This week we had hockey/Habs expert Marco D’Amico on our show and it inspired me to write up a quick blog of my favoutite and and not so favourite Habs moments. I can only speak to the moments I’ve watched live so you won’t find anything before 1995. I can talk about the cup in 1993 but I wasn’t old enough to really have enjoyed it. I remember it, but not vividly enough to give an analysis. It’s a bit sad because my memories of the Habs aren’t always playoff related.
5- Alex Kovalev was a very popular player in Montreal. He’s Tall, good looking and one of the most skilled players to every wear Le CH. I know this might come as a shocker but one of my favourite moments was in March of 2006. The Habs were up 6-2 on the Toronto Maple Leafs in Montreal. Kovalev is dangling the puck in Toronto’s zone when all of a sudden he sees a Maple Leas players (Darcy Tucker) lining Kovalev up. Kovalev ditches the puck at the last moment and ruins Tucker with an elbow. This started a huge brawl and etched in my brain forever.
4- The Habs host the New York Rangers in February of 2008. A Rangers team that had, Jagr, Drury, Shanahan, Gomez, Lunqvist and many other world class players. Halfway through the game, the Habs are down 5-0 before Michael Ryder finally puts one on the board. Before the 3rd period began the Habs had scored three goals to narrow the lead to 5-3. Int the 3rd, they never let the pressure die down and tied the game to force OT thanks to Michael Ryder (3 goals),Alex Kovalev (2 goals) and Cristobal Huet that, although struggled through 29 minutes of the game, shut the door for the rest of regulation and OT/SO. 5-5 headed into OT. The Habs win 6-5 in Shootouts with the Captain Saku Koivu scoring the only goal.
3- This is the most infamous moment in Montreal Canadiens history. The Habs were struggling and on a rebuild. They has seen success but with new coaching, a new General Manager and an owner that couldn’t care less about his players, it’s understandable that they struggled. Patrick Roy was beloved in Montreal and still is. He won two Stanley Cups and two Conn Smythe Awards in Montreal. My father took me to watch a game at the old Forum in Montreal in December of 1995. They were facing off against the Detroit RedWings. The rumours are that Roy was ill and requested the night off. HC Mario Tremblay refused and put the future in the game regardless. Roy allowed 9 goals, most of which he would’ve never let in and I remember the fans booing but I didn’t understand why. Finally, Tremblay pulls Roy. He marches right to President Ronald Corey and demands a trade. The rest is history. My father and I left the game when Roy was pulled. Roy won a cup that year withe the Avalanche.
2- The 2010 Montreal Canadiens made into the playoffs on the last game of the year. They had a young, fast team but couldn’t seem to stay consistent enough during the season. They squeak in as the 8th seed to face off vs the President’s Trophy Winner Washington Capitals and Alex Ovechkin. The Habs had a two headed monster in nets in Carey price and Jaro Halak. Halak took over the job , he was playing lights out and HC Jazcque martin had no choice but to stick to the hot goalie. The first two games vs the Caps were split in Washington, both in OT. Washington then takes a 3-1 lead in the series with back to back wins in Montreal. The Habs make the comeback and win 3 games in a row to eliminate the #1 seed in the NHL. The Habs are off to Pittsburgh to face the #2 seed in the Eastern Conference. This was a back and forth series until the Penguins force a game 6. The Habs win 4-2 at the Bell Centre to force a game 7 vs Crosby, Malkin, Fleury and the rest of Penguins, some had as favourites to win the cup that year. The Habs lost to the Flyers 4-1 in the Easter Conference Final.
1- Saku Koivu is my favourite Habs player of all time. He was a great leader, did great things in this city and I think he was one of the most underrated players in hockey during his career. He was a monster on both ends of the ice and was always reliable and accountable. The hockey world was saddened when he was diagnosed with cancer, but in Saku fashion he battled hard and did what he had to do in order to stay alive and get back to what he does best. I rarely tear up at sports moments but this one was tough to watch and not get emotional. Saku makes his return to hockey wearing a Habs jersey and the C proudly stamped on his chest. The Habs faithful gave him a standing ovation he would never forget. It went on for nearly 5 minutes while chanting Saku! Saku! as he was skating around in pregame warmups .This is proof that Saku’s number should be retired by the Montreal Canadiens. He may not have won many awards and never brought his team to the Stanly Cup but he was a proud Montrealer since the day he was drafted by the Habs in 95 and represente the organization better than anyone. I still wear my Saku jersey at Habs games.
Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed this little piece of Habs history