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About Retired Numbers...

May 20, 2020, 4:50 PM ET [259 Comments]
Karine Hains
Montreal Canadiens Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
Everyone has got their opinion about who's number should be retired by their favourite team. It's easier to pick players in certain franchises than in others...especially when you're a Montreal Canadiens fans. The oldest team in the NHL is also the one that has retired the most numbers taking 15 of them out of circulation and honouring 18 players in the process. If you haven't been paying attention, here they are:

1. Jacques Plante
2. Doug Harvey
3. Emile Bouchard
4. Jean Béliveau
5. Bernie Goeffrion
5. Guy Lapointe
7. Howie Morenz
9. Maurice Richard
10. Guy Lafleur
12. Dickie Moore
12. Yvan Cournoyer
16. Henri Richard
16. Elmer Lach
18. Serge Savard
19. Larry Robinson
23. Bob Gainey
29. Ken Dryden
33. Patrick Roy

So, who's missing from that list? The first name that comes to mind for me is George Vézina. He was indeed a big part of this franchise's history helping it win its first 2 Stanley Cups and minding the net for 16 seasons. Furthermore, yearly, the best goaltender of the league receives a trophy that bears his name and he was the first goaltender in NHL history to record a shutout. So the argument could be made that his name and number should be up there even though the game then wasn't what it is now. He had a brilliant career by the standards of the time and I guess that's how we should look at it.



Up front, there is one glaring omission from the list. Only one Hab Hall of Famer is not in the rafters of the Bell Centre and that's Jacques Lemaire. While he wasn't necessarily seen as a superstar back in the day, Lemaire spent 12 seasons with the Canadiens and managed to rack up 835 points which makes him 7th in the team's history. Lemaire was also part of the top 100 player ranking released by the League in its centennial year and has 8 Stanley Cups to its name. Of course, he won those when the Canadiens were pretty much a dream team of stars but still, he was a part of that constellation.

To me, not every team has the same criterion to raise a number in the rafters and that's fair enough. Considering the history of this franchise, I truly believe that to get to the rafters, a player needs to have at least a Stanley Cup on his resume. Now I know what you're going to say, a player doesn't win a cup on his own so it may be a bit unfair to make that a requirement but look at Patrick Roy for instance. His team certainly wasn't the favourite to win the cup in '93 but he still got them there. The way I see it, the lack of championship wins is the reason why Koivu (10th in all-time scoring) isn't up there and it's also why Markov will not be either even though he is 6th in games played and tied 2nd in points for blue liners. As thing stands, I wouldn't put Carey Price up there either, even though he is leading the team with 348 career wins. Those are regular season wins though, if you look at the playoffs, he made them 8 times and won 25 games in those 8 years. If you compare with Patrick Roy, he had 9 playoffs years with the Canadiens and won 70 playoffs games in that span.

I guess what I'm trying to say here is that I don't want to see the standard lowered. Keep adding real winners to the rafters and not just players we loved and who inspired us, that's what the ring of honour is for and that's just fine the way it is.
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