May 08, 2008

1965: The Quiet Dynasty Begins

The year is 1965. A familiar name is engraved on the Stanley Cup. The Montreal Canadiens barely knock off the Chicago Black Hawks in 7 games. But the names belonging to the Canadiens were in no way familiar to Stanley Cup lore.

While the likes of Jean Beliveau and Henri Richard were holdovers from the great Canadiens teams of the 1950s, the team was mostly made up of a new generation of stars. For thirteen members of the team, this was their first Stanley Cup.

The revamped Canadiens included the likes of John Ferguson, Bobby Rousseau, Yvan Cournoyer, Ralph Backstrom and J.C. Tremblay. The Habs also acquired veterans from other teams, like Gump Worsley and Dick Duff.

It was the classy Beliveau who led this squad. He scored 5 goals and 10 points in the finals alone, and finished second behind Bobby Hull in total playoff scoring. For his efforts Beliveau became the first ever recipient of the newly created Conn Smythe Trophy, introduced to honour the best player of the playoffs.

Though they had Beliveau, the Canadiens lacked the flashy superstar they had in the 1950s with Rocket Richard, and would have in the 1970s with Guy Lafleur. Without that superstar ingredient, this Habs team would never get the recognition of it's predecessors or successors, despite winning 5 of the 7 Stanley Cups from 1965 through 1971. They were forever dubbed as the "Quiet Dynasty."

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