncommon degree, but that doesn’t diminish what he meant to the Canadiens en route to a Hall of Fame career. He was the complete package … always in control of his game, scoring the big goals, making the big pass, always doing the right thing, killing penalties. No player I have known studied the game harder.

Accomplished as Lemaire was on eight Stanley Cup teams with the Canadiens, it may very well be he was even better as a coach – first as an assistant and head coach in Montreal, then as a Cup-winning head coach with the Devils.

Unlike his teammates, Lemaire would skate miles to avoid controversy, always saying the right things, always doing the right things – all of it dedicated to becoming the best player he could be and beyond that, the best coach he could be – as he hopes to be again now that he’s returned this season as head coach with the Devils.

There was a night when the Canadiens were on the road, and assistant coach Lemaire was muttering furiously about one of his players: Guy Lafleur. They had done great things together during their playing days, but now they were on different sides.

Assistant coaches normally are seen, but not heard.

That’s the head coach’s job, but the sight of Lafleur enjoying a quiet drink in the team’s hotel lobby inflamed Lemaire. He berated his former teammate in full view of several people – which is something even head coaches don’t do. The exchange between the two was long and loud. It was not the finest moment for either of them.

Lemaire, the player, didn’t seek attention. Lemaire, the coach, always has insisted on it from his players. Those who didn’t paid a price for it.

I’m talking about a player who scored 366 goals and 469 assists in 853 regular-season games. Do the math: that’s only a hair short of a point-per-game average. About a player who had 139 points, including 61 goals, in 145 playoff games. Players with those numbers take their rightful place in the Hall of Fame, which is what Lemaire did in 1984.

What made Lemaire special was that he was an avid student of the game. He would ask of himself: Where did I go wrong? What did I do right? Coaching was on his mind throughout the years he played.

In his 12 seasons with the Canadiens, Lemaire never scored fewer than 20 goals. In his last season (1978-79), he scored 24 goals and added 31 assists in 50 games. He could have played several more seasons, but it didn’t fit into his master plan, which was to play with and coach a team in Switzerland for two years. He returned home to coach the junior Longueuil Chevaliers in 1982-83, before rejoining the Canadiens as assistant coach the year after, and then replacing Bob Berry as head coach for the final 17 games.

Remarkably, Lemaire led the Canadiens to the Wales Conference final, and beat the four-time Cup champion New York Islanders in the first two games. I still remember Chris Nilan telling me after the first two games that he planned to give his father, Henry, his Stanley Cup ring.

“Whoa,” Nilan was told. “Your team has won two, you’ve got to win four for the Cup.”

“We’ll win … we’ll win,”

Nilan insisted.

The Canadiens lost the next four.

One of my favourite stories goes back to the day before the series finale. At noon on game day, Lemaire stopped for a chat – and a request.

“Would you talk to Perry Turnbull for me?” he asked.

Turnbull had joined the Canadiens early that season in what was considered a blockbuster trade: Turnbull from St. Louis for Doug Wickenheiser, Gilbert Delorme and Greg Paslawski. Turnbull had scored 14 goals and added eight assists in his 32 games with the Blues. The Canadiens needed offence, and Turnbull was their man. Alas, he slumped to six goals and seven assists in 40 games in Montreal. He was no better in the playoffs, with only one goal and two assists in the first two series. By then, Lemaire had seen enough. Turnbull was a healthy scratch for the first five games of the conference final.

“Bob Gainey has a very bad shoulder,” Lemaire said. “I don’t think he can play. I’m going to have to dress Turnbull.”

“Seems to me you should be the guy who talks to him,” Lemaire was told.

“Sometimes, players will listen more to somebody who’s been around a long time than he will to his coach,” Lemaire said with a shrug.

I tracked down Turnbull at the hotel’s news stand.

“Perry, what’s going on with you lately?”

“What do you mean?”

“Before you joined the Canadiens, you came into Montreal and scored two goals. You had two fights and won ‘em both. You were far and away the best player on either team that night. Now look at you … you haven’t even been dressed for any of the games against the Islanders!”

“Geez,” Turnbull said, “I was crazy that night. It’ll never happen again.”

As it developed, Gainey played that night with his damaged shoulder the way he always played: all out. The Canadiens lost 4-1, and the Islanders went on to the final seeking a fifth consecutive Stanley Cup. After the finale, Lemaire waited patiently outside the room while Islanders head coach Al Arbour talked with the media.

“I’m going in there and tell the press the Islanders are going to beat the Edmonton Oilers,” Lemaire said.

“Really?”

“They’re not going to beat the Oilers,” coach Lemaire said with a grin.

The Islanders lost in five games.

RED’S TOP 20 CANADIENS

No. 1: Jean Béliveau

No. 2: Maurice Richard

No. 3: Guy Lafleur

No. 4: Doug Harvey

No. 5: Henri Richard

No. 6: Larry Robinson

No. 7: Bernard Geoffrion

No. 8: Bob Gainey

No. 9: Dickie Moore

No. 10: Serge Savard

No. 11: Yvan Cournoyer

No. 12: Jacques Lemaire

No. 13: Steve Shutt

No. 14: Guy Lapointe

No. 15: Chris Chelios

No. 16: Peter Mahovlich

No. 17: Claude Provost

No. 18: Mats Naslund

No. 19: J.C. Tremblay

No. 20: John Ferguson

158 Comments

  1. disgustedhabsfan says:

    Last word: Number “25” ought to be retired. 8 cups as a player, 2 as an assistant GM. C’mon Geoff, do the right thing.

  2. JohnBellyful says:

    Here’s my list of underrated Hab players over the years, in no particular order:

    1. Pierre Mondou
    6. Mike McPhee
    2. Gilles Tremblay
    8. Bobby Smith
    3. Charlie Hodge
    4. Tom Johnson
    9. Ryan Walter
    5. Don Marshall
    10. Rogie Vachon
    7. Bobby Rousseau

    And here’s my list of unrelated Hab players over the years, in alphabetical order:

    Keith Acton
    Dave Balon
    Pierre Bouchard
    Jeff Hackett
    Terry Harper
    Andrei Kovalenko
    Ken Mosdell
    Martin Rucinsky
    Richard Zednik

  3. on2ndthought says:

    Jacques was the headiest player of his day, and may be the headiest coach now. Lafleur would get your heart racing, Lemaire your brain.

    I think the end of Lafleur’s career with the Habs was more due to his inability to accept a third line role with the team he had lead (in his mind) for so long. He was fine in that role for the nordiques.

    Watching the Roadrunner talk about the great list of Habs captains brought a sense of nostalgia and some remorse. I hope Beaulieu or Leblanc (Desharnais?) can develop into a lifelong Hab and captain material.

    Happy Birthday, Jacques!

    Three hills apart great armies stir
    Spit oath and curse as day breaks
    Forming lines of horse and steel
    By even yards march forward.

    • JohnBellyful says:

      .
      Let me explain. I misplaced my comment.
      Oh, I know where my comment is. It’s up higher. What I meant was, I initially put the comment now deleted in the wrong place. Here.
      But while I’m here, let me say I agree with everything you’ve said. Above.
      I can’t speak for other stuff you might have said, not having heard it.
      I hoped that cleared up any confusion that might have been caused by my stranded period. My posts are usually pointless.

  4. Boomer says:

    Just saw a bunch of Datsyuk highlights on the nhl.com video archives. Greatest late round pick ever IMO. It’s unbelievable what he brings to the table.

  5. habs001 says:

    I wonder if Gomez will be looking for work?..After all if you are lucky enough to have a job that pays you 200k/yearly..it would only take you about 30+ plus years to make what he makes in one year..so he may need to work if he is worried about people catching up to him..lol

    • Un Canadien errant says:

      I think it would reflect better on him if he did play hockey, as opposed to just sat home. Last lockout he played on the Alaska Aces of the ECHL.

      During the 1994 lockout, Cliff Ronning played senior league hockey and men’s league hockey to stay in shape, and he played a few games in Whistler. To even the odds a little and challenge himself a bit, he played and shot right, even though he’s a left-hand shot, but was still the best player on the ice by a wide wide margin. He seldom took shots at the net too, preferring to set up his linemates. Great guy was the consensus by all.

  6. EasternOntarioHabsFan says:

    Who thinks that the dogs have a shot at the Calder Cup??

    • Un Canadien errant says:

      Not for a couple of years. They’re just kids and will be playing against grown men and seasoned AHL pros this year, they’ll need to learn the pro game and mature. The future looks very bright though.

      An AHL championship is not a bad thing, can be an indication of a stocked farm system, but the prime objective is to develop our young players, even if it means we’re sacrificing a few wins.

    • commandant says:

      I seriously doubt it.

      They will be a middle of the pack club.

      The AHL is still a men’s league, and the Dogs while talented will be a team that is filled with youth and inexperience. They will struggle at times and lose to teams with many journeyman AHL veterans leading the way.

      This doesn’t mean that our prospects are worse than the organizations who finish ahead of us though, but longtime AHL players like Mike Zigomanis and Ryan Hamilton on the Marlies will probably outperform guys like Brendan Gallagher and Michael Bournival as they play their first AHL seasons.

      Go Habs Go!
      Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports
      http://lastwordonsports.com/

    • HabinBurlington says:

      While in general i agree with UCe and Commandant, it will be interesting to see how this team evolves over the course of the season. If indeed they can keep themselves in a playoff spot, I could see this team playing much better at the end of the season than early on. Players like Beaulieu and Tinordi have shown that they can step up their games as they have moved up the ranks, as has Gallagher.

      If indeed the Habs either stay relatively injury free or there is extended long Lockout, players like St. Denis, Nash will provide good leadership at the backend.

      I think the biggest challenge for the Dogs will be scoring goals.

      Should be fun watching them develop.

    • Boomer says:

      Don’t forget the goaltending issue too. It’s not horrible but it’s not great either… but in two years if some guys don’t make the big club they could do really well

    • on2ndthought says:

      Are we allowed to send Leblanc, Subban, Palushaj, Eller etc. to the ‘Dogs if there is a lockout?

      Three hills apart great armies stir
      Spit oath and curse as day breaks
      Forming lines of horse and steel
      By even yards march forward.

  7. HabFab says:

    All_Habs – Small group on the ice this morning for skating drills: Quailer, Weber, Desharnais, White, Eller, Armstrong.

    Does anyone remember if during the last lock out, whether players were allowed to use team practice facilities? My guess would be a big no!

    • Un Canadien errant says:

      Correct. The very essence of a lockout is that workers affected are not allowed on the premises. The owner would literally, in the old days, put a lock on the door so they couldn’t come in, for good reason, being afraid of theft, vandalism, etc., and that’s where the word comes from.

      We saw during the lockout in the NFL last off-season injured players like Peyton Manning and Antonio Gates be denied the access to team doctors and physio facilities. This was farcical, how the NFLPA didn’t contest this in court was puzzling. These guys got hurt on the job, they should have had every opportunity to rehab to the fullest extent possible.

      Now, if Kellen Winslow Jr. again crashed his motorcycle doing stunts, I’d understand him getting locked out.

  8. Any chance the Habs could move the Bulldogs to Montreal during the lockout? That would be amazing…I’d definitely pay to see them this year, they have the best team since they won it all with Price.

    The greatest Canadiens and NHL news-site: http://teliopost.com/
    Twitter: @teliopost

  9. HabinBurlington says:

    Question to the tech saavy here on HI/O and perhaps to the caretakers of this site. Is it not possible to add Google Translate to an actual site like HI/O? If so, given the amount of articles we like to read in French and Russian (less now with AK and SK not around to provide great summer quotes) this could be quite helpful to those unilingual posters like myself.

    Just a thought, would be happy to hear why this may or may not be helpful.

    • The Dude says:

      Great idea but not bill 101 friendly,lol

      • on2ndthought says:

        the translation has to be 1/2 the size of the original!

        Three hills apart great armies stir
        Spit oath and curse as day breaks
        Forming lines of horse and steel
        By even yards march forward.

    • New says:

      I can see that. We’d get a blurb “…Mendelev, sportif helper and aide to the company announced that the striker Markov engaged the concrete abuttment skyward near the pole with the government.”

      We’d argue for days before someone asked Markov who’d shrug. Only he would know he hit the curb while parking at the meter.

    • athanor says:

      No need if you use Firefox. I have a translator button on my bookmarks bar. If I get to a page I can’t make out, I hit that button and voila!
      If there is just a part of the page I can’t understand, I highlight it and hit the button …

  10. habsfan0 says:

    Training camp for several NHL teams scheduled to start Wednesday,September 12. As the CBA expires next Saturday,the 15th,it will be interesting to see what these NHL teams do for 3 days.(Assuming no agreement on a new CBA has been reached.)

  11. commandant says:

    Top Shelf Organizational Rankings are out. Teams 30-16

    http://lastwordonsports.com/2012/09/08/top-shelf-prospects-nhl-team-rankings-part-one/

    Go Habs Go!
    Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports
    http://lastwordonsports.com/

    • savethepuck says:

      Great to see the Habs are not in this group, although I definitely didn’t expect them to be.

      “They don’t hang Conference Championship Banners from the rafters here”
      Carey Price

    • Un Canadien errant says:

      I’ll say again and add my voice to everyone else’s, great job commandant, these have been great. Thanks for giving us something to read that is hockey-related.

  12. Ian Cobb says:

    Thank you again Gerald.
    Very heavy rain and loud boomers for the past 6 hours here. To late for the farmers but great for all the wells.

  13. Ian Cobb says:

    Thanks Gerald for the translation. I would like to have a translation button on my computer, but yahoo is not compatible with Google or something. I use Firefox.???? Any suggestions? Not sure how to navigate!.
    Be nice to see PK locked up at 4mil, for at least 4 years.

    • athanor says:

      You could try FoxLingo or Fast Translation add-ons. One of them (I think Fast Translation) lets you put a link on your Bookmarks toolbar that will translate either a full page or a part that you select.

    • frontenac1 says:

      @Ian. The weather came in like a Banshee north of Kingston too.Had all kinds of trouble with this site on my Mobile using Google .Switched browser to Firefox and its working great. Don’t know about the auto translate however. Guess you’ll just have to rely on some us for that.,but would love to have it for my attempts at learning Spanish. Are you heading over to Cobourg for the Oct 6 Dogs vs Marlies game?

  14. HabFab says:

    According to Stubbs, today is Rogie Vachon’s 67th birthday.

  15. HabFab says:

    Oliver Archambault spent the summer working out at Brossard and so far in the Q preseason it has shown good results. He is stronger, more intense and involved in the play with 9 assists in 4 games.

  16. HabinBurlington says:

    @frontenac, here is an article on Jacques Lemaire, it also mentions that Lemaire practised with a steel puck.

    http://habslegends.blogspot.ca/2008/07/jacques-lemaire.html

    • Habfan10912 says:

      Good morning Gerald. Thanks for translating that. Saw it earlier but I don’t read French. Is this TVA a reliable source?

      ———————————–

      • HabinBurlington says:

        Morning Jim, not sure what their track record is. We shall see, I guess.

        • My french isn’t perfect but i believe if you read it carefully it says:

          1. The Canadiens and Subban ‘would be’ about to sign a long term contract not ‘are about to’ sign a long term contract.

          2. It then goes on to say that according to their source they ‘could’ sign Subban before September 15th.

          So even if their source is 100% accurate we have a report that Subban ‘could’ sign a contract soon and if so then they “would be about to” sign him.

          TVA is not exactly standing behind their story…

          3 years at $4 mil per season is a bad deal for the HABS. we would be overpaying for his pre UFA years and then be forced to cough up a lot more money when he is UFA. we are better off either signing him relatively cheaply if its going to be a short term deal or else going much longer term (at least 6 years). I prefer long term for bigger dollars.

          I have a great pic of Subban with kids at a strip club on my site if anyone is interested…

          The greatest Canadiens and NHL news-site: http://teliopost.com/
          Twitter: @teliopost

      • Habfan,
        TVA is owned by Quebecor (same as Journal de Montreal). So essentially they are the news arm of the Canadiens biggest rival, the Quebec Nordiques. It is in their interest to cause harm to the Canadiens when they can through rumors and sensational news.

        The greatest Canadiens and NHL news-site: http://teliopost.com/
        Twitter: @teliopost

  17. accp says:

    Most players are not overly concerned about the lockout. they’ll head to the KHL and pick up a few bucks there. so owners you can bargain as long as you want they’ll do fine without you. fans are the ones I feel sorry for. when they reach a deal the fans as usual will have to compromise …

  18. JohnBellyful says:

    Our series of profiles on other teams’ players waiting in the wings shifts its focus this week to the owners. With all the attention being showered on Bettman and Fehr, it’s time to shed some light on the people behind the scenes who are driving the process to reach a new deal.
    NOTE: The legal department, for reasons that remain murky, has insisted that aliases be used and that it be left up to the readers to speculate what the owners’ names are and which of the capsule summaries might apply to them.
    A faux thumbnail sketch has been included to bolster a defence against any libel action.

    Owner No. 1
    Owner No. 2
    Owner No. 3
    Owner No. 4

    A.) Still has the first dollar he stole. Parks in handicapped spaces. Tears tags off mattresses. Leaves the toilet seat up. Celebrates his 39th birthday twice a year; employees must attend and bring a present. Pees in the shower.

    B.) Can lie in five languages. Deducts processing fees from tips. Has used the same Kleenex for three years. Conducts random proctology exams on senior staff. Double dips. Has autographed copy of Mein Kampf. Rush Limbaugh stays weekends. Uses ‘irregardless’. Owns several Ann Coulter bobbleheads.

    C.) Has read the Bible three times for loopholes. Calls his mother anonymously several times a day screaming he’s been abducted. Thinks the NRA is soft on liberals. Says the taxes he doesn’t pay are excessive. Was wounded by Dick Cheney while hunting. Wounded Michael Moore while shopping. Burns tires for wienie roasts. Clear cut a rain forest for a mini-putt course.

    D.) Has donated both his kidneys. Gives Canadian geese a ride in his jet when he travels south. Regifts his Mercedes and other Christmas presents to local charities. Reads the Watchtower. Composts. Calls men Mr. Carries seniors who use walkers on his back crossing streets. Has not broken wind in 43 years. God had a vision and he was in it.

    E.) Operated a Ponzi scheme in Grade 1. When he was 10 he set a bear trap for Santa. Told Mary Lou Bannister he had one week to live. Relaxes by telemarketing. Puppies hate him. Blew bubbles during his wedding ceremony. Made burp noises during his divorce. Tells people standing in line the ending of the movie he just saw.

    • HabinBurlington says:

      Excellent Stuff John, this provides great insight into the Labour negotiations. Thanks for again providing what otherwise would remain unknown.

    • punkster says:

      I take it that “D” is the future owner of the Coyotes. Obviously not cut out to run with the big dogs though.

      ***Subbang Baby!!!***

    • Un Canadien errant says:

      Five options for four owners? Your math is as accurate as Gary Bettman’s or Mitt Romney’s.

      Owner ‘B’ is obviously the worst human being of the bunch. Anyone who uses ‘irregardless’ should be flayed alive.

      • JohnBellyful says:

        Monsieur, as explained, the faux option was inserted, for legal reasons, namely, plausible deniability in the event of a lawsuit being launched. Our side could always say the plaintiff was mistaken in thinking, for example, Owner No. 1 and Thumbnail Sketch C pointed to the same person when it was obvious Thumbnail Sketch D was the only possible match. We had to leave each owner thinking they were D.

        • Un Canadien errant says:

          Hmmf. Sure, now I see the faux option mention. Very sneaky of you to, uh, sneak that in.

          • JohnBellyful says:

            Excuuuuuuse me, that was in the original post.
            Geez, do I have start taking screen shots now?
            Very sneaky of you to, uh, suggest otherwise.
            Heck, I could have just as easily inserted another thumbnail sketch and have others wonder what you were talking about (not that they don’t now :) )

  19. accp says:

    Happy Birthday Jacques. You were one of the great ones. averaged 30 goals plus a season nothing wrong with that. wish you were 25 playing with the Habs today. we could use you. enjoy your Birthday and I hope there’s many, many ahead …

  20. Hobie Hansen says:

    By reading Red’s list you’d think he retired in the late 80s but in reality the team hasn’t had a “Star” caliber player or at least one that’s lasted in Montreal for more than a handful of seasons for over two decades.

    I see he didn’t include goaltenders.

    Maybe if guys like Mark Recchi, Vincent Damphouse and Kirk Muller played more than just a few seasons in Montreal they would be considered for his list?

    • EasternOntarioHabsFan says:

      Damphousse for sure, and I think Muller as well.

      My memories of Recchi unfortunately will always be of a whiny, cheap, past his prime, pathetic Bruin who piggybacked to a Stanley cup.

  21. disgustedhabsfan says:

    My favorite athlete. Jacques was supremely under appreciated and under utilized for much of his early career. A great clutch player. Scored 2 overtime goals in his rookie season in 67-68. Always played great in the cup finals where he won 8 cups in 11 playoff years. Why wasn’t he on the 1972 team playing against the Russians? I remember that great slap shot in 1971 that beat Tony O which single handedly ignited a great Stanley Cup win. He was awesome in the new years eve game. He was the top scorer in the playoffs in 1979. He never won an individual trophy and was never selected as a year end all star. He went out a true champion and I was privileged to see him play and enjoyed his career as a player and a coach. The only thing left is to retire his number 25. He certainly deserves that special recognition.

  22. commandant says:

    Great article by Red Fisher, thats why he’s the living legend of hockey writers.

    Go Habs Go!
    Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports
    http://lastwordonsports.com/

    • frontenac1 says:

      Agreed Commandant. I looked at that list and tried to think of any one of those choices I would not have there. I couldn’t . Maybe because I remember watching them. play. I might have changed Provost for Morenz or Joliet ,but I never saw them play. Anyway, A damn good list Red!

  23. habs-hampton says:

    These CBA negotiations!! What a bunch of bull%^&%^!

    “Representatives from the NHL and the players’ association held a pair of informal negotiation sessions on Friday at the league offices.”

    What the hell does that mean?

    Were there no referees/linesman present to break up fights? Is an informal session like an exhibition game where it doesn’t matter who wins? Maybe you can just make up numbers, and you can lie about which teams made/lost money?

    Or maybe since no one at the meeting is being paid anymore, they just sit around and drink beer that we fans paid for, and laugh at us?

    This isn’t even funny anymore…

    • Un Canadien errant says:

      Informal talks are very important in a bargaining session. A common principle of bargaining is that when you put something on the table, it’s kind of hard to take it off again. That’s why parties are careful to take small steps towards a goal.

      An illustration was the Players’ Association strong attempt to break the impasse last time around and avert a salary cap by offering the owners a 24% wage rollback. In the end, they ended up with the cap, and the precise 24% cut they’d proposed as an alternative. Ouch.

      So often, both sides know where a deal lies, what the figures and tradeoffs are going to be, but neither side wants to blurt it out at the table and weaken their position. If the two parties, usually the lead negotiators, can hold a sidebar or hallway meeting and test each other out, they can go back to their rooms and test the temperature, see if the direction they’re headed in will work. While these sidebars kind of tip your hand a little bit, they’re not as likely to be set in stone as if they’re floated at the table with everyone taking notes.

      All negotiations I’ve been in, the deadlocks broke during sidebar meetings late in the game, our rep would come back and say: “This is what we can get now, and I’m pretty sure we can win on these things if we give up on those, and this is the figure(s) we can probably get without going on strike. If we strike, we might push it to such and such, but…”

      So be encouraged that the sides are meeting. Gary Bettman has a lot of room to move and still obtain a great deal for the owners. Don Fehr came in with a reasonable first offer and thus won the PR war, every reasonable observer has concluded that the players actually want a deal that will work for both sides, as opposed to the owners who are salivating at the thought of another great heist. But now Mr. Fehr doesn’t really have any room to move, he can only take tiny steps.

      Mr. Bettman has to swallow his pride and meet the players more than halfway if he wants a deal to prevent a lockout, and is more likely to do that in an informal meeting than at the table with a media session immediately afterwards. In an informal meeting, Mr. Bettman can move more freely and at the end when the deal is signed confess that the players showed imagination and flexibility in their willingness to work with him, that they won him over to their vision, and that they will enter a new, stronger partnership.

      Again, there is a low probability that this will happen, but it is greater if informal talks are held rather than formal talks with a big group, or certainly greater than if no talks at all are held.

  24. JohnBellyful says:

    Day 143 of the CBA talks:

    Rock
    Scissors
    Paper!
    “Hmmmmm.”

    Rock
    Scissors
    Paper!
    “No way!”

    Rock
    Scissors
    Paper!
    “I don’t believe it! Okay, once more.”

    Rock
    Scissors
    Paper!
    “You gotta be kiddin’ me!
    ‘Sigh’
    Same time tomorrow? After lunch? Sure.”

    Day 187 — Lockout ends. Someone tells them it’s Rock Paper Scissors.

    • HardHabits says:

      Your insider info is wrong JB. I heard the negotiations have gone thus so far:

      NHLPA: Rock
      NHL: Paper

      NHLPA: Paper
      NHL: Scissors

      NHLPA: Scissors
      NHL: Rock

      NHLPA: Okay… you go first.

      NHL: Rock
      NHLPA: Scissors

      NHL: Scissors
      NHLPA: Paper

      NHL: Paper
      NHLPA: Scissors

      NHLPA: Aaaaarrrrrgghhhh!!! Okay. Let’s play evens and odds.
      NHL: OK

      NHLPA: At the same time now. I’ll call odds. On three. Ready? 1, 2, 3!!!

      NHLPA and NHL simultaneously: (gesticulating)1 finger

      NHLPA: Aaaaarrrrrgghhhh!!! Okay again. Odds again. 1, 2, 3!!!

      NHLPA and NHL simultaneously: 2 fingers

      NHL: At least we are starting to come up with similar proposals this way.

      NHLPA: Okay. Forget it. Evens. On 3. 1, 2, 3!!!

      NHL puts out one finger while the NHLPA puts out 2

      Later that evening….

      NHLPA: I think we should call for a sojourn and come back tomorrow.
      NHL: Bring your 8-ball.

      • JohnBellyful says:

        But, but, but I got it straight from hockeyinsiderr.
        Hmmm, now that I think of it, my decoder ring could be a week out of date.
        What is agreed is that it’s going to be a lengthy stalemate. Time to introduce lizard-Spock into negotiations.

  25. EasternOntarioHabsFan says:

    Re the Lemaire bashing: make no mistake, I think Guy Lafleur was awesome but he was in steep decline and had outlived his usefulness by the time Lemaire was coach. Lemaire was simply doing what any coach would do.

  26. habs-hampton says:

    Always loved Lemaire in the 70’s with that wicked slapshot. I still remember that one in Game 7 in Chicago in 1971.

    But for some reason, I always blame him for prematurely ending Guy’s career. Am I the only one, or am I “mis-remembering”?

    • The Dude says:

      Partying and a 2 pk a day habit could of had some blame?

    • Mattyleg says:

      Lafleur ran into a metal post around the corner from where I grew up in Pointe Claire. The post bent and came through the window, and cut the bottom of his ear off.
      The press said that he’d fallen asleep at the wheel coming back from a team function.

      Everyone else knew why it’d happened.

      —Hope Springs Eternal—

    • Un Canadien errant says:

      Guy Lafleur was magnificent in many areas. One of these is his ability to deflect self-responsibility.

      http://relentlessineptitude.blogspot.ca/2012/03/guy-lafleur-drove-his-career-into.html

      I always say this: if Guy Lafleur had still been the player he was in the late seventies, wouldn’t Serge Savard as GM, Ronald Corey as President, and Jacques Lemaire as coach have been only too happy to keep coddling him and looking the other way at the off-ice excursions of their star player. Guy wasn’t quite Pierre Larouche or Derek Sanderson, he kept it together enough to be the dominant player of the last half of the seventies, but when his skills began to erode he didn’t adapt, start paying more attention to his health or conditioning. He certainly wasn’t ready to accept a less prominent role with the team.

      An anecdote is telling in his case. When he made his comeback with the Rangers and the huge news of his intentions broke, I read all the Montréal papers that day. The most jarring detail was his defiant attitude that he had a lot of hockey left, and that he wanted to come back to prove that and leave on his own terms. He swore that he was going to undertake a ‘boxer’s training regimen’ to get back into shape for training camp, and that he was “going to quit smoking (wait for it….) tomorrow.”

      Exclamation point! Not today. Not last week, or last month when he started thinking of the comeback.

      If Guy Lafleur has to make out others as the culprits for his ‘forced’ retirement, he can delude himself all he wants, but we don’t have to swallow that lie. Jacques Lemaire has shown to be a good and effective coach, he knows how to win. He needed Guy Lafleur to play within his system, and Guy was incapable or unwilling to do so. That the situation came to an impasse and Guy impulsively decided to retire, and that Ronald Corey accepted his resignation, says more about Guy than it does about Mssrs. Lemaire, Savard and Corey.

      ———————————————————————–
      This isn’t “Billionaires vs. Millionaires.” Only a willfully uninformed fool would apply that sloppy shorthand designation to this disgraceful power grab crafted by some of the wealthiest individuals and corporate entities in North America aimed against professional athletes.–Larry Brooks of the New York Post

      http://relentlessineptitude.blogspot.com/

  27. frontenac1 says:

    Hey Amigos. Seeing the Roadrunner flying down the wing,gaining the zone,then doing a behind the back blind pass to Cocco in the high slot with a one time rocket to the top shelf……Magic! Pure Magic!

  28. DadidolizedDougHarvey says:

    Change of topic. I’m an English teacher in an English high school in Chibougamau. Being the only English teacher means I get to choose the novels we read. The novel I’ve been teaching the last 6 years is “Understanding Ken” by Pete McCormack, about an 11 year old boy growing up in Trail, British Columbia who adores the Montreal Canadiens. He is resented by everyone he knows.It’s a funny and touching book. It takes place in the year Dryden took off, in ’73-’74. So I get to talk about that team, about those players, and I always talk about Cournoyer…
    Which brings me to this question…does anyone remember the game where Cournoyer got a penalty in the second period, the Habs killed it off and sent a pass up to him as he flew out of the box. he had a clear breakaway from center ice in. As he stepped over the blueline, he switched hands on his stick, the crowd roared, and he went in and scored. I remember bedlam after the goal, no one could believe their eyes. So …was I hallucinating? anybody remember it?

    • The Dude says:

      Not only do I remember but it’s going with me to da grave DadidolizedDoug….t’was beautiful!

    • HabinBurlington says:

      I don’t know the goal you speak of, but enjoy this wonderful video of the RoadRunner from Legends of Hockey. Loved that collaberation of great hockey players.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dn-WkhJB_vQ

    • EasternOntarioHabsFan says:

      WOAH!, I had no idea that there were anglos in Chibougamau!

    • JohnBellyful says:

      I have a vague recollection of that. Was it against the Leafs?
      Or maybe it was a shared delusion.
      Nah, it’s somewhere in my memory banks.
      And if true, it gives rise to the question: Why’d he switch hands? Was he being hounded from the one side?

      • frontenac1 says:

        I remember when I was a kid, there was an urban legend that the roadrunner used to practice his wrist shot from both sides with a heavy metal puck. Don’t know if it was true but we all bought the story.

    • Psycho29 says:

      Hi DDH,
      I found this on the internet about the 1971 playoffs vs Minnesota. No mention about Cournoyer coming out of the penalty box though:

      http://sports.groups.yahoo.com/group/hockhist/message/45902

      “It was indeed the third game of the series, which Montréal won
      6-3. Minnesota had taken a 1-0 lead in the first period, then
      the Canadiens scored two to make it 2-1. Cournoyer’s goal was
      early in the second period and made it 3-1 (so it was actually
      quite an important goal in that game).

      From Bob Morrissey:

      Yvan Cournoyer, neatly switching hand before taking his shot, made
      3-1 early in the period [...]

      The Dimanche-Matin is a Sunday newspaper. Here’s an approximate
      translation of what they had to say:

      Spectacular Cournoyer

      The spectators haven’t quite made it back to their seats that
      Yvan Cournoyer intercepts a pass at the blue line and goes towards
      Maniago. Contrary to his usual move, Cournoyer cuts to his
      right, changes hands, and takes the North Stars’ goalie by surprise
      with a shot from 20 feet.

      It’s not much, but I’m sure another paper had more, i.e. interviews
      with Cournoyer and Maniago; quite possibly Montréal-Matin or
      Le journal de Montréal. “

    • otter649 says:

      I finished reading “Understanding Ken” back in July – It was a good read for the summertime……

    • Un Canadien errant says:

      I read that book as well a few years ago. A novel about hockey featuring Ken Dryden as the hero and guiding light of a young hockey player? I”m in.

      Maybe you should review it for the nascent HIO Sunday Book Review feature. I’ve got a couple more in the can ready to go, but I’m fast running out of sports books I’ve read recently. Plus, with my cable now reconnected, I’ll spend less time reading, as Natasha Staniszewski beckons.

  29. Da Hema says:

    Wow. Jacques had a comb-over even when he was young!

    Happy birthday Jacques!!

  30. JUST ME says:

    If Brad Marchand got 18 millions for a 4 year deal i have no problem giiving the same amount to P.K. Just putting gas on the fire i know but talent for talent…

  31. HabinBurlington says:

    Happy Birthday J. Lemaire, you were an excellent player for the Habs and you became an excellent coach.

    Having said that, I still shudder at how my hero Guy Lafleur was treated by Mr. Lemaire, especially considering I think Lafleur made Lemaire’s career much better. I think Jacques L. is an example of a rookie coach in the NHL and we saw how he improved as a Head Coach.

    • JohnBellyful says:

      I think Monsieur Lafleur is not without fault and that Lemaire helped his career in return, as not only was Lemaire gifted offensively, he was also the most responsible defensively on the line, which allowed The Flower to make the most of his abilities at the other end of the ice.
      But I have been known to be wrong (once every five years and seeing as the last mistake was three years, seven months ago …)

      • HabinBurlington says:

        Okay so in 1 year and (hang on, counts with fingers) 5 months I can disagree with you? I just loved Lafleur as a player and hated the way I thought he was treated by Lemaire. Whether Guy was in the wrong or not, he was my hero. Can you say rose coloured glasses? Yah, but hated how his career in Mtl ended. Period.

    • Da Hema says:

      I believe you are unduly hard on Lemaire. Centering Lafleur would be good for one’s points total, but consider some other things.

      First, Lemaire was also centering Steve Shutt, a great goal scorer who was willing to go to the net to pounce on rebounds, but who also made Brian Skrudland look like a graceful skater.

      Second, if the Lemaire-Lafleur-Shutt line was scored upon, they had a coach (Bowman) who would tear a strip off of them. So Lemaire was of necessity the defensive anchor of that line.

      Third, Lafleur never again approached the points totals he had in the 1970s after Lemaire retired in 1979-80. While admittedly there were other factors that led to Lafleur’s decline, one can reasonably conclude Lemaire’s departure played some role in this.

  32. Andy and the habs says:

    Even Dryden is not there.

    • GrimJim says:

      No Dryden, no Roy, no Plante. Makes you wonder what (if, give Red the benefit of the doubt. Maybe there was a second list of top 5 goalies or something) Red has against goalies (and maybe puts his criticism of Price in a different light…)

  33. DorvalTony says:

    Zzzzzzzzz

    “Hi, this is P.J. Stock for Depends.”

  34. Say Ash says:

    Roy is not on Red’s list? WTF?

  35. HabFab says:

    #2 of top 25 under 25…wouldn’t be able to sleep waiting for Monday to find out who is #1;
    http://www.habseyesontheprize.com/2012/9/7/3290522/top-25-under-25-2-max-pacioretty

  36. pmaraw says:

    so is red’s top 20 a skaters only club, no goalies allowed?

  37. Hobie Hansen says:

    I think the poll question is missing two very important leagues for hockey fans and Habs fans. The OHL and the WHL.

    I’ll be heading to see the Ottawa 67s play when the Sarnia Sting comes to town in order to see Alex Galchenyuk. Not to mention his line mate Nail Yakupov.

    And if the Saskatoon Blades happen to be on Sportsnet I’d love to watch Dalton Thrower play.

    I do hope there is a way to catch the Hamilton Bulldogs and the AHL in HD quality either on TV or over the Internet. I’m sure there will be the odd game on TV but it would be nice to have access to all their games. I think Tinorodi, Beaulieu, Bournaval, Gallagher and Leblanc will all be there, plus a few others I’d like to see?

  38. secretdragonfly says:

    A very happy birthday, M. Lemaire and many more.

    I know we have a lot of good-hearted folks on this site. I read this piece this morning and felt I needed to help in the only way I could, by signing the petition. If you read it and feel the same way, please send it to your circle of acquaintances.

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/sports/baseball/major-leaguer-whose-career-ended-on-the-first-pitch-pleads-for-one-more-at-bat/article4525373/

    http://www.oneatbat.com/sign.html

  39. Habitant in Surrey says:

    @ Ian Cobb

    …Ian, I thought older Guyz like You and I are supposed to be grizzled to Life & The World
    …We’ve seen it ‘all’ …remember ???
    …sounds like Your panicking Ian
    …take a sedative …or have a few drinks My friend
    …We WILL be playing this season
    …and, hopefully, Your Summit will happen as well :)

  40. Un Canadien errant says:

    Wow. Saints players suspended in bounty case win their appeal and are allowed to play Week 1. Panel rules that players can be disciplined for issues like deliberate attempts to injure, but that they didn’t receive due process.

  41. Habfan10912 says:

    Happy Birthday Jacques. What a great player. I hope we don’t get called out again for being old. :)

    ———————————–

  42. The Dude says:

    The strike is the best thing that could of happened to Les “former ” Glorieux….let it go two years! Two years not to see the magic of G-love and a undersized and over payed Defense”excluding Subban…Oh didn’t sign yet,lol” and new management and coaches trying to figure out what it has or has-not! Pffs’s let it happen right to the clean slate……Happy B-day to a real deal Canadien and thank-you for giving we Hab fans a point on a measuring stick of what a Hockey player should be.

    • Un Canadien errant says:

      Dude. Lockout, not strike.

      From Wikipedia:

      “A lockout is a temporary work stoppage or denial of employment during a labor dispute initiated by the management of a company. This is different from a strike, in which employees refuse to work. (A lockout) is usually implemented by simply refusing to admit employees onto company premises, and may include actions such as changing locks and hiring security guards for the premises

      • JohnBellyful says:

        While what you state is true — ’twas ever thus — I think a phrase every bit as applicable come Sept. 15 is suspension (of disbelief) insofar as what will be required of fans to wrap their minds around a situation that’s otherwise too preposterous to comprehend. That a league doing so well in boosting its revenues would now shut off the spigot with a lockout strikes most people as absurd.

  43. shiram says:

    Happy birthday Mister Lemaire.
    Great read, I always like these, as it showcases a great period in hockey and Habs history, a part of history I could not witness.

  44. Bripro says:

    When I was a teenager, I attended a few “National Hockey School” sessions.
    All the big Habs names were there.
    Big bird, the road runner, Laperriere, and Lemaire, among others.
    During one of the scrimmages, I got a cross-check to the face.
    One of the junior trainers came to help me off the ice and was pushed aside by Lemaire.
    He grabbed my face by the chin, yanked this way and that.
    The swelling hadn’t started yet, but by next day, my eye was swollen shut.
    When he finished yanking, he said to me “don’t be such a p*ssy!” and skated away.
    The next day, with the side of my face black and blue, he came up to me and asked “what the hell happened to you?”
    I said “yesterday, I was the p*ssy….remember?”
    He skated away laughing. Pompous ass!

  45. Ian Cobb says:

    THE WHOLE NHL SEASON, AND THE NEXT YEAR AS WELL IS IN JEOPARDY !

    If things stay status quo, with no movement from either side, it will turn very nasty indeed.
    Both sides are digging in for a long haul fight. They are both very far apart, and they will not blink until both sides feel the money pinch. Both sides have huge war chests to stick it out for a very long time.
    Two year lockout is a real possibility for sure.!!
    This one might be the longest work stoppage in sports history!
    Big money and greed, will take out a lot of innocent others along the way as well.


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