Canadians must do justice to Toe Blake

Canadians must do justice to Toe Blake

The media launched the campaign for the nomination of the Canadians’ next captain. But what is the the team management intends to wear number 6 by Shea Weber during his five seasons in Montreal? it doesn’t you cannot try to hoist a banner that immortalizes Weber on the heights of the Bell Center. if such an honor it had to be returned to him, it is in Nashville where he would deserve it.

The Predators took his circulation number off after trading it to the Habs for PK Subban.

an explosive trio

The Canadian must, however, add a banner stamped with the number 6 to the other 18 suspended in his amphitheater. In honor of whom? young people will ask.

In tribute to Toe Blake, the only member of the famous end line not have been decorated with this distinction.

The elders who witnessed the exploits of this trio and the next two or three generations know everything there is to know about the end line.

big missed opportunity

Maurice Richard’s No. 9 passed into posterity in the weeks after his retirement was announced in the fall of 1960.

Four decades later, the Canadian used his centenary celebrations to pay the same tribute to Elmer Lach, as well as former defender Butch Bouchard, who also played a major role in the Tricolor’s Stanley Cup wins in 1944 and 1946.

It would have been a good occasion to honor the memory of his former teammate Toe Blake at the same time.

What happen?

I’ve always wondered why the Canadiens leadership didn’t include Mr. Blake, as I called him when I saw him on the Forum press bridge, in their prestigious retired jerseys club. His son Bruce asks himself the same question.

“He got assists on every Rockets goal!” he laughs.

“I don’t know why the number 6 is not erased from his memory. »

Bruce says it calmly and without bitterness. He does not criticize anyone. He relies on the people who have decision-making power in this type of case in Canada.

In the Pantheon as a player

I’m also always surprised when people tell me that Blake is a Hockey Hall of Famer as a builder.

It is true that the man has had great success behind the bench. He led the Canadiens to eight Stanley Cup titles in 13 seasons. But it was his performances on the ice that landed him in the Hall of Fame.

During the 1938-39 season, a campaign in which the Canadiens finished second to last in a seven-team league while earning a playoff bye, Blake won the National League scoring championship. He was also chosen as the winner of the Hart Trophy awarded to the most valuable player on his team.

In 1943, coach Dick Irvin formed what journalists would call the end line.

In 1944-45, Lach, Richard and Blake captured the top three NHL scoring spots in that order.

In 1946, Blake became the first Canadiens player to win the Lady Byng Trophy, awarded to the player with the best sportsmanship.

He has three All-Star First Team nominations left and another Second Team selection.

And he was captain of the Canadians from 1940 to 1948.

Top 100

In 2017, he was posthumously selected to the NHL’s Top 100 Players Club.

His playing career is worth more than a photo in the ring of honor for the Canadiens Players and Builders inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

In Buffalo, banners honoring the late Richard Martin and Rene Robert, who are not in the Hall of Fame, sit next to those of Gilbert Perreault, recognized as the greatest player in Sabers history.

Above the three banners, we can see the inscription “ The French Connection »flanked by the fleur de lis on one side and the Sabers logo on the other.

more than time

Toe Blake passed away in 1994, devastated by the effects of the terrible Alzheimer’s disease.

His son, who is the last surviving member of his immediate family, would no doubt be happy to raise a banner from the roof of the Bell Center paying tribute to his father for the 13 great seasons he gave the Canadiens on the ice.

The time has come to reunite forever. Toethe rocket and Elmer. So says Serge Savard in the prologue to the book entitled Hector “Toe” Blake, L’Ours au cœur tender, a work signed by Léandre Normand, which has been on the market since April.

It is more than due.

Second retired NHL scorer

A stat that shows how Toe Blake was a great player.

He was the second leading scorer in National League history when a double fracture in his right leg ended his career with the Canadiens in January 1948. He had 529 points, as did Syd Howe, who was not related to Gordie.

However, Blake had played 123 fewer games than Howe, or 577 to 700 for Howe, who had a career with the Ottawa Senators, Philadelphia Quakers, Toronto Maple Leafs, St. Louis Eagles and Detroit Red Wings, from 1929 to 1946.

The point guard was Bill Cowley who, in his rookie season, played with the St. Louis Eagles – descendants of the early version of the Ottawa Senators – before playing with the Boston Bruins for 12 seasons.

Originally from Bristol, a Quebec township in Pontiac County (Outaouais), Cowley had 549 points in as many games on the clock.

First in playoffs

In the playoffs, Blake held the lead with 62 points in 58 games, nine more than Syl Apps, who had played 11 more games.

Maurice Richard was third with 47 points, including 31 goals, in just 34 games. According to accounts of the time, the Rocket was deprived of several assists during matches on opposing courts.

Because seeing a French-Canadian rewrite the record book unsettled the English-speaking leaders of the league.

When Lach hung up his skates in 1954, Richard was the leading scorer in NHL history with 652 points.

Lach trailed Rocket with 623 points, while Blake, who had played his last NHL game six years earlier, was eighth.

Within months of his accident, Blake, who had learned the basics of coaching from Dick Irvin, with whom he had played since 1940, led the Houston Huskies to the USHL championship.

He stepped on the skates again in the 1948-49 season as player-coach of the Buffalo Bisons, whom he led to the Calder Cup title.

He filled both roles the next two seasons with the Valleyfield Braves of the mighty Quebec Senior League.

And, in 1955, he succeeded Irvin behind the Canadian bench. He was starting a great career as a coach.


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