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Guest habs1952

I haven't seen any thread where we can post random information about the Habs so I figured I should start one. The first post concerns the "French-Canadian Rule" and how it never gave the Canadiens any advantage when it came to selecting players from Quebec.


The French Canadian Rule by Liam Maguire

In the early days of the NHL, in fact through the first several decades of the leagues existence, many things were done to try and help franchises that were in trouble. Loaning players was one of the more popular methods. Financial aid was another, facilitating moves to other cities, etc. Bottom line, when a team was in trouble the league would do it's best to try and figure out a way to help. In 1936 the Montreal Canadiens nearly folded. The Depression had already claimed several franchises including the Ottawa Senators. What the NHL's brain trust decided to do was they would attempt to help Montreal's attendance and thereby hopefully their bottom line financially. So they decided that the Montreal Canadiens could take any two players from the province of Quebec in a special draft. There was one rider however. None of these players could have already been previously signed which in those days meant to an A, B or C form. The letters meant different levels of commitment to a team but either way, those players already signed to those forms were not eligible.

If you want to talk about unfair advantages talk about how the Bruins signed Bobby Orr. I put this fact in for hockey fans so they had an idea of how you could lock a player up in those days, in some cases in an extreme scenario in terms of age as it was with Orr. Orr signed a C form three weeks before his 14th birthday with the Boston Bruins. He was so young his parent's signature was required. When he turned 14 he began playing for Boston's junior sponsored team, the Oshawa Generals. That's how Orr became a Bruin. The deciding factor in the Orr's signing with Boston you ask? Well, the late Wren Blair had bird dogged the family for nearly two hockey seasons and as Orr approached 14 years of age, Mr. Blair knew other teams were sniffing around so they made Bobby's Dad an offer he couldn't refuse. Yes, some of it included cash but the turning point in the negotiation was an agreement to stucco their roof and buy the Orr's a car but not anything beyond a 1957, in other words nearly five years old. That's what it took to sign Bobby Orr in March of 1962. And with that signing he became a Boston Bruin, for as long as they wanted. This whole story is in Bobby Orr's book.

Back to the French Canadian help offered the Habs. As mentioned I'm of the belief Montreal drafted and/or signed players thanks to the league's benevolence From 1936-1942 or 43. Unfortunately for Montreal none of the players who I definitively could find that were signed due to this rule ever played a minute in the NHL. Reason being, anybody who could tie their skates and chew gum at the same time were already long signed by other NHL teams including the Canadiens who certainly weren't going to survive solely with this rule. The hope was that there would be a spark from signing a French Canadian kid, even better if he could play a bit. The thought was that this could help attendance and thereby help Montreal. It never did. What really helped Montreal at that time were two shrewd moves. One, a trade with the Montreal Maroons which brought them Toe Blake and two, the signing of Elmer Lach to a C form, who was from Saskatchewan by the way. He was signed after the Rangers passed on him. Lach attended their camp first. There were other moves which turned their fortune around. The key one being the rest of the league passed on Montreal GM Tommy Gorman's offer of a trade for what seemed to be a very brittle but explosive goal scorer name Maurice Richard. Richard suffered injury after injury in his first three years of pro. Gorman tried to unload him in the early 1940's but nobody wanted him. Needless to say Richard's coming out party in 1943-44 and the subsequent effect he had on the game in the next 17 years has been well documented but suffice to say, these were the three major reasons for the success of the Habs over a nearly two decade span - not some bullcrap rule that although was well intention-ed but did nothing to extend Montreal's stay in the NHL at that time. In fact they were even worse in 1940 than they were in 1936.

The last two pieces of the puzzle for the Habs success in the modern era as we know it happened in 1946 and 1947 respectively. The Toronto Maple Leafs played a role here. Toronto owner Conn Smythe fired Frank Selke Sr in 1946 and Montreal quickly hired him. Selke had a vision about a series of teams in the minor leagues that would be stocked with players that Montreal would sign to C forms. These minor league teams and the players on them were soon to be known as 'a farm system.' This was the origin of the farm system as we know it today. It took the rest of the NHL 2-3 years to catch on to this idea but they did and they've all benefited from it but Montreal had a tremendous head start and in some instances they purchased the rights to an entire league to get a certain player. They did this for Jean Beliveau and Bobby Rousseau. In Beliveau's case they not only purchased the league but turned it professional from amateur. Beliveau had signed a C form with Montreal in 1947 but while an amateur he was not required to play for the Habs. He rebuffed their efforts to bring him to Montreal repeatedly. He was happy in Quebec and there were only two players in the NHL making more money, Rocket Richard and Gordie Howe. Finally Selke was able to sign Beliveau in 1953 when as he put it, "I opened up the vault and said help yourself Jean!" Great quote.

The move in 1947 was the hiring of Sam Pollock. Pollock came under the tutelage of Selke and finally in 1964 became his successor as GM of the Canadiens. The year previous in 1963 the NHL finally realized there was glut of players, post Second World War 2, that were coming of age to play in the NHL and even with the A, B and C form system stones were being left unturned. For the first time a draft was implemented. There was never any thought that this would one day become the life blood of the NHL. At the time the six NHL teams would draft in a rotating order any player who had not signed to commit to a team. Ken Dryden was a draft pick of the Boston Bruins. Boston traded Dryden to Montreal. In 1963, the French Canadian rule was brought back for the Montreal Canadiens. It was not necessary, no question about it but Selke and Pollock worked a sweet deal and got it back on the books however the same rules applied. The player could not have signed a C form with any other team. From 1963-1967 the Montreal Canadiens did not select anybody with the opportunity. Finally in 1968 they did. A goalie named Michel Plasse. In 1969, it was determined that this would be the final year of the draft in this manner and the sponsorship of Junior A teams would cease to be. All players were to be 20 years of age or older and they would be eligible for a Universal Amateur Draft. Montreal was given one final kick at the French Canadian can and they made the most of it by selecting Rejean Houle and Marc Tardif. That was it for the French rule. By then Sam Pollock or Trader Sam as he was known, was working magic year in and year out on draft day and by flipping players in Montreal's farm system that had been so expertly set up years before by Selke and ran by Pollock, for draft picks. Players like Guy Lafleur, Steve Shutt, Mario Tremblay, several others, were selected with picks that Pollock acquired through trades.

I challenge people to tell me any player Montreal signed due to a French Canadian rule that played in the NHL prior to Michel Plasse in 1968. Tell me one Hall of Fame player they signed with this rule that helped them win a Stanley Cup. What you have here is an urban legend passed down by disgruntled anti-Hab fans, trying to gleam onto any shred, any thought that perhaps Montreal had an unfair advantage. Marcel Pronovost is a Hall of Fame defenseman born in Quebec, turned pro with Detroit in the 1950's. I interviewed Mr. Pronovost in Florida at the NHL draft several years ago. He told me when Detroit came calling, they made a great offer, his dad loved it, he loved it and he signed. A week later Montreal knocked on the door and tried to pry him away from Detroit but he was signed so no go. Same with Bernie Parent who signed with Boston; Dave Keon who signed with Toronto, Camille Henry who signed with the Rangers along with Jean Ratelle and Rod Gilbert.

What saved the Canadiens was nobody picking up Rocket Richard in that trade offer. If he is not in Montreal all bets are off how they roll through the 1940's and beyond. Tommy Gorman may be the top GM in NHL history that nobody knows anything about. He was a winner everywhere he went. Assuming people aren't skeptical about Montreal's win in 1916 and that they know Howie Morenz was born in Stratford, Ontario and their Vezina trophy winning goalie George Hainsworth was born in Toronto, Ontario, if your question marks really begin with Montreal's Cup win in 1944, remember, two-thirds of the Punch Line was not born in Quebec. Shrewd management, smart trades, good fortune, not some urban legend rule are what drove the Montreal Canadiens for decades.

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I was always aware that the so called Hab rule had little to do with our dynasty era. It's basically Leaf fans that keep harping on the subject. What they chose to omit is the fact that the Leafs had a very similar agreement about players born in Ontario.

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Ya know,,, whenever the rookie draft comes around, most of us watch or listen with anticipation of who we might draft. I at least, always am looking for the Habs table to see if MB is on the phone, will he make a trade to move up or down? When the GM makes the pick and the pundits talk about who he is,,, where he's from,,,, who he played for,,, and his stats. We fans then dive into our PCs for more info, video highlites,,,, height,,, weight,,, position,,,,,his upside or downside,,,,, where he was projected to go. And more importantly,,, did we get a steal?

Every year it's always the same. We feel that at least one or two of our picks might be the next Robinson,,,or Shutt,,, or Gainey, or Dryden.

I remember when we drafted Wickenheiser over Savard. When asked why we drafted him ahead of Savard, IIRC, the GM said ((paraphrasing) that " he couldn't overlook Wickenheiser's 86 goals in his last year". When he began playing for the Habs, I, along with my wife, ATT, went to see him play in Detroit. I told her that Wickenheiser was out next superstar (faux pas of the year :rolleyes: ). I heard that the coach sat him out when the Habs played in Chicago, so he wouldn't have to play against Savard.

Anyway,,, we lucked out with some of our draft picks (Markov,,, Gallager). Your best pick,,, might not be your best pick. You have to hope that one ( or more) of your picks turns out to be the player(s) you thought they were.

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Guest habs1952

Ya know,,, whenever the rookie draft comes around, most of us watch or listen with anticipation of who we might draft. I at least, always am looking for the Habs table to see if MB is on the phone, will he make a trade to move up or down? When the GM makes the pick and the pundits talk about who he is,,, where he's from,,,, who he played for,,, and his stats. We fans then dive into our PCs for more info, video highlites,,,, height,,, weight,,, position,,,,,his upside or downside,,,,, where he was projected to go. And more importantly,,, did we get a steal?

Every year it's always the same. We feel that at least one or two of our picks might be the next Robinson,,,or Shutt,,, or Gainey, or Dryden.

I remember when we drafted Wickenheiser over Savard. When asked why we drafted him ahead of Savard, IIRC, the GM said ((paraphrasing) that " he couldn't overlook Wickenheiser's 86 goals in his last year". When he began playing for the Habs, I, along with my wife, ATT, went to see him play in Detroit. I told her that Wickenheiser was out next superstar (faux pas of the year :rolleyes: ). I heard that the coach sat him out when the Habs played in Chicago, so he wouldn't have to play against Savard.

Anyway,,, we lucked out with some of our draft picks (Markov,,, Gallager). Your best pick,,, might not be your best pick. You have to hope that one ( or more) of your picks turns out to be the player(s) you thought they were.

Wickenheiser must be the biggest mistake ever by the Habs.

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JMHO, but I have often thought that he was not coached or brought along properly. And when you think of how the 2nd pick turned out,,,,,,, I could almost cry.

Actually Savard was 3rd overall - 2nd was Dave Babych who had a decent career but still paled in comparison to #3 Savard, #4 Larry Murphy and #7 Paul Coffey.

Wickenheiser was definitely one of the 2 or 3 worst drafting mistakes by the habs but if we're talking "biggest mistake ever by the Habs" I still have to look at some of the horrible trades by R Houle. I still consider Turgeon, in his prime, and the "throw ins' that became good NHL players to St Louis for Corson to be the worst ever... and thats saying something because Shayne Corson was always one of my favourite players.

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Wickenheiser, the awesome talent from my home team was 101% the wrong move at the time. Passing on Savard, which was the perfect fit, set the team back ages & even though they managed a couple of Stanley Cups ( thanks to Roy) it was by far the worst GM decision I remember until Houle showed up. Trading Chelios to get Savard, man that hurt just as much.

RIP Doug.

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Trading Chelios to get Savard, man that hurt just as much.

Yup - but that one was part dumb luck. The two players are less than a year apart in age - yet Savard retired only a few years later and Chelios played for what, 12? 14? more seasons? The guy never aged.

Of course some would be quick to point out that while it may seem like a terrible move, we won a cup with Savard and the Hawks never won with Chelios - and if you agree that the cup is the ultimate goal... well, i guess its hard to argue with.

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Yup - but that one was part dumb luck. The two players are less than a year apart in age - yet Savard retired only a few years later and Chelios played for what, 12? 14? more seasons? The guy never aged.

Of course some would be quick to point out that while it may seem like a terrible move, we won a cup with Savard and the Hawks never won with Chelios - and if you agree that the cup is the ultimate goal... well, i guess its hard to argue with.

Thanks to Roy!

Savard was behind the bench.

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I was always aware that the so called Hab rule had little to do with our dynasty era. It's basically Leaf fans that keep harping on the subject. What they chose to omit is the fact that the Leafs had a very similar agreement about players born in Ontario.

^This. And to think I lived in Toronto for 4 years or more...until I went to the States. Leaf fans..well..are just Leaf fans...both my late parents were solid fans for the Laffs and little "o me" and about 3 others in our small fishing village were Habs all the way fans..

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For those who might not be able to get to the Bell Centre for a regular season game, the Canadiens are hosting a Red vs. White intrasquad game on Sunday, Sept. 20.

The game is presented in partnership with Canadian Tire, where fans can claim a voucher for two tickets for a minimum donation of $5.

All proceeds from this fundraising event will go to the Canadian Tire BLEU BLANC BOUGE in Action program, which was developed by the Montreal Canadiens Children’s Foundation.

All fans at the game will enjoy a free hot dog with chips and a soft drink or bottled water.

Vouchers will be available as of Sept. 4 and can be exchanged for tickets by logging on to canadiens.com from Sept. 4 at 9 a.m. to Sept. 14 at midnight, on a first-come, first-served basis.

Doors will open at 11:30 a.m. and the game will start at 1 p.m.

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If we're talking about traded players that hurt, i can think of a few more,,,, John LeClaire anyone?? How about a more recent one, picking up Gomez from NYR? Anyone remember what we gave up for him? :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

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If we're talking about traded players that hurt, i can think of a few more,,,, John LeClaire anyone?? How about a more recent one, picking up Gomez from NYR? Anyone remember what we gave up for him? :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

You know that I would LOVE to report you for bringing that up, but for obvious reasons, I can't. <_<

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  • 3 weeks later...
Guest habs1952

I SWEAR IT WASN'T ME!!!!!!!!

From the Kingston Whig-Standard:

Kingston Police are looking to identify the suspect of a robbery on Tuesday afternoon at a Scotiabank branch.

Surveillance footage shows the suspect to be a Caucasian male with a thin build in his late-20's to early 30's, and reddish or light brown facial hair. At the time he was wearing black athletic pants with a white vertical stripe on the outer legs; a red Montreal Canadiens hooded sweater with a large “M” on the front and a smaller Canadiens logo on the lower right; a block and white ball cap; and dark shoes.

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I SWEAR IT WASN'T ME!!!!!!!!

From the Kingston Whig-Standard:

Kingston Police are looking to identify the suspect of a robbery on Tuesday afternoon at a Scotiabank branch.

Surveillance footage shows the suspect to be a Caucasian male with a thin build in his late-20's to early 30's, and reddish or light brown facial hair. At the time he was wearing black athletic pants with a white vertical stripe on the outer legs; a red Montreal Canadiens hooded sweater with a large “M” on the front and a smaller Canadiens logo on the lower right; a block and white ball cap; and dark shoes.

I live in Kingston and this is the first I'm hearing of this. Wasn't me either.

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I SWEAR IT WASN'T ME!!!!!!!!

From the Kingston Whig-Standard:

Kingston Police are looking to identify the suspect of a robbery on Tuesday afternoon at a Scotiabank branch.

Surveillance footage shows the suspect to be a Caucasian male with a thin build in his late-20's to early 30's, and reddish or light brown facial hair. At the time he was wearing black athletic pants with a white vertical stripe on the outer legs; a red Montreal Canadiens hooded sweater with a large “M” on the front and a smaller Canadiens logo on the lower right; a block and white ball cap; and dark shoes.

Of course it wasn't you, it says " male with a thin build ".

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Guest habs1952

Of course it wasn't you, it says " male with a thin build ".

Well, I'm certainly not the size of a blimp like you. :D

I live in Kingston and this is the first I'm hearing of this. Wasn't me either.

Howdy neighbour!

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On Thursday, the Habs added to their goaltending prospect depth, signing Michael McNiven to a three year, entry level contract. As per club policy, financial terms were not disclosed.

McNiven spent last year as the backup goalie with the OHL’s Owen Sound Attack. He played in 24 games, earning a 15-8-0 record with a 2.79 GAA and a .914 SV% to go along with two shutouts. His goals against was the best among qualifying OHL goaltenders and he was the recipient of the leagues’ FW Dinty Moore Trophy as a result. He was also named to the OHL’s All-Rookie team.

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Former Canadiens defenceman Francis Bouillon officially retired Friday, the team announced in a statement.

Bouillon played 15 seasons in the National Hockey League, 11 with the Canadiens, and defied the odds despite his 5-foot-8 stature. But Bouillon was a rugged defenceman who never backed down and played a physical style of hockey.

The undrafted Bouillon joined the Canadiens during the 1999-2000 season, scoring his first NHL goal on Feb. 6, 2000.

During his career, which included two stints with the Nashville Predators, Bouillon played 776 games, scoring 32 goals and 117 assists. He added 11 more points in 55 playoff games.

In 2003-04, he was awarded the Jacques Beauchamp Molson Trophy as the club’s unsung hero and, in 2006-07, he was the recipient of the Jean Béliveau Award for his involvement in the community.

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