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Habs to retire Lapointe’s jersey

Jun 18, 2014, 4:27 PM EDT

Toronto Maple Leafs v Montreal Canadiens Getty Images

The Montreal Canadiens are retiring another jersey. This time, it’s the No. 5 worn by Hall of Fame defenseman Guy Lapointe.

Now, the Habs already retired the No. 5 when they retired it for Bernie “Boom Boom” Geoffrion in 2006, but this is about Lapointe’s name going up in the rafters of the Bell Centre (sometime next season), along with a whole bunch of other former greats.

In all, the Canadiens have retired 15 numbers, in honor of 17 players. (Eighteen players now, counting Lapointe.)

For you youngsters out there, Lapointe was one of hockey’s elite blue-liners during the 1970’s — a decade in which the powerhouse Habs won six Stanley Cups, including four straight from 1976-79.

Hall of Famers Serge Savard and Larry Robinson were also on that Habs blue line, and have already had their numbers (18 and 19, respectively) retired.

Together, Lapointe, Savard and Robinson were called the “Big Three.”

From a 1977 Sports Illustrated article:

“How can one team have three defensemen like that?” asked the Islanders’ confused Lome Henning.

All three stand at least six feet tall and weigh at least 200 pounds. All three are extremely fast and mobile, and at the whim of Coach Scotty Bowman they occasionally take a shift on one of the wings. Robinson, in fact, regularly moves to a forward position on the Canadiens’ power play and places his immovable body at the goaltender’s doorstep, where he can screen the goalie’s vision and also pick harassed defensemen and force them out of the play.

“Those three guys do so many things, they make it easier for everyone else,” says New York’s J. P. Parise. “Except for Guy Lafleur and Steve Shutt and Jacques Lemaire, the Montreal forwards are a bunch of plumbers, just like us, but with those three defensemen on their side they can take a lot of chances.”

There’s been a push in Montreal to have Lapointe’s jersey retired, led by his daughter, Stephanie, who tweeted the following today about the news:

  1. gbart22 - Jun 18, 2014 at 4:43 PM

    Teams take retiring numbers to extremes.

    • nothanksimdriving123 - Jun 18, 2014 at 5:41 PM

      Really, who is this Lapointe bum anyway? Besides being selected to the end of year NHL All-Star teams 4 times, finishing 2nd to Bobby Orr for the Norris Trophy once and being in the Norris top 5 five other times, having 3 straight 20-goal seasons from the blue line, and oh yeah, winning the Stanley Cup 6 times, and being easily elected to the Hall of Fame, I really can’t find much of anything impressive about the fellow.

      • avscup - Jun 18, 2014 at 6:08 PM

        So many of today’s new age fans have no clue! They also had guys like Bill Nyrop, JC Tremblay, Jacques Laperriere and John Van Boxmeer. All solid D.

      • elrock7 - Jun 18, 2014 at 10:38 PM

        I think they are going to retire Gilles Lupiens number after that. They retire so many numbers that this is the second time for #5.

        There low number is going to be in the 40s soon. Classic!

  2. rsmaggiemae - Jun 18, 2014 at 7:12 PM

    I was a huge fan of the Habs, even though I am from Mn
    I am old enough to remember the great teams from the late 60’s and 70’s
    with Beliveau,Savard,La Pointe,Dryern,Pocket Rocket, Dryden Cornyeau,etc
    No other team in ,my opinion will ever come close to the 70-71 Habs
    best team ever….. my only exception is Orr is was the best D man ever…

    • imleftcoast - Jun 18, 2014 at 8:03 PM

      Can’t forget Guy LaFleur, Ken Dryden and Steve Shutt.

  3. nflnhlrulznbasux - Jun 18, 2014 at 8:09 PM

    “Dreams really do come true! Never give up!” …..yeah, easy to say when your dad played with the a group of players mostly collected together from the “fair” system of equitably distributing players to the first 6 expansion teams, the “equal” draft of Canadian junior hockey players for the Original Six clubs (actually minus Chicago, Boston and NYR) plus the raping of the Kings and Seals to get LeFleur.

    Also, you boys above forgot to mention #17 Rod Langway

    • nothanksimdriving123 - Jun 19, 2014 at 3:55 AM

      They didn’t take advantage of the Kings to get Lafleur. Indeed, they bolstered them by giving them the talented Ralph Backstrom, in the hope they’d finish ahead of the Seals, and they did, thus ensuring the Habs Lafleur. Brilliant dealing by Mr Pollock.

      • nflnhlrulznbasux - Jun 19, 2014 at 2:15 PM

        Backstrom was a 20 goal scorer on the back end of his career who wanted to be traded. Manipulation of the draft and screwing teams was standard operation for Les Habs.

  4. dumbassgreg - Jun 18, 2014 at 8:58 PM

    about time. he does not get enough respect because he played behind robinson savard. he only got limited power play time.

  5. terrier92 - Jun 18, 2014 at 10:08 PM

    Lapointe was a terrific player who handled himself with dignity and class. I saw him and the hated Habs beat my beloved Bruins far too many times yet while I hated the Habs I damm well respected them. Classy team unlike current group.

  6. charlie24zz - Jun 19, 2014 at 3:37 AM

    Bruins fan calling the Habs unclassy…classic

  7. jrcan13 - Jun 19, 2014 at 12:14 PM

    About freakin time

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