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The Montreal Canadiens: 100 Years of Glory [Hardcover]

D'Arcy Jenish
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Sept. 30 2008
National Bestseller

The definitive history of the Montreal Canadiens – to coincide with their Centenary in 2009.

Before there were slapshots, Foster Hewitt, or even an NHL, there were the Canadiens. Founded on December 4, 1909, the team won its first Stanley Cup in 1916. Since then, the Canadiens have won 23 more championships, making them the most successful hockey team in the world. The team has survived two wars, the Great Depression, NHL expansion, and countless other upheavals, thanks largely to the loyalty of fans and an extraordinary cast of players, coaches, owners, and managers.

The Montreal Canadiens captures the full glory of this saga. It weaves the personalities, triumphs, heartaches, and hysteria into a compelling narrative with a surprise on every page. It sheds new light on old questions – how the team colours were chosen, how the Canadiens came to be known as the Habitants – and goes behind the scenes of tumultuous recent events still awaiting thorough examination: why Scotty Bowman was passed over as general manager after Sam Pollock resigned; why Pollock’s successor, Irving Grunman, failed; why Serge Savard was dumped as GM so hastily despite his record.

Colourful and controversial, The Montreal Canadiens is the history of a team that has been making news for 100 years – and continues to do so with the return of legendary player Bob Gainey as general manager, determined to bring the Stanley Cup back to Montreal.

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Quill & Quire

There haven’t been too many dynasties in the 91-year history of the National Hockey League, but after reading this exhaustive account of the Montreal Canadiens, it’s easy to see why the Habs were the gold standard for so long. It’s not just the 24 Stanley Cups. It’s the almost unbroken line of stars, from Georges Vézina and Newsy Lalonde to Ken Dryden, Guy Lafleur, Bob Gainey, and Patrick Roy. Relying heavily on old newspaper accounts, D’Arcy Jenish knits together a compelling yarn that traces not just the century-old équipe des habitants, but the events of the day that affected hockey and the world away from it, including two world wars, the flu outbreak of 1918, and the Quiet Revolution of Quebec nationalism. For hockey history and trivia buffs, this book can’t be beat. Who knew that Dryden played defence for Vulcan Packaging in the Toronto Industrial League when he sat out the NHL’s 1973-74 season in protest over the Canadiens’ refusal to renegotiate his contract? If you like the off-ice intrigue of signings, hirings, and firings, Jenish has it covered like Gainey in his prime. While there is entirely too much game-related minutiae here, the book authentically captures the mood of the times and the stories of the day – be it Lafleur’s sad decline or Roy’s inglorious exit.  The Habs have fallen on lean times since their last Cup victory in 1993, but there may yet be another chapter to add to Les Glorieux.

Review

“A fascinating, necessary read for any Canadiens fan or hockey historian.”
The Gazette (Montreal)

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Real history Dec 16 2008
By Reader
Format:Hardcover
This is a great rarity: a sports history book that is superbly written and researched. It no doubt helps that D'Arcy Jenish, as well as being a Habs follower, is also a historian ("Epic Wanderer", about David Thompson and the Mapping of the Canadian West, is one of his books). His history of the Canadiens is founded on new interviews and an exhaustive search through a century's worth of newspapers, which gives his work both factual authority and a vivid immediacy. It reads at an exciting pace. The chapters on recent developments, and what went on behind closed boardroom doors, are fascinating. And he doesn't let his love of the team blind him to its mistakes and missteps over the years. A surprisingly revealing introduction by Bob Gainey is a nice bonus.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book May 12 2010
Format:Hardcover
Book is a great read and is a great addition to any Habs fan's collection of Habs memorabilia.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Montreal Canadiens 100 Years of Glory Jan. 14 2010
Format:Paperback
It was no surprize that my son inlaw was stunned when we presented him with the entire gift box of Canadiens history...the book and video's of important games were something he enjoyed 100%. He took the book with him on the aircraft to Mexico and completed the read before landing at the resort....he said the time just flew by/.

Larry Christie
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Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book for hockey lovers of the Montreal Canadiens Dec 13 2008
By David G. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This well written book does an excellent job of covering the history of the Montreal Canadiens hockey organization, including it's owners, managers, coaches and players. It follows the team from it's inception through World War One, the Great Depression, World War Two, and the evolution of hockey expansion, up to today. Hockey in Montreal isn't just another sport, and the Montreal Canadiens are not just another hockey team. Hockey is ingrained in the hearts of Montrealers, and the Montreal Canadiens are their team. This book would be a good read for any hockey addict, but it is a GREAT read for any ardent longtime Montreal Canadiens fan. Thoroughly enjoyable.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars To Hab and Hab Not Oct. 14 2009
By Richard A. Johnson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This joins a select group of Canadiens team histories along with volumes by Brian MacFarlane, Dick Irvin, Claude Mouton, and the editors of "Sports Illustrated." Jenish does a great job plumbing the depths of the club's early years and helps fans understand that success was not instantaneous...most forget that the Forum was built for the rival Maroons and not the Canadiens. The narrative really starts rolling from the forties onwards as we are given some new perspective on familiar characters. Donat Raymond is given his just due as is the great Dick Irvin. I especially liked this book because it is written as straight history as opposed to the hagiography that constitutes most sports histories. This is an excellent treatment of hockey's most important club and is worthy of the subject. Merci beaucoup.
4.0 out of 5 stars Good but incomplete. Nov. 14 2013
By Robert J. Delaney - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Reading it, I found the author jumped over more recent and important pasts to their history, such as the merger of the WHA and the NHL and its im^pact upon the Canadiens. Also, This is the type of book that should be filled with pictures Canadien players and their history. Unfortunately there are a few pictures included.
3.0 out of 5 stars Good April 21 2013
By Henry on Hillside - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The book is a monument to the art of digging through microfilm to retrieve newspaper stories. Digging through microfilm is a difficult task often carried out on rickety old tables in stuffy library rooms. Somebody had to do it to get the story of the Montreal Canadiens, and D'Arcy Jenish does it well, performing a major service for fans of this great, proud team. (I would argue that the Canadiens eclipse the New York Yankees as the greatest and proudest team in the history of North American sports.) The book is often quite good, as when, for example, we catch a glimpse of Steve Shutt after the team was eliminated in the Stanley Cup playoffs, sitting in his car (a vintage Bentley), drinking a case of beer, listening to the radio, and muttering all night about how he hates to lose. (I'd like to know what kind of music he listened to, but apparently no one has ever asked him that.)

Jenish offers the occasional nice anecdote like that, and is good at putting together a basic factual narrative, but he's very inconsistent (to be polite) at capturing the glory and grandeur of the team, the sheer visceral tribal excitement generated by Rocket Richard, Guy Lafleur, or Yvan Cournoyer racing down the right wing, or Dickie Moore, Frank Mahovlich, or Aurele Joliat down the left, as a deep-throated roar came up from the fans. An example - his description of the epic 1951 Stanley Cup final between Montreal and Toronto, a tribal war if ever there was one, is very brief and just really sort of...."meh." Another example - with the Canadiens a few seconds away from elimination in the 1979 playoffs against the Bruins, Lafleur scored a magnificent goal to tie the game and send it into overtime, one of the truly stirring moments in the history of the game, worthy of a detailed description - a beautiful pass by Jacques Lemaire straddling the blue line, a stunningly perfect shot by Lafleur, it's the moment he was born for, the moment he rehearsed for during long, cold winter afternoons in the shadows of the paper mills of Thurso (population 2,000). With his deed done on this spring day in 1979 and the crowd cheering like mad, the Flower sort of acts shy and reserved, like a little boy back in Thurso, but then he looks up and makes it a point to make proud eye contact with Larry (Big Bird) Robinson, his one true peer on the team. I find stuff like that fascinating, revealing of lots of stuff about the '70s Canadiens. Jenish apparently doesn't because he fails to mention the goal. (A video clip of the goal is available on youtube. Do a Google search for "youtube canadiens goal lafleur bruins 1979." If youtube has the video today, then Jenish should have been able to find the clip somewhere while he was researching the book in 2006 and '07. Jenish would have been well served by deconstructing a few key moments like this - this would have added a lot to his effort.)

My other big problem with the book is, the photo section is weak. Three photos of Maurice Richard but none of Howie Morenz (voted best hockey player of the first half of the 20th century by the Canadian press) or Doug Harvey (probably the best defenseman of his era)? No shots of the exterior of the old Forum, the most important building in hockey history, as central to hockey history as Yankee Stadium was to baseball? (The Forum was "a veritable shrine to hockey fans everywhere," says Wikipedia.) Photos of goalies Ken Dryden and Jacques Plante but not of goalies George Hainsworth and Patrick Roy? Is there no photo in existence of Boom Boom Geoffrion delivering a slap shot? If there isn't, Jenish should tell us that; if there is, he should find it and get it in his book. (Contrary to legend, Geoffrion didn't invent the slap shot, as Jenish notes, but he advanced the art considerably [Bobby Hull perfected it]. And, by the way, isn't the nickname "Boom Boom" actually kind of an insult? It was coined as a comment on the sound of him connecting with the puck and the puck hitting the backboard. But two "Booms" means he missed the net, right? Wouldn't "Boomer" have been a lot better?) We get to see four cool old drawings from newspapers in the early days - just enough to whet our appetite - we should get 10 or 12. These and other art omissions are glaring, lazy, and absurd. I will say, I don't know if the author is to blame for this aspect of the book, I would be more inclined to cite the publisher, Anchor Canada, for failing to come up with an extra few thousand bucks to buy photo rights.

So. This is good book, a useful book, worth buying, that could have been great. To get a feel for the true meaning of hockey in Montreal (and in Canada overall) check out "The Game" by Ken Dryden and "The Greatest Game: The Montreal Canadiens, the Red Army, and the Night That Saved Hockey" by Todd Denault.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars July 25 2014
By KATHRYN C BRETHOUR - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
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