Monday, September 14, 2009

100th Greatest Montreal Canadien

I've been in Montreal for the last five days, and I must say they really are excited about this 100th anniversary stuff.(Not sure why the celebration lasts two years though...) There are ads for 100th anniversary collectable coins in the newspaper (at least that what I've come to surmise using my limited French skills). Most stores and depanneurs have at least a few of the numerous commemorative books for the occaison and Habs logos certainly are everywhere, more prominant than the "fleur de lis".
I figured I had better add in my angle from an outsiders point of view. With most people compiling lists of the greatest and most memorable Canadiens teams and players of all-time, I figured I'd try to determine the 100th greatest and somewhat less memorable Hab player in history. It's all subjective, so here we go.
If we list the 100th top point scorer in Canadien history we see Vladimir Malakhov with 141 points. I refuse to list a Ruskie as even 100th greatest Hab, just doesn't seem right. At 99th place is Wildor Larochelle with 144 points. He is definitely far from memorable. He was born in Sorel in 1906 and played most of his 474 NHL games with Montreal winning back-to-back Cups in 1930 and 1931. Larochelle topped out at 18 goals in 1932 and was a serviceable winger on a line with Pit Lepine and Armand Mondou.
Paul Haynes with 133 Canadien points is 105th overall, and had seasons of 35 and 38 points in 48 game seasons. He would be cut by coach Dick Irvin in 1941 for allegedly skipping a practice in New York in order to attend an opera. Haynes would eventually become one of the team's first scouts and discovered among others Elmer Lach and Ken Reardon.
In looking at the top 100 Goal scorers in Habs history there is a three-way tie at 99,100 and 101 with Dave Balon, Albert "Battleship" Leduc and Mickey Redmond all at 56 Montreal goals. Perhaps any of these three could be considered the 100th greatest Hab, but at 106th in goals we find Calum Mackay with 50 goals. Mackay, being a Toronto native heightened my interest.
Calum Mackay may very well be your prototypical "average" Habitant. Mackay was raised in Fort William, Ontario and would originally join the Detroit Red Wings in 1947 after a season with the Oshawa Generals of the OHA. He would play most of the next four seasons in the minors and get only six games total with the Wings. His rights were traded to Montreal in 1949 for Joe Carveth and he played the majority of 49/50 with the Habs. In 1950/51 he tallied 18 goals in a full season with the big club, but struggled out of the gates the following year before being returned to the AHL. He performed adequately until being called up for the 1953 NHL playoffs. His timing could not have been better as he scored four points in seven games in helping the Habs win another Cup. Mackay played two more years with Montreal including a career year of 35 points in 50 games in 54/55. That seasons' playoffs saw him finish fourth in Habs scoring behind Geoffrion, Beliveau and Floyd Curry with 11 points in 12 games. He suffered a knee injury in the following training camp and would never play in the bigs again. He played 32 games with the Montreal Royals of the Quebec Senior League that year before hanging it up for good.
I'm gonna go with Calum Mackay as the 100th greatest Montreal Canadien in their storied history.


horchy said...

good stuff nitz, i can't decide whether i'm suprised or not to hear you getting all swept up in a wave of blue blanc et rouge. mckay doesn't look bald...what's with the nickname 'baldy'?

horchy said...

i meant 'bleu'

Nitzy said...

What can I say Horch, "When in Rome...."
I wouldn't say "swept up" either, more of a passive observer.

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