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NHL Teams: Montreal Canadiens

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Montreal Canadiens
Maurice Richard, Jean Beliveau (AP)

The National Hockey League (NHL) is one of the most beloved global sports, containing some of the world’s most powerful, skilled, and insanely disciplined hockey players.

To find success, a franchise must thrive both on and off the ice, and work cohesively as a team. The Montreal Canadiens franchise is a prime example of this. 

Established in 1909, the Canadiens are one of the founding teams of the National Hockey Association and the forerunner of the NHL (formed in 1917). As a result, the franchise has a rich history with its roots extending further back than any other NHL team.

To learn more, and to see where they rank for the 2022-23 season, make sure to check out the most recent NHL odds.

Home Arena

The Montreal Canadiens’ previous training base, the Montreal Forum, is arguably the most storied building in the history of hockey. The Forum was built in 1924 by the Canadian Arena Company on behalf of the Montreal Maroons and was completed in just 159 days.

The Canadiens moved into the Montreal Forum just before the 1926–27 season and remained there for over 70 seasons and all but their first two Stanley Cup championships. This includes 22 Stanley Cup-winning campaigns.

Only two visiting teams ever won the Stanley Cup on Forum ice: the New York Rangers in 1928, and the Calgary Flames in 1989. 

Since March 1996, the Canadiens have played all home games at Bell Centre. 

Today, the former Canadiens training ground is a popular multiplex cinema. So, although the team no longer resides there, the venue’s long-term association with Montreal establishes it as a significant symbol in the history of Canadian sport.

Notable Figures In Franchise History

Since the beginning, the Montreal Canadiens have seen many amazing players who have not only left a legacy with the team but in the entire hockey league. 

One of these names is Maurice “Rocket” Richard who played 18 NHL seasons for the Canadiens. He was the first-ever player to score 50 goals in a single season (1944-45) and the first to reach 500 goals. His records for 544 regular season and 82 playoff goals are still undefeated today. 

Another key figure you need to know is Howie Morenz. He joined the team in 1923 and led them to victories in the Stanley Cup in 1924, 1930, and also 1931. Morenz was also the first Canadiens player to have his jersey number retired (7) in 1937.

Toe Blake might just be the best NHL coach of all time, winning eight Stanley Cup championships with the team between 1955 and 1968. 

If it wasn’t for the likes of Blake, renowned head coach Scotty Bowman would definitely have clinched this spot. Bowman won five overall Stanley Cup championships between 1973 and 1979, four of which occurred consecutively.

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Rivals

The Montreal Canadiens have a few intense rivalries, some much newer than others. 

However, their biggest NHL rivals are undoubtedly the Boston Bruins. Both teams have faced off for many years – their first meeting on the ice taking place in 1929 — and continue to have a fierce rivalry that dominates the season. 

While not as extreme as their Bruins rivalry, the Canadiens’ apparent rivalry with the Sabres is also pretty well-known. This muted rivalry has stuck around since the Buffalo Sabres’ debut in the 1970 season. It can be exceptional at times, especially regarding brawls between the teams.

And, finally, another one of the Canadiens’ long-standing rivalries exists with the Toronto Maple Leafs. The two Canadian teams are part of the “Original Six” NHL teams but their feud didn’t pick up speed until the 1940s. 

Before they moved to Denver and became the Avalanche, the Quebec Nordiques were also a fierce provincial rival.

Key Achievements

The Montreal Canadiens existed for longer than the NHL itself. In that time, the Canadiens won a total of 24 Stanley Cup championships. This is the most recorded win in the history of the NHL.

The Canadiens won their first Stanley Cup championship from 1915–16, dominating against the Portland Rosebuds in a thrilling series consisting of five games.

The Montreal Canadiens also have 65 inductees from the player’s category in the Hockey Hall of Fame. Georges Vezina and Howie Morenz were the first players granted the honor in 1945. Guy Carbonneau is the most recently inducted player (2019). 

Current Performance

The Montreal Canadiens had a poor season in 2021-22, achieving the least amount of wins in the NHL and falling far from success, largely due to lots of injuries (Price and Weber) and general issues within the team. Yet doesn’t look set to be a continuing trend. 

What’s Next?

Going forward, the team can easily rebuild its lineup around young stars like Cole Caufield, Alexander Romanov, and Nick Suzuki. Factor in the extremely talented 2022 Draft picks and the Canadiens’ roster could tip them in favor of the playoffs this season.

With the guidance of head coach Martin St. Louis, a former professional ice hockey player in his own right, anything is possible this upcoming season!

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Adrian Dater - Kiss and Larry Bird fan. Writer with @Gambling and @Bookies, Avs Insider with 104.3 The Fan. Denver Post, SI, Bleacher Report alum, author of seven books.

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This site is in no way associated with the Colorado Avalanche or the NHL. Copyright © 2019 National Hockey Now and Adrian Dater.

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