Rogie and the Hall: a strong case is made

Rogie Vachon
Overlooked by the Hall of Fame
David Bier Studios, Montreal Gazette files

It’s no secret that I have long believed that former Canadiens goaltender Rogie Vachon belongs in the Hall of Fame. I’ve said it, yelled it, written it and argued for it. But it’s ultimately up to fans, and others, to enshrine Vachon, the best goaltender of his era not to be in the Hall.

Inside/Out regulars will be familiar with the exhaustive research and passion of Robert Lefebvre, whose Eyes On The Prize blog should be among your bookmarks.

Robert L, as he’s known in these parts, makes a three-part, entirely thorough case for Vachon’s place in the Hall of Fame. See if you don’t agree – and aren’t ready to make a little useful noise with a letter to the Hall – after you’ve read:

Making a case for Rogie in the Hall;

Lefebvre’s comprehensive Vachon profile;

And visit the Vachon exposition in Rogie’s hometown of Palmarolle, Que.


  1. RS says:

    When I was kid playing road hockey back in the 70s, whenever the goalie made a great save, especially a nice glove save, it was alway “Rogie” or “Bernie”. To me, that’s a better honour than being in the Hall. But, considering some of the other guys in the Hall, Rogie probably does belong there too.

  2. RetroMikey says:

    If you want to include Rogie in the Hall, what about Ted Harris and Terry Harper who were part of the big 3 in the 60’s with Jacques Laperriere? Tough call to make Dave. These 2 defensemen were so underrated. As for Guy Lapointe, the guy deserved to have his number retired the night Boom Boom had his. To me, this is a big blunder that the Habs organization needs to fix up immediately. The guy was a 20 year old standout rookie D-man in the 1971 Cup finals against Chicago and was one of the big 3 of the 70’s along with Savard and Robinson. In my opinion, Lapointe was also underrated.

    “We will win the Cup only with Carey Price in the nets”

  3. habsguy says:

    Guy Lapointe….one of the BEST of his era !!!!!

  4. habs-13 says:

    When I said to forget about Vachon being inducted into the Hall Of Fame, I was being sarcastic. Sorry if it wasn’t obvious.

  5. P St. Pierre says:

    I agree. I love Tomas Plekanec, but thats a pretty ridiculous statement. Vachon should be in the Hall.

  6. Peter Young says:

    Robert L. is, of course, entirely right. i’ve lived in Los Angeles a long time now, and I can tell you that Rogie played a huge role in popularizing the game here long before Gretzky came along. He had star power locally as big as that of Marcel Dionne and the other members of the Triple Crown line in the Seventies. Everyone knew who Rogie was, even the Hollywood celebrities. The team wasn’t bad, either; its problem was that it was in the same division as the team from Montreal and it finished 50 points behind the first place Canadiens.


    Three Canadiens who belonged in the Hall of Fame long ago: Claude Provost, Ralph Backstrom and Jean-Claude Tremblay.

  7. habfan53 says:

    Peter I disagree those 3 do not belong in the hall. I’ll go one further Guy Lapointe is in and I don’t think he belongs either. They did not dominate their positions very good yes but dominant no

  8. Peter Young says:

    Dave, why was my comment (and a second one made by someone else) on the Guy Lafleur arrest and release censored? It was posted and then a few hours later released. My comment was critical of the prosecution. I do not understand why the police are allowed to take actions which are bound to be given publicity highly prejudicial to the Lafleur father and son–as they were on this blog–and then comment questioning this is censored.

  9. Dave Stubbs says:

    Peter, you’ll see that the Comments panel on both Lafleur items is disabled. Within a half-hour of the first item being added to the site, a number of racist, inflammatory and completely outrageous comments had been posted, so I removed all comments and disabled the panel.

    Kevin Mio added yesterday’s item, unaware that I’d done this with the first. Yours was one of only three comments added to the second item, but to remain consistent, it also has had its Comments panel disabled.

    We have linked our readers to the news. In very rare cases, we’ll not open items for comment. The Lafleur story is one of them.

    Dave Stubbs

    Habs Inside/Out
    Sports Feature Writer, Montreal Gazette


  10. 24 Cups says:

    The problem with the Hockey Hall of Fame is that it’s not really a hall of fame – there are way too many players in it as well as “builders”. I would lean toward a format where only true stars were inducted. The HHF has been very political over the years and not all of the selections have been based entirely on merit. Cronyism (sp?) reigns supreme with some selections. I loved Dick Duff as a Leaf, and even more so as a Hab. But the Hall of Fame? Come on. Bob Pulford? The guy was a third line centre for most of his career! BUT he had all the rights conections to make it in.

    Robert Lefebvre makes a compelling case for Vachon – he can defend me in court anytime he wants! For me, it’s quite simple – if Giacomin and Cheevers are in, then Rogie should be in the too. Same goes for Ciccarelli and Anderson.

    The Original 24 Cups

  11. Robert L says:

    That cronyism you speak of is personified by the Pulford induction – he was Alan eagleson’s best friend all the way back to childhood. That reeks of cronyism.

    Vachon should be in because he retired as the fifth winningest goalie in history with 355 games won.

    Think about it – 355 wins, mostly with an average team that he gave prominence to! Whether he actually “dominated” is a matter of personal view, and hardly the way it should be looked at.

    Rogatien Vachon’s achievement were career based. His longevity speaks for him as the last Original Six goalie, and his Canada Cup MVP testifies to what he would have achieved on a stronger team.

    In my eyes, it’s case closed. Now let’s write some letters to Jim Gregory and get this thing done!

    24 Cups, I’ll defend you in court anytime. Just send me a notice for the date when you change your name to 25 Cups so I can arrive there prepared!

  12. Xtrahabsfan says:

    Wow ,Rogie,now that brings up my childhood.The best glove hand ever in the game of Hockey and when asked how he achieved such a fast glove he replied he used to bounce a tennis ball off his bedroom wall and try and stop it for hours every day.

  13. Habster101 says:

    omg,,, I used to do that exact thing and you know what now, my catching with both hands is impeccable…

    I used to pretend I was an NHL goalie playing for the Canadiens, set up a net and through a tennis ball off the wall and save it … for hours and hours, day after day…lol

    that is amazing…..I should have become a goalie…lol

  14. NLhabsfan says:

    One thing that bugged me for years.WHY Vladislav Tretiak…never played in the NHL….I wouldn’t have.

  15. habfan53 says:

    Probably because it is The Hockey Hall of Fame and not the NHL hall of fame.

    Under the current STANDARDS I think he should be in but really no.
    He was solid for both Montreal and L.A. but he never dominated his position for an extended period 4-5 years like Esposito and Dryden during his era and Roy or Brodeur later on.
    By current standards I think Dini Ciccarelli will probably get in over 600 goals but I don’t beleive he deserves it either.

  16. Habster101 says:

    good idea Dave, I thought that was a touchy subject, I dont think one of our greats should’ve been so publicly exposed like that…

    putting it on here was just a recipe for racist, inflammatory and completely outrageious comments…alot of people have no respect…

    …and our law system is really the pits…

  17. Chuck says:

    Vachon never dominated because he played on some very crummy teams… yet he still managed to amass some great numbers. So you’re willing to penalize him and not admit him to the Hall because the team in front of his sucked? That’s hardly Rogie’s fault, and I don’t think that should be held against him.

    “All bow down before the Komisaurus Rex!”

  18. habfan53 says:

    Hey Chuck it’s been awhile. First let me say again that under current standards YES he should be in however for the 4 full years in Montreal he shared the job then in L.A. kept them in a lot of games but only once had a GAA less than 2.50. Heck I hope he gets in.
    By the way I might be heading over to Ned’s in a few minutes any chance of you going.

  19. Chuck says:

    It won’t be until after work this evening, but I think I could nip out for a pint. Anything to put off shoveling the driveway! :)

    “All bow down before the Komisaurus Rex!”

  20. habfan53 says:

    I thought I’d head over as we’re just closing up early due to the weather. Normally I go Saturday for their Ceasars around 1 Tomorrow I might go at 12:30 to get back for the Islander game.

  21. TC says:

    I noticed you lumped in Esposito as being dominant.

    How many Stanley Cup rings does Tony O possess? Rogie has three, two of which he played an important part in.

    T.C. Denault

  22. Robert L says:

    Esposito was mainly regular season dominant. His name is on the Cup with the 1969 Habs, for whom he never even dressed for in the playoffs. With over 400 career wins, there is little doubt that he was one of the most dominant goalies of his era. Tony Esposito would have an additional 2 Stanley Cups to his credit were it not for running into the 1971 and 1973 Habs.

    Domination shouldn’t be the sole achievement for a Hall Of Fame career. Few players can dominate for the entirety of their time. While the peaks are important, it is the overall view of that career that needs to be considered more closely. In Vachon’s case, it’s his win total, and a close scrutiny of the role he played on a not so great team that makes him a more than worthy candidate.

    A note to readers here: In the above links that Mr Stubbs made to the 3 posts above at my site, T.C. Deneault contributed greatly to 2 of them via his excellent piece entitled “The Man Would Be King” that was posted at Habs World last October. As Mr. Stubbs attached the kind adjectives of passion and enthusiasm to my work, I must honestly share those with T.C., who has written numerous great pieces at Habs World. His committment to all things Canadiens and his insight and worthy of being bookmarked as well.

    You can read “The Man Who Would Be King” here:

  23. habs-13 says:

    Forget Vachon, we have a guaranteed Hall-Of-Famer on our current roster.TOMAS PLEKANEC. Any player who get register 301 assists in 51 games is AMAZING! LOL

    “A resurgent Alexei Kovalev has enjoyed a strong season for the Habs thus far. He has 22 goals and 24 assists and is plus-11 after 51 games. Tomas Plekanec also has been strong with 16 goals and –>301< -- assists in 51 games." - See for yourself...

  24. Dave Stubbs says:

    Please. Let Tomas, who’s a fine talent, play a few seasons and win a few Stanley Cups first? And if you’ve been a Canadiens fan only since 2006, as your profile indicates, I’d suggest you read up a bit on some of the great stars of the team who have played here in the past.

    Dave Stubbs

    Habs Inside/Out
    Sports Feature Writer, Montreal Gazette


  25. Ed says:

    That is one of the best typos that I have ever seen. It was fun to read it. Thanks for the link.

  26. TC says:

    A couple of months back I had the privelege of attending a dinner honouring Jean Beliveau. Among some of the questions I asked Mr. Beliveau was out of all his teammates, whom he felt most deserved to be in the Hall of Fame that hadn’t already been enshrined.

    Without hesitation, Mr. Beliveau responded …

    J.C. Tremblay

    T.C. Denault

  27. Ian G Cobb says:

    Hall of fame,! Yes I have been there, but I would never go in side. Most of the better people connected to this game are indeed inside and to honor them is fine. But how they get inside, and how others remain on the outside has bothered me for to many years.

    Instead, I get to honor and chose my own famous people in my own Hockey Hall Of Fame. Some of whom have never had there public day of honor, but they are head and shoulders above in my mind.!!

    The Hockey Hall Of Fame, is for the game itself, not for the NHL.

    If you want to see some of the real fame for this game, just have a walk through any Major Junior Hockey rink from Halifax to Vancouver for example.
    And read the walls.

    Once the money, favoritism, politics and the cronyism rear there heads, I don,t wish to be around.! So Rogie, don,t loose any sleep over not being there, your not missing much and you will always be in my hall.!

  28. Robert L says:

    We even had Glenn “Chico” Resch, still signed under the old sponsorship deal of the early sisties. Unbeleivably, he signed as a 12 year old, and was in camp with Dryden and Vachon in September of 1971.

  29. Ian G Cobb says:

    Robert L–You never cease to amase me with your fantastic work and research. I still don,t know how to make comments on your site but I read your blog all the time, you are indeed a pasionate man with your work and how you bring it to us. Thanks::: IAN

  30. Robert L says:

    Thanks for those very kind and motivational words. It is for folks such as you, who appreciate what I do, that makes all my efforts worthwhile.

    Commenting on my site is as simple as it is here. I will set something up for you to use at my blog that will enable you to post your comments at any blog site. Keep an eye on your e-mail in the next day or so.

  31. Robert L says:

    Ian – You login instructions are in your e-mail. Have fun!

  32. TC says:

    Hey Robert,

    Speaking of the 1971 Habs training camp, don’t forget about Phil Myre (a former Memorial Cup winner) who went on to have a pretty good career throughout the 1970’s with the Flames and the Flyers and Michel Plasse who was also at that camp before being sent down to the Habs AHL affiliate in Halifax, of course all he did in 1971-72 was lead the Voyageurs to the Calder Cup with a goals against average of 1.25 in fifteen playoff games. Needless to say, he was the MVP of the playoffs.

    I don’t think any team before or since had a collection of goaltenders like the Habs did in the late 60’s/early 70’s whether on the big team or in the system.

    T.C. Denault

  33. Robert L says:

    I once read that there were 10 goalies in camp!

    Wayne Thomas was another one!

    Here are my Habs goalie site postings on Glenn Resch and the long lost Ray Martynuik, drafted 5th in 1970.

    Mr. Stubbs wrote a great piece on Martynuik last year, but the backlink must have been lost when the site changed design.

  34. Robert L says:

    Tretiak was drafted in round 7, 138th overall in the 1983 Draft by Serge Savard. He played only one more season in Russia before hanging it up. It wasn’t until around 1988 that the USSR allowed players to start coming over here to play. Sergei Makarov was one of the first, as they were only permitting players nearing the end of their careers to do so. Had Tretiak been younger, it might have happened. He has often spoken of the sensations he felt inside upon getting ovations on Montreal ice and has mentioned that he would have loved to play for the Habs. I thought it was extremely cool of him to show up at Dryden’s number retirement ceremony.

  35. Robert L says:

    For a cut – as long as you don’t work for the government!

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