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06-06-2012, 05:45 AM
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Toe Blake !!!

Awards and Achievements:
8 x Stanley Cup Champion (1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1965, 1966, 1968)

Ultimate Hockey’s “Best Coach” of the 1950s and 1960s.

Originally Posted by Greatest Hockey Legends
Blake would then turn his efforts to coaching. He took over the reigns of the Montreal Canadiens in 1955 and remained behind the bench until 1968. In that time he coached 914 games, winning 500, losing 255 and tying 159 for an astounding winning percentage of .634. More importantly he guided the Habs to 8 Stanley Cups, including 5 in a row in the late 1950's, an unheard of feat.
Originally Posted by Legends of Hockey
One of the main reasons he was hired was to help control the explosive temper of his former linemate, Maurice Richard.

Blake's performance behind the Montreal bench between 1955 and 1968 was unparalleled. He won an incredible eight Stanley Cup titles in just 13 seasons, including five in a row in his first five years of coaching. In all, his playoff record was 82-37, a wins-to-losses ratio rarely matched in the NHL. His Habs teams never had a losing record and they never failed to make the playoffs.
Originally Posted by Legends of Hockey – Spotlight
After coaching the Buffalo Bisons of the AHL, Toe coached Valleyfield of the Quebec Senior Hockey League in 1949-50 and remained there until 1955. That summer, Dick Irvin, the coach of the Canadiens, left to coach the Chicago Black Hawks. General Manager Frank Selke invited Blake to step behind Montreal's bench as head coach. Selke had a not-so-hidden agenda. He needed a coach who could handle the mercurial Maurice Richard. Blake fit the bill perfectly — coaching experience, playing experience, including being a friend and teammate of Richard's, bilingual. It was a perfect match.

In his first five seasons as Montreal's coach, the Canadiens captured the Stanley Cup. This unprecedented feat alone would earn Toe a spot in the Hockey Hall of Fame. But in thirteen seasons as coach of the Canadiens, his teams finished first nine times and won the Stanley Cup on eight occasions! So strong were his teams, in fact, that the NHL adopted a new rule following the 1955-56 season. Montreal's powerplay was comprised of Jean Beliveau at centre flanked by Maurice Richard and Bert Olmstead. Doug Harvey was joined by 'Boom Boom' Geoffrion on the points, and the inimitable Jacques Plante was in goal. The five skaters racked up goals so frequently on the powerplay that the old rule of penalized players serving their entire two-minute minor was commuted to allow the penalized player to return to the ice should a goal be scored by the opposition during his time in the penalty box.
Originally Posted by Montreal Canadiens’ official website
The mastermind behind the on-ice exploits of the likes of “The Rocket”, Jean Beliveau, Doug Harvey, Bernard Geoffrion and Jacques Plante, Blake always knew which buttons to push. Wearing his trademark fedora wherever he went, he had a knack for keeping his talented group of superstars and future Hall of Famers focused and hungry year in, year out. While they could easily have become complacent, Blake’s Canadiens were instead the most driven and determined team in the NHL.
Originally Posted by Inside Hockey
Toe Blake was the greatest hockey coach ever. That’s not the same as being the most successful hockey coach. There are two other coaches who rank higher in success points than Blake but no other coach was more successful in getting his players to achieve—and maintain—optimum performance on the ice than Toe Blake.


Toe Blake was no tactician. During the past five years when I interviewed many former Habs players who played for Toe Blake, when asked what Blake’s offensive tactics were, they all recited the same sentence: advance the puck, hit the open man, and converge on the net. Simply put: a mere continuation of the tactics honed by Blake’s predecessor, Dick Irvin Sr.

Blake’s magic came from his leadership style which over the course of time took on a mystical, spiritual patina that would culminate in his apotheosis in the hearts and minds of Montreal Canadiens fans.

Toe led his players with an intricately balanced mixture of strength, subtlety, intensity, silence, anger, passion, and occasional humor. In return his players give him their collective hearts, minds, souls, bodies, blood, toil, tears, and sweat.


No other hockey coach during Original Six era was as beloved by his players as Toe Blake was. That is not hyperbole. When interviewing his former players, I was struck by the reverence they accorded Toe Blake. Never did I hear a complaint or a harsh word about him. Other coaches were spoken about in terms of fear and respect. Toe Blake was spoken of in the same way a son describes his father.

In 2007 when I asked Habs immortal Henri Richard who was the unsung hero of the Montreal Canadiens dynasty from 1956 to 1960? He said laconically: it was Toe Blake and gave me a stern look to let me know he wasn’t kidding.

When I asked the late Tom Johnson in 2006 how Blake kept his players hungry during their dynastic run he told me that Blake would pose a simple question to his players in training camp: is this the year you’re going to let them take it away from you? No fire and brimstone speeches. No threats or ultimatums; just a quietly expressed question.

No player ever put Toe Blake to the test when it came to discipline.
Originally Posted by Who’s Who in Hockey
The Old Lamplighter had studied coaching well in the Quebec Senior League. He was partially French Canadian, and he was admired by all the players, particularly Maurice Richard. Kenny Reardon, who had moved up to a key front-office position with the Canadiens, was a strong advocate of Blake, and ultimately the opinions of manager Frank Selke and Reardon prevailed. On June 8, 1955, the signing of Blake was officially announced before a standing-room crowd at the Forum, and Les Canadiens were ready to become the greatest team in hockey history.

Toe Blake weilded a dictator’s baton over Led Canadiens, but at first ruled them like a benevolent despot. This was easy because the players, to a man, respected Blake, and vice versa. The pivotal personality on the team was the Rocket. He went out of his way to assure the Canadiens’ hierarchy that he backed Blake to the hilt, and he meant every word of it.

Now it was up to the Old Lamplighter to produce. All the ingredients were there; a competent young goaltender, a strong, intelligent defense, and the most explosive collection of scorers in history.


Blake was so successful with his “happy family” that he helped to engineer the arrival of eight Stanley Cups in his 13-year tenure.
Originally Posted by Legendary NHL Coaches
Believers in reincarnation would probably not want to come back as Toe Blake’s bathroom mirror, particularly the morning after a loss. The look that the Canadiens coach would give that mirror could provide a horror show with an image to rival anything imagined by Stephen King or Bram Stoker. Blake hated to lose and didn’t care who knew it. He told reporters it wasn’t in his nature to swallow a loss affably, and that when he learned to do so, he’d quit.


Too often these days, fans watch players fire clearing passes cross-ice in their own zone, frequently a recipe for disaster. Toe Blake, a firm believer in keeping it simple, would never abide that. He stressed relentlessly that the puck travelled in two directions: one way was from your net, the other toward the other team’s net. His insistence on keeping it simple might put him at odds with forwards of today who value creativity, but consensus of hockey historians is that Blake would find a way to handle them, too.
Originally Posted by Putting a Roof on Winter
”Toe” Blake, the former digger of the great “Punch Line”, stepped into the breach behind the bench. Rocket Richard had played with Blake and young Beliveau had idolized him, but the “Old Lamplighter” soon put sentimentality in its place, running practices so tough that Red Storey would later describe a punishing Mike Keenan or Pat Burns practice as a day at the beach compared to Blake’s.

The new coach’s philosophy was simple: hockey is a two-way game in which players skate from their zone in a V formation, then invert to coverage on the opponent. The quick, fluid “transition game” was the essence of Blake’s vision and his players had to keep moving, heads up, sticks on the ice. Jean Beliveau used to laugh when hockey experts bowed down before Russian and European teams of the 1980s, for these so-called great innovators were playing the type of game the Canadiens used to play in the 1950s.
Originally Posted by Maurice Richard
The next question was who would be his (Dick Irvin) replacement.

Many names were mentioned but we knew that it had to be Toe Blake. There just was no other guy for the job because we all liked him as a person and respected him as a player. Toe got the job and we had a lot of great years together. We came up with a terrific power-play with Doug Harvey and Boomer on the point and me, Bert Olmstead, and Jean Beliveau up front.
Originally Posted by John Ferguson
Toe was the ultimate coach. He had a memory like an elephant and he treated the players like men. He had a great feeling for the game and could mastermind behind the bench in a way nobody has ever been able to. Maybe (Scotty) Bowman can nowadays, but Toe, Toe was just too smart.
Originally Posted by J.C. Tremblay
Toe Blake hated to lose so much that he made us the same way.

Last edited by Dreakmur: 06-06-2012 at 05:52 AM.
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