Last night was a magical night for Montreal Canadiens fans. I thought they would have some special surprises planned but I couldn’t have guessed how it would have unfolded.
I watched RDS for many hours before the game and was impressed from the beginning. I thought it was just great.
When they dimmed the lights in the Bell Center I almost felt goose bumps all over.. I knew something pretty neat was gonna take place.
Then… when the pucks were dumped on the ice and I saw Patrick Roy walking on the ice in full gear…. I was in awe. It was awesome. Seeing all those guys jump on the ice brought back alot of memories. One guy I hadn’t noticed walk on the ice was Mats Naslund… later when he was introduced I was so pleased to see him there. He was one of my favorite players in his time in Montreal.
I won’t try to name every player that skated with the alumni… but let’s just say I thought it was very classy and very cool for the die hard Canadiens fans. Many of those guys I hadn’t seen in their playing days but like some of you (I’m sure) I’ve read about them and have seen their statistics over and over again. I’m not just really a fan of the Montreal Canadiens I’ve seen on the ice….. I’m a fan of the Montreal Canadiens rich history as much as I am the current team they ice year after year.
Seeing Dryden in gear, Larry Robinson, Bob Gainey (who we saw in a Habs uni not that long ago), Naslund… Chris Nilan, Damphousse, Turgeon.. Guy Lafleur!.. Steve Shutt…. Serge Savard…. it was great to see Lyle Odelein out there…. Carbo was back in gear and had some strong applause skating in the jersey (great to see… another of my all-time favorite players)… (captain) Kirk Muller was out for a skate….. it was awesome
As always, seeing Jean Béliveau and Henri Richard is always a treat. These guys are always very well spoken and gentlemanly. RDS interviewed Henri Richard and Dickie Moore later on in the evening and I thought it was a great treat…
After Patrick Roy was introduced and he came up to the podium and spoke… I couldn’t help but think that he just should have retired in a Habs jersey. It’s one of the modern day tragedies that the franchise had to face. I loved his speech and I also enjoyed how he mentioned that it wasn’t only a special night for the fans because of the anniversary and the festivities… but also because the fans could witness the Habs beating the Bruins on the night… I thought that was great…. pressure put on the team by an all-timer.
Patrick, you were probably my favorite player growing up and though I somehow tried to put a positive spin on the trade that sent you to another team…. I just couldn’t bring myself to believe that “spin”… because we lost one of the game’s best ever goaltenders. You will always be close in my mind when I think of “Le CH”.
I thought it was neat how Viggo Mortensen was in house to introduce Guy Lafleur. Viggo is a huge Habs fan and a big star in his own right. I’m sure that Viggo really enjoyed being a part of the special ceremonies. Well done man!
Although Guy Lafleur looked like he could still probably skate with some of these players (in the game)…. he announced to the crowd that he was in fact not playing as he cheered them on. Lafleur was probably the first big star that I watched as a kid growing up…. always happy to see him in the Habs ceremonies.
The last of the 3 speakers was Jean Béliveau and I thought it was a big touch of class that they invited Gordie Howe to the events to introduce Jean Béliveau. 2 dominant players in their time and 2 classy representatives for NHL hockey history.
I never get tired to hearing Béliveau speak and seeing his smile as he is always courteous and well spoken. Béliveau was truely a dominant big man in his time…. he captained the team for 10 years and won more Stanley Cups then most players have years in their NHL careers…. the dynasties of old have some pretty impressive records don’t they??
In Béliveau’s final season in Montreal, at 39 years old he played 70 games, scored 25 goals and tallied 51 assists for 76 points… not bad eh?? In the post season that year he had 22 points and won his 10th Stanley Cup. Legend.
There were so many great, great players… it was amazing.
Having Elmer Lach and Butch Bouchard in a ceremony which saw their numbers retired was quite fitting and long overdue. Elmer Lach was one of the best play makers of his era and Butch Bouchard was a strong shut down defenseman who would always deliver a hard check to his opponents.
It was announced that Ryan O’Byrne would be the last Canadiens player to wear the no 3… and in a very classy move, Ryan then took off his no 3 jersey and gave it to Bouchard only to reveal his new number 20. Heck… I thought Pierre Bouchard still looked so big in that Habs jersey that he could’ve broken Ryan O’Byrne in half…. maybe it was just the nostalgia of it all…..
The ceremonies were nothing short of great. I remember watching the ceremonies when the old Forum closed it’s doors and these ceremonies were just as great in my mind.
A great evening!