The Ultimate Habs All Time Team


Do you enjoy drawing up imaginary line combos for the next Habs game?

Think you'll try the Kostitsyn's winging it with Saku and give Lang back to Kovy?

We'll do I have a task for you!

TSN, national leaders in Habs ignorance have just named their Habs ultimate All Timers, and guess what?

No Guy Lafleur!

Imagine, hockey's first six time 50 goal scorer didn't make the cut!

There's also no Shutt, Lemaire, Roadrunner, Butch Bouchard, Ken Reardon....the list goes on and on.

To understand why is where this gets complicated. TSN sought to build a club as teams are build today. This wasn't an All Star Team exercise, it was an attempt to view what an actual team, role players and sixth defenseman and all would look like, thus, explaining the exclusions.


TSN did not detail any criteria, other than players on this team seemingly having to fit in as they had when they played. There are two scoring lines, a checking line, and energy line, a first, second, and third defensive pairing, a starting goaltender, and a backup.

TSN Came up with this:

First Offensive Line: Dickie Moore (LW), Jean Beliveau (C), Maurice Richard (RW)

Second Offensive Line: John Ferguson, Saku Koivu, Bobby Rousseau

Checking Line: Bob Gainey, Guy Carbonneau, Claude Provost

Energy Line: Andre Pronovost, Brian Skrudland, Jimmy Roberts

!st D: Doug Harvey, Mike Komisarek

2nd D: Larry Robinson, Serge Savard

3rd D: Ted Harris, Craig Ludwig

Starter: Jacques Plante

Backup: Michel Larocque

You can check the reason why they made each pick here, and get the lowdown on each player's resume with the team at this link.


Now here's what gets me in a snit. The Canadiens have still won 24 Stanley Cups right? By that token, I believe that every player on this ultimate team should have that on their resume. As much as I love Koivu and Komisarek, let's not delude ourselves here. The only current Canadien that should be in consideration for a place on this team would be Andrei Markov, and he didn't make my list.

What I came up with, was this group. My reasoning will follow.

First Offensive Line: Dickie Moore (LW), Jean Beliveau (C), Guy Lafleur (RW)

Second Offensive Line: Frank Mahovlich, Henri Richard, Maurice Richard

Checking Line: Bob Gainey, Guy Carbonneau, Claude Provost

Energy Line: John Ferguson, Newsy Lalonde, Mario Tremblay

!st D: Doug Harvey, Serge Savard

2nd D: Larry Robinson, Chris Chelios

3rd D: Tom Johnson, Butch Bouchard

Starter: Jacques Plante

Backup: Rogie Vachon


Lafleur replaces the Rocket on the top line simply because his speed fits better with Beliveau's sleek manoevering than Richard's. Moore remains for added combativeness and grit.

The Rocket in this case, is a better fit alongside his brother, as they share the same tenacity and passion. Pocket Rocket was a career second line center who won 11 Cups. How Koivu could be prefered over him is beyond me. Mahovlich gets the nod here as he is one of the top three left wingers in the history of the game. He had deceptive speed for a big man, carried the puck extremely well, and had a killer shot from all angles. Big Frank could rotate with Moore on the top two lines, and change the complexion of both.

The third line remains intact as there is no better defensive duo in Canadiens history than Gainey and Carbonneau. Claude Provost won nine Cups, shutting down the likes of Bobby Hull, Gordie Howe and Mahovlich. There might be a flashier choice than Provost to fit there, but few with a resume the likes of his.


For the energy line, I originally thought of putting all of the 1970's trio of Risebrough, Tremblay and Lambert, and I actually came pretty close. I looked at each slot and wondered where I could upgrade each one. I chose Ferguson over Lambert as he is a better skater and brings the policemans role to it's proper place. From a coaching standpoint, you could easily flip him with Moore on the top line, and it would something to either in the process. Lalonde centering the trio looks a little odd, because in Newsy's day, second lines had yet to come into existance. For those who may not be acquianted with him, Lalonde was an absolute pest who mastered the art of getting under an opponants skin. No tactic was too uncivil for him to apply in any game situation. In 99 career NHL games with Montreal, he scored 124 goals, while commanding every inch of the ice. He'd be perfectly suited to play this role. Mario Tremblay, outside of the Rocket, was likely the most consistant scoring aggresive right winger the club ever had. He could also stir shit pretty good and finish what he started. The three of these players together would be lethal. They would probably end up in a Toronto jail.

On defense, there is a bevy of blueline choices that demonstate strong command of two way play. In the top four, their is little need for role players, as the ones I have chosen could litterally do it all. I've moved Savard up to the top pairing to provide ice for Harvey's fire. In his time, there was no better defenseman than Savard for adapting his game to his partner's style. To Robinson's side, I have added Chris Chelios for similar reasons. I thought it equally important to have as flexible a duo as the first, so that the top two lines of this fantasy club share the same transition game. All four of these studs would eat up powerplay time, leaving the penalty killing minutes and shutdown roles for the two who remain. In the fifth and sixth slots, I chose Butch Bouchard and Tom Johnson, although both only played in those roles in their early years, are better fits than Harris and Ludwig. They are also way more efficient, as the two left out were some of the dirtiest sons of bitches ever to play on the Habs backline. Butch and Johnson got the job done with a whole lot less fanfare and neither was a pushover. As an added thought, it makes sense to have two bruisers who know how to get it done without being penalized. With Harris and Ludwig on the team, the top four would be overemployed.


In goal, my starter is Jacques Plante as well. Many folks will argue for Patrick Roy here, but it is an ill fit. Roy starred on team where he became used to a great number of shots. On this club, he'd fall asleep. Plante played on teams that resemble the above group, knitted toques during powerplays, and still managed all his focus for when it was needed. Ken Dryden, for the same reasons, would have been my second choice as a starter. At first, Larocque seems like the best backup goalie in Canadiens history. His numbers though, testify to his lengthy stay in that role, and during the Habs 1970's glory, he rarely if ever played in the playoffs. If I am picking a backup to play behind Plante, I want a backup with a resume that says he can take over if starter is injured a win the Stanley Cup himself. Few backups in Habs history have done this other than Rogie Vachon. During the latter half of the 1960's, the Canadiens were a bit spoiled for choice in nets, with all of Vachon, Gump Worsley, and Charlie Hodge all getting their runs. For me, Vachon seems tome to have the best resume of going from a cold bench to being hot in the crease.

So that's my Ultimate All Time Habs team. If you think you can upgrade on mine, or TSN's, drop your Ultimate Team in the comments. In a few days I'll choose the best and hold a poll during All Star weekend. Should be fun!

For an addition take on all this, check out Lions In Winter's "Koivu Can't Buy A Winger - Even TSN Begrudges Him A Scorer" Great work by Topham, who tears the network a new one! A sample snipet:

"TSN staff watch too much Toronto hockey. Two top right wingers – impossible. 6 defencemen that can play with the puck – never been seen. A second goalie who can step in and win some games when the other gets injured – why bother?"

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