Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Top 100 Habs By Decade:

2. 1949-1959

In recognition of the Canadiens Centennial next Friday, we at Lions in Winter have been doing what we like best – making lists. As a precursor to publishing the definitive LIW top 100, we will be counting down the decades from least successful to most successful and naming our LIW top 10 players for the ten-year span. You should expect a few each day for the next few days.

Though this celebration has inevitably lost some steam due to relentless marketing and pre-game ceremonies for all of living memory, it would be a shame to let it pass unnoticed just because Mr. Gillett wanted to cash in before he cashed out.

1949-1959


I can only venture a guess as to what it must have been like to support a team like the 1950s Canadiens. Hundreds of games against the Leafs, Red Wings, Hawks, Bruins and Rangers. Tough rivalries night after night. Ones that more often than not the Canadiens were in a position to dominate. Would it be satisfying? Would it get tired? Judging by what fans of the time tell me, the answers to those questions are "no" and "no".

For a city that adores itself as a winner, the 1950s were a coming out party. While Toronto was overtaking Montreal in population and slowly to take the place as most important city in the country, Montreal launched a new self-image boosting pastime – winning hockey games. And did they win? First of second in the league all but one season (3rd that year) and 9 Cup finals in 10, with 5 Cups.

The players selected for the 1950s teams were banging at the door to get in. Virtually every player brings 5+ Cups to the table with a trophy, gaudy stats and a place in the Hall of Fame. These 10 names are names of Canadiens lore.

[Note: Each player only appears in one decade's top 10 – Beliveau and Henri Richard, therefore will be missed]


10. Jean-Guy Talbot (Top 100 all-time, Profile)





























































Years(s)GPGAPtsPIMAwards*
Habs career (Season)1954-6779136209

245

884


AS
Decade best (Season)1958-5969

4

172177







Habs career (Playoffs)1956-67105

3

16

19112

7 SC
Decade best (Playoffs)1957-5810

0

3

3

12

SC


A mainstay of the big 1950s dynasty, Talbot could do whatever was asked of him.



9. Bert "Dirty Bertie" Olmstead (Top 100 all-time, Profile)





























































Years(s)GPGAPtsPIMAwards*
Habs career (Season)1950-58508103

280

383

609

AS, HOF
Decade best (Season)1955-567014

56

70

94

AS
Habs career (Playoffs)1951-588

8

34

42

78

4 SC
Decade best (Playoffs)1955-5610

4

10

148

SC


The left wing plumber for some of the top lines in NHL history.



8. Claude Provost (Top 100 all-time, Profile)





























































Years(s)GPGAPtsPIMAwards*
Habs career (Season)1955-701005

254

335

589

469

BM, AS
Decade best (Season)1957-58701932

51

71





Habs career (Playoffs)1956-6912625

38

63

86

9 SC
Decade best (Playoffs)1958-5911

6

2

8

2

SC


One of the best shadows in league and Habs history.


7. Tom Johnson (Top 100 all-time, Profile)





























































Years(s)GPGAPtsPIMAwards*
Habs career (Season)1947-63857

47

183230

897

N, AS, HOF
Decade best (Season)1958-5970

1029

39

76

N, AS
Habs career (Playoffs)1950-62111

8

15

23

109

6 SC
Decade best (Playoffs)1952-53122

3

5

8

SC


Doug Harvey's sidekick for many seasons.


6. Dickie Moore (Top 100 all-time, Profile)





























































Years(s)GPGAPtsPIMAwards*
Habs career (Season)1951-63654

254

340

594

575

2 AR, AS, HOF
Decade best (Season)1958-597041

55

96

61

AR, AS
Habs career (Playoffs)1952-6311238

56

94

101

6 SC
Decade best (Playoffs)1958-5911

5

12

178

SC


The Canadiens first back-to-back winner of the Art Ross Trophy. He set a league scoring record in 1958-59 with 96 points.


5. Bernard "Boom Boom" Geoffrion (Top 100 all-time, Profile)





























































Years(s)GPGAPtsPIMAwards*
Habs career (Season)1950-64766

371388

759

636

C, H, 2 AR, AS, HOF
Decade best (Season)1954-5570

3837

75

57

AR, AS
Habs career (Playoffs)1951-64117

56

59

11588

6 SC
Decade best (Playoffs)1956-5710

117

182

SC


Trophies
and honours line up for the innovator of the slap shot. He was the second man in history to score 50 goals in 1960-61.


4. Jacques Plante (Top 100 all-time, Profile)



































































Years(s)GPWLTGAASOAwards*
Habs career (Season)1952-63556

314133107

2.2358

H, 6 V, AS, HOF
Decade best (Season)1955-5664

42

12

10

1.86

7V, AS
Habs career (Playoffs)1953-6390

59

28

0

2.13106 SC
Decade best (Playoffs)1956-57108

2

0

1.66

1SC


An innovator at his position, what really set him apart was not his mask, but his gaudy statistics. He won 5 straight Vezina trophies in the late decade and 6 in 7 years in all.


3. Doug Harvey (Top 100 all-time, Profile)





























































Years(s)GPGAPtsPIMAwards*
Habs career (Season)1947-61890

76

371

447

10427 N, AS, HOF
Decade best (Season)1956-5770

6

44

50

92

N, AS
Habs career (Playoffs)1949-61123

8

59



67

138

6 SC
Decade best (Playoffs)1958-5911

111

1222

SC


People aren't laughed out of the room when suggesting he's the best defenceman of all-time. Certainly, if they had to rename the Norris trophy they could do worse than naming it the Harvey trophy. More of a classic defender than, say, Orr, he nevertheless had the nous to go forward.


2. Maurice "Rocket" Richard (Top 100 all-time, Profile)





























































Years(s)GPGAPtsPIMAwards*
Habs career (Season)1942-60978

544

421

965

1285H, AS, HOF
Decade best (Season)1950-5165

42

24

66

97

AS
Habs career (Playoffs)1944-60133

82

44

126

188

8 SC
Decade best (Playoffs)1957-5810

114

1510

SC


5-time leading goalscorer in the league, his legacy will never be his own personal trophy cupboard. Known for scoring in the biggest games and tightest situations, he out-hockeyed Mr. Hockey by capturing 8 Stanley Cups in his career. Iconic for the fans of the Habs, he could and would be first on many other lists.


1. Jean "Gros Bill" Beliveau (Top 100 all-time, Profile)








































































Years(s)GPGAPts+/-GWGAwards*
Habs career (Season)1950-711125

507

712

1219+67(23)

H, AR, AS, HOF
Decade best (Season)1963-6468

2850

78







2

H, AS
Habs career (Playoffs)1954-71162

79

97

186







(2)

CS, 10 SC
Decade best (Playoffs)1964-6513

8

8

16













CS, SC


The enduring face of the franchise and its leading scorer and best centre-iceman. The epitome of Hart and Conn Smythe laureat, he won both in his long career.



* Awards: H = Hart trophy; AR = Art Ross trophy, C = Calder trophy; N = Norris trophy; V = Vezina trophy; BM= Bill Masterton; AS= All-star; HOF = Hall of Fame; CS = Conn Smythe trophy; SC = Stanley Cup.

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