Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Canadiens to retire Big Bird's #19 and Bo's # 23

The Montreal Canadiens, one of the most storied franchises in the NHL, will retire the numbers of two more players this coming season.

The rafters of the Bell Centre are currently occupied by Jacques Plante, Doug Harvey, Jean Beliveau, Boom Boom Geoffrion, Howie Morenz, Maurice Richard, Guy Lafleur, Dickie Moore, Yvan Cournoyer, Henri Richard, Serge Savard and Ken Dryden. On November 19th, when the Ottawa Senators visit the Canadiens, the Habs will retire Larry Robinson's #19. Three months later, on February 23rd, the Canadiens will retire Bob Gainey's #23 when the Habs play the Blue Jackets.

Larry Robinson (aka 'Big Bird') was a defenceman for the Habs for 17 seasons and is considered to be one of the best blueliners in NHL history. He holds many team records for defencemen, including games played (1202), career goals (197), assists (686), points (882) and points in a season (85).

Elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1995, Robinson went on to have a successful coaching career. He has been the assistant coach of the New Jersey Devils, as well as the head coach of the LA Kings and the Devils. He led the Devils to the Stanley Cup in 2000, after he was named the interim head coach at the end of the season. He is currently an assistant coach in Jersey under Brent Sutter.

Bob Gainey, who played for the Habs for 16 seasons, is considered to be one of the best complete players in NHL history. He played a defensive-style of hockey, and was awarded four consecutive Selke Trophies as a result. He was also an important player on the Montreal teams that won 4 consecutive Stanley Cups in the late 70s, and again in 1986. He retired from the game in 1989 and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1995.

Gainey has also been very active in the hockey community after retirement. He has been a head coach with the Minnesota North Stars/Dallas Stars, as well as the interim head coach for the Canadiens. In addition, Gainey has been a General Manager since 1992, first with the Stars (where he won the Cup in 1999) and now with the Habs.

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