On the night of January 26, 1991, Wayne Gretzky's Los Angeles kings defeated the Vancouver Canucks 5-4 in L.A. The Great One notched a goal and two assists 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, Canadiens 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 time is kinda neat, but it far from guarantees greatness. My good friend Jacques Pitre was born January 26, 1991. He couldn't hit 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 made a donation to the FAEQ (La Fondation de l' Athlete d' Excellence du Quebec). Thousand-dollar bursaries were given to the athletes who excelled in their educational pursuits and Leblanc, as one of highest scholastic achievers, was selected for the group photo.
Canadiens third round pick Mac Bennett has an interesting connection to Habs history, though none of his four professional hockey playing uncles, nor his grandfather, ever played a game for Montreal.
His grandfather was Harvey Bennett, Sr., a goaltender with the Boston Bruins for a short spell in the mid 1940s. Harvey, Sr. fathered five hockey playing sons: Harvey, Jr; Curt; John; Bill, and: Jim, who is Mac's father.
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, his grandfather grumbled till the day he died that the Rocket kicked it in.