NHL Team Guide: Montreal Canadiens
The Canadiens have the distinction of being the longest continuously operating professional hockey franchise in the world. The club was founded in 1909 and is one of the oldest North American sports franchises. Montreal – along with Boston, Chicago, Detroit, New York Rangers, and Toronto – is a member of the Original Six NHL franchises.
Montreal’s TV schedule includes several nationally televised games on NBC, NBCSN, or CBC. Fans in the Canadiens viewing region can watch Montreal games on TV at TSN2. Thirty-two games are also available on Sportsnet and fans can watch the Canadiens complete schedule of games on live stream at NHL.com.
Montreal is a member of the Atlantic Division along with three other Original Six franchises – Boston, Detroit, and Toronto. The Canadiens and the rest of the Atlantic Division plays most of its NHL schedule in the Eastern Conference.
No other NHL franchise has won more Stanley Cups than Montreal. They have won 24 total with 23 of them coming since the founding of the NHL and 22 since 1927, the first year that only NHL teams competed for the Cup. The franchise’s most recent Stanley Cup was won at the end of the 1992-93 season when the Canadiens beat the Los Angeles Kings.
In 102 NHL seasons, Montreal has made a playoff appearance 83 times. The Canadiens storied history includes 24 division championships – the most recent being 2016-17 – and eight conference championships.
The Montreal Forum housed the Canadiens for seven decades until the Molson Centre opened in 1996. When the team was sold in 2002, the Canadiens’ home was re-named the Bell Centre. The venue underwent renovations in 2015 and continues to be the home of the Canadiens. The Bell Centre seats 21,273 for hockey games.
The Canadiens, like other Original Six franchises, have dozens of players in the Hockey Hall of Fame. The Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy is given annually to the NHL’s leading goal scorer. It is given in honor of Richard who scored 544 career goals, which is still the most in franchise history. Richard was a member of eight Stanley Cup champions, including five straight between 1956 and 1960.
Guy Lafleur is still the Canadiens all-time leading scorer with 1,246 points. He is second to Richard in goals scored with 518 and first in assists (728). In his 14 seasons with Montreal, Lafleur won three Art Ross Trophies, two Hart Memorial Trophies, three Ted Lindsay Awards, and one Conn Smythe. Lafleur retired in 1985 and returned to the NHL for three more seasons adding another 107 points to his career total.
Also among the Canadiens’ greats is center Jean Beliveau, the franchise’s leading scorer until he was surpassed by Lafleur. Beliveau played 20 seasons in Montreal and was the second player in NHL history to score 1,000 points. He finished his career with 1,219. His 507 goals is still third in Montreal history. Beliveau won the very first Conn Smythe Trophy as the 1965 playoff MVP and he holds the distinction of being the individual with the most Stanley Cup championships (17). The Hall of Famer won 10 as a player and seven as an executive, all with Montreal.
Author: Dan Anderson