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Jacques Laperriere

Jacques Laperriere grew up idolizing Doug Harvey. He ended up filling the legends' shoes, while wearing the same sweater #2.

Laperriere started with Montreal in 1962, the year after Harvey was sent packing to New York. Laperriere won the Calder Trophy as the league's best rookie, and also was named to the 2nd All Star Team. In his sophomore campaign, Laperriere was named to the 1st All Star Team and won the Norris Trophy as best blueliner, despite missing some regular season games and the entire playoffs due to injury.

It was obvious right from the start of his career with Les Habitants that he would be a key part of some great Habs teams. He was the classic pre-Bobby Orr offensive defenseman, anchoring the offense like a football quarterback, prefering to make incredible passes than rushing it himself.

Laperriere was not a noted physical combatant, though he did use his body effectively to defend against opposing forwards. He also had a reputation as a top shot blocker. He had a long fuse, but he would drop the gloves once in a while too. Once he picked up 30 minutes in penalty for one altercation with Chicago's Stan Mikita.

No doubt Laperriere was tough. He had some terrible injuries he had to overcome during his playing days, for some reason usually in the playoffs. He suffered a broken leg in the 1965 semi finals, the year he won his only Norris trophy as the league's best defensemen. He played with a broken wrist while winning the 1971 Stanley Cup. In 1973, another Cup-winning year, he played 10 post season games with an odd helmet-face mask contraption to protect a broken nose.

Laperriere would be part of six Stanley Cup championships during his playing days, most of which featured him as the backbone of a very underrated Habs defense group. By Montreal standards the Laperriere era, which also featured the likes of J. C. Tremblay, Terry Harper and Ted Harris, was very much unheralded by history. Though he was elected into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1987, he remains one of the more anonymous of the Montreal greats.

Upon retirement he turned to coaching, prefering the assistant role more so than that of head bench boss. He was a long time assitant coach in Montreal, helping to bring along such star defensemen as Eric Desjardins, Mathieu Schneider, Chris Chelios, Larry Robinson and Petr Svoboda

Comments

Anonymous said…
As great a player as he was, Laperrière has had a tremendous impact as an assistant coach. Arguably the best guy for coaching young D-Men over the past 30 years.

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