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Montreal's OTHER Dynasty

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02-08-2014, 10:48 AM
  #1
IMLACHnME
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Montreal's OTHER Dynasty

I became a serious fan of hockey during the Canadiens' dynasty of the 60s, when they made it to the Stanley Cup Final five straight seasons, and won the Cup four times. Needless to say, the Habs of that era are carved into my memory:

In net, for all five of those seasons, was Gump Worsley. Charlie Hodge would win two rings with “The Gumper.” Rogie Vachon would replace Hodge, and himself win two rings.

On the blueline, there were four gentlemen on hand for all five seasons: J.C. Tremblay, Jacques Laperriere, Ted Harris and Terry Harper. Jean-Guy Talbot would win two rings, as would Serge Savard. Carol Vadnais, Larry Hillman and the two Noels were other d-men who won rings during this era with the Habs.

Up front were some familiar names. Jean Beliveau, Henri Richard, Claude Provost, Ralph Backstrom, Bobby Rousseau, Dick Duff, Yvan Cournoyer and John Ferguson would win four rings during this dynasty. Seemingly long-forgotten Gilles Tremblay would win three rings. Dave Balon, Jimmy Roberts and Jacques Lemaire were on hand for two Cup victories. Guys who would become “stars” elsewhere, Red Berenson, Danny Grant and Mickey Redmond, would each earn a ring during this period with Montreal.

Won’t pretend I was a fan, while they were winning those four Cups. But, decades later, my recollections are fonder, as I’ve come to respect what that team and those individual players accomplished.

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02-08-2014, 12:35 PM
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Killion
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^^^ yep, Ditto on that one. Though I was actually as much a fan of the Canadiens as I was the Leafs & Chicago, Roger Crozier in particular & Detroit for two years mid-60's based on his tremendous play & the interesting players on the Wings. Boston & New York not so much, not until Giacomin came along, Orr & Company with the Bruins. I was more a "fan" of the entire league, appreciating each team & its players rather than strictly "Hometown Toronto".

But ya, loved the Habs of the 60's. Oddly, I preferred Charlie Hodge to Worsley. Gumper was great, but just something of the Beach Ball about him that didnt do much for me. Defensively terrific as were the Leafs of course but combined with their artistry up-front, far more dynamic, entertaining. Some smaller players with speed to burn, one of my favorites Henri Richard.

On the blue line, Jacques Laperriere. Enjoyed studying those guys. Some serious smarts, hockey crafts & IQ. Of course I wasnt immune to being a local FanBoy come playoff time in hoping the Leafs would triumph, absolutely. But you sure couldnt help but admire Toe Blake, Beliveau. Just some incredible series against Toronto that on so many levels transcended just the game of hockey. Consider myself very fortunate to have witnessed all of that and at a formative age.

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02-08-2014, 04:03 PM
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IMLACHnME
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World's Biggest Habs Fan

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Originally Posted by Killion View Post
^^^ yep, Ditto on that one. Though I was actually as much a fan of the Canadiens as I was the Leafs & Chicago, Roger Crozier in particular & Detroit for two years mid-60's based on his tremendous play & the interesting players on the Wings. Boston & New York not so much, not until Giacomin came along, Orr & Company with the Bruins. I was more a "fan" of the entire league, appreciating each team & its players rather than strictly "Hometown Toronto".

But ya, loved the Habs of the 60's. Oddly, I preferred Charlie Hodge to Worsley. Gumper was great, but just something of the Beach Ball about him that didnt do much for me. Defensively terrific as were the Leafs of course but combined with their artistry up-front, far more dynamic, entertaining. Some smaller players with speed to burn, one of my favorites Henri Richard.

On the blue line, Jacques Laperriere. Enjoyed studying those guys. Some serious smarts, hockey crafts & IQ. Of course I wasnt immune to being a local FanBoy come playoff time in hoping the Leafs would triumph, absolutely. But you sure couldnt help but admire Toe Blake, Beliveau. Just some incredible series against Toronto that on so many levels transcended just the game of hockey. Consider myself very fortunate to have witnessed all of that and at a formative age.
The title of this post refers to my pappy. He loved the Canadiens, and this period was a terrific one for him. Watching him watch a game was almost as much fun as watching the game itself. Worsley brought out the worst in him, with his flopping. Every time Gump would hit the ice, my dad would be on his feet swearing in French.

As a French Canadian, and short to boot, he really identified with the Flying Frenchmen up front. My older brother would wind him up warning him what would become of those under-sized forwards at the hands of the larger opposing players, especially the blueliners.

As a contrarian, and a fan of the underdog, I just could not warm up to the Habs. For me, they were the NHL's equivalent of the New York Yankees, another team I could not embrace, regardless of the obvious talent on the roster.

That said, there were individual Canadiens I did like, Ted Harris in particular. Never felt, then or since, that he got his due as a tough customer. He paired off with Orland Kurtenbach a couple of times, something John Ferguson never did. Never felt that Terry Harper was properly appreciated either.

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02-08-2014, 04:50 PM
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Killion
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Claude Provost

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Originally Posted by IMLACHnME View Post
...My older brother would wind him up warning him what would become of those under-sized forwards at the hands of the larger opposing players, especially the blueliners.
That mustve been interesting, fun household. And ya, the Habs' did have some what today would be Midgets up-front. Henri Richard as I mentioned earlier one of my all time favorites, like Keon, total package. Another smaller guy I loved was 5'9" Claude Provost. Real Montrealer' like a lot of them, born & raised there, Junior Canadiens etc. I liked those players in particular as it was St.Mikes or the Marlies all over again, Toronto vs Montreal, Ontario vs Quebec, The Flying Frenchmen vs the more staid & conservative system player of Upper Canada.

Provost was a shutdown specialist extrordinaire. Right Winger, most notably with linemates Andre Pronovost & Phil Goyette (two other excellent players) Claude was Hull's Shadow through the 60's & who took on all of the leagues top Left Wingers.... Unusual wide gaited stance (like their was an imaginary horse in between his legs almost and he right on the edge of out of control) when skating and deceptively fast. Had a decent scoring touch averaging 15-18-20 goals per season, in 61/62 scoring 33 all the while averaging maybe 35PIM's per season.

And get this; wins 9 Stanley Cups between 1956 & 1970, 5 in a row between 1956/60, 11 All Star Appearances, recipient of the first Bill Masterton Award in 1968. No other player in the history of the game with that many cups & laurels hasnt already been inducted into the HHOF yet Claude Provost, who sadly died of a heart attack at 51 in 1984 was never and has since not been honored with induction?! Mind blowing really. One of the greatest Shutdown Specialists of All Time & Greatest Habs All Time, and he's not in the HHOF?! C'est criminel!!!....

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02-08-2014, 05:35 PM
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IMLACHnME
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The clean shadow

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Originally Posted by Killion View Post
That mustve been interesting, fun household. And ya, the Habs' did have some what today would be Midgets up-front. Henri Richard as I mentioned earlier one of my all time favorites, like Keon, total package. Another smaller guy I loved was 5'9" Claude Provost. Real Montrealer' like a lot of them, born & raised there, Junior Canadiens etc. I liked those players in particular as it was St.Mikes or the Marlies all over again, Toronto vs Montreal, Ontario vs Quebec, The Flying Frenchmen vs the more staid & conservative system player of Upper Canada.

Provost was a shutdown specialist extrordinaire. Right Winger, most notably with linemates Andre Pronovost & Phil Goyette (two other excellent players) Claude was Hull's Shadow through the 60's & who took on all of the leagues top Left Wingers.... Unusual wide gaited stance (like their was an imaginary horse in between his legs almost and he right on the edge of out of control) when skating and deceptively fast. Had a decent scoring touch averaging 15-18-20 goals per season, in 61/62 scoring 33 all the while averaging maybe 35PIM's per season.

And get this; wins 9 Stanley Cups between 1956 & 1970, 5 in a row between 1956/60, 11 All Star Appearances, recipient of the first Bill Masterton Award in 1968. No other player in the history of the game with that many cups & laurels hasnt already been inducted into the HHOF yet Claude Provost, who sadly died of a heart attack at 51 in 1984 was never and has since not been honored with induction?! Mind blowing really. One of the greatest Shutdown Specialists of All Time & Greatest Habs All Time, and he's not in the HHOF?! C'est criminel!!!....
Claude Provost was one of the very few "shadows" Bobby Hull respected. Provost was neither dirty nor insulting in his efforts to limit the damage #9 might do. A guy capable of scoring eight goals in five playoff games is certainly capable of doing some damage.

J.C. Tremblay is another member of that 60s dynasty who belongs in the Hockey Hall of Fame. Apparently, his defection to the WHA has cost him that rightful honor.

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02-08-2014, 07:02 PM
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Killion
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Size though important not over-riding with the Habs virtually since inception. Obviously balance important but they more than most seemed to welcome the smaller players, many of them over the years enjoying HOF careers. Absolutely legendary and perhaps none more so than Aurel Joliat. Listed as 5'6" and 136lbs during the peak of his career. So there was right through the 60's room for such players in the Canadiens line-up, and these guys like Henri Richard & Claude Provost made room for themselves.... heres an old poem that really captures the essence of what Im driving at, of old Montreal & its Francophone players & fan's, the passion they had & still have.

Monsieur Joliat

by Wilson MacDonald

Boston she ave' good 'ockey team;
Dose Maple Leefs ees nice.
But le Canadiens ees bes'
Dat hever skate de hice.

Morenz go lak' one beeg storm;
Syl Manthas strong and fat.
Dere all very good but none ees quite
so good as Joliat.

I know heem well; ees ma friend;
I doan know heem myself;
But I know man dat know a man
Who know heem very well.

Enfant! Dat Joliat ees full
of hevery kind of treek.
He talk heem 'ockey all de day
And sleep heem wit' hees stick at night.

He's small but e'' ees bothersome;
Lak ceender in de heye.
Maroons all yell
"Go get some Flit and keel dat leetle fly"!

Garcon 'es slippery; oui, oui -
lak leetle piece of soap.
I tink next time I watch dat boy,
I use a telescope.

He's good on poke - heem - check he is;
He better on attack.
He run against beeg Conacher,
he trow him on his back.


........ and on & on it goes, another 8-9 verses.

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02-08-2014, 07:30 PM
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Big Phil
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Often is a forgotten dynasty. There was one over the hill Maple Leafs team that spoiled an otherwise 5 Cups in a row.

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02-08-2014, 07:46 PM
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Iain Fyffe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Killion View Post
And get this; wins 9 Stanley Cups between 1956 & 1970, 5 in a row between 1956/60, 11 All Star Appearances, recipient of the first Bill Masterton Award in 1968. No other player in the history of the game with that many cups & laurels hasnt already been inducted into the HHOF yet Claude Provost, who sadly died of a heart attack at 51 in 1984 was never and has since not been honored with induction?! Mind blowing really. One of the greatest Shutdown Specialists of All Time & Greatest Habs All Time, and he's not in the HHOF?! C'est criminel!!!....
There's a very strong argument that Provost should be in the Hall. He matches up well against a lot of members, and not just the ones that are themselves questionable. The hall has not been very good at rating defence as being as important as offence, and the further away you get from a player's day the more he's viewed by his stats. And unfortunately Provost predates the Selke award.

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02-08-2014, 08:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Iain Fyffe View Post
There's a very strong argument that Provost should be in the Hall. He matches up well against a lot of members, and not just the ones that are themselves questionable. The hall has not been very good at rating defence as being as important as offence, and the further away you get from a player's day the more he's viewed by his stats. And unfortunately Provost predates the Selke award.
Yes it really is extremely disappointing. That what is supposed to be an August & Knowledgeable grouping on the various Induction Committee's over the years that Clause Provost would be either over-looked or bumped down the line in favor of someone with gaudier numbers or whatever. Defensive shutdown specialists, be they Wingers or Centers (and in particular a Right Winger) are absolutely critical to team success over-all & you'd think that Men who have spent their entire professional lives in hockey would get that..... I often read that he wasnt or hasnt been inducted because Provost was over-shadowed by his more famous team mates of the era, and the HHOF didnt want to appear to be showing any overt biases towards the Canadians of 56-79 so he gets forgotten. And thats not cool. Needs to be rectified & sadly posthumously. This was a key & critical player to Montreals success. After scoring 33 Goals one year, when asked how he felt about it, he replied that he wasnt all that happy "because my checking suffered as a result". I mean, how more selfless can someone possibly be? Its that kind of an attitude that wins you 9 Stanley Cups & 11 All Star berths.

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02-08-2014, 09:26 PM
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Obviously Provost was a more prolific scorer than Gainey. How would you guys rate him vs Gainey? Everyone deserving of the HOF on that 70's dynasty got in. Seems strange why he has been overlooked. Gainey never had to shadow a player of Hull's ability. Is this a case of playing in an era of more media coverage?

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02-08-2014, 09:54 PM
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^^^ I think that might be a large part of it LBD, that and the fact that the 60's Dynasty Habs under Beliveau are sort of like the Islanders. The 60's Habs sandwiched between the late 50's & 70's Habs as the Isles are "forgotten" by some, sandwiched between the late 70's Habs & the Oilers. As for comparing Provost to Gainey, thats difficult for me to do. They were both Defensive Forwards but Gainey Id consider even more so, like to the nth degree, whereas Provost could be extremely opportunistic & therefore exciting and a more dynamic player to watch, heightened by the fact that he could skate like a blizzard, wasnt that big but played it big, and when he was on attack you had serious reason to be concerned because he could bury it. Gainey didnt have that component to his game to any large measure.

Interestingly in 1969 at the Draft, Montreal grabbed Rejean Houle & Marc Tardif 1&2. Both of them put up serious numbers in the QMJHL. Offensive juggernauts. But the Canadiens didnt want that from Houle, instead, as a Right Winger like Provost to take over his spot as a Defensive Shutdown Specialist. Houle adapting quickly, doing a real number on Hull in 71 after Provost had retired. Reggie there as you know eventually split for the WHA where he again put up some big numbers, 50+ goal seasons, back to offence, then returned to the Habs winning more Cups before retiring in I think 83. Gainey was never a threat offensively whereas Provost, Houle & later Carbonneau either had been in Junior or could be/were in the NHL.

It takes a special kind of selflessness to reinvent your game from being the Hero scoring 30 or 50++ goals a year while in Junior to being assigned a role of Shutdown Artist. Direct lineage here from Provost-Houle-Carbonneau. Gainey a bit of an outlier, very special & unique talent. Always was a Defensive Specialist.

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02-08-2014, 10:04 PM
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Yeah, Gainey's legs moved a lot faster than his hands. Man, if he could have only handled the puck. That's interesting about Houle. I suppose many that have been stars in the QMJHL expected to do the same in the NHL. Incidentally, my favorite Hull goal is the one in the 71 SC final where he swoops around the right side of a Montreal defenseman and jams the puck past Dryden. Just a beautiful goal, poetry in motion.

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02-08-2014, 10:09 PM
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Gainey vs Provost

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Originally Posted by LeBlondeDemon10 View Post
Obviously Provost was a more prolific scorer than Gainey. How would you guys rate him vs Gainey? Everyone deserving of the HOF on that 70's dynasty got in. Seems strange why he has been overlooked. Gainey never had to shadow a player of Hull's ability. Is this a case of playing in an era of more media coverage?
Basic difference was that Gainey played elite defense regardless of his center or linemates. Claude Provost was dependent on Henri Richard. Henri Richard's line was effective against Bobby Hull with an elderly Maurice Richard or rookie Rejean Houle. 1962 playoffs with Henri Richard injured, Provost was very ordinary against Bobby Hull.

Bobby Gainey covered quality RW like Mike Bossy, Lanny McDonald, dominated Rick Middleton.

To Provost's credit the game changed. O6 he could count on facing Bobby Hull 14 times during the regular season, 7 times in the playoffs.

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02-08-2014, 10:50 PM
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...Provost was very ordinary against Bobby Hull.
Oh really. How about the 1965 Stanley Cup Finals? He shut down Hull, the Habs winning their first Cup of its "Quiet Dynasty" run. And there are several more examples I could cite, dozens more.... Provost realized as did Blake that he was far more valuable to team success as a checking forward after 4 consecutive playoff exits in the early 60's when Claude was putting up some decent numbers. But "ordinary"? I wouldnt call Provost ordinary. He's been called a "grinder". One of the "unsung heros" certainly and sure, excellent tandem with Henri Richard with whom he'd joined Montreal back in 1955 out of Jr.. Blakes first year behind the bench, bringing along Henri, Claude & Donnie Marshall, new blood in the line-up, winning multiple Cups from that point on. Then Richards & Geoffrions retirements, Plante trade, team in flux early 60's. Provost called upon to play a more offensive role. All Star. Then its back to Defensive Specialist, scores the winner in the Semi's vs Toronto in 65, shuts down Hull in the Finals. Ordinary? Extraordinary.

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02-09-2014, 05:09 AM
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Henri Richard

^^^ Henri Richard was healthy in 1965 and the other years except 1962.

Key to containing Hull was pressuring the puckhandler before the transition pass to Hull. Force a rushed or relay pass slowing down Bobby Hull or creating a center Red Line offside.

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02-09-2014, 09:44 AM
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^^^ Henri Richard was healthy in 1965 and the other years except 1962.

Key to containing Hull was pressuring the puckhandler before the transition pass to Hull. Force a rushed or relay pass slowing down Bobby Hull or creating a center Red Line offside.
Yes, and it was his ability to read the plays along with Henri Richard in tandem that made both of them so effective. Like Ham & Cheese. Taken in totality, his entire 15yr Career, and he started out on a line with Goyette & Pronovost winning 5 consecutive Stanley Cups, well, how is it this guy isnt in the HHOF?.... I read somewhere as well that he noticed that Gordie Howe played with a shorter stick than normal. So he tried it out himself early 60's and as a result of that along with changes within the dressing room his scoring prowess increased markedly... Over his career you sort of have 3 tiers to his play; 1) His first 5 as a Defensive Specialist; 2) His 2nd as a more Offensive Oriented Forward; 3) Over the last 5, return of the Defensive Jedi Warrior. All Star 11X's. Versatile. One of my favorites so Ive considered Im being perhaps overly subjective but still. Doesnt make sense that he's been over-looked for so long, more than deserving & a lot more so than pre-existing let alone subsequent inductees... Their was something of the Junkyard Dog about him, his skating technique "odd", described by someone as a "drunken sailor wandering on the deck of a ship in high seas" sure enough. Looked like a character right out of Central Casting ideally suited to play a gangster or coppers role in the old Warren Beatty film Dick Tracy, bit of Humphrey Bogart goin on there, so how can you not help but love this guy? Huh? Terrific player.


Last edited by Killion: 02-09-2014 at 09:51 AM.
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02-09-2014, 10:04 AM
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My father once played two games against Provost when he was with the Montreal Royals.He said it was a nightmare and he was getting killed on every shift,even though he was a very fast skater.Provost was just in another league skill wise.

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