When assembling a CanadiensMTL all-time dream team to win Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final, there is over a century's worth of star-studded, Hall of Fame names to choose from. The hard part is deciding who doesn't make the cut. (By: EricEngels)
Before you shred me for it, please understand I was tasked with building a Montreal Canadiens team to win Game 7 of a Stanley Cup Final in a traditional way, and not just slapping together an all-star team.@EricEngels March 26, 2020, 8:08 AM Of all the things to be losing sleep over in this time of crisis, I never expected the task of selecting an all-time roster to play a fictional Game 7 for the Stanley Cup would keep me from some precious ZZZs . I blame Rory Boylen, Sportsnet.ca’s ambitious (and exasperatingly creative) NHL editor. But I also have to thank him for taking me away from my kitchen for hours on end. Those extra COVID-19 stress calories must be avoided at all costs. If I’m being completely honest, I quite enjoyed this assignment. To scour through over a century’s worth of (mostly) glorious Canadiens history and pluck out names to assemble a veritable dream team was nothing short of great fun. It’s the cuts that kept me up at night. I mean, it’s not like I’m just snubbing players who merely had great careers; I’m benching Hall of Famers, multiple-Cup winners, individual-award winners, and players who have had their numbers retired by the Canadiens. Before you shred me for it, please understand I was tasked with building a team in a traditional way, and not just slapping together an all-star team. That means making up lines an NHL coach would agree with, ordering them so they can be deployed in a logical fashion, and ensuring that one line is dedicated to shutting—and grinding—down the opposition’s best players. It means playing players in their actual positions, and not just slotting someone in out of place because they’re great. And, in this team’s case, it means shafting at least three of the greatest goaltenders in the history of the NHL. Rory, why did you make me do this? Geez. By the way, while we’re in the process of rewriting history—or inventing some kind of parallel universe?—I’m still not over NHL fans voting the 1984-85 Edmonton Oilers as the greatest team of all time. Seriously. The 1976-77 Canadiens lost a total of 12 games pre-season, regular season and post-season combined, and they steamrolled their way to a Stanley Cup in just 14 games. To suggest any NHL team was ever better than that is just wrong. I digress. Sort of. Because 10 of the players who made my Game-7-to-win-the-Cup roster played on that unrivalled’76-77 team, and that forced me to shun several players from other Canadiens dynasties (please accept my most sincerest apologies, Bernie ‘Boom Boom’ Geoffrion, Toe Blake, Howie Morenz, J.C. Tremblay and Bill Durnan). I wasn’t kidding when I mentioned this cost me some sleep. I really thought this through and realized the most important factors in winning a Game 7 had to govern the selection process: Chemistry, winning pedigree, and selflessness. So, here are the people I chose and the reasons I chose them: Guy Lafleur on the Montreal Canadiens’ bench waving to cheering fans including a 15-year-old Mario Lemieux. (Doug Ball/CP via Dave Stubbs and the Montreal Gazette) Forwards First line: Steve Shutt, Jacques Lemaire, Guy Lafleur Throw the regular-season numbers away for the purpose of this exercise, but if it were solely based on those, I’d be completely comfortable rolling this out as a top line against any line in history. Lemaire and Lafleur rank second and fourth, respectively, in playoff points on the all-time Canadiens’ list. The first guy was as good a 200-foot player as the game’s ever seen, and the second was a generational talent who could snipe goals almost at will. And then there’s Shutt, who’s one of three players in franchise history to have recorded more than a point per playoff game while having played in at least 50 of them (he had 98 points in 96 games). By the way, Lafleur is one of the other two. Oh, and the fact that these three played together for years (they won five Cups together) makes it even easier to justify. Second line: Dickie Moore, Jean Beliveau, Maurice Richard Down the middle, you have Beliveau, who’s the franchise leader in playoff points (176) and a 10-time Cup winner as a player. Is that good? I’m thinking the Rocket’s intensity and finishing abilities–no one scored more than his 82 goals in the playoffs, and he remains the most prolific regular-season scorer (544 goals)–is a nice fit on the right side of Le Gros Bill. Richard once referred to Dickie Moore as the greatest left winger he ever played with, and and considered him the greatest friend he ever had. It helps that Big Jean lined up with Moore, too. So… Chemistry? Check. And if you’re at all concerned about Moore’s pedigree, you shouldn’t be. He won the Art Ross Trophy twice—including once in a season that saw him play several games with a broken arm—and he ranks ninth in goals and 10th in points on Montreal’s all-time playoff list. Third line: Frank Mahovlich, Henri Richard, Yvan Cournoyer Imagine rolling out a line of three players voted into the 100 greatest in NHL history, and three players who won a combined 27 Cups, as your “third line.” As if these guys need a friendlier matchup. The chemistry factor remains, with these three playing as a line for the Canadiens in the early 70s. My thanks to the incomparable Mitch Melnick for imparting me with the knowledge that Cournoyer, a lefty, never played the left wing. In my mind, he had to be on this team, and his inclusion on the right wing knocked Geoffrion out of the mix (again, so sorry, Boom Boom.) Sidebar: Has there ever been three players with better nicknames on the same line? The Big M, Pocket Rocket, and the Roadrunner—again, as a third line?!?!?!? Unbelievable. Fourth line: Bob Gainey, Guy Carbonneau, Mario Tremblay This is where the selflessness factor must be applied. None of these three players would need to be convinced to take less ice-time or sacrifice on the penalty kill for the benefit of the team. Also, just the thought of having to play against these three muckers would have an opposing top-liner diving head-first into an ice-bath. Start with Gainey—the player the NHL created an award for. The Peterborough, Ont., native won the Selke Trophy as the league’s best defensive forward in each of the first four years it was handed out. It was just a few years later that Carbonneau lined up as Gainey’s centre. You know, Carbonneau, the three-time Selke winner who eventually (famously) asked Canadiens head coach Jacques Demers to cover Wayne Gretzky in the 1993 Stanley Cup Final after Gretzky scored a goal and three assists in a Game 1 for the Los Angeles Kings. He was recently inducted into the Hall of Fame and it probably had something to do with him holding the Great One to just one goal and two assists over the remaining four games of the series. As for Mario Tremblay, he’ll likely be viewed as the most controversial pick on this team. But he was tough as nails, and he could score. He compiled over 1000 penalty minutes and 584 points in 852 regular-season games, and had 20 goals and 49 points in 101 playoff games. I thought he was better suited for this role than someone like Morenz. Denis Brodeur/Getty Images First pairing: Larry Robinson, Serge Savard Two pillars of ‘The Big 3’. A combination of size and skill that’s practically unrivalled in the history of defence pairings. And we’re talking about two guys who played as a pair for years. Second pairing: Doug Harvey, Guy Lapointe Before Bobby Orr won eight consecutive Norris Trophies as the league’s best defenceman, Doug Harvey won seven of them in eight years from 1954-62. And that guy I’m putting next to him? He was the third member of ‘The Big 3’, a rover-type who shot left and was more than comfortable playing the right side. Lapointe also scored 572 points in 777 regular-season games and added 68 points in 112 playoff games, which makes him the second-highest scoring defenceman in Canadiens history in both categories. Third pairing: Andrei Markov, Chris Chelios Markov is the only player on this team to have not won a Cup, so his inclusion will attract some criticism. But, can you imagine him alongside the awesome force that was Chris Chelios? It’s a dream pairing. An elite puck-mover (Markov ranks second in Canadiens history in assists with 453) next to one of the nastiest, most all-around players in the history of the NHL. The luxury of just using Markov as a power-play specialist, cycling Chelios through on different pairings, or just being able to roll them out together makes perfect sense for a winner-take-all scenario. Ken Dryden won six Stanley Cups in eight seasons with the Montreal Canadiens. (Walter Iooss Jr./Getty) Goalies Starting goalie: Ken Dryden Arguably no goaltender in Canadiens history was more accustomed to playing behind a great team like this than Dryden. Not that he couldn’t win a series or a big game all on his own (his debut in a series win over a Boston Bruins team that set an NHL record with 57 wins in the 1970-71 season stands out as an example). This was the hardest decision of all, but I’m comfortable with it because not only did Dryden win six Cups in eight years, he won a higher percentage of his playoff games than any other goaltender in Canadiens history—going 80-32 in 112 games. The clincher? Dryden was a perfect 3-0 in Game 7s. Backup goalie: Jacques Plante Not that the merits of Plante need to be spelled out, but he backstopped the Canadiens to five consecutive Cup wins from 1956-60. The wildest thing about that? He only played in two Game 7s over his entire career, which says much about how good those Canadiens teams were. The fact that Plante had a 1-1 record in them made it palatable to put him behind Dryden. And if you’re wondering why Patrick Roy isn’t in either position, it’s because once I decided Dryden was the man to play behind a veritable dream team, there was no chance I’d ask Patrick to sit on the bench. We all know he’d have never done that. Roy was arguably the greatest goaltender to ever play for the Canadiens. There’s no chance they’d have won their last two Stanley Cups with anyone else in their net. He’s also tied with Henrik Lundqvist and Martin Brodeur for the most Game 7 wins of all time (six). But Roy also lost seven Game 7s over the course of his career, versus Dryden losing zero. Coaching staff Read more: Sportsnet
EricEngels CanadiensMTL Where would Price fit into the goaltenders list for you EricEngels ? EricEngels CanadiensMTL Gosh. It must have taken about five minutes to build the 1976-77 team and throw a few more legends on it. EricEngels CanadiensMTL man..i friggin miss the Habs... CanadiensMTL EricEngels Tremblay should not be on this team let alone associated with the organization but that’s another argument for another day. My choice would be C. Lemeiux or M.Keane as his replacement
CanadiensMTL EricEngels Pretty solid selections, except I'd definitely have 1) Claude Lemieux on that 4th line. 4th most GP/26th most PTS ever in playoffs, tenacious, & clutch. One of my favorite games I ever saw. 2) Patrick Roy starting goalie. No cups in '86 & '93 w/out him. CanadiensMTL EricEngels Hard to argue with Engels list but in a do or die it's crazy to leave off Patrick Roy and his 3 conn smythes
CanadiensMTL EricEngels Curious what a post-1979 lineup would look like. CanadiensMTL EricEngels CanadiensMTL EricEngels All told, not a bad job. How about picking a second team that is almost as good as the first. I think it can be done. CanadiensMTL EricEngels Great article and an entertaining read. I have absolutely no issues with this team, including Tremblay and Dryden as the starter. But man, what a team. Nobody would ever beat this all time dream team.
CanadiensMTL EricEngels Can’t argue against this lineup!
Flames all-time Dream Team for Game 7 of Stanley Cup Final - Sportsnet.caWith a Stanley Cup on the line and one game left to play, what players from NHLFlames history would you count on to get the job done? EricFrancis picks his all-time Calgary Flames Dream Team to win the big game ⤵️ NHLFlames EricFrancis You gotta put Marty Gelinas in there clutch EricFrancis NHLFlames EricFrancis Gelinas too clutch to be a healthy scratch eliminator NHLFlames EricFrancis Lance Bouma and Oscar Fantenberg
CanadiensMTL EricEngels This was hard. CanadiensMTL EricEngels Where's Jordan Weal CanadiensMTL EricEngels Now against which hall of fame team would they be up against? CanadiensMTL EricEngels I’m all for classic habs talk, but would like to see this list post 93’ think it would make for more interesting discussion, specially for us habs fans under 40.
CanadiensMTL EricEngels No Jordan Weal? CanadiensMTL EricEngels 6) EricEngels, Patrick Roy should be in the HockeyHallFame twice, once as the greatest goalie of all time, & in the builder category for changing the way the position is viewed as being the most important player on the ice (same as Quarterback NFL , Pitcher MLB). Shame Eric
CanadiensMTL EricEngels 5) EricEngels, Patrick Roy changed the way the goalie position is viewed by NHL execs and is now considered the most important position in hockey thanks to Roy. Ask GoldenKnights who their most important first pick was, their GOALIE!!! Marc A Fleury. That is thanks to Roy
CanadiensMTL EricEngels 4) EricEngels, before Roy came on the seen, the goalie position was not given the same level of focus as the center or defense positions. Patrick Roy put a spotlight on the goalie position, developed the butterfly style and started the goalie coach need trend. CanadiensMTL EricEngels Healthy scratches would be koivu geoffrion and Weber, third goalie would be Roy
CanadiensMTL EricEngels Cool article. Nice work. Hard to go too far wrong with the options available!
Oilers all-time Dream Team for Game 7 of Stanley Cup Final - Sportsnet.caWith the Stanley Cup in the balance, who would you want from EdmontonOilers history on your team? Check out who SportsnetSpec picked for his Oilers Dream Team ⤵️ EdmontonOilers Spec With that lineup, Oilers over Flames. 10 nothing.
CanadiensMTL EricEngels My game “7” lineup would definitely include these two . Habs CanadiensMTL EricEngels 3) EricEngels Goalie analytics lean to Patrick Roy being the greatest goalie ever in the NHL, ahead of MartinBrodeur, Hasek or Belfour. If season wins was the most important stat (Brodeur) then San Jose should be the greatest team in modern history. It’s about playoff wins!!
CanadiensMTL EricEngels 2) EricEngels, TSN_Sports had a top playoff NHL performances a while back, & topping the list, Patrick Roy’s rookie playoff spectacle. Roy is the winningest playoff goalie ever (151 wins vs Brodeur: 113, Fuhr: 92) & has record for most game 7 wins in 1 playoff year. Shame Eric
CanadiensMTL EricEngels 1) Wow EricEngels, Sportsnet released an article a while back about the top goalies in NHL history (analytics and stats). The conclusion: 1a & 1b being Roy & Dryden (Brodeur barley broke top 10 due to inflated stats from trap team for most of career). Yet you out Roy. Shameful
CanadiensMTL EricEngels My level of dislike towards Mario Tremblay wouldn’t allow me to put him on this team, maybe Shayne Corson as a substitute? Agree with everything else. Given the choices of goalie there is no wrong answer. CanadiensMTL EricEngels I'd have Claude Provost on the team over Tremblay.... no doubt about it.
CanadiensMTL EricEngels Am I crazy to want Claude Lemieux in Game 7? CanadiensMTL EricEngels Hard to argue with your selections, E. The goalies are a tough choice to be sure. Roy/Price would also be an excellent tandem. and not sure you’re sacrificing quality over Dryden/Plante either. Well done. Enjoy the replies! Hahaha
Maple Leafs all-time Dream Team for Game 7 of Stanley Cup Final - Sportsnet.caUntil we hear “hockey’s back!” the two most glorious words in sport remain “Game 7.” So, for a fun exercise, lukefoxjukebox spun through history and selected the ultimate, all-time MapleLeafs lineup for a Stanley Cup final Game 7. lukefoxjukebox MapleLeafs Indeed a 'dream-team' as you have to be in a dream to find the MapleLeafs in a Game 7 of a Stanley Cup final. '1967 eh?......that's a long time.' lukefoxjukebox MapleLeafs Jake Gardiner lukefoxjukebox MapleLeafs Please change your Twitter handle to Leafs for all this junk.
Projected No. 1 pick Alexis Lafreniere plays the waiting game ahead of NHL draft - TSN.caAll that Alexis Lafreniere can do now is wait. The projected No. 1 pick at the 2020 NHL draft saw his season come to abrupt end earlier this week when the Canadian Hockey League cancelled its playoffs and the Memorial Cup amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Plague Inc. game adds ‘save the world’ mode in response to coronavirusThe game's developers are also giving US$250,000 to fight the coronavirus pandemic, which has helped boost their sales. I’d rather hear from the developers of ResidentEvil
Raptors Re-Run: Sixers @ Raptors Game 1 | Podcasts - Sportsnet.caJDBunkis Ben Sportsnet is awesome. But please bring back hockey.