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The Montreal Canadiens: 100 Years of Glory (Anglais) Broché – 20 octobre 2009


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Extrait

Introduction
By Bob Gainey

“You can’t go back, but you can go there again.” These are the words that pushed me from decision-making to decision on a beautiful spring day in May 2003. As I turned my car into the long driveway at our home on Stony Lake, forty kilometres northeast of Peterborough, I knew I would be the next general manager of the Club de Hockey Canadien.

A few days later, on June 3, 2003, a press conference was held at the Bell Centre, home of the Canadiens, to introduce me in my new role.

The questions from the herd of journalists came at ­slap-shot speed. Cameras clicked and flashed even faster. Many of the questions I didn’t have answers for . . . yet. Would coach Claude Julien be returning? What would I do with player contracts? Who were the prospects in the system? How did I explain the dismal season the Habs had just completed, missing the playoffs?

There was one answer I did have, to a question which came both subtly and directly: Why would I agree to take this position? The team was a disaster. The fans were enraged. The media were on the warpath. The future looked dismal. Why put myself in this unenviable position?

The answer was easy and, to me, crystal clear; In Montreal, the Canadiens matter! In Quebec, the Canadiens matter! In Canada, the Canadiens matter!

All of that only made the general manager’s job more challenging, a point captured by Terry Mosher, also known as Aislin, celebrated editorial cartoonist of the Montreal Gazette. In the next day’s paper, Mosher depicted me standing behind the podium at the press conference being asked, “Do think you can walk on water?” Answer:see page viii!

The Montreal Canadiens mattered to me. And I knew how important, how vital and how deeply rooted they were in the culture and history of Montrealers, Quebecers, Canadians and others.

I had learned these lessons early in my playing days. In September of 1973, I began what would be a sixteen-year career with the Habs. I recall a situation about a year later, while looking for a dentist office early one morning in the borough of Verdun. Hoping to ask for directions, I walked into a café filled with diners enjoying breakfast. The entire place went completely silent. Nobody moved. Every person there recognized me. And all of us were in shock – they because I was there, and I at the realization they knew me. I got my directions and left, relieved, as quickly as I could.

I was reminded of the importance of the Montreal Canadiens in many ways and many places, like the time I was in Helsinki, Finland, playing with Team Canada. Walking incognito (I believed) along a downtown street, I was approached from the opposite direction by a person who made eye contact and then asked in heavily-accented English: “What happened to the Canadiens in the playoffs?” There is no escape from Montreal fans!

Loyalty to the Canadiens tends to run deep and long, as I learned from my old friend Richard Halford of New York City. A year ago, he called to let me know it was the fiftieth anniversary, to the day, of the game he saw with his father at Madison Square Garden between the Canadiens and Rangers. He got Rocket Richard’s autograph after the game and has been a fervent Canadiens fan ever since.

From my rookie season thrity-five years ago, I have been in contact, directly or indirectly, with much of the Canadiens’ history. In that time, I met many former players and staff. I was curious about their careers and put a lot of questions to Blake, Richard, Bouchard, Curry, Pollock, Mahovlich, Laperrière, Bowman and others. They were generous with their replies. Their memories let me touch, hear and see the reality of their lives with the Habs back to the 1930s.

In this centennial history, D’Arcy Jenish gets it right. He pushes aside the cobwebs of memory. He has sanded and scraped away the layers of time. He has resisted the fluffy, romantic versions which have become common, and delivered us the nitty-gritty, real-deal story – the good, and the not so good. I can tell you this because I know.

The Canadiens will be 100 years old on December 4, 2009. The story of the team runs parallel to, and often intersects with, the history of Canada. They are one and the same. Les Canadiens have been parts of the lives of our great­grandparents, our grandparents, our parents and ourselves. May long life be the hallmark of this great Canadian, Quebec, Montreal institution. May not only our children, but grandchildren and great-grandchildren, have the opportunity to learn about, watch
and understand why the Habs are such an important part of our collective history and culture.

Bonne Anniversaire centième Club de Hockey Canadien! Many, many, more to come!


Prologue
This is Hockeytown

Other cities may lay claim to the title, says Pierre Boivin during an animated discussion in his corner office on the seventh floor of the Bell Centre, home of the Montreal Canadiens. Then, with a sweep of his arm, he gestures at the city beyond his windows. “Make no mistake about it, this is Hockeytown.”

Montreal is Hockeytown by dint of history and the citizenry’s enduring passion for the sport. It is where a raw and ragged game – shinny played on the icebound creeks and rivers and lakes of a wintry nation – came indoors and became hockey, the world’s first arena sport. It is where the first rules were written, where the first team was formed – the McGill University Redmen in 1877 – and where the sport’s most hallowed prize, the Stanley Cup, has come to rest thirty­nine times since it was first awarded in 1893, a prize captured by the Canadiens, Maroons, Wanderers, Shamrocks, Victorias and the Winged Wheelers of the Montreal Amateur Athletic Association.

In the 1890s, when the sport was young and the Stanley Cup brand new, the Winged Wheelers, Victorias and Shamrocks and their rabid followers were hockey’s hottest rivals. A few decades later, in the Roaring Twenties and Dirty Thirties, English Montreal had its team, the Maroons, and French Montreal had its standard-bearer, the Canadiens, and games between them produced war both on the ice and in the stands.

For seven decades now, ever since the demise of the Maroons, Montreal’s sporting public has worshipped at one altar, that of the Canadiens, and the passage of time has done nothing to diminish the ardour of the citizenry. “When we win on Saturday night, you get on the subway Monday morning and three­quarters of the people are smiling,” says Boivin, president and CEO of the Canadiens. “If we lose a couple and Toronto’s ahead by a point, Montrealers are very unhappy. If we don’t make the playoffs, spring is hell. To some degree, the city’s productivity is influenced by the team’s performance. Hockey is part of what makes this city tick.”

And yet, in the first years of the current century, hockey in Montreal was in jeopardy. Le Club de Hockey Canadien was grievously ill and in danger of folding. The team was mediocre and missing the playoffs more often than not. Attendance was declining. Financial losses were mounting. Furthermore, there appeared to be no way out. The Canadiens were damned by circumstances beyond their control. Player salaries had risen to untenable levels, owing to the free­spending ways of wealthier rivals, most of them in the United States. The Canadiens, like the five other NHL teams based in this country, were paying their athletes in U.S. dollars but earning their revenues in a domestic dollar worth about twenty­five percent less. On top of all this, the Canadiens were saddled with over eight million dollars per year in municipal taxes, whereas the league average was less than a million per team.

“We were losing a ton of money year in, year out,” Boivin recalls. “There was no way we could make money because of structural economic and competitive disadvantages. We had no hope of surviving.”

The Canadiens and their Colorado­based owner, George N. Gillett Jr., solidly supported the lockout of the players that cost the NHL its entire 2004—05 season. The NHL Players’ Association eventually capitulated and accepted a new collective bargaining agreement with a yearly salary cap, initially set at $39 million (U.S.) per team. This drastic measure trimmed the Canadiens’ payroll by about $12 million annually and helped save the franchise.

“Toronto was the only Canadian club that could have survived long-term and been competitive under the old regime,” Boivin adds. “We would have seen the relocation or the demise of the other five teams, and Montreal was no exception.”

Hockey returned to the city in the fall of 2005. The Canadiens played their first home game against the Ottawa Senators on the evening of October 10, a Tuesday. About ninety minutes before the puck dropped, the main doors of the Bell Centre opened and a crowd several hundred strong surged into the lobby. Boivin was there to welcome them. So were Gillett and general manager Bob Gainey and former players Henri Richard, Yvan Cournoyer and Réjean Houle. By game time, they had greeted several thousand people, a slice of the sellout crowd of 21,273.

The return of the NHL was cause for jubilation in the city that gave birth to the game. The league’s financial foundation had been restored and the future of its oldest and greatest franchise seemed assured. And the Canadiens had something else to celebrate: the one­hundredth anniversary of Le Club de Hockey Canadien – formed on December 4, 1909.

That fall, the Canadiens launched their centennial celebrations. The first significant public event occurred prior to a Saturday night game on November 12, when the Canadiens retired jersey number twel...

Revue de presse

“A fascinating, necessary read for any Canadiens fan or hockey historian.”
The Gazette (Montreal)


From the Hardcover edition.



Détails sur le produit

  • Broché: 384 pages
  • Editeur : Anchor Canada (20 octobre 2009)
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ISBN-10: 0385663250
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385663250
  • Dimensions du produit: 15 x 2,7 x 22,9 cm
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 4.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: 62.485 en Livres anglais et étrangers (Voir les 100 premiers en Livres anglais et étrangers)
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Par galou9 le 21 octobre 2010
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
Bien mais pas assez complet, il manque certains grands moments du CH. Mais il a le mérite d'éxister.
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Amazon.com: 7 commentaires
6 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Great book for hockey lovers of the Montreal Canadiens 13 décembre 2008
Par David G. - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
This well written book does an excellent job of covering the history of the Montreal Canadiens hockey organization, including it's owners, managers, coaches and players. It follows the team from it's inception through World War One, the Great Depression, World War Two, and the evolution of hockey expansion, up to today. Hockey in Montreal isn't just another sport, and the Montreal Canadiens are not just another hockey team. Hockey is ingrained in the hearts of Montrealers, and the Montreal Canadiens are their team. This book would be a good read for any hockey addict, but it is a GREAT read for any ardent longtime Montreal Canadiens fan. Thoroughly enjoyable.
4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
To Hab and Hab Not 15 octobre 2009
Par Richard A. Johnson - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
This joins a select group of Canadiens team histories along with volumes by Brian MacFarlane, Dick Irvin, Claude Mouton, and the editors of "Sports Illustrated." Jenish does a great job plumbing the depths of the club's early years and helps fans understand that success was not instantaneous...most forget that the Forum was built for the rival Maroons and not the Canadiens. The narrative really starts rolling from the forties onwards as we are given some new perspective on familiar characters. Donat Raymond is given his just due as is the great Dick Irvin. I especially liked this book because it is written as straight history as opposed to the hagiography that constitutes most sports histories. This is an excellent treatment of hockey's most important club and is worthy of the subject. Merci beaucoup.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Good 21 avril 2013
Par Henry on Hillside - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
The book is a monument to the art of digging through microfilm to retrieve newspaper stories. Digging through microfilm is a difficult task often carried out on rickety old tables in stuffy library rooms. Somebody had to do it to get the story of the Montreal Canadiens, and D'Arcy Jenish does it well, performing a major service for fans of this great, proud team. (I would argue that the Canadiens eclipse the New York Yankees as the greatest and proudest team in the history of North American sports.) The book is often quite good, as when, for example, we catch a glimpse of Steve Shutt after the team was eliminated in the Stanley Cup playoffs, sitting in his car (a vintage Bentley), drinking a case of beer, listening to the radio, and muttering all night about how he hates to lose. (I'd like to know what kind of music he listened to, but apparently no one has ever asked him that.)

Jenish offers the occasional nice anecdote like that, and is good at putting together a basic factual narrative, but he's very inconsistent (to be polite) at capturing the glory and grandeur of the team, the sheer visceral tribal excitement generated by Rocket Richard, Guy Lafleur, or Yvan Cournoyer racing down the right wing, or Dickie Moore, Frank Mahovlich, or Aurele Joliat down the left, as a deep-throated roar came up from the fans. An example - his description of the epic 1951 Stanley Cup final between Montreal and Toronto, a tribal war if ever there was one, is very brief and just really sort of...."meh." Another example - with the Canadiens a few seconds away from elimination in the 1979 playoffs against the Bruins, Lafleur scored a magnificent goal to tie the game and send it into overtime, one of the truly stirring moments in the history of the game, worthy of a detailed description - a beautiful pass by Jacques Lemaire straddling the blue line, a stunningly perfect shot by Lafleur, it's the moment he was born for, the moment he rehearsed for during long, cold winter afternoons in the shadows of the paper mills of Thurso (population 2,000). With his deed done on this spring day in 1979 and the crowd cheering like mad, the Flower sort of acts shy and reserved, like a little boy back in Thurso, but then he looks up and makes it a point to make proud eye contact with Larry (Big Bird) Robinson, his one true peer on the team. I find stuff like that fascinating, revealing of lots of stuff about the '70s Canadiens. Jenish apparently doesn't because he fails to mention the goal. (A video clip of the goal is available on youtube. Do a Google search for "youtube canadiens goal lafleur bruins 1979." If youtube has the video today, then Jenish should have been able to find the clip somewhere while he was researching the book in 2006 and '07. Jenish would have been well served by deconstructing a few key moments like this - this would have added a lot to his effort.)

My other big problem with the book is, the photo section is weak. Three photos of Maurice Richard but none of Howie Morenz (voted best hockey player of the first half of the 20th century by the Canadian press) or Doug Harvey (probably the best defenseman of his era)? No shots of the exterior of the old Forum, the most important building in hockey history, as central to hockey history as Yankee Stadium was to baseball? (The Forum was "a veritable shrine to hockey fans everywhere," says Wikipedia.) Photos of goalies Ken Dryden and Jacques Plante but not of goalies George Hainsworth and Patrick Roy? Is there no photo in existence of Boom Boom Geoffrion delivering a slap shot? If there isn't, Jenish should tell us that; if there is, he should find it and get it in his book. (Contrary to legend, Geoffrion didn't invent the slap shot (noted by Jenish) but he advanced the art considerably [Bobby Hull perfected it]. And, by the way, isn't the nickname "Boom Boom" actually kind of an insult? It was coined as a comment on the sound of him connecting with the puck and the puck hitting the backboard. But two "Booms" means he missed the net, right? Wouldn't "Boomer" have been a lot better?) We get to see four cool old drawings from newspapers in the early days - just enough to whet our appetite - we should get 10 or 12. These and other art omissions are glaring, lazy, and absurd. I will say, I don't know if the author is to blame for this aspect of the book, I would be more inclined to cite the publisher, Anchor Canada, for failing to come up with an extra few thousand bucks to buy photo rights.

So. This is good book, a useful book, worth buying, that could have been great. To get a feel for the true meaning of hockey in Montreal (and in Canada overall) check out "The Game" by Ken Dryden and "The Greatest Game: The Montreal Canadiens, the Red Army, and the Night That Saved Hockey" by Todd Denault.
Good but incomplete. 15 novembre 2013
Par Robert J. Delaney - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
Reading it, I found the author jumped over more recent and important pasts to their history, such as the merger of the WHA and the NHL and its im^pact upon the Canadiens. Also, This is the type of book that should be filled with pictures Canadien players and their history. Unfortunately there are a few pictures included.
Very good, but did not answer the question for which ... 12 janvier 2015
Par Guy Malenfant - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
Very good, but did not answer the question for which I bought the book. Did Michael John O'Brien sell the Haileybury Rockets to George Kennedy in 1910 and what proof is there that he did not. Thank You very much. Guy Malenfant.
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