Sad news in the Montreal Canadiens world today, as the great Elmer Lach has passed away. He suffered a stroke late in March, and at the age of 97, this was a large obstacle that even he could not overcome. He was the oldest living former member of the Montreal Canadiens, and coincidentally the oldest living former NHLer.
Lach is of course well known for playing centre on the famous Punch Line with Maurice Richard and Toe Blake, and they absolutely dominated the NHL during the four seasons they played together. At the time of his retirement, he left the game as the NHL's all time leading scorer with 623 points.
He played all of his 14 seasons with the Tricolore, winning the Stanley cup three times, the Art Ross in 1948, and also a Hart trophy as the league's most valuable player in 1944-45, the very same season in which Maurice Richard scored 50 goals in 50 games. Lach was arguably instrumental to that feat, as he piled up an impressive 54 assists, many on Richard tallies.
He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame back in 1966, and his number 16 rightfully hangs in the rafters at the Bell Centre along with that of Henri Richard.
On behalf of the EOTP community, I offer the sincerest of condolences to his family as they mourn his loss, and I hope they know that he will never be forgotten.