As the Montréal Canadiens beat the Dallas Stars last night, we were reminded of the Bell Centre's 20th anniversary nearly to the day, marking the closing of the mythical old Forum and the passing of the torch to the new building, in somewhat literal terms:
That final honorary face-off between then-current captain Pierre Turgeon and the last one to have won a Stanley Cup wearing the "C" in Montréal, Guy Carbonneau, still sends shivers down my spine, as does the seemingly never-ending standing ovation for all Habs legends of the past, with the longest one going to Maurice Richard:
It wasn't just so-called "regular" fans cheering, but past and current players, as well as freaking Canadian Prime Ministers.
The Habs won that one, too.
Pierre Turgeon didn't last too long in Montréal, a weird sacrifice from GM Réjean Houle, who thought having three gifted offensive centers (Turgeon, Vincent Damphousse and a young Saku Koivu) on the same team was somehow problematic, sending #77 to the St. Louis Blues for, essentially, Shayne Corson. After sending Roy and former captain Mike Keane to the Colorado Avalanche for Jocelyn Thibault, Martin Rucinsky and Andrei Kovalenko; and prior to trading Mark Recchi to the Philadelphia Flyers for Dainius Zubrus; and Damphousse, the following captain, to the San Jose Sharks for a second-rounder and a fifth round pick... Oh, Réjean!
Since last season, there has been much debate about letting Eric Lindros in the Hall Of Fame, particularly after admitting Mats Sundin and Peter Forsberg in recent years. Here's how they stack up:
Lindros: 372 goals, 493 assists, 865 points in 760 games. A Hart Trophy and a Canada Cup win (1991). Important part of 1992 silver medal Team Canada Olympic team, bit piece in 2002 Olympic gold team.
Sundin: 564 goals, 785 assists, 1349 points in 1346 games. Captain of the gold medal 2006 Swedish Olympic team and on the 2002 Olympic All-Star Team. Seven World Championship medals, including three gold.
Forsberg: 249 goals, 636 assists, 885 points in 705 games. Two Stanley Cups. Another 225 points in 214 Swedish League games. Two Olympic gold medals, including the 1994 game-winning goal. Five World Championship medals, including two gold. Art Ross, Hart and Calder trophies.
Lindros is clearly a step down from both these players.
Now, consider Pierre Turgeon: 515 goals, 812 assists, 1327 points in 1294 games. That's right - over 500 goals, over 1300 points, more than a point-per-game average - and he's not even in the conversation...
I don't know. I'd at least put him ahead of Lindros.
Which brings me to card # from Panini's 2013-14 Totally Certified set: