Hockey Hall of Fame

Canadiens legend Henri Richard dies at age 84

4 Comments

The Montreal Canadiens announced on Friday morning that Hall of Famer Henri Richard died at 84.

Richard played 20 years for the Canadiens between 1955 and 1975 and was one of the organization’s brightest stars and most successful players.

Along with scoring 358 goals and tallying more than 1,000 career points, Richard was simply one of the NHL’s greatest winners. During his two decades with the team the Canadiens won 11 Stanley Cups (and appeared in a 12th Stanley Cup Final).

In two of those championship series, Richard ended up scoring the Stanley Cup clinching goal. The first of those goals came during the 1966 series against the Detroit Red Wings when he scored in overtime of the team’s Game 6 Cup-clinching win.

In Game 7 of the 1971 series against the Chicago Blackhawks, he scored the game-tying goal in Game 7 and then later scored the winning goal.

He also appeared in 10 All-Star games during his career and was MVP of the 1967 game.

Richard retired from the league in 1975 and had his No. 16 immediately retired by the Canadiens.

He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame four years later, and in 2017 was named by the league as one of its 100 all-time greatest players.

Richard ‘a true giant’

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman released the following statement on Friday:

“Henri Richard was one of the true giants of the game. The entire National Hockey League family mourns the passing of this incomparable winner, leader, gentleman and ambassador for our sport and the Montreal Canadiens.

“Beloved by teammates as much for his determination and character as for his brilliant playmaking, he won more Stanley Cups (11) as a player than anyone in NHL history – including five straight while skating on a line with his older brother, Maurice ‘Rocket’ Richard. A 10-time NHL All-Star, the gifted centerman who came to be known as the ‘Pocket Rocket’ ranks third on the Canadiens’ all-time scoring list, won the Bill Masterton Trophy in 1974 and was voted one of the NHL’s Top 100 Players in 2017.

“When his 20-year playing career came to an end in 1975, Richard devoted himself to representing his beloved Canadiens and the game of hockey with the same tirelessness and class that he brought to the ice. We will miss him terribly and our sincere condolences go out to his wife Lise, their children Michèle, Gilles, Denis, Marie-France and Nathalie, 10 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren and his countless friends and fans.”

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

David Ayres gets own hockey card, stick on display at Hall of Fame

2 Comments

It has been quite a week for David Ayres.

At this time seven days almost no one in the hockey world knew who he was. But after being forced into action as an emergency backup goalie for the Carolina Hurricanes, and then getting the win in the game over the Toronto Maple Leafs, he is still getting some pretty big honors.

First, there was the shirt that the Hurricanes started to produce with his name and number on the back (with Ayres getting royalties, and other proceeds going to a kidney foundation). He was also invited to the Hurricanes’ home game on Tuesday night to sound the siren before their game against the Dallas Stars.

Now he is getting his own hockey card from Upper Deck, while the stick he used in Saturday’s game is on display at the Metropolitan Division exhibit at the Hockey Hall of Fame.

The card is part of Upper Deck’s Dated Moments e-packs.

From Upper Deck:

David Ayres, a 42-year-old maintenance operations manager and part-time Zamboni driver, was called into action as the emergency goaltender about halfway through the Carolina Hurricanes’ game against Toronto after both Carolina goaltenders were injured. In his surprise NHL debut, he helped Carolina to a 6-3 win over the Maple Leafs.

Meanwhile, the stick he used in Saturday’s game to stop eight out of 10 shots, is now on display at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.

The 42-year-old Ayres had previously served as an emergency backup goalie for the AHL’s Toronto Marlies but never entered the game. He was forced to play on Saturday after Hurricanes goalies James Reimer and Petr Mrazek were both injured.

MORE: Hurricanes emergency goalie David Ayres beats Maple Leafs

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

Alex Ovechkin passes Selanne for 11th on NHL all-time goals list

Getty Images

At some point in the second half of 2019-20 season we’re going to see NHL history.

The man who will be making history is Alex Ovechkin, who moved to within 14 goals of 700 for his career with a pair Monday night. During the Capitals’ 2-0 win over the Hurricanes, Ovi scored goals Nos. 685 and 686 of his career.

The multi-goal game is the 139th of Ovechkin’s career, which ties him with Hall of Famer Marcel Dionne for the fifth-most in NHL history.

Hitting 686 moved Ovechkin ahead of Teemu Selanne — who Tweeted out a congratulatory message — and into 11th place on the NHL’s all-time goals list. Next in his sights is Mario Lemieux’s 690.

Whenever Ovechkin hits 700 goals he’ll become only the eighth player in league history to reach the mark.

It took Ovechkin just 142 games to go from goal No. 600 to goal No. 686 which, per the NHL, matches Wayne Gretzky for the fewest games to achieve that.

If you’re wondering, the closest active player to Ovechkin’s 686 is Patrick Marleau, who is at 559 goals scored for his career.

————

Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

Hall of Fame defenseman Guy Lapointe fighting oral cancer

Getty Images
1 Comment

MONTREAL — Hall of Fame defenseman Guy Lapointe has oral cancer.

The Montreal Canadiens revealed the diagnosis Wednesday at the request of Lapointe and his family.

“Dr. Keith Richardson, the treating physician from the McGill University Health Centre, indicated that the cancer is located at the base of the tongue,” the team said in a statement. Lapointe will begin his treatments in the coming weeks. This form of cancer has a high cure rate.

Lapointe played most of his 16-year NHL career with his hometown Canadiens. He helped Montreal win six Stanley Cups before closing his career with stops in St. Louis and Boston. The defenseman also played for Canada in the 1972 Summit Series against the Soviet Union.

Canadiens great Guy Lafleur has additional surgery

1 Comment

MONTREAL — Montreal Canadiens great Guy Lafleur had additional surgery, just two months removed from quadruple bypass heart surgery in late September.

The team disclosed the Nov. 28 procedure at the request of Lafleur’s family and said it removed a lobe on one of his lungs, as well lymph nodes. The statement said the operation was successful and Lafleur would return home in coming days to continue his recovery. The 68-year-old Lafleur had heart surgery Sept. 26.

Lafleur helped the Canadiens win the Stanley Cup five times. In 1,126 career NHL games from 1971 to 1991, the Hockey Hall of Famer had 1,353 points (560 goals and 793 assists) and became the first player in history to score at least 50 goals and 100 points in six consecutive seasons.