Video: Canadiens pay tribute to Jean Beliveau

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Legendary hockey player Jean Beliveau passed away on Dec. 2 at the age of 83. As Canadiens president Geoff Molson said, he “was a great leader, a gentleman and arguably the greatest ambassador our game has ever known.”

Hall of Fame forward Beliveau meant a great deal to the game of hockey, but his impact was most profound in Montreal where he played in 1,125 games over the span of two decades. During his tenure he won the Stanley Cup with the Canadiens an incredible 10 times.

On Tuesday night, the Canadiens paid tribute to him at the Bell Centre. You can watch that below:

Related:

Béliveau to ‘lie in state’ at the Bell Centre

Video: Celebrating Jean Beliveau’s legacy

Canadiens’ legend Jean Beliveau has passed away

Canadiens’ Eller leaves game with upper-body injury

The Montreal Canadiens will be without center Lars Eller for the remainder of Friday’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Canadiens announced via Twitter that Eller, 25, suffered an upper-body injury and will not return. In 27 games this season prior to Friday, Eller had seven goals and 11 points.

Canadiens’ legend Jean Beliveau has passed away

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Montreal Canadiens legend Jean Beliveau passed away on Tuesday night the club announced, he was 83.

Beliveau spent parts of 20 seasons with the Canadiens winning 10 Stanley Cups. He added seven more Championship rings as a member of the Canadiens management team.

In total Beliveau appeared in 1,125 games scoring 507 goals and 1,219 points.

“The Montreal Canadiens organization is extremely moved by Mr. Béliveau’s passing away. Like millions of hockey fans who followed the life and the career of Jean Béliveau, the Canadiens today mourn the passing of a man whose contribution to the development of our sport and our society was unmeasurable. Jean Béliveau was a great leader, a gentleman and arguably the greatest ambassador our game has ever known,” said the president of the Montreal Canadiens, Mr. Geoff Molson.

“Jean Béliveau was part of the Canadiens family for over six decades. The Canadiens organization will bring all the needed support to the members of Jean Béliveau’s family, and will work closely with them to organize the ceremonies that will take place in the coming days. On behalf of the Molson family, and all members of the Canadiens organization, I would like to extend my deepest condolences to his beloved wife Élise, his daughter Hélène and granddaughters Magalie and Mylène.”

Over the course of his career Beliveau won the Art Ross Trophy (1956), Conn Smythe (1965) and the Hart Trophy (1956 and 1964). He appeared in 14 All-Star games and was the recipient of the NHL Lifetime Achievement award in 2009.

He served as the Habs’ captain for 10 years, the longest serving captain in franchise history, which was later matched by Saku Koivu.

When he retired following the 1970-71 season, he did so as the franchise leader in points, second in goals and the NHL’s all-time leading playoff scorer.

His No. 4 was raised to the rafters of the Montreal Forum on October 9, 1971. The Hockey Hall of Fame waived its’ three-year waiting period to immediately induct Beliveau in June 1972.

Beliveau had been in poor health the last number of years. He had a battle with cancer in 2000 and suffered strokes in 2010 and 2012.

Beliveau is survived by his wife Elise; their daughter, Helene; and granddaughters Mylene and Magalie.

So, anybody know what to make of Montreal?

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Following Sunday’s 5-0 drubbing at the hands of the Rangers, many Canadiens fans were left asking a fairly significant question:

What kind of team do we have here?

That they’re asking is significant because, per the standings, Montreal’s the best team in the NHL. The Habs sit first with 33 points, are 8-2 in their last 10 and have sparking records both at home (9-3-0) and on the road (7-3-1).

The conversation becomes complicated, though, when Montreal’s losses come up. Because the Habs don’t just lose games — they LOSE games:

Oct. 13: Tampa Bay 7, Montreal 1
Oct 27: Edmonton 3, Montreal 0
Oct 30: Vancouver 3, Montreal 2 (SO)
Nov. 2: Calgary 6, Montreal 2
Nov. 4: Chicago 5, Montreal 0
Nov. 18: Pittsburgh 4, Montreal 0
Nov. 23: New York 5, Montreal 0

Combined score: Opponents 32, Montreal 5.

It’s a colorful, dizzying array of butt-whippings. Some are understandable (the Lightning game came at the end of a four-game roadie), some aren’t (the blowout to Chicago happened two nights after the embarrassing home loss to Calgary).

Still confusing, though.

“A game like this leaves you scratching your head,” P.K. Subban said after the Rangers loss, per the Gazette. “We will be fine. We’re still a very positive group. We have to generate more. We just didn’t play our game.”

Some have blamed the schedule makers. Montreal’s played a league-high 23 times already — Florida’s played 18, comparatively — and opened its season with seven of 11 on the road (Montreal’s also played five back-to-backs already.)

“We didn’t play a good game [vs. New York], but we have to look at the big picture,” head coach Michel Therrien said on Sunday. “We played eight games in 13 nights and we won six of those games.”

Fair point. But what if the blowout losses are more than fatigue?

A theory, then: Montreal’s too reliant on goaltending. It seems if Carey Price and/or Dustin Tokarski have an off night, so too do the Habs, and it’s almost a given Montreal will concede a number of good scoring chances nightly. The Canadiens are not a brick wall defensively; they have a questionable defensive unit that’s undergone a number of changes already this season (most notably by bringing in Sergei Gonchar and Bryan Allen.)

Offensively, the club struggles to compensate in these situations. Montreal ranks 21st in the NHL in goals per game (2.5), 26th in power play percentage (12.7) and fails to generate enough on nights when goalies aren’t razor-sharp.

Now having said all that, let’s be reminded of what’s written at the top: This is the NHL’s first-place team. The counter-argument is that a loss is a loss, regardless of the score and, over the course of an 82-game season, stinkers are going to happen.

You can put Subban in that camp.

“I don’t think it matters whether you lose by five goals or one, it’s still a loss,” he explained. “When we lose, it’s when we turn the page. (The concern is) the losses where you’re scratching your head and wondering what we have to do better. We know what we have to do better.

“We’re going to take a few days off and regroup and we’re going to be a positive group. I don’t think there’s anything to be negative about now.”

Trade: Montreal adds more D, acquires Allen from Ducks for Bourque

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Bit of a late-day surprise given both teams are in action tonight, but Montreal has sent forward Rene Bourque to Anaheim in exchange for veteran defenseman Bryan Allen.

The 34-year-old Allen comes to Montreal having recently returned from an injury that cost him the first 14 games of the year. A physical blueliner, Allen has one point in six games this season, averaging 18:12 TOI per night.

He’s also in the last of a three-year, $10.5 million deal that pays $3.5M annually.

As for Bourque, he’s been in the news lately for all the wrong reasons. After a poor start (no goals in 13 games) he was waived, went unclaimed and then sent to AHL Hamilton, where he’s spent the last 10 days — a dramatic fall from grace for a guy who, earlier this spring, led the Habs in playoff goals (eight) en route to the Eastern Conference Final.

Bourque, 32, has this year and the next remaining on his six-year, $20 million deal, which carries a $3.33M cap hit.

At first glance, the move gives Montreal a tremendous amount of depth on the back end — the Habs had already acquired Sergei Gonchar last week, which allowed them to send promising youngster Jarred Tinordi back to the American League. The deal also reunites Allen with Habs GM Marc Bergevin — they were teammates in Vancouver — and gets Bourque’s money off the books for next year

For Anaheim, the move could provide a spark for a guy that’s fallen on hard times. Bourque’s best years did come in the Western Conference — he had back-to-back 27-goal seasons for Calgary from 2009-11.