In his timeless classic book "The Game," Montreal Canadiens goaltender Ken Dryden describes Guy Lapointe in this brilliant passage.
“In the early and mid-1970s, except for Bobby Orr, Guy Lapointe was the best defenceman in the NHL. He was strong and powerful, an explosive skater with a hard, low shot, but what made him unique was the emotion he could bring to a game. During flat, lifeless stretches, uncalculated, he would suddenly erupt with enormous impatient fury, racing around the ice, daring and inspired on offence and defence, giving the game a new mood; turning it our way. It is a rare ability, and even as (Denis) Potvin and Robinson matured in mid-decade to push him onto second all-star teams and beyond, it was a skill that even they couldn't match.”
That passage was highlighted this past weekend in Stu Cowen's piece for the Montreal Gazette a few days ago that campaigned for Lapointe's #5 to be the next number retired by Les Canadiens. (#5 is retired in honour of Boom Boom Geoffrion, but Montreal has a precedent set for retiring the same number for multiple players).
"I would love to see the Canadiens retire: No. 5 for Guy Lapointe," writes Cowne. "As part of the Canadiens’ Big Three on defence during the 1970s — along with Larry Robinson and Serge Savard — Lapointe won six Stanley Cups and he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1993, seven years after Savard and two years before Robinson. Lapointe still holds the record for most goals by a Canadiens defenceman in a season with 28 in 1974-75 and ranks second in career goals by a Habs defenceman with 166, trailing Robinson’s 197. Savard scored 100 goals with the Canadiens."
This most recent movement to honour Lapointe has been spearheaded by Lapointe's daughter, Stephanie, even though Guy, who currently works for the Minnesota Wild, may want nothing to do with the idea.
“He would not allow me to do this,” she said. “He’s so humble. I’ll be honest, I’ve been dodging his phone calls a bit because I’m not sure what he’s going to say. But it’s my cause … 100 per cent."
Here's Cowen's full story. Here is my full Guy Lapointe biography.