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Why are the Montreal Canadiens Jammed at 24?

 
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PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2018 11:50 am    Post subject: Why are the Montreal Canadiens Jammed at 24? Reply with quote

Why are the Montreal Canadiens Jammed at 24?



By Bruce Jessop (Germany)



The long and glorious history of the most decorated team in hockey has been taking a beating for many years. In fact 25 years.

The last Stanley Cup winning team bringing glory to the city of Montreal and the province of Quebec was in 1993.

Why has it been so long; a quarter of a century to be exact, since the Habs hoisted the hockey world’s most coveted trophy and some may say the most unique and beautiful in all of sports?

There are a number of factors for this draught. In order to dissect these factors one must return to the origin of the team’s creation in 1909-10 and work our way up to the 2017-18 season.



(Photo from the vaults of International Hockey Archives)


The Montreal Canadiens were one of three teams (Shamrocks and Wanderers) represented in Montreal in the NHA’s (National Hockey Association of Canada) seven team league. The first season Les Canadiens finished last with a record of 2 wins and 10 loses of a 12 game schedule. The 1910-11 season saw the team improve to eight wins and eight loses during a sixteen game schedule of a now thinned out five team league. The following seasons leading up to the team’s first ever Stanley Cup in the 1915-16 season was an up and down experience.



(Photo from the vaults of International Hockey Archives)


The team then had to wait until the 1923-24 season to capture their second ever Stanley Cup. A number of the players on the second cup winning team were also part of the first winning team. The stage was set for a newer younger generation of players.



(Photo from the vaults of International Hockey Archives)


The above photo taken for the start of the 1924-25 season displayed a crest with a Globe symbolizing the previous years world champions claim.

The next cups were back to back wins in 1929-30 and 1930-31 and featuring Howie Morenz and Aurèle Joliat as the star forwards. Sylvio Mantha on defense and George Hainsworth minding nets.



(Photo from the vaults of International Hockey Archives)


Montreal would have to wait another 13 years before celebrating its most famous team. This was the era of “The Punch Line” a young Maurice “Rocket” Richard with, Elmer Lach and Toe Blake.



(Photo from the vaults of International Hockey Archives)


Following the teams 1944 and 1946 wins the team waited another seven years before hoisting the cup in 1953.

The team welcomed a new generation of players with the likes of Jacques Plante, Bernie Geoffrion, Dickie Moore and went on to the glory years of the franchise with a mix of talented young players blending in with respected and seasoned veterans.



Celebrating the 1953 Stanley Cup are from left to right: #12 Dickie Moore, #5 Bernie “Boom Boom” Geoffrion and #14 Billy Reay.
(Photo from the vaults of International Hockey Archives)


To add into the mix of greatness the long awaited arrival of Jean Béliveau finally pried away from the Québec Aces after a 2 game tryout at age 19 in 1950-51 bagging 1 goal and adding 1 assist and 3 game 5 goal introduction during the 1952-53 season le “Gros Bill” as he was referred too arrived for the real beginning of his glorious career and made the Habs a powerhouse for many years to come.



From the 1955-56 to 1959-60 season the Canadiens would establish the longest consecutive run of 5 straight Stanley Cups. The record still stands to this day. The great Maurice Richard retired following the 5th win.



(Photo from the vaults of International Hockey Archives)


The Habs would continue to accumulate another 4 Stanley Cups during the 60’s decade, in 1965, 1966, 1968 and 1969 seasons.



(Photo from the vaults of International Hockey Archives)


The 1965 team and the first ever recipient of the Conn Smythe Trophy awarded to the top playoff performer went to Jean Béliveau.



The 1968-69 Stanley Cup winning team (Photo from the vaults of International Hockey Archives)


The team continued its winning ways in 1966, 1968 and 1969. And only the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1967 prevented the Montreal team from winning 5 consecutives Stanley Cups as in the previous decade.

It was a decade that saw Jean Béliveau and John Ferguson retire after the 1971 Stanley Cup win.



Game 7 1971 Stanley Cup win in Chicago Stadium (Photo from the vaults of International Hockey Archives)


The winning tradition extended into the 1970’s decade with the arrival of #10 Guy Lafleur, #22 Steve Shutt on a line with #25 Jacques Lemaire. The big 3 defensemen comprised of Hall of Famers Larry Robinson, Serge Savard and Guy Lapointe, goalie great Ken Dryden and a strong young Bob Gainey. The powerhouse team would go on to win another in 1973 and finally 4 straight cups in 1976, 1977, 1978 and 1979.



Guy Lafleur with the Cup / Serge Savard&Lafleur in 1977 (Photo from the vaults of International Hockey Archives)


It would be another 7 years before the next win in 1986 and a rookie goalie sensation that made #33 famous in Montreal Patrick Roy’s contribution was essential is capturing the team’s 23rd Stanley Cup.




Patrick Roy shows off the Conn Smythe Trophy at the team parade. (Photo from the vaults of International Hockey Archives)


The Canadiens came up short in 1989 vs the Calgary Flames and Lanny McDonald. It would be another 7 years between cups and this was to be the last Montreal Cup to date. Again the unexpected win of 1993 was the amazing performances of Hall of Fame goalie Patrick Roy and celebrated a century of Stanley Cups. The Montreal Canadiens had won 24 times in the 100 years of competition.



Patrick Roy with the Conn Smythe and the Stanley Cup (Photo from the vaults of International Hockey Archives)



With the glory years of the 1950’s with 5 wins. The 1960’s saw the Habs again bring home 5 cups and culminating with 6 crowns in the 1970’s.

The next 25 years following the last glory of 1993 have been deception upon deception for the team, management and fans.

What has happened to the storied franchise? A number of factors come in to play. The most important has been the evolution of franchises that have gone from 6 teams ending the 1966-67 season to a steady growth of today’s 31 teams. So naturally the percentage odds of winning are greatly diminished by this fact alone.

Another important consideration are the clever dealings of GM greats like Frank Selke Sr. from 1946-47 to the end of the 1963-64 season. And passing on the torch to dealing genius Sam Polloch from 1964-64 until the end of the 1978-79 season. During those 14 years Pollock assembled teams that went on to win 9 Stanley Cups.

Serge Savard was GM of the final two cups Montreal was to win. Savard through some timely trades was able to provide the necessary manpower to get the job done.

Since the Savard years no management including the scouting team have been able to select draft choices to rebuild a solid team. Most of the first round picks have been disasters and a series of extremely poor trades with star players have contributed to the demise of a once great and successful franchise. The recently concluded 2017-18 season is a perfect example of the ongoing ineptitude of management to piece together a competitive team.

Fan dissatisfaction is at an all-time high. The ownership is making changes with the coaching staff and the current GM Marc Bergevin is on a short leash. Ownership has been made accountable by the demanding Montreal media and the inflamed ticket buyers.

The upcoming 2018 NHL Entry Draft is critical for the future of the franchise. Can the glory days ever be regained? Probably never again at the level of the 50, 60 and 70’s. How many Stanley Cup wins will this century bring? We can say with certainty that it will not be the current 24.
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