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Old
08-07-2006, 01:23 PM
  #1
Coors9
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Any truth to this...

I was told or read somewhere that the Habs always got the first pick of french Canadian players, no matter where they finished in the standings, up until the late 60's or early 70's. Any truth to this ?????

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08-07-2006, 01:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Coors9 View Post
I was told or read somewhere that the Habs always got the first pick of french Canadian players, no matter where they finished in the standings, up until the late 60's or early 70's. Any truth to this ?????
I heard it was only for 2 or 3 years...and I don't think they even landed any or hardly any "great" players because of it. Someone on here will know more then me-they always do Paging Kirk/DKH/MeisterBruins/HOH...

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08-07-2006, 01:44 PM
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True story. Not sure of the exact year this practice stopped, but I suspect the late 60's. I believe it was for more that 2 or 3 years and they signed some very significant players.

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08-07-2006, 01:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Coors9 View Post
I was told or read somewhere that the Habs always got the first pick of french Canadian players, no matter where they finished in the standings, up until the late 60's or early 70's. Any truth to this ?????
Until they instituted the amateur draft back in the late 60's/early 70's (I forget the exact year) teams were able to sign any player they wanted. NHL teams sponsored junior teams and could own a players rights in some cases from as young as 14 because the player came up through their junior sponsored program. The Canadiens had their pick of the French Canadians because they were picking out of their own backyard.

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08-07-2006, 01:59 PM
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It ended in 1969 the year that they took Rejean Houle and Marc Tardiff ( the two best players in the 1969 draft).
That was the year that the Bruins had the top two picks except for the French-Canadian exemption.
It cost the Bruins the best two players in the 1969 draft and in turn probably cost the Bruins several additional Stanley Cups in the 1970's .

http://www.hockeydraftcentral.com/1969/69main.htm

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08-07-2006, 02:21 PM
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It ended in 1969 the year that they took Rejean Houle and Marc Tardiff ( the two best players in the 1969 draft).
That was the year that the Bruins had the top two picks except for the French-Canadian exemption.
It cost the Bruins the best two players in the 1969 draft and in turn probably cost the Bruins several additional Stanley Cups in the 1970's .

http://www.hockeydraftcentral.com/1969/69main.htm
I'd call Bobby Clarke the best player from the 1969 draft and the Bruins had 3 shots at taking him.

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08-07-2006, 02:29 PM
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I'd call Bobby Clarke the best player from the 1969 draft and the Bruins had 3 shots at taking him.
And Butch Goring was no slouch either.

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08-07-2006, 02:38 PM
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as per Liam Maguire... I didn't write this, it was taken from another board. But the fact is that this so called "advantage" is greatly overplayed...

The question re the Habs and their so called French Canadian 'advantage' is so routinely botched up it should be addressed on Hockey Night In Canada. Here's the deal and if anybody has any misconception or disagreement with any of this by all means contact me and I'll quote them chapter and verse. I've interviewed many of the parties involved in how all of this transpired.

In the early days of the NHL, in fact through the first several decades of the leagues existence, many things were done to try and help franchises that were in trouble. Loaning players was one of the more popular methods. Financial aid was another, facilitating moves to other cities, etc. Bottom line, when a team was in trouble the league would do it's best to try and figure out a way to help. In 1936 the Montreal Canadiens nearly folded. The Depression had already claimed several franchises including the Ottawa Senators. What the NHL's brain trust decided to do was they would attempt to help Montreal's attendance and thereby hopefully their bottom line financially. So they decided that the Montreal Canadiens could take any two players from the province of Quebec in a special draft. There was one rider however. None of these players could have already been previously signed to a C form (confirmation form) with any other club. At this time in the NHL and right through the late 60's amateur players were signed by NHL teams to C forms and then placed on their appropriate junior clubs or minor pro clubs depending on their age. The most extreme case of this was Bobby Orr. Orr signed a C form three weeks before his 12th birthday with the Boston Bruins. He was so young his parents signature was required. When he turned 14 he began playing for Boston's junior sponsored team, the Oshawa Generals. That's how Orr became a Bruin. From 1936-1943 Montreal protected 14 players through this special draft. Unfortunately none of them ever played a minute in the NHL. Reason being, anybody who could tie their skates and chew gum at the same time were already long signed by other NHL teams including the Canadiens who certainly wern't going to survive solely with this rule. The hope was that there would be a spark from signing a French Canadian kid, even better if he could play a bit. The thought was that this could help attendance and thereby help Montreal. It never did. What really helped Montreal at that time were two shrewd moves. One, a trade with the Montreal Maroons which brought them Toe Blake and two, the signing of Elmer Lach to a C form, who was from Saskatchewan by the way. He was signed after the Rangers passed on him. Lach attended their camp first. There were other moves which turned their fortune around. The key one being the rest of the league passed on Montreal GM Tommy Gorman's offer of a trade for what seemed to be a very brittle but explosive goal scorer name Maurice Richard. Richard suffered injury after injury in his first three years of pro. Gorman tried to unload him but nobody wanted him. Needless to say Richard's coming out party in 1943-44 and the subsequent effect he had on the game in the next 17 years has been well documented but suffice to say, these were the three major reasons for the success of the Habs over a nearly two decade span - not some bullcrap rule that although was well intentioned did nothing to extend Montreal's stay in the NHL at that time. In fact they were even worse in 1940 than they were in 1936.

The last two pieces of the puzzle for the Habs greatness in the modern era as we know it happened in 1946 and 1947 respectively. With the French Canadian rule now rescinded and Montreal rolling with two Cup victories in a three year span something else was going to be needed for the franchise to rise to the extreme greatness they would see in a few short years. Thank you Toronto Maple Leafs. Toronto owner Conn Smythe fired Frank Selke Sr. and Montreal quickly hired him. Selke had a vision about a series of teams in the minor leagues that would be stocked with players that Montreal would sign to C forms. These minor league teams and the players on them were soon to be known as 'a farm system.' This was the origin of the farm system as we know it today. It took the rest of the NHL 2-3 years to catch on to this idea but they did and they've all benefited from it but Montreal had a tremendous head start and in some instances they purchased the rights to an entire league to get a certain player. They did this for Jean Beliveau and Bobby Rousseau. In Beliveau's case it didn't matter because he told the Habs to get stuffed anyway. He was happy in Quebec and there were only two players in the NHL making more money than Jean who was in the QSHL. That was Rocket Richard and Gordie Howe. Finally Selke was able to sign Beliveau in 1953 when as he put it, " I opened up the vault and said help yourself Jean!" Great quote. The move in 1947 was the hiring of Sam Pollock. Pollock came under the tutelage of Selke and finally in 1963 became his successor as GM of the Canadiens. In 1963 the NHL finally realized there were a glut of players, post second World War 2 births, that were coming of age to play in the NHL and even with the C form system stones were being left unturned. For the first time a draft was implemented. There was never any thought that this would one day become the life blood of the NHL. At the time the six NHL teams would draft in a rotating order any player who had not signed a C form. Ken Dryden was a draft pick of the Boston Bruins. Boston traded Dryden to Montreal. In 1963, the French Canadian rule was brought back for the Montreal Canadiens. It was not necessary, no question about it but Selke and Pollock worked a sweet deal and got it back on the books however the same rules applied. The player could not have signed a C form with any other team. From 1963-1967 none of the players Montreal selected played one minute in the NHL, ever. Finally in 1968, they drafted their first live one. A goalie named Michel Plasse. In 1969, it was determined that this would be the final year of the draft in this manner and the sponsorship of Junior A teams would cease to be. All players were to be 20 years of age or older and they would be eligible for a Universal Amateur Draft. Montreal was given one final kick at the French Canadian can and they made the most of it by selecting Rejean Houle and Marc Tardif. That was it for the French rule. By then Sam Pollock or Trader Sam as he was known, was working magic year in and year out on draft day and by flipping players in Montreal's farm system that had been so expertly set up years before by Selke and ran by Pollock, for draft picks. Players like Guy Lafleur, Steve Shutt, Mario Tremblay, several others, were selected with picks that Pollock acquired through trades.

That's the history of how Montreal evolved from nearly dying in the mid 1930's through the last of their glory days in the late 1970's. The Habs had a pretty good run in the decade of the 1980's, with one Cup, another trip to the finals and four trips to the semi's in total. They were the third winningest team in the regular season in the decade so things were still pretty good and I think Serge Savard did a very good job overall as a GM. The 1990's, with the Cup in 93 notwithstanding, were a much tougher time as we well know. That's another chapter for another time. I hope this helps clear up any misconception. I believe this fallacy was born primarily by frustrated anti-Montreal fans who for decades suffered through parade after Stanley Cup parade. People who I have interviewed on this very topic include, Sam Pollock, Scotty Bowman, **** Irvin, Marcel Pronovost, Rod Gilbert, Yvan Cournoyer and numerous others. Feel free to email me any thoughts.

Liam Maguire

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08-07-2006, 02:53 PM
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Good history Liam. I think that they got a little more out of the French picks by trading the poor players to dumb GM's who thought they must be able to play because Montreal had picked them. I think that they got a few good draft picks out of those type of deals but I can't prove it.

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08-07-2006, 09:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by waffledave View Post
as per Liam Maguire... I didn't write this, it was taken from another board. But the fact is that this so called "advantage" is greatly overplayed...

The question re the Habs and their so called French Canadian 'advantage' is so routinely botched up it should be addressed on Hockey Night In Canada. Here's the deal and if anybody has any misconception or disagreement with any of this by all means contact me and I'll quote them chapter and verse. I've interviewed many of the parties involved in how all of this transpired.

In the early days of the NHL, in fact through the first several decades of the leagues existence, many things were done to try and help franchises that were in trouble. Loaning players was one of the more popular methods. Financial aid was another, facilitating moves to other cities, etc. Bottom line, when a team was in trouble the league would do it's best to try and figure out a way to help. In 1936 the Montreal Canadiens nearly folded. The Depression had already claimed several franchises including the Ottawa Senators. What the NHL's brain trust decided to do was they would attempt to help Montreal's attendance and thereby hopefully their bottom line financially. So they decided that the Montreal Canadiens could take any two players from the province of Quebec in a special draft. There was one rider however. None of these players could have already been previously signed to a C form (confirmation form) with any other club. At this time in the NHL and right through the late 60's amateur players were signed by NHL teams to C forms and then placed on their appropriate junior clubs or minor pro clubs depending on their age. The most extreme case of this was Bobby Orr. Orr signed a C form three weeks before his 12th birthday with the Boston Bruins. He was so young his parents signature was required. When he turned 14 he began playing for Boston's junior sponsored team, the Oshawa Generals. That's how Orr became a Bruin. From 1936-1943 Montreal protected 14 players through this special draft. Unfortunately none of them ever played a minute in the NHL. Reason being, anybody who could tie their skates and chew gum at the same time were already long signed by other NHL teams including the Canadiens who certainly wern't going to survive solely with this rule. The hope was that there would be a spark from signing a French Canadian kid, even better if he could play a bit. The thought was that this could help attendance and thereby help Montreal. It never did. What really helped Montreal at that time were two shrewd moves. One, a trade with the Montreal Maroons which brought them Toe Blake and two, the signing of Elmer Lach to a C form, who was from Saskatchewan by the way. He was signed after the Rangers passed on him. Lach attended their camp first. There were other moves which turned their fortune around. The key one being the rest of the league passed on Montreal GM Tommy Gorman's offer of a trade for what seemed to be a very brittle but explosive goal scorer name Maurice Richard. Richard suffered injury after injury in his first three years of pro. Gorman tried to unload him but nobody wanted him. Needless to say Richard's coming out party in 1943-44 and the subsequent effect he had on the game in the next 17 years has been well documented but suffice to say, these were the three major reasons for the success of the Habs over a nearly two decade span - not some bullcrap rule that although was well intentioned did nothing to extend Montreal's stay in the NHL at that time. In fact they were even worse in 1940 than they were in 1936.

The last two pieces of the puzzle for the Habs greatness in the modern era as we know it happened in 1946 and 1947 respectively. With the French Canadian rule now rescinded and Montreal rolling with two Cup victories in a three year span something else was going to be needed for the franchise to rise to the extreme greatness they would see in a few short years. Thank you Toronto Maple Leafs. Toronto owner Conn Smythe fired Frank Selke Sr. and Montreal quickly hired him. Selke had a vision about a series of teams in the minor leagues that would be stocked with players that Montreal would sign to C forms. These minor league teams and the players on them were soon to be known as 'a farm system.' This was the origin of the farm system as we know it today. It took the rest of the NHL 2-3 years to catch on to this idea but they did and they've all benefited from it but Montreal had a tremendous head start and in some instances they purchased the rights to an entire league to get a certain player. They did this for Jean Beliveau and Bobby Rousseau. In Beliveau's case it didn't matter because he told the Habs to get stuffed anyway. He was happy in Quebec and there were only two players in the NHL making more money than Jean who was in the QSHL. That was Rocket Richard and Gordie Howe. Finally Selke was able to sign Beliveau in 1953 when as he put it, " I opened up the vault and said help yourself Jean!" Great quote. The move in 1947 was the hiring of Sam Pollock. Pollock came under the tutelage of Selke and finally in 1963 became his successor as GM of the Canadiens. In 1963 the NHL finally realized there were a glut of players, post second World War 2 births, that were coming of age to play in the NHL and even with the C form system stones were being left unturned. For the first time a draft was implemented. There was never any thought that this would one day become the life blood of the NHL. At the time the six NHL teams would draft in a rotating order any player who had not signed a C form. Ken Dryden was a draft pick of the Boston Bruins. Boston traded Dryden to Montreal. In 1963, the French Canadian rule was brought back for the Montreal Canadiens. It was not necessary, no question about it but Selke and Pollock worked a sweet deal and got it back on the books however the same rules applied. The player could not have signed a C form with any other team. From 1963-1967 none of the players Montreal selected played one minute in the NHL, ever. Finally in 1968, they drafted their first live one. A goalie named Michel Plasse. In 1969, it was determined that this would be the final year of the draft in this manner and the sponsorship of Junior A teams would cease to be. All players were to be 20 years of age or older and they would be eligible for a Universal Amateur Draft. Montreal was given one final kick at the French Canadian can and they made the most of it by selecting Rejean Houle and Marc Tardif. That was it for the French rule. By then Sam Pollock or Trader Sam as he was known, was working magic year in and year out on draft day and by flipping players in Montreal's farm system that had been so expertly set up years before by Selke and ran by Pollock, for draft picks. Players like Guy Lafleur, Steve Shutt, Mario Tremblay, several others, were selected with picks that Pollock acquired through trades.

That's the history of how Montreal evolved from nearly dying in the mid 1930's through the last of their glory days in the late 1970's. The Habs had a pretty good run in the decade of the 1980's, with one Cup, another trip to the finals and four trips to the semi's in total. They were the third winningest team in the regular season in the decade so things were still pretty good and I think Serge Savard did a very good job overall as a GM. The 1990's, with the Cup in 93 notwithstanding, were a much tougher time as we well know. That's another chapter for another time. I hope this helps clear up any misconception. I believe this fallacy was born primarily by frustrated anti-Montreal fans who for decades suffered through parade after Stanley Cup parade. People who I have interviewed on this very topic include, Sam Pollock, Scotty Bowman, **** Irvin, Marcel Pronovost, Rod Gilbert, Yvan Cournoyer and numerous others. Feel free to email me any thoughts.

Liam Maguire
I'm ceratinly not going to call you a liar Liam, but I have read from several sources that young aspiring hockey players in Quebec had to sign forms, giving the Canadiens first chance to their rights before they could play in public Arenas. Two significant players who got away simply because they played for a private school were Rod Gilbert and Jean Rattelle who were quickly snapped up by the Rangers. I heard this point reiterated only a couple of months ago on the Fan 590 in Toronto by one of their sports authorities.

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08-07-2006, 10:16 PM
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The rule was in place, but Houle and Tardiff were the only ones they picked who made it.

Their ineptness in drafting(a tradition Bob Gainey is seeking to continue) doesn't excuse the fact that it was in fact Rigged in their favor. Had Boston gotten either of those two in that year's draft, it would've made a huge impact on the course of the 70s. The team would've stood a better chance in 73 and 74 after the WHA pillaging of the team, and those late 70s matchups with the Habs would've gone different.

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08-08-2006, 07:52 AM
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My grandfather always tell me it was well know the Habs hide a lot of young players in different "unknow" league, french and english players.

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08-08-2006, 09:54 AM
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I'm just trying to get the old rules straight (ignoring the Montreal rule). The Bruins had the Oshawa Generals and the Habs had the Peterborough Petes as farm teams. Did the Bruins find younger players, sign them to C forms and then move them onto the Generals, or did the Bruins scout players on the Generals and sign the best of them to C forms?

I was under the impression that Peterborough was a gold mine for NHL talent and the Habs' exclusive rights to their players was a considerable advantage. Of course, I read this in a book about how great Peterborough is/was so I'm taking it with a grain of salt.

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08-08-2006, 10:01 AM
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I'm just trying to get the old rules straight (ignoring the Montreal rule). The Bruins had the Oshawa Generals and the Habs had the Peterborough Petes as farm teams. Did the Bruins find younger players, sign them to C forms and then move them onto the Generals, or did the Bruins scout players on the Generals and sign the best of them to C forms?
I think it depended on the player...Bobby Orr was signed when he was young and then moved on to the Generals, but maybe he was just an extreme case.

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08-08-2006, 01:20 PM
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I'm ceratinly not going to call you a liar Liam, but I have read from several sources that young aspiring hockey players in Quebec had to sign forms, giving the Canadiens first chance to their rights before they could play in public Arenas. Two significant players who got away simply because they played for a private school were Rod Gilbert and Jean Rattelle who were quickly snapped up by the Rangers. I heard this point reiterated only a couple of months ago on the Fan 590 in Toronto by one of their sports authorities.
That was in the days before the amateur draft was implemented by the NHL. Those players began their pro careers in the early 60's.

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08-08-2006, 10:09 PM
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That was in the days before the amateur draft was implemented by the NHL. Those players began their pro careers in the early 60's.
and wasn't that exactly what the original poster eluded to?

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08-08-2006, 10:18 PM
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Probably shouldn't ask this here... but what the hay...

Does Liam Maguire post here? What is his handle if so....

I went to school with him and would love to touch base... any help would be great!

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08-09-2006, 05:21 AM
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I remember Derek mentioning the "birth right" thing from time to time.

He'd always say something like "It's been a little tougher sledding for Montreal since they've had to draft like the rest of us instead of getting to take all the top kids from Quebec."

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08-09-2006, 10:19 AM
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Probably shouldn't ask this here... but what the hay...

Does Liam Maguire post here? What is his handle if so....

I went to school with him and would love to touch base... any help would be great!
I think he might...I saw this exact thing posted a while ago on the Habs board by someone with not that many posts...Try searching for it.

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08-09-2006, 10:19 AM
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I remember Derek mentioning the "birth right" thing from time to time.

He'd always say something like "It's been a little tougher sledding for Montreal since they've had to draft like the rest of us instead of getting to take all the top kids from Quebec."
Unfortunately none of those "top kids" actually amounted to anything.

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08-09-2006, 12:06 PM
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and wasn't that exactly what the original poster eluded to?

He was asking about the first few years of the amateur draft.

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