The year 2014 was very good to the Montreal Canadiens and their fans. Although their quest for a 25th Stanley Cup was curtailed by Carey Price getting bulldozed by NY Rangers forward Chris Kreider, the Montreal Canadiens came within 2 victories of appearing in the Stanley Cup Finals.
Well there is always 2015 as they say.
Below is a list of hi-lights from 2014, and with the Top news story surrounding the Montreal Canadiens.
- On February 23rd, 2014 Carey Price and P.K. Subban bring home the Gold Medal at the Sochi Winter Olympics. Price backstopped Canada to 3-0 shut-out victory over Sweden to take home the Gold.
- March 5, 2014 was the NHL trade deadline. And Habs GM Marc Bergevin made the biggest spash by acquiring the most sought after player, NY Islanders forward Tomas Vanek. The move did not cost the Canadiens much, and that surprised many as the move sent Habs prospect Sebastien Collberg, a 2014 second-round pick and a conditional fifth-rounder to the Islanders for Vanek.
- On Saturday March 15 in a game vs the Ottawa Senators, with less than 4 minutes to go in regulation time, Habs were down 4-1 when the comeback was on. The Canadiens got goals from Lars Eller at 16:38, and then another by Brian Gionta at the 17:56 mark. And David Desharnais scored with .8 seconds left in the the 3rd period to tie the game at 4-4. And in Overtime, Francis Bouillon scored 1:26 into OT to cap the comeback!http://video.nhl.com/videocenter/console?id=2013021006-X-h
- On May 14, 2014, the Canadiens trailing 3-2 in the series against their division rivals Boston Bruins, take both Game 6 and then defeating the Boston Bruins 3-1 in the deciding game. After the game, the game will be remembered by the famous handshake line where Milan Lucic, acting in bad sport, threatened several members of the Canadiens. The win enabled the Canadiens to advanced to the NHL Eastern Conference Finals vs the New York Rangers.http://www.cbc.ca/player/Parked%20Sports/Hockey/Stanley%20Cup%20Playoffs/Boston%20vs%20Montreal/ID/2456883566/
- During the off-season, Habs fans were getting impatient as restricted free-agent defenceman PK Subban still wasn’t signed to a contract. The two sides couldn’t agree on a contract prior to their arbitration hearing. They went to arbitration, and on August 2nd, during the period the arbitrator was deciding on the hearing, Subban’s side and Marc Bergevin concluded the richest contract ever awarded to a Montreal Canadiens hockey player; 8 years, $72 million!
- On Saturday November 8, the Canadiens retired the last of the Big Three on defence during the 1970’s, no. 5, Guy Lapointe. Lapointe has been forever immortalized in Canadiens history, being the 18th player in franchise history to have their jersey retired.
- In the milestones category, on December 16, 2014, Alex Galchenyuk scored his first career hat-trick in a 4-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes.
- On December 23rd, Andrei Markov appeared in his 800th career regular-season game in the NHL, all with the Montreal Canadiens in a 3-1 win over the NY Islanders, where Markov even picked up a goal.
- On December 29th, Lars Eller scored the Montreal Canadiens 21,000st career regular season goal as the Canadiens beat the Carolina Hurricanes, 3-1.
But in 2014, in the Montreal Canadiens newsmaker department, there is only one news item that takes precedence above all else. On December 2nd, 2014, the Montreal Canadiens legend M. Jean Béliveau passed away at the age of 83. To put things in perspective, M. Béliveau has been part of 17 of the Montreal Canadiens 24 Stanley Cups. M. Béliveau won 10 Cups as a player, and another 7 times as a member of the Canadiens front office. <<Le Gros Bill>> as many referred to him, was given a “national” funeral. He was exposed at The Bell Centre for two days, with his family greeting every visitor who went to pay their respects (people like me!!). On December 10, M. Béliveau was remembered in a touching funeral at Queen Mary of the World Cathedral where his former teammates Dickie Moore, Yvan Cournoyer, Serge Savard and Ken Dryden gave eloquent eulogies. In addition, Montreal Canadiens co-owner and CEO Geoff Molson also spoke of M. Béliveau, the man he was, and the person we remember.
But Yvan Cournoyer’s words captured the moment for many on that winter day … «Ô! capitaine, mon capitaine, bon voyage».