What Habs '09 Picks Leblanc and Bennett Share With Gretzky And The Rocket

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On the night of January 26, 1991, Wayne Gretzky's Kings defeated the Vancouver Canucks 5-4 in Los Angeles. The Great One notched a goal and two assist in the game, on his way to a 163 point season and another Art Ross trophy.

The win was a birthday present from Gretzky to himself, who turned 30 that day.

Diagonally across the continent, Canadien draft pick Louis Leblanc had nothing to do with it. He was too busy being born.

Sharing a birthday with the greatest hockey player of all the time is kinda neat, but it far from guarantees greatness. My good friend Jacques Pitre was born January 26, 1991. He couldn't the top corner if his life depended on it.

This past Friday wasn't the first time Leblanc has been celebrated inside Bell Centre walls. The photos of Leblanc and Habs GM Bob Gainey accompanying this post were taken on January 29, 2008, when the Canadiens donated $100,000 to the FEAQ (La Fondation de l' Athlete d' Excellence du Quebec). Thousand dollar burseries were given the athletes who excelled in their educational pursuits and Leblanc, as one of highest scholastic achievers was selected for the group photo.

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Canadiens third round pick Mac Bennett has an interseting connection to Habs history, though none of his four professional hockey playing uncles, nor his grandfather ever played a game for Montreal.

The grandfather was Harvey Bennett Sr, a goaltender with the Bruins for a short spell in the mid 1940's. Harvey Sr fathered five hockey playing sons - Harvey Jr, Curt, John, Bill, and Jim, who is Mac's father.

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On the evening of March 18, 1945, the senior Harvey was in goal for the Bruins, and became the victim of Maurice Richard's legendary 50th goal in 50 games.

As Mac states in this article, his grandfather grumbled till the day he died that the Rocket kicked it in.

Typical Bruin!

Clockwise in photo: Harvey Sr, Harvey Jr, Curt, Mac, John and Bill Bennett.

 

Here is an article and video on Bennett. What wheels on the kid!

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