The Canadians have to do justice to Toe Blake

The media started the campaign for the nomination of the next captain of the Canadiens. But what is that The team management intends to wear start number 6 by Shea Weber during his five seasons in Montreal? Yet there could be no question of hoisting an immortalizing banner Weber in the heights of Bell Center. If such an honor had to be returned to him, he would have deserved it in Nashville.

The Predators retired his number after trading him to the Habs for PK Subban.

An explosive trio

However, the Canadian must add a number 6 banner to the 18 others hung in his amphitheater. In honor of whom? young people will ask.

In honor of Toe Blake, the only member of the famous punch line not have been adorned with this award.

The elders who have witnessed the exploits of this trio and the next two or three generations know all there is to know about them punch line.

Great missed opportunity

Maurice Richard’s number 9 was written down for posterity in the weeks following the announcement of his retirement in the fall of 1960.

Four decades later, the Canadian used his centenary celebrations to pay the same tribute to Elmer Lach and former defender Butch Bouchard, who also played a big part in the Tricolor’s Stanley Cup conquests in 1944 and 1946.

The occasion would have been good to honor the memory of their former teammates toe Blake at the same time.

What’s happening?

I’ve always wondered why the Canadians’ management didn’t include Mr. Blake, as I called him when I saw him on the Forum’s press bridge, in their prestigious retirement jersey club. His son Bruce is asking the same question.

“He got assists on all the Rocket goals!” he laughs.

“I don’t know why number 6 isn’t erased from his memory. »

Bruce says it calmly and without bitterness. He doesn’t criticize anyone. He relies on the people who have the authority to make decisions on such acts with the Canadian.

In the Pantheon as a player

I’m also always surprised when people tell me Blake is a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame as a master builder.

It’s true that the man behind the bench has achieved great success. He led the Canadians to eight Stanley Cup titles in 13 seasons. But it was his performances on the ice that landed him in the Hall of Fame.

During the 1938-39 season – a campaign in which the Canadians finished second to bottom in a seven-team league and earned a playoff bye – Blake won the National League top scorer championship. He was also voted the winner of the Hart Trophy, given to the most valuable player on his team.

In 1943, trainer Dick Irvin founded what journalists would call them punch line.

In 1944-45, Lach, Richard and Blake captured the top three NHL scoring ranks, in that order.

In 1946, Blake became the first Canadian player to win the Lady Byng Trophy, awarded to the player with the best sportsmanship.

He has three left first All-Star Team nominations and another selection for second.

And he was captain of the Canadiens from 1940 to 1948.

Among the top 100

In 2017, he was posthumously named to the NHL’s 100 Greatest Players Club.

His playing career is worth more than a photo in the ring of honor of the Canadiens players and builders who are part of the Hockey Hall of Fame.

In Buffalo, banners honoring the late Richard Martin and Rene Robert, who are not inducted into the Hall of Fame, hang alongside that of Gilbert Perreault, considered the greatest player in Sabers history.

Above the three banners we see the inscription “ The French Connection »flanked by the Fleur de Lis on one side and the Sabers logo on the other.

more than time

Toe Blake died in 1994 from complications from Alzheimer’s disease.

His son, the last survivor of his immediate family, would no doubt love to raise a banner from the Bell Center ceiling to pay tribute to his father for the 13 great seasons he brought to Canadians on the ice.

The time has come to reunite forever toethe rocket and Elmer. This is what Serge Savard writes in the foreword to the book entitled Hector “Toe” Blake, L’Ours au coeur tender, a work signed by Léandre Normand that has been on the market since April.

It’s more than due.

Retired second NHL goalscorer

A stat that shows Toe Blake was a great player.

He was the second-highest goalscorer in National League history when a double fracture of his right leg ended his career with the Canadiens in January 1948. He had 529 points, as did Syd Howe, who was not related to Gordie.

However, Blake had played 123 fewer games than Howe, or 577 to 700 for Howe, who had a career with the Ottawa Senators, Philadelphia Quakers, Toronto Maple Leafs, St. Louis Eagles and Detroit Red Wings from 1929-46.

The point guard was Bill Cowley, who played in his rookie season with the St. Louis Eagles – descendants of the first version of the Ottawa Senators – before playing 12 seasons with the Boston Bruins.

Originally from Bristol, a Quebec township in County Pontiac (Outaouais), Cowley had 549 points in as many games on the clock.

First in the playoffs

In the playoffs, Blake led with 62 points in 58 games, nine more than Syl Apps, who had played 11 other games.

Third went to Maurice Richard with 47 points, including 31 goals, in just 34 games. The Rocket was reportedly denied multiple assists during games at opposing rinks.

Because the fact that a Franco-Canadian was rewriting the book of records worried the English-speaking leaders.

When Lach hung up his skates in 1954, Richard was the No. 1 in NHL history with 652 points.

Lach trailed the Rocket by 623 points while Blake, who had played his final NHL game six years earlier, finished eighth.

Within months of his accident, Blake, who had learned the basics of coaching from Dick Irvin, under whom he played from 1940, was leading the Houston Huskies to the USHL Championship.

In 1948-49 he got back on the skates as player-coach of the Buffalo Bisons, which he led to a Calder Cup title.

Over the next two seasons, he filled both roles with the Valleyfield Braves of the mighty Quebec Senior League.

And in 1955 he succeeded Irvin behind the Canadian bank. A great coaching career began.

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