Guy Lapointe: Where He Ranks Among Habs All-Time Defensemen


Guy Lapointe‘s #5 became the 18th number to be raised to the rafters of the Bell Centre Saturday night. The Habs always do a good job when it comes to jersey retirements and special events in general and Saturday was no different.

Lapointe was on the verge of tears as the crowd gave him a nice standing ovation and his former teammates Larry Robinson and Serge Savard said some really touching things about the man many know as ‘Pointu’.

“It’s just unbelievable – those great players who represented the Canadiens and I’m joining them? It’s pretty hard to describe how happy I am.” – Guy Lapointe

The ceremony must have inspired the Habs players, because they skated to an impressive 4-1 victory over the Minnesota Wild.

Last night will probably be the last number retirement for a while, as the Canadiens – with their 105 years of history – have ran out of players for honour.

That’s got me thinking, was retiring Lapointe’s number really warranted or were the Canadiens just looking for some more good PR?

#5 became the fifth Habs d-man to have his number honoured, so we decided to compile a list of All-Time Habs D-men and see where Lapointe ranks.

While it would be fun to analyse every single Canadiens defenseman (from Dave Allison to Zarley Zalapski), that would be mind numbing a bit of a waste of time.

So, I decided to look at the 17 defensemen in the Hockey Hall of Fame who were at one point, part of the Montreal Canadiens organization.

From that list, I removed the players who didn’t spend a significant protion of their careers in Montreal (Rod Langway, Chris Chelios) and the players who were from the pre-number, pre-program or in some cases, pre-arena days.

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  • Apologies Sprague Cleghorn and Joe Hall, you’re not cracking this list!

    That means we have a top seven of sorts. The shortlist is; Emile ‘Butch’ Bouchard, Ken Reardon, Tom Johnson, Doug Harvey, Savard, Jacques Laperriere, Pointu and Robinson.

    Let’s start off by acknowledging what Lapointe has accomplished during his 16-year career, of which the last two and a bit were spent with the St. Louis Blues and the Boston Bruins.

    He won six Stanley Cups, was a first team All-Star in 1972-73 and a three-time second team All-Star. He holds the Habs’ franchise record for goals in a season by defenseman (28) and goals by a rookie defenseman (15). He also ranks second among Canadiens D-men in career assists and points (behind only Robinson).

    So, of the seven on our shortlist, who’s better than Pointu?

    Lapointe can’t compete with Harvey‘s seven Norris Trophies. In fact only a certain Boston Bruin has more. Harvey’s stake as being the number one defenseman during the 1950’s propels him to the top of this list and very close to the top of the all-time NHL list.

    The Big Bird – Larry Robinson’s claim to almost all of the Habs’ franchise records in offensive categories for defensemen puts him well ahead of Lapointe. His Conn Smyth Trophy, physical play and leadership are just icing on the cake.

    It’s relatively easy to see how the above are higher ranked than Lapointe, but what about the rest?

    I’d have to say that Lapointe is above Reardon, Johnson and Laperriere. Reardon only won a single Stanley Cup as a player and although Lapperriere and Tomcat each have a Norris to their name, Lapointe’s point totals and team records cancel them out.

    We now know the top two and the bottom five. It’s now down to Lapointe, Bouchard and Savard for spaces three through five.

    Nov 8, 2014; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens former players Guy Savard (left) and Larry Robinson (right) congratulate Guy Lapointe (5) during his jersey retirement ceremony before the game against the Minnesota Wild at Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

    I think Lapointe’s Stanley Cups put him a whisker above Bouchard. Although ‘Butch’ was the team’s captain for two of his four Cups (1953 and 1956), Pointu should be above him.

    It’s now down to two thirds of the ‘Big Three’ – Savard and Lapointe.

    Sorry Guy, but Savard’s Conn Smyth and years as skipper gives him the number three spot. His ‘Savardian Spin-O-Rama’ and time as a member of the Habs front office just tips the scale.

    So Guy Lapointe checks-in a number four on our list. That’s very respectable, considering the players he is above and only slightly below.

    I guess you could indeed say his jersey retirement was well deserved and perhaps even overdue.

    Here’s the rest of our list;

    [table id=4 /]

    Agree? Disagree? Tell us what you think! Leave a comment below or tweet at us – @MetropoleSport.

    (Please note: Chris Chelios won three Stanley Cups and three Norris Trophies, however only one of each were with the Montreal Canadiens. Order is from 1 to 10.)