Respecting the #12

A prior article mentioned that the historic Montreal Canadiens organization will be retiring three more jerseys this year. In my opinion the three jerseys could represent four players. Why? Because you have to the respect the number twelve. Two great hall of fame Habs wore this number with pride and distinction. Even if they are glossed over this time fans shouldn’t forget the #12.

Yvon Cournoyer #12 – Hall of Fame, Conn Symthe, 10 Stanley Cups, team captain, 428 goals (#4 in franchise history) and 863 points(#6), 1972 Team Canada. He was a tiny player but the Russians called him “the Freight Train” because once he got in gear, you couldn’t stop him. In his prime, he was the fastest and often the most exciting player in the NHL. His most productive seasons were alongside Lafleur and Shutt. As a rookie, Cournoyer was given the #12 which has been worn the prior season by another Habs legend.

Dickie Moore #12 Hall of Fame, six Stanley Cups (including five in a row and one with TO), two Art Ross trophies including one where he played three months with a broken wrist. Career: 261 goals, 608 points, playoffs: 46 goals 110 points. Injuries limited him to 10 seasons with Montreal. How good was he? He broke Howe’s 95 point scoring record and held the 96 point record for seven years. He was twice a first team All-Star. Playing one a line with the Richard brothers, he was one of Montreal’s best left wings ever.

Collectively, the number 12 represents two hall of famers, 15 Cups, two scoring titles, a Conn Smythe and 700 goals. It takes the torch from 1951 to 1979, uninterruptedly spanning the greatest epochs in Montreal hockey history. Three decades, 15 cups. Both number twelve’s and all four of their collective line mates were Hall of Famers. The number 12 is the link from Richard to Lafleur. It’s the jersey that helped win five in a row in the 50’s and four in a row in the 70’s. It’s a number to respect. It’s done its job. Let’s retire the #12.