Rumor Roundup: Martinez deal could leave Kings facing cap crunch

St. Louis Blues v Los Angeles Kings

The Los Angeles Kings recent re-signing of defenseman Alec Martinez to a six-year, $24-million contract extension leaves them with over $60 million invested in 14 players for 2015-16. There’s growing speculation over what GM Dean Lombardi will do to address this situation.

If the salary cap stagnates for next season they won’t have much room to re-sign such notables as Justin Williams, Tyler Toffoli, Tanner Pearson and Jarret Stoll. Looming on the horizon is a new contract for top center Anze Kopitar. He’s signed through 2015-16 and become eligible for unrestricted free agency in July 2016. Read more

How Habs legend Jean Béliveau played Cupid for one lucky Montreal couple

The Hockey News
Jean Beliveau (image courtesy of Stuart Guttman)

By Ryan Cooke
Sports editor, Truro Daily News
Special To THN

MONTREAL – Stuart Guttman sat up in bed, his newlywed wife lying fast asleep next to him as his eyes fixated on the screen in front of him.

His panicked instinct was to wake her up, but he thought better of it moments later. He reached to his other side, picked up his phone and immediately sent an email to his father-in-law.

Jean Beliveau is dead.

For Guttman and his wife, Amanda, Jean Beliveau will always be a major part of their relationship. Montreal natives and hockey fans, but both a little too young to remember the days of No. 4, they grew up on stories of his excellence. They heard all about his 17 Stanley Cups, his 500 career goals and all his triumphs wearing the bleu, blanc et rouge.

But to Stuart and Amanda, Jean Beliveau wasn’t just a hockey player. He was a Cupid. Read more

Young Jean Beliveau was just as hyped as Sidney Crosby

Jason Kay
Jean with boy

Jean Beliveau was a household hockey name before he ever reached the NHL, much like Connor McDavid, Sidney Crosby and Eric Lindros have been more recently.

That fame multiplied when he finally broke into the league full-time with the Montreal Canadiens in 1953-54 and subsequently lived up to expectations. And then some.

The following is a portrait of the young NHLer, as published by The Hockey News in our Feb. 5, 1955 edition.

WILL THIS GREAT AMATEUR BE A GREAT PRO?

By Vince Lunny

Montreal, Que. – The road to hockey’s graveyard, otherwise known as the bushes, is paved with the bones of maverick recruits who came into the National Hockey League as sure-fire prospects and wore out their welcomes almost before they soiled their uniforms.

In the light of this great truth, Jean Beliveau of the Canadiens is unique. Now in his second season, Beliveau has more than justified the unprecedented ballyhoo that heralded his debut as a full-fledged professional.

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Teammates and opponents pay tribute to ‘Mister’ Beliveau

Ken Campbell
Maurice Richard (left) and Jean Beliveau (Photo by Transcendental Graphics/Getty Images)

When Rejean Houle walked into the Montreal Canadiens dressing room for the first time for training camp in 1969, he didn’t do so as just another long shot prospect. After all, he was the No. 1 overall pick in the draft and a 50-goal scorer who had just come off leading the Montreal Jr. Canadiens to the Memorial Cup. He had every right to have a little swagger in his step.

But he was scared to death. And one of the reasons was the focal point of the room, the Canadiens captain Jean Beliveau. Houle had grown up worshipping Beliveau as most young Quebec players did and wondered how he would ever be able to share a dressing room with such a giant of the game. Read more

Jean Beliveau: A legend beyond reproach

Ken Campbell
Harry Howell (left) and Jean Beliveau  (Photo by B Bennett/Getty Images)

The following is a profile on Jean Beliveau from the 2008 book Habs Heroes by THN senior writer/columnist Ken Campbell. Beliveau was ranked No. 2 all-time among Canadiens players behind Maurice (The Rocket) Richard.

Had Jean Beliveau not been a man of such unwavering principle, he just might have been remembered as the greatest Montreal Canadiens player of all-time.

One thing is certain: Beliveau’s bank account would have been much, much larger, almost as imposing as the mystique that surrounds the man who embodies the class and dignity of the Canadiens like no other.

“The two greatest figures of the Canadiens in the past 60 years are The Rocket and Jean Beliveau,” former Canadiens goalie Ken Dryden once observed. “One of them evokes love, the other evokes admiration.”

At 6-foot-3 and 205 pounds, Beliveau was difficult for the Canadiens to ignore. That he possessed a rare combination of power and grace and a wonderful, swooping stride made the Canadiens covet him all the more from the time Beliveau turned 18. But instead of joining the Canadiens, Beliveau played junior for the Quebec Citadelles for two years. Then, feeling a sense of obligation to the people of Quebec City who supported him as a junior player, he spent two years with the Quebec Aces of the Quebec Senior Hockey League.

Eighteen seasons after joining the Canadiens, Beliveau left the game for good following Montreal’s unlikely Stanley Cup win in 1971. He recorded 76 points that year, one of the highest totals for a player in his final NHL season.

“I actually wanted to retire from the Canadiens the year before,” Beliveau said. “But (GM) Sam Pollock and (owner) David Molson asked me to stay another year. We had a lot of young players and Sam Pollock told me, ‘Jean, I’ll feel much better if I know you’re in the room.’ So I said, ‘All right, Sam, I’ll play another year, but it will be my last.”

And this is where Beliveau’s legacy comes into the picture. As it stands, Beliveau is third on the Canadiens all-time list for goals with 507, 37 behind Maurice Richard. He’s second in points with 1,219, 27 behind Guy Lafleur and fourth in games played with 1,125, 131 behind Henri Richard.

Had Beliveau played the four years prior to joining the Canadiens and a couple more instead of retiring, there’s no question he would have broken all three marks and easily be at the top of each category. Even if he had joined the Canadiens as a 20-year-old, he would have been around for their Stanley Cup win in 1952-53 and had he played longer, he would have been there for their Cup victory in 1973. That would have given Beliveau 12 Stanley Cups as a player, one more than all-time leader Henri Richard.

“Numbers to me are very secondary,” Beliveau said, “compared to when people are honest with me. I have a very hard time to split with somebody who has been good to me.”

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Classy, elegant Jean Beliveau was the greatest Hab of all

Ken Campbell
Gordie Howe (left) and Jean Beliveau (Photo by Francois Lacasse/NHLI via Getty Images)

Back in 2008, I was working on a book to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the Montreal Canadiens. It was titled Habs Heroes and it chronicled the top 100 players, in order, to ever play for the team.

Our list was culled from the input of two expert panels – one in Toronto and the other in Montreal. As I met with both, I gently tried to nudge them toward my point of view that Jean Beliveau, and not Maurice (Rocket) Richard, was in fact the player who deserved to be ranked No. 1 of all-time amongst Montreal Canadiens. In the end, the majority sided with Richard, with Beliveau finishing a close second.

Perhaps Canadiens Hall of Fame goalie Ken Dryden put it best when he compared the two Canadiens icons this way: “The two greatest figures of the Canadiens in the past 60 years are The Rocket and Jean Beliveau. One of them evokes love, the other evokes admiration.”

If Rocket Richard ignited the passion of the people of Quebec on and off the ice, then Jean Beliveau, who died Tuesday night at the age of 83 after a long illness, kept the embers of that passion glowing brightly through an 18-year playing career and another in the front office. He remains one of the most respected players ever to play the game and he had such a regal presence that he was once offered Governor-General’s post in Canada, a job he turned down to be close to his family after the suicide of his son-in-law.

Beliveau, it should be noted, never had a problem saying no if it were for the right reasons. In fact, I contend that if Beliveau had not been a man of such high principle, he would usurp Rocket Richard in the minds of more people than a young man from Sudbury who idolized him and got to stay up late to watch him score his 500th career goal in 1971.

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Montreal Canadiens great Jean Béliveau passes away at 83

Stu Hackel
Jean Béliveau (Getty Images)

In the days when the highest compliment in hockey was to say someone had “class,” no one had more class than the majestic Jean Béliveau. With his death Tuesday at age 83, hockey has lost not only one of its greatest all-time players, but perhaps its greatest-ever team leader and public ambassador.

The Canadiens announced the sad news of Beliveau’s passing via their Twitter account.


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